Racing History Minute - June 12, 1958

Tim Leeming
@tim-leeming
5 years ago
3,119 posts

Last night I was asked what race I would write about today for the History Minute. The way I do this, with rare exception, is to wait until I'm having my coffee in the morning and I look through all my volumes of "Forty Years of Stock Car Racing" by Greg Fielden to pick a story for the day. I have no real criteria for choosing with the exception that I look for races where certain drivers who have family as members here of RacersReunion competed, and secondly for interesting little happenings that many don't know about and some of us have forgotten. Lastly, if I have a special memory ofa certain race I try to write about that race to add a personal touch.

Today's selection caught my attention because it was the beginning of what would, in later years, become known as "The Northern Tour" where the Grand National (now Cup) drivers would make a swing through some northern states to broaden the appeal of stock car racing. Today we travel to a .333 mile dirt track known as "The New Bradford Speedway" located in Bradford, PA. Twenty-one cars entered the 150 lap/50 mile event. This event marked the Grand Opening of the speedway.

Bob Duell in a Ford took the pole with Speedy Thompson's Chevy in second. Third Place starter was Buck Baker and fourth place was Lee Petty. Action started on the first lap when too many cars scrambled into the turn on the green flag and Jim Reed put his Ford into the wall, hard, bringing out the caution immediately. There are no specific details in my source as to lap leaders or other caution flags but with an average race winning speed of almost 60 mph, it is unlikely there were additional caution flags.

When the checkered flag fell at the end of the event, it was Junior Johnson bringing his Ford home in first place. One interesting note to this was is the ninth place finisher, Al White, noted as a Buffalo Policeman. There is no record of whether or not he had blue lights on his Ford. Or, as I recall, weren't the lights on police cars red back then? There is also no indication that he pulled anyone for speeding.

Another fact that caught my attention in this report was part of the headline indicating "Three Drivers Disqualified". Reading further, it appears that NASCAR decided to crack down on "cheaters" the previous race at Columbia Speedway and found one driver in that event to disqualify. At New Bradford Speedway, three drivers were deemed "illegal" for reasons not specified, but those three were disqualified and received NO money nor any NO points. The three offenders were Dean Layfield in a Chevy, Squirt Jones in a Chevy and Emory Mahan in a Chevy. Although all three cars were Chevys, please remember that Chad Knaus was not even born at that time!

Top five finishers were:

1. Junior Johnson, Paul Spaulding Ford, winning $550.00

2. Lee Petty, Petty Engineering Oldsmobile, winning $450.00

3. Bob Duell, Julian Buesink Ford, winning $325.00

4. Jack Smith, Smith Chevrolet, winning $250.00

5. Billy Rafer, Ford, winning $215.00

Sixth through tenth were Speedy Thompson, Eddie Pagan, Jim Parsley, Al White (the cop), and Ted Chamberlain.

Buck Baker finished 15th, Johnny Allen 17th, Jim Reed 18th although he crashed out on the first lap. This was the Eighth Grand National win in Junior Johnson's career.

Honor the past, embrace the present, dream for the future.


updated by @tim-leeming: 12/05/16 04:00:58PM
Dave Fulton
@dave-fulton
5 years ago
9,121 posts

Thanks, Tim. Here's a piece on the pole setter's car owner being inducted into the Chautauqua Sports Hall of Fame:

Buesink Helped Make NASCAR What It Is Today

January 29, 2009

With his 2009 induction, Julian E. Buesink, a pioneer car owner in NASCAR racing, will fittingly join two of his former drivers Lloyd Moore and Bill Rexford, in the Chautauqua Sports Hall of Fame.

As Moore once said, ''If it wasn't for Julie, neither Bill or myself would have had the racing careers we enjoyed and for which we were recognized.''

Legendary NASCAR drivers Richard Petty and Cale Yarborough sent letters to the Chautauqua Sports Hall of Fame acknowledging the ''hardships and sacrifices Buesink made in the early years to make our sport what it is today.''

And that's one of the reasons he'll be inducted along with Mel McGinnis, Michael Heary, Joe Mistretta and Jennifer Stuczynski on Feb. 16 at the Lakewood Rod & Gun Club.

Buesink was born in Mina on Sept. 24, 1921, and was involved in the automobile industry his entire life owning Ford dealerships in Corry, Clymer, North East, and Westfield. He also owned a recreational vehicle dealership, as well as several used-car dealerships in the area.

