Racing History Minute - March 20, 1966

Tim Leeming
03/20/14 09:51:10AM
3,110 posts

On this date, in 1966, there was a rash of yellow lights and caution flags at Bristol in the "Southeastern 500" but those were NOT caused by rain, a short in the circuits, or someone in the flag stand leaning on the over ride switch. In this race, 92 of the 500 laps were run under cautions that flew a total of 7 times. In fact, of the 10 factory backed cars entered, only two finished. Thirty-two cars started but only 7 would finish the 500 laps/250 miles on the banked, then asphalt, Bristol International Speedway.

David Pearson would qualify his Cotton Owens Dodge at a speed of 86.246 to capture the pole, while Fred Lorenzen would roll off second in his Holman-Moody Ford. Third place starter, Paul Goldsmith, was in a Nichels Engineering Plymouth and fourth place starter, Jim Paschal, subbing for Richard Petty was in the number 43. The Wood Brothers Ford started fifth with Marvin Panch behind the wheel.

David Pearson led the first 142 laps before yielding to Fred Lorenzen on a pit stop. Freddie led one lap before it was Pearson again from lap 144 to lap 242. Panch took over on lap 243 and stayed out front until lap 287 when Pearson took over once more. Hutcherson led from lap 332 to 337 before Pearson went out front yet again.

On lap 382 the quick Dodge number 6 began to slow and on lap 396 David was behind the wall and out of the race with timing chain issues. Dick Hutcherson, who had blown an engine in Friday practice and another engine in Saturday practice found himself four laps ahead of second place and slowed his pace to try and save the engine in his Ford. When Pearson parked his ride, Hutch had a seven lap lead. He slowed is pace so dramatically, that, at the end of the race, he was just four laps ahead of second place PAUL LEWIS who was driving his own Plymouth.

Bobby Isaac was involved in his third consecutive crash when he lost control of his Ford and tore down a section of guard rail on lap 203. Another interesting aside to this race was the Wood Brothers showing up with a "radical Ford" for Curtis Turner to pilot in the race. The Ford was called a "Fairlane" but clearly had a Galaxie front end. NASCAR rejected the entry.

There were 25,000 fans in attendance that day in 1966 who watched Hutcherson average 69.952 mph for the distance.

Finishing order:

1. Dick Hutcherson, Holman-Moody Ford, $4,150.00

2. PAUL LEWIS, Lewis Plymouth, $1,825.00 (4 laps down)

3. James Hylton, Bud Hartje Dodge $1,550.00 (6 laps down)

4. Elmo Langley, Langley-Woodfield Ford, $1,120.00 (8 laps down)

5. Sam McQuagg, Nichels Engineering Dodge, $1,000.00 (11 laps down)

***** Hutcherson and McQuagg were the only two factory drivers to finish

6. Gene Black

7. Bill Seifert

***** Only those 7 cars were running at the finish with Seifert 42 laps down

8. Wendell Scott

9. Henley Gray

10. G. C. Spencer

11. Clyde Lynn

12. Gene Cline

13. Johnny Allen

14.Larry Manning

15.David Pearson

16.Walter Wallace

17.J. D. McDuffie

18. Marvin Panch

19.Ned Jarrett

20. Jim Paschal

21. Paul Goldsmith

22. Fred Lorenzen

23. Bobby Isaac

24.Cale Yarborough

25. Johnny Steele

26. J. T. Putney

27. Buddy Arrington

28. Bobby Allison

29. Wayne Smith

30. John Sears

31. Sonny Lamphear

32. E. J. Trivette

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

updated by @tim-leeming: 12/05/16 04:00:58PM
TMC Chase
03/20/14 10:15:06AM
3,829 posts

Absent from the field was Richard Petty. He missed his second of two races as he recovered from torn ligaments in one of the fingers of his left hand. The 43 Petty team raced at Bristol, however, with Jim Paschal behind the wheel. - from TMC collection

Race program from Motor Racing Programme Covers

The starting line-up with Pearson and Hutcherson on the front row, Paul Goldsmith on the inside of row 2, Marvin Panch on the inside of row 3, and Sam McQuagg on the inside of row 4. From Tales of BMS.

Race preview from Spartanburg Herald with the Tennessee governor declaring Junior Johnson Day for the North Carolinian.

Grainy photo of Bobby Isaac laying down a smokescreen down the frontstretch and through turn 1. From Times-News of Hendersonville NC.

Race report from Spartanburg Herald.

Schaefer: It's not just for racing anymore.

updated by @tmc-chase: 03/19/17 11:42:21PM
Dave Fulton
03/20/14 12:45:29PM
9,017 posts

The Spartanburg paper noted that pole winner david Pearson and Cotton Owens elected to race their old 1965 Dodge Coronet rather than the '66 Charger they ran the previous week at rockingham's Peach Blossom 500.

The disqualification of the Wood Brothers hybrid Ford Fairlane/Galaxie is also noted in the Herald-Journal pole qualifying story.

