NASCAR's Grand National / Cup series has never raced on Christmas Day or New Year's Day. And the cars never raced on New Year's Eve either which is mildly surprising - especially back in the 1950s. The latest the teams participated in a NASCAR-sanctioned GN event was on December 30th way back in 1956. Fifteen cars raced in the makeshift Titusville Cocoa Speedway in Titusville FL in the 3rd race of the 1957 season. The track was a 1.6 road course that used a good bit of an airport runway.
Looking at the entrants for the Indian River Gold Cup 100, one may scratch their head at some of the oddities. One-third of the cars were fielded by Pete DePaolo's Ford team, and Petty Engineering took two Dodges to the race for Lee Petty and Tiny Lund. Yet even with half the field being comprised of 2 teams, Paul Goldsmith won the pole in his Smokey Yunick Chevy. Behind Goldsmith followed the 5 DePaolo Fords - Fireball Roberts in 2nd, Curtis Turner 3rd, Ralph Moody 4th, Joe Weatherly 5th and Marvin Panch 6th.
As the green dropped, Goldsmith took off and led the first half of the race - 27 laps. Weatherly lasted only 17 laps and was the 1st DePaolo car to fall out of the event. Seventeen laps later - and seven laps after he surrendered the lead, Goldsmith's Chevy was done for the day.
Fireball picked up the lead from Goldsmith and led the remaining 29 laps. Fortunately for his team, Weatherly's exit was an anomaly. His remaining teammates followed him across the line: Fireball 1st, Turner 2nd, Panch 3rd, and Moody 4th - the only cars to finish on the lead lap.
|Fin||Driver||Sponsor / Owner||Car|
|1||Fireball Roberts||Pete DePaolo||'56 Ford|
|2||Curtis Turner||Pete DePaolo||'56 Ford|
|3||Marvin Panch||Pete DePaolo||'56 Ford|
|4||Ralph Moody||Pete DePaolo||'56 Ford|
|5||Doug Cox||John Foster||'56 Ford|
|6||Tiny Lund||Petty Enterprises||'56 Dodge|
|7||Jim Paschal||Frank Hayworth||'56 Mercury|
|8||Johnny Allen||Spook Crawford||'56 Plymouth|
|9||Mel Larson||'56 Dodge|
|10||Dick Joslin||'56 Chevrolet|
|11||Lee Petty||Petty Enterprises||'56 Dodge|
|12||Chuck Thompson||'54 Oldsmobile|
|13||Paul Goldsmith||Smokey Yunick||'56 Chevrolet|
|14||Jimmy Thompson||Gus Holzmueller||'56 Ford|
|15||Joe Weatherly||Pete DePaolo||'56 Ford|
Schaefer: It's not just for racing anymore.
updated by @tmc-chase: 12/05/16 04:00:58PM