Buesink's first involvement in NASCAR Grand National racing came just days prior to his 28th birthday when he entered Rexford, driving a 1949 Ford, in a race at the 1-mile track in Langhorne, Pa. Rexford finished a creditable 14th out of 45 starters. A week later he and Rexford finished fifth at the NASCAR-sanctioned event at the Hamburg Fairgrounds. On Oct. 2, 1949, Buesink entered two cars at the Heidelberg (Pa.) Raceway. He was rewarded with a third-place finish by Rexford and a sixth by Moore in the NASCAR race won by Lee Petty.

Buesink's team approach to racing in the final race of the 1949 season became his modus operandi in his determined approach to 1950. He entered at least two cars in each of the 17 races on his NASCAR schedule.

The other interesting component to Buesink's 1950 racing plan was his use of several makes of cars. Unlike current NASCAR owners who use only one brand of automobiles, Buesink appropriated Oldsmobiles, Lincolns, Fords and Mercurys for the various lengths of tracks and surfaces his team faced.

Buesink earned NASCAR victories at Canfield (Ohio) with Rexford and at Winchester (Ind.) with Moore.

When the final NASCAR points were tabulated, Rexford was declared the Grand National Champion over Fireball Roberts and Lee Petty with Moore edging out Curtis Turner for fourth place. Rexford, from Conewango Valley, was just 23 and remains the youngest champion in NASCAR Sprint Cup history and its only champion from New York State.

Bill France, Sr., President of NASCAR, recognized Buesink as its National Champion Car Owner of 1950. Speed Age magazine honored Buesink for ''outstanding achievement as stock car racing's Car Owner of the Year.''

The best results for the Buesink team in 1951 were a pole position start for Rexford at Canfield, a third for Moore at Dayton, and a third for Jim Paschal at Macon, Ga. Moore finished 11th in the1951 NASCAR National Point Championship.

After two grueling seasons of following NASCAR, Julian began to curtail his racing efforts by adopting a ''pick and choose'' schedule. In 1952 he entered just 15 races with a single-car effort.

Although Buesink concentrated most of his efforts towards the newly formed Mid-American Racing Circuit (MARC) in 1953, he entered Bill Rexford in NASCAR races at Langhorne (10th) and Rochester (fifth).

Buesink did not participate in any NASCAR Grand National races in 1954.

In what turned out to be Moore's final year of competition, 1955, Buesink fielded cars for him at Raleigh (N.C.) and Darlington. Tommy Thompson was Moore's Darlington teammate in a second Buesink machine.

Following the retirement of Moore, Buesink hired Warren driver Bob Duell. The duo competed in six NASCAR GN events in 1956 with their best showing being at the Monroe County Fairgrounds in Rochester. Duell set second-fastest time during qualifications and then had a fifth-place finish.

In1957, Julian entered Duell in five NASCAR GN races. Their best effort was at the half-mile dirt oval Lincoln Speedway in New Oxford, Pa., where Duell qualified seventh. A broken rear-end relegated the team to a 13th-place result.

On June 12, 1958, Duell set fast time in Julian's Ford at the NASCAR-sanctioned grand opening of the New Bradford Speedway in Bradford, Pa. Duell finished in third place behind superstars Junior Johnson and Lee Petty. A month later, Stateline Speedway in Busti held its first and only NASCAR race and the Buesink-Duell team finished second behind Shorty Rollins, who would go on to win NASCAR Rookie-of-the-Year honors for 1958.

Duell drove Buesink's Ford in four NASCAR GN events in 1959 with his best finish being 11th at Weaverville, N.C. For the Southern 500 at Darlington, Buesink teamed Duell with an 18-year-old rookie by the name of Buddy Baker, son of Buck Baker. Buddy Baker, who along with his father, was named as one of NASCAR's 50 Greatest Drivers.

Buesink and Duell combined for six appearances on NASCAR's premier circuit in 1960. Their best effort was an eighth on the 2-mile road course at the Montgomery Air Base.

The next year Julian hired Tom Dill to drive his 1961 Ford at Daytona and Darlington. He also gave a 21-year-old daredevil from South Carolina, making his fourth ever NASCAR start, a ride in a Buesink machine at the Darlington Labor Day Classic. His name was Cale Yarborough. He would go on to be a three-time NASCAR GN champion and was named as one of NASCAR's 50 Greatest Drivers.

In 1962 Buesink and Yarborough teamed up for four NASCAR GN events at Daytona, Darlington and Atlanta. He finished 10th in one of two qualifying races at the 2-mile Daytona International Speedway.

Buesink competed for the final time in NASCAR GN competition in 1963. He had Yarborough in the seat at Daytona and Darlington. Julian tabbed Rene Charland, NASCAR Sportsman Champion in 1962, to drive in a Grand National consolation race at Daytona when Yarborough was too ill to drive. Unfortunately, Charland tangled with Ralph Earnhardt resulting in a massive crackup that eliminated many cars.

