August 30, 1963 - Ray Hendrick Takes Virginia 400 NASCAR National Championship Modified-Sportsman Go at Richmond's Southside Speedway Over Future Winston Cup & Indy 500 Rookies of Year in Same Race!

Dave Fulton
@dave-fulton
4 years ago
9,124 posts

I don't have a write-up, but this past Saturday, August 30, marked the 51st anniversary of Rapid Ray Hendrick's (Mr. Modified) triumph in the season ending 1963 Virginia 400 NASCAR National Championship Modified-Sportsman race at Richmond, Virginia's third-mile paved Southside Speedway.

Results show Hendrick in the cherry red Jack Tank/Clayton Mitchell "Flying #11" '37 Chevy coupe leading 368 of the 400 laps as he beat Red Foote, one of the original "Eastern Bandits" who moved to Richmond from Connecticut. Only other leaders were Connecticut's original "Eastern Bandit," "Steady Eddie" Flemke leading 15 laps and Richmond's Ted Hairfield in his "Snakebite II" #4 Chevy Modified leading the other 17.

Ed Flemke led 15 laps

Ted Hairfield lep 17 laps

A number of the Bowman-Gray Stadium modified drivers made the trip to Virginia's capital city for the big show, with Carl Burris posting the best finish for the North Carolina brigade in 6th place. The top 5 constituted a Richmond sweep, with Melvin Bradley, two-time National Modified champ, Eddie Crouse and Sonny Hutchins finishing in 3rd-5th behind Richmonders Hendrick and Foote.

4th place finisher Eddie Crouse - 1962 & 1963 NASCAR National Modified Champion

5th place finisher Sonny Hutchins - Richmond restaurant and tavern operator

6th place Carl Burris was the top finishing Bowman-Gray driver at Richmond

7th place Jimmy Mairs

8th place Runt Harris, one of the famed "4-H Boys" from Richmond

9th place Bill Dennis - 1970 NASCAR Winston Cup Rookie of the Year

11th place Rene Charland, 4-time NASCAR National Sportsman Champion

12th place Bert Robbins

13th place Bob McGinnis

14th place Clay Eastridge (holding trophy)

15th place Bubba Tatum

16th place Bob Dobyns

17th place Denny Zimmerman - 1971 Indianapolis 500 Rookie of the Year

19th place Bill Champion - uncle of Ricky Rudd

20th place Perk Brown (with Bobby Allison kneeling beside car)

22nd place Billy Hensley - cousin of Jimmy - car was grey with Rebel Flag on deck lid

23rd place Paul Radford - "The Ferrum Flash!"

24th place Joe Thurman - '68 NASCAR LMS National Champion - Division's 1st Year

25th place Clarence Pickerell was better known as the owner of Clarence's Steakhouse near Martinsville Speedway and a sponsor of other drivers

26th place finisher Gil Hearne hailed from Wrightstown, NJ

27th place finisher Pee Wee Jones

29th Place finisher Lionel Johnson would finish 10th in Daytona's 1965 Firecracker 400

30th place finisher EJ Brewer competed in NASCAR GN & Convertible races in 1957-58

Two Rookies of the Year competed. Bill Dennis was 1970 NASCAR Winston Cup ROY and Denny Zimmerman was 1971 Indianapolis 500 ROY

Photos are from many sources, including 3Wide, Vintage Modified, Racing thru Time, Randy Ayers and previously posted photos at RacersReunion

Virginia 400

NASCAR National Championship Modified race
Southside Speedway, Midlothian, VA
August 30, 1963
400 laps on 0.333 mile paved oval; 133.33 miles

Fin St Driver # Owner Car Laps Money Status Laps Led
1 Ray Hendrick 400 900 368
2 Red Foote 0
3 Melvin Bradley 0
4 Eddie Crouse 0
5 Sonny Hutchins 0
6 Carl Burris 0
7 Jimmy Mairs Sportsman 0
8 Runt Harris 0
9 Bill Dennis 0
10 Clarence Hicks 0
11 Rene Charland Sportsman 0
12 Bert Robbins 0
13 Bobby McGinnis 0
14 Clay Eastridge 0
15 Bubba Tatum 0
16 Bob Dobyns 0
17 1 Dennis Zimmerman Sportsman 0
18 Ted Hairfield 17
19 Bill Champion 0
20 Perk Brown 0
21 Bob Rosselle Sportsman 0
22 Billy Hensley 0
23 Paul Radford 0
24 Joe Thurman 0
25 Clarence Pickerell 0
26 Gil Hearne 0
27 Pee Wee Jones 0
28 2 Ed Flemke 21X Sportsman 24 accident 15
29 Lionel Johnson Sportsman 0
30 E.J. Brewer 0

Results: Ultimate Racing History

Here's a Jim Wilmore poster advertising the Virginia 400 at Southside Speedway from a different year:

Bobby Allison and his modified at Southside Speedway's 1960 Virginia 400. From the Bobby Allison web site.




