February 10, 1952: Teague Tames The Beach...Again

TMC Chase
02/10/15 08:25:17PM
3,890 posts

The culmination of 1952 Speedweeks in Daytona Beach was the 200-mile Grand National race on the combination beach and road course on February 10th.

Three days earlier, the NASCAR contingent met for the annual awards dinner. Herb Thomas was recognized as the 1951 Grand National champion. Fonty Flock was on hand as well to receive his check as the runner-up.

One driver who was not in attendance was Marshall Teague,the 1951 beach and road course race winner. The official line was he was too busy tweaking his four Hudson Hornets for Sunday's race. But one had to wonder if there was another reason. Teague had been suspended by Bill France for running an "outlaw" Pan-American race in Mexico. France warned Teague not to go "outside the family", but Marshall did what racers do: he raced. But France wasn't bluffing, and he suspended Teague. But Teague wsa allowed to return to the family after paying France $575 fine.

Race preview for the 100-mile Saturday modified-sportsman race and 200-mile GN race from [ Daytona Beach Morning Journal ]. Pat Kirkwood in only his 2nd GN race, his 1st in 3 years and his 1st on Daytona's track in a GN car won the pole driving a #99 1951 Chrysler.

Kirkwood getting an assist in getting his belts adjusted. - [ FloridaMemory.com ]

Lloyd Moore started 2nd in his #59 Chrysler to make it all Mopar front row.- from [ OldSchool59 ]

Tommy Thompson started third. He was likely still on cloud 9 from having what turned out to be his only career GN win at Detroit on August 12, 1951. Tim Leeming [ posted about Detroit's Motor City 250 ] in 2013.

With his fine paid, Teague qualified 11th in his Hudson. He owned the team Hudson for the 1951 GN champion, Herb Thomas, who qualified 4th. - [ FloridaMemory.com ]

Starting 44th in the incredible 61-car field was the hometown boy, Fireball Roberts. Though he didn't master the 4-mile course in 1952, he'd soon learn to master the 2.5 mile superspeedway that would replace it by the end of the decade.

On the first lap, Thomas leveraged his P4 start to get around the first three starters and lead the first lap. On lap 2, however, Thomas' car owner and teammate Teague got around him and quite frankly wasn't challenged the rest of the afternoon.

Though Teague set sail up front, it didn't mean that the racing behind him was boring. As expected, the fans were thrilled by some of the spills. Smokey Purser made it only a quarter of a lap before spinning his #19 Oldsmobile through the north turn and getting stuck. Painfully, Purser broke his arm in the accident and was obviously done for the day - and for good. The race was his one and only career GN start.

Kirkwood and Fonty Flock in #14 had to take evasive action to split and avoid Buck Baker whose car stalled in the stand. -[ FloridaMemory.com ]

Jim Mayes took a header into the sand and finished 34th.

One of the drivers most appreciated by the large crowd was a name we most recently heard from Rex White's lips during his NASCAR Hall of Fame induction speech: Frankie Schneider. His broadsliding technique through the corners in his Oldsmobile brought a cheer from the fans each lap.

Tommy Thompson had one of the more exciting days of the contestants. On the 29th lap of the 49-lap race, lost his left front wheel going through the south turn. He managed to ride on the rim down part of the beach until he could stop to get the wheel replaced. Then as the the race reached its conclusion, Thompson hooked his left front - the one he'd lost earlier - on the road's edge, and he was pitched into a spin. He narrowly missed starter Johnny Bruner who still managed to flag the race to an end. Even with all that, Thompson managed a 7th place finish.

Though the race was scheduled for 200 miles and 49 laps, nature intervened. The oceans tides began to come in sooner than expected, and NASCAR flagged the race complete after 37 laps. France, race officials and local law enforcement weren't concerned about the drivers' ability to race on the sand. However, they were concerned about the hundreds of spectator cars parked along the surf's edge - cars that would likely be lost to the sea if they weren't moved before the tides arrived.

NASCAR announced at lap 27 that the race would end after lap 37. Upon hearing this, Teague backed down his pace. Remarkably, he ended up going the whole race without a pit stop for tires or even for fuel.

When the checkers fell, teammates Teague and Thomas were running first and second. Teague had just enough fuel to make it to the shortened finish but no more. He ran out on the cool down lap heading down A1A.

The Hudson teammates pose in victory lane.

From [ Tommie Clinard's ] pics

In today's web-connected and digital world, we don't think twice about immediate marketing opportunities for the winner of any sporting event. Back in the 1950s, it seems to me things might have moved a bit slower. But Pure Oil was all over Teague as the winner. And ad featuring him and his winning Hudson were featured in an ad in the next day's newspaper.

Race report from [ Daytona Beach Morning Journal ]. (Click article to open larger version in new tab.)

A pretty witty "human interest" story accompanied the race report in the [ DBMJ ].

Teague backed up his Daytona win with a victory in the next scheduled race at Speedway Park in Jacksonville on March 6. Tim Leeming [ posted about that race as well ] about a year ago. But his days in NASCAR were coming to an end.

