The Grand National drivers completed three races at New York's state fairgrounds in Syracuse: 1955, 1956 and 1957. The convertible division also raced in Syracuse twice in 1956 and 1957.
But the GN drivers raced at Syracuse a FOURTH time. They raced the first time in 1956 on Memorial Day, May 30th - the same day as the Indianapolis 500. They returned in September to race again during the state fair. A 100-mile race on Syracuse's one-mile dirt oval was scheduled for Thursday, September 6 - three days after the dark Southern 500 in Darlington where Bobby Myers was killed and Fonty Flock's career essentially ended.
Ed Otto promoted the race - as he did many in the north. Many of NASCAR's hot shots made the return trip to NY. To supplement the GN regulars and fatten the field, Otto also brought in several less experienced GN drivers from NY, NJ and Pennsylvania. Billy Myers was on the scheduled list of drivers, but there is no indication he made the trip which is understandable.
Race preview from September 6 Post-Standard of Syracuse.
Lee Petty won the pole, and Speedy Thompson timed second. Herb Thomas and Buck Baker made up the second row. Harold Hardesty qualified 5th. Hardesty only ran 16 GN races. Fourteen of those starts were on west coast tracks including in Sacramento, Riverside, Portland and Bay Meadows in San Mateo, CA. His only two eastern starts were at Darlington three days earlier and at Syracuse.
The green flag waved as scheduled, and Lee Petty set sail. He led the first few laps before the race's first caution flew on lap 14 for a minor incident between Bob Duell and Doug Kennar. Rain then began to pour one lap later as the cars were already under caution. Rather than red flag the race right away, the cars continued slowly at a "funereal pace" over the next half hour for another 19 laps.
Finally at lap 34, the race was red flagged. Initially, the decision was made to re-schedule the race for the following day. But after Otto, NASCAR, fair officials and such huddled for a while, the decision was made to cancel the race and refund the fans their ticket money. Otto and his team needed the extra time to ready the track for an Indy car race scheduled two days later. Fans would have to wait another full year before seeing the GN cars for the next and final time in Syracuse.
So while the race wasn't completed, the drivers weren't credited with a start, and Lee didn't keep his pole win, I still kind of think of the event as a "lost race".
Schaefer: It's not just for racing anymore.
updated by @tmc-chase: 09/06/17 12:09:02PM