--
"Any Day is Good for Stock Car Racing"

updated by @dave-fulton: 08/25/18 04:46:03AM
Richard Gouldman
@richard-gouldman
4 years ago
86 posts

Dave, I'm pretty sure I was there for the '63 race. I attended pretty much every modified event during that era, at Southside at least. I have to admit there are 3-4 drivers here that I am not familiar with though.

What background can you dig up on Denny Zimmerman's #4 pictured here? I recall that Winnie Talbort purchased that car. I was at Southside the night that Winnie drove this car and the throttle stuck, sending him hard into the third turn wall. The car rolled back down the track and burst into flames. I believe two brave souls jumped the pit fence and pulled him out of the car. I recall that his injuries were pretty extensive also. I'm not certain, but I don't believe Winnie is with us any longer. He was a friend of my brother, and I can recall riding with my brother to visit Winnie when he had a shop just off of Chamberlain Ave. (pardon my spelling)

william ellis williams
@william-ellis-williams
4 years ago
19 posts

I remember ray hendrix from the late 50 s coming to the old charlotte fairgrounds. drove a dodge or plymouth coupe .

Dave Fulton
@dave-fulton
4 years ago
9,124 posts

Richard, I didn't make it to Southside for the first time until spring of 1965. I don't really know a thing about Denny's car. I know that he posts on a lot of different forums and saw on one where he recently shared memories of Junie Donlavey and working out of his shop.

Richard, although I didn't get to Southside until 1965, I remember the name Winnie Talbot, but I don't know why. I'll have to see if my buddy Frank in Pennsylvania recalls. He has a great memory for the things we saw at Souuthside.




--
"Any Day is Good for Stock Car Racing"
Dave Fulton
@dave-fulton
4 years ago
9,124 posts

Richard, here is a two part story on Dennis Zimmerman with photos from 2013:

http://briandanko.speedwaylinereport.com/Archives/MAY13/5-27-13.htm

http://briandanko.speedwaylinereport.com/Archives/JUNE13/6-3-13.htm




--
"Any Day is Good for Stock Car Racing"
Richard Gouldman
@richard-gouldman
4 years ago
86 posts

Denny and Ted Hairfield at Ted's shop just a few years back. It is online for all to see, but Zimmerman had quite the career driving bullrings, on to Indy cars, and as a commercial airline pilot. Denny's 4X Sportsman car that he brought down from the Northeast. This is the car that I believe was sold to Talbot.

Dave Fulton
@dave-fulton
4 years ago
9,124 posts

What wonderful photos.

Here are the two photos Richard posted above:

Denny Zimmerman (L) & Ted Hairfield (R) with Ted's #4 modified at Ted's shop.

Dennis Zimmerman's #4x Sportsman at Southside Speedway in Richmond, early 60s.




--
"Any Day is Good for Stock Car Racing"
Dave Fulton
@dave-fulton
4 years ago
9,124 posts

Richard, I see where Winnie Talbot finished 5th in Sportsman points at Beltsville, MD in 1965. That was the first year Beltsville ran (it was called Baltimore-Washington Speedway that year) and they raced on Wednesday nights.

From Maryland Stock Car Racing Hall of Fame




--
"Any Day is Good for Stock Car Racing"
Richard Gouldman
@richard-gouldman
4 years ago
86 posts

You realize, of course, the Atlanta race is on TV now. Ha!

