Racing History Minute - November 16, 1952

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

The 33rd, and next to last race of the 1952 season was run at the 1 mile dirt track known and Lakewood Speedway in Atlanta, GA. The Championship was being contested between Herb Thomas and Tim Flock, with Tim holding a comfortable, but not insurmountable lead over Herb.

Herb's brother, Donald, always hidden in the shadow of his famous brother, qualified a second Herb Thomas Hudson on the pole with a speed of 72.874 mph with Herb Thomas qualifying second. Two of the FABULOUS Hudson Hornets on the front row, number 9 - Donald, number 92 - Herb. Fonty Flock would qualify the Air Lift Olds third, Tim Flock in Ted Chester's Hudson fourth and Roscoe Thompson in a Studebaker would start fifth.

Herb Thomas jumped into the lead on the green flag and was steadily pulling away from the field. Lee Petty, Donald Thomas, and Tim Flock were hotly contesting second place, but the lead was all Herb. On lap 86. the axle in the Herb Thomas Hudson broke as he exited the second turn and the big car came to a stop on the back straight. The caution was displayed and Herb jumped out and flagged down his brother. Donald stopped on the track and Herb climbed in the number 9 and Donald sat and waited for the wrecker to come haul off the number 92 and give him a ride back to the pits. At the time, a relief driver could gain points for where the car finished based on a formula NASCAR had devised to allow relief drivers to earn points.

Tim Flock's car owner and crew chief immediately expressed a howl of dissent to NASCAR for allowing Herb to transfer cars on the track rather than in the pits and to further cause issues, Herb was now leading in the car his brother started. After being allowed to lead two laps under caution, NASCAR black flagged Herb and made him pit. Herb returned to the track at the rear of the pack with only 14 cars running. At the time, Lee Petty was leading.

With 11 laps to go the green was once again displayed and Herb mounted a charge to retake the lead in his "back up" car. On lap 94. Thomas stormed around Petty and took over first place. He would hold that position to the checkered flag. Herb would leave Lakewood 194 points behind Tim Flock with 1 race remaining in West Palm Beach, FLA, on November 30th. Tim Flock would go on to win the title in 1952.

An interesting note is that NASCAR records are to reflect the name of the driver STARTING the car in the finishing order. Herb Thomas so over dominated his brother Donald, that Donald was not given credit for the win in the NASCAR records until quite sometime AFTER the end of the 1952 season. Seems NASCAR only had an interest for Herb Thomas , over looking the fact that Donald had won his first Grand National Race. In fact, NASCAR continued, for quite some time, giving credit to Herb Thomas for the win although he was driving in relief.

The average speed for the winner was 64.853mph, being slowed by 3 caution flags There were 18,000 fans in attendance to witness the Thomas Brothers combined effort.

Finishing Order:

1. Donald Thomas, Fabulous Hudson Hornet, winning $1,080.00

2. Lee Petty, Petty Engineering Plymouth, winning $700.00

3. Joe Eubanks, Oates Motor Company Hudson, winning $450.00

4. Tim Flock, Ted Chester Hudson, winning $385.00 ( 1 lap down)

5. Gober Sosebee, Chrysler, winning $200.00 (2 laps down)

6. Jack Smith

7. George Bush (not THAT one)

8. Ralph Liguori

9. Gene Comstock

10. Bub King

11. Ted Chamberlain

12. Jimmie Lewallen

13. Herb Thomas

14. Dick Rathman

15. Perk Brown

16. Buddy Shuman

17. Fred Dove

18. Fireball Roberts

19. Fonty Flock

20. Roscoe Thompson

21. Bob Welborn

22. Bill Blair

23. Mike Magill

24. Robert Wiesemeyer*

* Robert is shown as making 9 laps before being "disqualified". There is no reason given for the disqualification that I can determine.

