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. ]
|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