Not sure about other tracks, but Southside put the Sportsman and Modified cars all in the same feature, I guess to fill out the field. There really wasn't a great deal of difference in the cars. Sportsman ran carburetors, Modified ran fuel injection, generally Hilborn. There were no tires to handle the horsepower back then, so the cars were all pretty competitive. There were a number of very competitive Sportsman cars that could hold their own against the Modifieds, including Denny Zimmerman, Lennie Pond, I believe Melvin Bradley at that time was Sportsman, and a number of others. Pete Marshall (Ted's father-in-law) ran a Pontiac powered Sportsman with a tri-carb set-up. Ray Hendrick "borrowed" Pete's car one night and drove it to a third place finish in the feature. The car was pushing like a dump truck, but Ray drove it like no one else could.

Leon Phillips
@leon-phillips
4 years ago
626 posts

Thanks Dave

william ellis williams
@william-ellis-williams
4 years ago
19 posts

at the old fairgrounds here in charlotte, they ran both with points going to both

william ellis williams
@william-ellis-williams
4 years ago
19 posts

those were the days with the old30s and 40s bodied cars

Dave Fulton
@dave-fulton
4 years ago
9,124 posts

Both Southside and South Boston were running both divisions together. It took me a while to realize there were two separate classes in the same race. I thought a modified-sportsman was a type of car, before I realized there was both a modified and a sportsman in same race.




--
"Any Day is Good for Stock Car Racing"
Robert Mitchell
@robert-mitchell
4 years ago
327 posts

Great post, Dave. Lots of awesome photos there.

As a side note - That photo of Carl Burris is a rare view of the old Danville Fairgrounds Speedway. There are only about 3 other photos of Danville here on RR, and those are the only ones I've ever seen. It would be nice to find more from that track.

Dave Fulton
@dave-fulton
4 years ago
9,124 posts

Did you notice the Cafe Burgundy sponsor on the Jimmy Mairs #0 car above?

That's the same Cafe Burgundy sponsorship carried on the Grand National cars owned by Ratus Walters, including 1962 Southern 500 winner, Larry Franks:

The Cafe Burgundy in Washington, DC was operated by car owner Walters' father, Ray.




--
"Any Day is Good for Stock Car Racing"
Dave Fulton
@dave-fulton
4 years ago
9,124 posts

Thanks, Robert. I wondered the location of that shot.




--
"Any Day is Good for Stock Car Racing"
Dave Fulton
@dave-fulton
4 years ago
9,124 posts




--
"Any Day is Good for Stock Car Racing"
Dave Fulton
@dave-fulton
4 years ago
9,124 posts

Jimmy Mairs, from Wheaton, Maryland, is credited with making one Grand National start for the Cafe Burgundy family and Ratus Walters - at Nashville in 1959 - however, his other four GN starts have an "undocumented" owner who could have also been Walters.

Car #19 below was driven by Mairs in the 1960 Daytona Modified-Sportsman race and was involved in a 37-car crash.

The owner of Mairs' 1957 Ford #19 is listed as Ray Walters.




--
"Any Day is Good for Stock Car Racing"
Dave Fulton
@dave-fulton
4 years ago
9,124 posts

In 1958, Jimmy Mairs was injured during a modified race at Virginia's Fredericksburg Speedway in a wreck with Al (Junior) Grinnan. Mairs was subbing for another longtime Ratus Walters driver, Elmo Langley, who was a no show that night. The racing action at Fredericksburg was halted for the evening since the wreck took place after 3/4 of the feature was complete. Can you imagine the outcry today if such a rule were in place? Here's the report from the Fredericksburg Free Lance Star of August 23, 1958:

A number of drivers in that 1958 Fredericksburg race were in the Richmond Virginia 400 race won by Ray Hendrick at Southside Speedway 5 years later.




--
"Any Day is Good for Stock Car Racing"
Dave Fulton
@dave-fulton
4 years ago
9,124 posts

Jimmy Mairs crash at Fredericksburg Speedway in 1958




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"Any Day is Good for Stock Car Racing"
Shan Coughlin
@shan-coughlin
4 years ago
17 posts

Very Cool. Love those Richmond boys!

Bobby Williamson
@bobby-williamson
4 years ago
907 posts

Thanks Dave, great post, impressive research.

Dave Fulton
@dave-fulton
4 years ago
9,124 posts

Thank you so much Jack for the writeup and much better rundown of the 1963 Virginia 400 than the one I posted. You are always the "go to" guy for historic stuff nobody else has. It is so good to see the various hometowns listed on your rundown. Thanks, again.




--
"Any Day is Good for Stock Car Racing"
Jack Walker
@jack-walker
4 years ago
161 posts

Thanks Dave,

We first did this race on Racing Through History in 2010.