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


updated by @tim-leeming: 11/26/20 07:48:22AM
Dave Fulton
@dave-fulton
7 years ago
9,134 posts

For 52 years Donald Thomas held the title of youngest winner in GN/Cup history, until Kyle Busch won in 2005.

Man, I would have loved to have seen Herb Thomas race.




--
"Any Day is Good for Stock Car Racing"
Dave Fulton
@dave-fulton
7 years ago
9,134 posts

This was the only NASCAR Grand National start for the the last finishing and disqualified Robert Wiesemeyer . He raced in the 50s and 60s in weekly Sportsman racing in New Jersey at Old Bridge Stadium and Flemington. He was 1958 Old Bridge Stadium Sportsman champion.

Wiesemeyer liked to wear bowties, sometimes even when driving. This habit earned him the nickname "Bowtie Bob!"

Below are several photos from the 3WidesPictureVault site of Bob with photographer credits embedded where available. "Bowtie Bob" is easily picked out in tjhe group shot from Flemington.




--
"Any Day is Good for Stock Car Racing"
Dave Fulton
@dave-fulton
7 years ago
9,134 posts

Found a couple of interesting NASCAR Modified-Sportsman starts for "Bowtie Bob."

* July 4, 1952 - Started 36th, finished 42nd at Darlington, SC in Modified-Sportsman race running a Studebaker Sportsman.

*February, 1956 - Finished 15th on Daytona Beach - Road Course in Modified-Sportsman event driving a 1937 Ford Sportsman.

Also found that he'd once been disqualified at Flemington for showing up with a Corvair that was too low to the ground.

Bob passed in 2003 . This is his obituary in The Standard newspaper in Macclenny, Florida:




--
"Any Day is Good for Stock Car Racing"
TMC Chase
@tmc-chase
7 years ago
4,049 posts

Brief (and inaccurate) AP wire race report as published in the Daytona Beach Morning Journal




--
Schaefer: It's not just for racing anymore.
Dave Fulton
@dave-fulton
7 years ago
9,134 posts

Seeing Tim's note that Fonty Flock was driving the Air Lift Olds got me wondering if that onetime mainstay of NASCAR Grand National stock car racing was still around.

The answer is "YES."

Here is a link to the family run Air Lift Company's web site: www.airliftcompany.com/about .

The clip below is taken from that web site:




--
"Any Day is Good for Stock Car Racing"
Dave Fulton
@dave-fulton
7 years ago
9,134 posts

While searching around for information about Air Lift, I found the article below at www.airsociety.net :

The Air Lift Story


In a simpler time when a mans ride was judged not by how flush his fitment was or by how tucked his tires were, but by the time it took him to tear up the 4.1 mile long Daytona Beach race track;
Air Lift emerged to reign supreme. Air_Lift_History_race_daytona_crash_junior_johnson_bagged_air_suspension_054 What started as the brain child of GE Engineer Claude Pemberton and Oldsmobile Toronado developer Don Perkins in 1949 as a means to offer extra lifting capabilities to vehicles carrying huge loads, quickly turned into a thriving business that now employs over 70 people and services more than 543 vehicles types and classes. Air_Lift_History_ford_truck_bagged_air_suspension_003

At the time of its inception the idea of using pressurized rubber air sleeves inserted into existing coil springs to provide added stiffness and lift for extremely heavy loads was an unheard of concept. This quickly turned around as people began witnessing first hand the extreme carrying capabilities of the Air Lift air springs. Of course once it was proven that air springs could carry weight more efficiently than coil springs, the next step was inevitably the race track. Air_Lift_History_daytona_026

Before the Bonneville Salt Flats were recognized as the best place on earth to test what your ride was truly made of, the Daytona Beach Road Course in Daytona, Florida was considered to be the premiere location for racers with something to prove. More than 15 land speed records were set at this very track over half a century ago with racers such as Alexander Winton, Jack Radtke, and Ransom Olds tearing up the ocean strip. Air_Lift_History_race_daytona_crash_junior_johnson_bagged_air_suspension_055

