I'm headed west Friday for a few days in Portland, Oregon. Lovely part of the country - though Oregon isn't exactly a hot bed of NASCAR history. Or is it?
On August 26, 1956, NASCAR hosted a 250-lap Grand National race on Portland Speedway's paved half-mile track. The race was actually the second one at Portland that season. The drivers also raced at Portland two months earlier on June 24th. John Kieper won that race - his one and only GN triumph.
Preview from August 22 The Oregon Statesman of Salem.
Some of the big dogs were promoted as participating in the race. I'm not sure what happened - perhaps the show money didn't show. Herb Thomas raced. And Buck Baker was SUPPOSED to race - but there is no indication that he did.
From the Salem paper.
Kieper picked up where he left off two months earlier by winning the pole. Clyde Palmer started 2nd, and Eddie Pagan - who raced a handful of times in the east - qualified third.
I haven't been able to find a race report, and Greg Fielden's Forty Years of Stock Car Racing doesn't have many details either. What IS known is that Royce Hagerty and Clyde Palmer were racing near one another late in the race. The checkered flag fell and Hagerty took a bit of a surprise win. The win wasn't so much a surprise that he took the checkers as much as it seemed the race wasn't over. A check of the scoring records revealed the race was ended four laps early .
As Alex FL Racing Fan noted, Hagerty passed away on July 2, 2015. At his death, he was the oldest living NASCAR GN winner.
From Gary Larson on Pinterest .
Hopefully, the race was a pretty good one. I'm visualizing fast straights and hard braking as the cars powered left through the corners. I do so because most folks in Oregon tend to break left. Well, politically that is.
|1||15N||Royce Hagerty||'56 Dodge|
|2||1||Clyde Palmer||'56 Ford|
|3||11||Curley Barker||'56 Chevrolet|
|4||56||Chuck Meekins||'56 Chevrolet|
|5||45||Eddie Pagan||'56 Ford|
|6||50N||Harold Beal||'56 Ford|
|7||52N||Herb Thomas||'56 Chevrolet|
|8||88N||Lloyd Dane||'56 Oldsmobile|
|9||98N||John Kieper||'55 Oldsmobile|
|10||21||Scotty Cain||'56 Ford|
|11||27N||Len Sutton||'56 Ford|
|12||21N||Pete Diviney||'56 Ford|
|13||41N||Chub Williams||'55 Dodge|
|14||56N||Art Watts||'56 Mercury|
|15||77N||Gordon Haines||'56 Dodge|
|16||66N||Lou Sherman||'56 Mercury|
|17||6||Harold Hardesty||'54 Oldsmobile|
|18||71N||Bill Hyde||'56 Dodge|
|19||75N||Wally Gervais||'56 Oldsmobile|
Schaefer: It's not just for racing anymore.
updated by @tmc-chase: 12/05/16 04:00:58PM