Richard Gouldman
@richard-gouldman
4 years ago
86 posts

Dave, a couple more points of interest. I have a picture of the #66 Commonwealth Ford entry, I assume driven at that time by Johnny Allen. I noticed it has "Cafe Burgundy" on the front fender. I can post the pic but it has someone's watermark. (?) I notice also that the picture here of Red Foote has him in Junie Donalevy's #90 coupe. No surprise, as anybody that ever drove a race car probably drove Junie's cars at least once. The "Perkins Pure Oil" caught my eye. Ronnie Perkins used to have a service station at the corner of Forest Hill and Westover Hills Blvd. Ronnie was a good customer when I worked in the automotive machine business. Attached is a picture of Sonny Hutchins in either the same car or a later version with the same sponsor logos. Aw heck, Commonwealth pic too.

Dave Fulton
@dave-fulton
4 years ago
9,124 posts

Richard, the photo of Sonny Hutchins in the Junie Donlavey #90 Ford coupe with sponsorship from Perkins Pure Oil is a Walt Wimer photo.

The Commonwealth Ford / Cafe Burgundy #66 at Darlington is from the collection of Pete Peterson and posted with permission at the Carolina Race Place site maintained by our member and resident historian, Jack Walker of Myrtle Beach.

Jack Walker was also kind enough to provide a link to the race results he has posted at Carolina Race Place for the 1963 Virginia 400 at Southside, complete with driver hometowns from his research. He had featured this event in 2010 as a historic race on the RR Racing Through History broadcast.




--
"Any Day is Good for Stock Car Racing"
Dave Fulton
@dave-fulton
4 years ago
9,124 posts

We have become accustomed to fresh faced 18 and 19 year olds competing and even winning in NASCAR's current K&N, Camping World Truck, and Nationwide series. We're even seeing the youngsters in Cup these days - a bunch of rosy cheeked, peach fuzzed boys not yet shaving. Today's NASCAR racing wouldn't make a good market for 1980s NASCAR sponsor, Gillette Atra or 1990s sponsor Barbasol when the participants don't yet shave.

Gillette would have been much more at home on the 1960s NASCAR Modified and Sportsman scene.

Southside Speedway's 1963 Virginia 400 NASCAR Modified-Sportsman event was a rich NASCAR National Championship Double Point race, drawing all the top Modified and Sportsman drivers from Alabama and Florida to New York and their counterparts in the Carolinas, Virginia and Maryland.

There were no rosy cheeked, peach fuzz boys in the Southside Speedway lineup in 1963. This was a hardened group of racers, most of whom had day jobs.

I have been able to determine the age of 22 of the Virginia 400's thirty starters and it averages age 33. The youngest of those drivers was 22 year old future Indy 500 Rookie of the Year Dennis Zimmerman, followed by Gil Hearne and future 1968 NASCAR Late Model Sportsman National Champion Joe Henry Thurman at age 24, along with future NASCAR Winston Cup Rookie of the Year Bill Dennis at age 27.

Only those four drivers were even in their 20s.

On the upper end of the age spectrum was Bill Champion at age 41, Carl Burris at age 39, and two-time NASCAR National Modified Champion Eddie Crouse at age 38, along with Runt Harris at 36.

Winner Ray Hendrick was age 34, as were Sonny Hutchins, Rene Charland, Bob McGinnis, Lionel Johnson and EJ Brewer.

2nd place Red Foote was age 35, as was Pee Wee Jones.

Southside Speedway on Friday night, August 30, 1963 was no place for high school boys to test their racing skills.

What I'd really like to see is a listing of cars that did not make the 30 car field. It undoubtedly is a larger list than the starting lineup and I suspect includes a number of track champions from up and down the east coast.




--
"Any Day is Good for Stock Car Racing"
Dave Fulton
@dave-fulton
4 years ago
9,124 posts

Here's a photo of Ray Hendrick winning at the same Southside Speedwayin Richmond eight years earlier on May 18, 1955 at age 26 from ISC / Racing One / Getty Images:




--
"Any Day is Good for Stock Car Racing"
Dave Fulton
@dave-fulton
4 years ago
9,124 posts

Nine of the drivers in the 1963 Virginia 400 Modified-Sportsman race at Richmond's Southside Speedway competed six month's earlier in the two big February 1963 stock car events at Daytona.