"Any Day is Good for Stock Car Racing"
Dave Fulton
03/20/14 01:01:52PM
9,017 posts

This Bristol event marked the racing debut for Charlotte's Sonny Lamphear. All 12 of his career starts would come in 1966 driving a 1964 Ford owned by Charlotte "rassling" performer / manager Homer O'Dell who'd risen to mid-Atlantic television fame for Crockett Promotions as the spiffy "Manager" of the Rip (the chicken) Hawk / Swede Hanson tag team duo. O'Dell stood by his wrestlers at ringside carrying a cane (which was used unprofessionally when the ref wasn't looking) and wearing a tuxedo. O'Dell had wrestled in Chicago as Strangler O'Dell and was later promoted ringside in a military uniform as General Homer O'Dell.

Profile last updated by: Sean Sweeny

Homer ODell

Wrestlers who Homer ODell has Managed:
Bronco Lubich
Aldo Bogni
David Novak
Jerry Novak Missouri Mauler
Hiro Matsuda
Rip Hawk
Swede Hanson
Rip Tyler
Randy Tyler
Kurt von Steiger
Karl von Steiger Butch Malone
Norvel Austin
Toru Tanaka
The Mongolians
Brute Bernard
Missouri Mauler
The Angel (Frank Morrell)



  • Homer ODell managed Bronco Lubich & Aldo Bogni for a while and won the Southern Tag Team belts..
  • 1966: Bronco Lubich & Aldo Bogni w/Homer ODell lost the Tag Team titles to George Becker and Johnny Weaver..
  • ~~~Bronco Lubich & Aldo Bogni then left the territory for a short time..
  • ~~~When Bronco Lubich and Aldo Bogni returned George Two-Ton Harris was their manager..
  • ~~~Homer ODell returned as the manager of Rip Hawk and Swede Hanson to engage in a feud with Aldo Bogni & Bronco Lubich..
  • 1971: Homer ODell was demolished by Ray Gunkel in an Atlanta Main event.
  • 1973: Homer ODell managed Rip Hawk against Klondike Bill in a Semi-final match in Atlanta
  • ~~~~Homer ODell tripped Klondike which caused Hawk to miss a dropkick. Klondike splashed Hawk to win.
  • Late 70s: Homer ODell returned to Georgia managing the team of The Mongols..
  • Homer ODell later managed the team of Bronco Lubich & Brute Bernard (after Skull Murphy passed away)..
  • Homer ODell also managed Bobby Shane, The Missouri Mauler & Hiro Matsuda during his career..
  • Homer ODell has passed away..

    Robert Louis Howell wrote: Wrestlers Homer ODell Managed in Georgia: Paul Demarco, El Diablo, Buddy Colt, Karl Von Strohiem, Professor Kimura, Kubla Kahn

"Any Day is Good for Stock Car Racing"
Dave Fulton
03/20/14 02:15:04PM
9,017 posts

Here's an excerpt in a 1960s story by Steven Johnson in Slam Sports, a wrestling publication, about Homer O'Dell, owner of the 31st finishing Bristol car of Sonny Lamphear, when O'Dell was traveling with wrestlers Rip Hawk and Swede Hanson:

"Any Day is Good for Stock Car Racing"
Dave Fulton
03/20/15 09:14:52PM
9,017 posts

Here's another photo from Bristol on March 20, 1966:

"Any Day is Good for Stock Car Racing"
Dave Fulton
03/20/15 09:35:27PM
9,017 posts

Jim Paschal, subbing for Richard Petty in #43 and John Sears in L.G. DeWitt's #4 pass by a nearly sideways #73 Walter Wallace in the March 20, 1966 Southeastern 500 at Bristol. Nashville native, Wallace was a Nashville Fairgrounds weekly champion and later became a NASCAR official. This was the first of 4 career Grand National starts for Wallace.

"Any Day is Good for Stock Car Racing"
Dave Fulton
03/20/15 09:46:11PM
9,017 posts

In this photo, former Nashville racer, Walter Wallace is shown in 1991 in his role as a NASCAR inspector placing a template on the #2 Miller Genuine Draft Pontiac "Black Deuce" of Rusty (no relation) Wallace:

"Any Day is Good for Stock Car Racing"
TMC Chase
03/20/15 10:11:43PM
3,829 posts

Walter is still around and well. Had lived in Nashville for decades. About a year ago, he moved to Washington state. Before leaving, Russ Thompson rallied a bunch of middle Tennessee racing folks to have a send off lunch for Walter. I was fortunate to be able to go.

Walter - Pic by David Mudd

Walter listening to Ronnie Robbins - Pic by Steve Cavanah

Schaefer: It's not just for racing anymore.

updated by @tmc-chase: 03/19/17 11:43:52PM
TMC Chase
03/19/17 11:44:05PM
3,829 posts


Schaefer: It's not just for racing anymore.