Buesink's last GN race was on May 11, 1963, at the Rebel 300 in Darlington where Yarborough came home 11th.

In 13 total years of NASCAR Grand National competition, Julian Buesink competed in 107 races, entering 156 cars, driven by 15 drivers. He earned two pole positions, won two races, had 29 top-five finishes, 64 top-ten results, and earned $42,841 in race purses. Most significantly was his GN Championship in 1950.

For 1961 Buesink, a former supervisor for the Town of Mina, became a car owner on the Stateline Speedway and Eriez Speedway circuit fielding a car that Marty Rater and Freddy Knapp shared. Knapp won his first-ever late model feature at Stateline on July 1, 1961, in Buesink's machine. Four weeks later Duell slipped behind the wheel and again put Buesink in victory lane for the 50-lap Mid-Season Championship.

Rater was again the Stateline-Eriez driver in 1962 scoring a season-best second place at Stateline on May 18. Pat Moore took a turn in the cockpit for 1963 scoring a season best third on July 6.

Paul Wilson gave Buesink a win at Stateline on June 6, 1964, followed by a second on July 25.

For 1965 Buesink utilized a two-car team at Stateline and Eriez employing Freddy Knapp to drive his No. 99 and adding Floyd Fanale near mid-season to steer the No. 9. Knapp scored two wins at Eriez, a 25-lapper and a 100-lap season finale. He also recorded six other top-three finishes in Buesink's Ford. Fanale rewarded Buesink with a Stateline win and then followed his teammate across the finish line in the Eriez season-ender.

Knapp and Fanale returned as Julian's drivers in 1966. Knapp took first place in a 50-lapper at Eriez, a 25-lapper at Stateline and repeated in the 100-lap Grand Championship race at Eriez. Meanwhile, Fanale added a win at Eriez.

Jim Scott led a single-car effort for Buesink in 1967. He grabbed two feature wins at Eriez and added five other top-three finishes. He finished second to Bobby Schnars in the final Stateline point standings.

The next year Buesink gave Scott a brand-new car, a 1968 Ford Torino, and Scott repaid his owner by having a monster year. He took 11 top-three finishes, including five feature wins.

Scott returned to Buesink's Torino Cobra in 1969 and together they produced seven top-three finishes, including wins at Eriez.

A Ford Mustang came from the Buesink garage in 1970 for Scott to drive and he had eight top-three results, including victories at Stateline and a score at Eriez.

Buesink came back with a two-car effort in 1971. Knapp and Scott combined for nine top-three finishes including a victory by Knapp at Eriez and Scott completed the year fourth in Stateline points and fifth on the S-E Circuit.

Knapp was the pilot for 1972 and 1973. He was first under the checkered flag twice at Eriez. Knapp garnered four other top-three results.

Following the 1973 season, Julian's racing career was essentially over. Although he would occasionally sponsor a car, as late as the 1990s, he refocused his attention and energy to his businesses.

Buesink's career totals on the Stateline-Eriez Circuit are 27 feature wins and 73 top-three finishes.

The guest speaker at the induction dinner on Feb. 16 will be former Buffalo Bills placekicker Steve Christie and Bills play-by-play announcer John Murphy will be the emcee.

Tickets for the Chautauqua Sports Hall of Fame banquet are $50. They are available at the Jock Shop or at the Fredonia Food Mart. They are also available by contacting induction dinner chairman Chip Johnson at 485-6991.




--
"Any Day is Good for Stock Car Racing"
TMC Chase
@tmc-chase
5 years ago
3,970 posts

Not only was the race held as the grand opener for the speedway, it was also the only Grand National race held at New Bradford.

Brief race report from the Reading Eagle.

This edition of the Reading Eagle also included a pic of Jack Smith to promote the race at Reading Fairgrounds speedway 3 days after the New Bradford race.




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Schaefer: It's not just for racing anymore.

updated by @tmc-chase: 06/12/17 09:16:56AM
TMC Chase
@tmc-chase
5 years ago
3,970 posts

By the way, New Bradford Speedway still operates today.

Website: bradfordspeedway.com

Facebook: facebook.com/bradfordspeedway




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Schaefer: It's not just for racing anymore.
TMC Chase
@tmc-chase
3 years ago
3,970 posts

Stanley Lee "Squirt" Johns was initially flagged in 3rd when the race ended. Afterwards though, he was one of the three drivers DQ'd by NASCAR officials. Johns was a late model regular - and winner - at Stateline Speedway in NY and in tracks of Pennsylvania. As I understand it, he raced well into the 1970s. Squirt made 2 GN starts:

  • This one at New Bradford - where he was DQ'd.
  • The other was July 16, 1958 at Stateline [see Tim Leeming's RCM] where he led 42 laps on his "home track" before breaking an A-frame and ending up with a 15th place DNF.