2nd place Red Foote drove this Rocky Hinton Ford #84 to a 27th place Daytona 500 finish:

ISC/Racing One/Getty Images

Ted Hairfield drove Parker Snead's #72 Commonwealth Ford sponsored entry out of Richmond to 49th in the Daytona 500:

National Modified champion Eddie Crouse of Glen Allen, Virginia drove this 1960 Ford to a 3rd place finish in the 1963 Daytona Modified-Sportsman 200:

ISC/Racing One/Getty Images

Besides the 3rd place for Crouse, Bob Dobyns finished 16th at Daytona, while Carl Burris with an assist from Bobby Allison was 17th. Paul Radford was 26th, Jimmy Mairs was 30th, Rene Charland was 32nd and Bill Champion was 46th.




--
"Any Day is Good for Stock Car Racing"
bill mcpeek
@bill-mcpeek
4 years ago
820 posts

Dave, If I had a dream race to attend it would be this one. Thanks so much for all the pics and love those old sportsman coupes....

Billy & Barbara Scott
@billy-barbara-scott
4 years ago
52 posts

Thanks for all the memories and new knowledge about a lot we had only heard about and never had the great pleasure of competing against, such a great field of drivers.If you don't have a chance to put all of this into books, you should at least record all of your memories and knowledge, so some one can later compile it all into books! You're just a machine of racing information! Honestly, we believe you know more about racing than anyone we have met. Thanks for sharing all this with dedicated racing fans as well as those becoming addicted to the sport. Thanks again Dave and we love you, God bless.

Billy and Barbara Scott

Dave Fulton
@dave-fulton
4 years ago
9,124 posts

Thanks for your kind comment.




--
"Any Day is Good for Stock Car Racing"
william ellis williams
@william-ellis-williams
4 years ago
19 posts

weren't there two hendrix brothers?

Dave Fulton
@dave-fulton
4 years ago
9,124 posts

Ray's brother, Ed operated Hendrick Construction Co. (always seen on the front fenders of Junie Donlavey 1960s-70s late models) for which Ray was a construction foreman. Ed raced sparingly in the modifieds. First time I ever saw Curtis Turner race was right after NASCAR reinstated him and Richmond Fairgrounds promoter, Paul Sawyer put him in a Ed Hendrick modified on a cold March night dirt show at the Fairgrounds.

Note Hendrick Construction sponsorship on front fender of Junie Donlavey owned, Sonny Hutchins driven late model.




--
"Any Day is Good for Stock Car Racing"
Dave Fulton
@dave-fulton
4 years ago
9,124 posts

The Maryland Stock Car Racing Hall of Fame shows Ray Hendrick finishing 9th and brother Ed Hendrick 17th in 1966 NASCAR Modified points at Beltsville Speedway in Maryland.




--
"Any Day is Good for Stock Car Racing"
Dave Fulton
@dave-fulton
3 years ago
9,124 posts

August 30, 2015 marks the 52nd anniversary of this Ray Hendrick win in the Virginia 400. Ray remains the winningest driver in NASCAR history. Can anyone explain how Jack Ingram and Jerry Cook(a stroker), two drivers Ray took to school and beat heads up in LMS & Modified hundreds of times, can be in the NASCAR Hall of Fame, but not Ray?




--
"Any Day is Good for Stock Car Racing"
Dave Fulton
@dave-fulton
last year
9,124 posts

Bump.. and we'll see the Flying 11 again this weekend at Darlington 54 years after this historic Virginia 400 win.




--
"Any Day is Good for Stock Car Racing"
Dennis  Garrett
@dennis-garrett
4 weeks ago
559 posts

Found this on Brian Tidball facebook Ed Hendrick. Ray's older Brother

https://m.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=790584781024137&id=100002178666198&set=gm.1032513076763127&source=57&ref=content_filtehttps://m.facebook.com/groups/790413964306374?view=permalink&id=1032513076763127&anchor_composer=false&ref=content_filter

#5X race car has 427 cu. in. on hood? #5X race car is a Sportsman race car.
#5 race car has Fuel Injection on hood? #5 race car is a Modified race car.

Too the right of gentleman wearing black BARDAHL jacket, there' a red fire truck with the name of town on it's door?

Trenton race track or Beltsville Speedway in Maryland?


updated by @dennis-garrett: 08/25/18 04:45:32AM