France penalized Teague again in April and stripped him of his points. Teague had an eye on Indy anyway. So he left NASCAR and joined AAA in an effort to land a ride in the Indy 500. Tragically, Teague would return to Daytona in 1959 to the new superspeedway and became the first fatality at Big Bill's new track - 7 years and 1 day after his win on the beach. Dave Fulton [ posted about that tragedy here. ]

Race rundown

Fin Driver Car
1 Marshall Teague '52 Hudson
2 Herb Thomas '52 Hudson
3 Pat Kirkwood '51 Chrysler
4 Fonty Flock '51 Oldsmobile
5 Gober Sosebee '51 Oldsmobile
6 Bill Blair '52 Oldsmobile
7 Tommy Thompson '51 Chrysler
8 Tommy Moon '51 Hudson
9 Lee Petty '50 Lincoln
10 Lloyd Moore '52 Chrysler
11 Frankie Schneider '50 Oldsmobile
12 Larry Shurter '50 Oldsmobile
13 Leonard Tippett '51 Hudson
14 Donald Thomas '51 Ford
15 Bruce Atchley '51 Hudson
16 Jimmie Lewallen '51 Plymouth
17 Dick Meyer '50 Lincoln
18 E.C. Ramsey '50 Nash
19 Al Keller '51 Studebaker
20 Leo Caldwell '50 Mercury
21 Ray Janelle '51 Chrysler
22 Paul Pettit '51 Oldsmobile
23 Ray Duhigg '50 Oldsmobile
24 Don Oldenberg '51 Packard
25 Roscoe Thompson '51 Oldsmobile
26 Pepper Cunningham '51 Hudson
27 Ed Samples '51 Oldsmobile
28 Buck Baker '50 Oldsmobile
29 Joe Eubanks '50 Oldsmobile
30 Bill Snowden '51 Cadillac
31 Jack Smith '51 Chrysler
32 Thomas Lechlider '50 Oldsmobile
33 Jack Goodwin '51 Lincoln
34 Jim Mayes '51 Chrysler
35 Red Duvall '50 Packard
36 Bob Apperson '51 Chrysler
37 Buck McCardell '52 Chrysler
38 Doug Yates '52 Chrysler
39 Buddy Shuman '51 Ford
40 Jimmy Ayers '51 Studebaker
41 Curtis Turner '52 Oldsmobile
42 Jimmy Florian '51 Oldsmobile
43 Tom Gifford '51 Studebaker
44 Bill Miller '51 Ford
45 J.E. Hardie '52 Studebaker
46 George Gallup '50 Oldsmobile
47 Mike Klapak '51 Hudson
48 Billy Carden '51 Oldsmobile
49 George Fleming '51 Hudson
50 Mooney Williamson '51 Hudson
51 Joie Ray '52 Henry J
52 Fireball Roberts '51 Ford
53 Jim Reed '51 Lincoln
54 Johnny Thompson '50 Oldsmobile
55 Tim Flock '51 Hudson
56 Gordon Bishop '51 Oldsmobile
57 Leon Sales '51 Hudson
58 Joe Guide '51 Hudson
59 L.C. Rigsby '49 Plymouth
60 Dick Rathman '51 Hudson
61 Smokey Purser '50 Oldsmobile

Schaefer: It's not just for racing anymore.

updated by @tmc-chase: 02/07/17 03:00:57PM
bill mcpeek
02/11/15 08:59:35AM
820 posts

wow, great photos and a wonderful report.....

Dave Fulton
02/11/15 09:49:50AM
9,070 posts

Nicely done, Chase. Thanks.

"Any Day is Good for Stock Car Racing"
Bill Ennis
02/11/15 12:46:32PM
1 posts

I am a great fan of Marshall. I saw him win the 1949 modified beach race and the 1951 grand national race. I missed the 52 race as I was in college. The first stock car that I saw was MT's 1939/1940 Hudson coach sponsored by Sip and Sup coffee shop. I missed the first race after WWII at Longwood, FL. I believe he finished 2nd to Red Byron in this Hudson. I have followed racing since 1946 (I am 81 years old). I believe Teague ranks with Foyt, Gurney, Curtis Turner, Pierson andEarnhardt as the greatest American drivers of all time. As far as his mechanical skills, he almost stands alone, I can not think of an equal except maybe Yunick, and Marshall was his mentor.

TMC Chase
01/20/16 01:08:52PM
3,890 posts

Promo pic of car owner Bud Berry and driver Leo Caldwell from Fort Pierce paper. The race would be Caldwell's 4th and final GN race. He continued to race until retiring in 1967.

Schaefer: It's not just for racing anymore.
TMC Chase
02/09/16 10:38:36AM
3,890 posts

Tim Flock won the modified-sportsman preliminary event on Saturday, February 9th. Or at least he THOUGHT he did. Sometime afterwards, Flock was stripped of his win for some sort of roll bar infraction. Jack Smith was then awarded the victory. I haven't found any articles yet to more fully explain Flock's DQ.

The race had nearly 100 entries!

Schaefer: It's not just for racing anymore.
TMC Chase
02/09/16 10:56:08AM
3,890 posts

Brandon Reed has a nice column at GeorgiaRacingHistory.com about Flock's DQ - for roll bars approved and installed by Bill France and his workers before the race!


Schaefer: It's not just for racing anymore.
Dave Fulton
02/09/16 11:17:08AM
9,070 posts

"Big Bill giveth and Big Bill taketh away."

"Any Day is Good for Stock Car Racing"
TMC Chase
02/07/17 02:54:47PM
3,890 posts


Schaefer: It's not just for racing anymore.