I learned a bit more about Squirt in an article I found on SpeedwayProductions.biz:


Squirt ran a lot of different tracks in his career. He said, I mostly ran north and south. Not toomuch east and west. I never went to Heidelberg or Motordrome. I raced Skyvue, Olean,McKean County, the Civic Center in Downtown Erie, Stateline, Eriez, Cuba Lake, Highland,Airport, Schmuckers, Clearfield and Lancaster speedways, and others I cant remember. Somearent there anymore. Id run five nights a week once in awhile.

I had some bad experiences, he relates. I went to a couple of races and didnt get paid. Onewas at Perry , New York . The other was a NASCAR race at Bradford in 1959. They only hadtwelve NASCAR guys entered. Lee Petty was running a 1958 Oldsmobile. Junior Johnson wasthere. They didnt have a full field, so a bunch of us local guys raced against them. Buck Bakerspun me out in practice just to show me he was one of the big boys. He did a heck of a job of it,too. I never went around any faster in my life, he chuckles.

Squirt recalls, I showed the NASCAR officials all the things that made me illegal according theirrules before the race, including an electric fuel pump. They said, Oh yeah. You can race. It wasa 100-lap race. I ran second almost the whole race, even though I ran out of brakes on lap 30.

Lee Petty was following me. He could have hit me anytime in the turns. But he waited until five laps to go. Then he hit me. I didnt spin clear out, but he hit me enough to get by me. Junior Johnson won the race.

Squirt continues, Then after the race, when it was time to get paid, the NASCAR officials said, Our guys protested. They paid their guys the top prize money, and were going to divide what little was left over between us outlaws (outlaws to them). I told them, if youre not going to pay me whats fair, what I have coming for finishing third, Im not taking any of your damned money. And I left.


It's our good fortune that someone happened to snap a picture of Squirt spinning off the chrome horn of Buck Baker - not the fortunes were not as good for Squirt. If his memory is correct, at least the spin happened in practice. -StatelineLegacy.org

In Fall 2013 - a few months after Tim originally posted this RHM - a DVD was released titled "Squirt". You can order the DVD from StatelineLegacy.org. In one of the reviews for it, I found this info re: his disqualification:


NASCAR, in its infancy then, would on occasion deign to visit the locally-operated dirt tracks of hinterlands. Several drivers speak of NASCARs haughty disregard for fairness and ethics. Johns, for example, won a race, outduelling the likes of Junior Johnson, then was denied his prize money for the presence in his car of an unauthorized pump which had been: 1 Disconnected; 2 Inspected and approved by NASCAR before the green flag fell.


Well, in what I've read I don't Squirt thinks he WON the race. But it's pretty clear he wasn't happy with being DQd after a P3 against the big timers.

Here is a clip re: Stateline that features a lengthy discussion with Squirt. He talks about his nickname, his car color, his car number, and the New Bradford NASCAR race (beginning at 4:30).


Here is a neat clip of Squirt being interviewed about his career. It was recorded the day of the released of the DVD.




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Schaefer: It's not just for racing anymore.

updated by @tmc-chase: 06/12/17 09:17:29AM
TMC Chase
@tmc-chase
3 years ago
3,970 posts

Pic of Bob Duell with his trophy for winning the pole at New Bradford. Duell raced in only 28 GN events. The New Bradford pole was his only one.

Duell was from Frewsburg, NY - about 9-10 miles from Busti, NY. Busti's Stateline Speedway hosted one GN race on July 16, 1958:

http://racersreunion.com/community/forum/stock-car-racing-history/25400/racing-history-minute-july-16-1958

From Jamestown Post-Journal.




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Schaefer: It's not just for racing anymore.

updated by @tmc-chase: 06/12/17 09:18:11AM
TMC Chase
@tmc-chase
3 years ago
3,970 posts

Race report from Jamestown Post-Journal




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Schaefer: It's not just for racing anymore.
TMC Chase
@tmc-chase
2 years ago
3,970 posts

Race was originally scheduled for Wednesday, July 11. Rain postponed it to Thursday, July 12th.




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Schaefer: It's not just for racing anymore.
TMC Chase
@tmc-chase
one month ago
3,970 posts

New Bradford Bump




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Schaefer: It's not just for racing anymore.