Air_Lift_History_race_daytona_crash_bagged_air_suspension_055 Of course racing on sandy beaches had its own set of obstacles to overcome such as having proper traction while transitioning through the hairpin curves that connected the 2 mile long beach strip of the track to the freshly paved A1A highway. Air Lift quickly jumped into the arena and started manufacturing performance based air springs to support these heavy vehicles as they navigated the course. Air_Lift_History_race_daytona_mercury_bagged_air_suspension_045

Air_Lift_History_lee-petty_009 What started off as a bootleggers way of blowing off steam on weekends, NASCAR quickly turned into the largest racing event in North America. Racers like Bobby Griffin, Junior Johnson and many of the Petty family ran Air Lift springs and swore by them. On February 22, 1959, Lee Petty won the very first Daytona 500 with an Air Lift equipped Oldsmobile Dynamic 88 (#42) in what became a story for the ages. Air_Lift_History_race_lee-petty-bagged_air_suspension_019

Petty and rivals Johnny Beauchamp, and Joe Weatherly drove side by side by side across the finish line at the final lap for a photo finish. Beauchamp was declared the unofficial winner, and drove to victory lane to collect his prize. Petty protested the results, saying: I had Beauchamp by a good two feet. In my own mind, I know I won.

It took NASCAR founder Bill France, Sr. three days to decide the winner. In the end, with the help of the national newsreel, Petty was officially declared the winner. Air_Lift_History_racecar_darliongton_raceway_darel_dieringer_buck_baker_003

Buck Baker was another Air Lifted driver who starred in 682 races, which sets him at 3rd most starts overall in the history of NASCAR. In 1953, 1960 and 1964, Baker won the Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway which eventually saw him pick up 46 victories in his over 40 years of racing. Air_Lift_History_race_daytona_trophy_bagged_air_suspension_042

By the late 1960s NASCAR began heading in a different direction with regards to its suspension regulations so Air Lift transitioned into the drag racing scene. Legends of the 1/4 mile including Butch Fedewa rose to national stardom after winning races all over the United States. Eddie Schartman drove the Air Lift Rattler (Comet and later Cougar) to multiple wins throughout the late 60s as well. Air_Lift_History_race_daytona_sign_bagged_air_suspension_042

As time wore on so did the direction of the company and eventually Air Lift saw a leadership change. Claude Pemberton took over as president from Perkins. His son Bob took over as president upon his retirement and Air Lift currently continues to operate as a family company to this day. Air_Lift_History_cadillac_bagged_air_suspension_038

Today, Air Lift stands as the industry standard for air suspension parts and service. Its Traditional (Towing, Hauling, Load Support), Engineered (OEM, Emergency Vehicles, Handicap Accessible Buses), and Air Lift Performance (Full Air, Lowered Vehicles) divisions are what allow them to continue growing during the good times and the bad. Air_Lift_History_racecar_speedway_neil_houston_bagged_air_suspension_063

While no one can say for certain what the future has in store, by bringing the passion of its old school heritage to the youth of the new millennium, Air Lift is in the drivers seat yet again and is showing the world that it isnt just a one trick pony and is here to stay for good. Air_Lift_History_jack_radtke_ford_bagged_air_suspension_060

Big thanks go out to Ian Cain and Corey Rosser from Air Lift for the support and wealth of information and resources supplied for this article.




--
"Any Day is Good for Stock Car Racing"
Tim Leeming
@tim-leeming
7 years ago
3,119 posts

All these pictures are incredible. Thank you all so much for these. Love seeing my life before me back when I was younger and smart. I really feel down today and these help "lift" me up.

TMC Chase
@tmc-chase
3 years ago
4,049 posts

Lakewood bump




--
Schaefer: It's not just for racing anymore.
TMC Chase
@tmc-chase
3 weeks ago
4,049 posts

1952 Atlanta Lakewood ad 111552AtlantaConstitution.PNG




--
Schaefer: It's not just for racing anymore.