Dargan Watts

Who Won the First Competitive Event at Daytona Int Speedway?

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If you guessed Lee Petty, you were wrong. Gene Stokes (one of our newest members) won the Pure Oil Economy Run at Daytona in 1959. He competed while driving barefoot.
Mike Flowers
@mike-flowers   11 years ago
Dargan,Gene is a distant cousin. He told me he was working for Big Bill France and was told he couldn't race because he was a member of NASCAR. Gene borrowed this car from a Daytona dealer, resigned from NASCAR, ran and won the race without shoes and the following day went back to Big Bill and got his job back as a NASCAR official. Gene is now retired and living in Pinehurst. Jim and I are trying to get him down here for the Columbia Speedway Spring Festival even if I have to drive up there and pick him up. Talking with him is unbelievable. He mentions Lee Petty and Ralph Earnhardt like he just spoke with them yesterday.
Jeff Gilder
@jeff-gilder   11 years ago
Great piece of history guys!!! I love this stuff!Jeff
Dargan Watts
@dargan-watts   11 years ago
Your first sentence may be true. Sentences two and three are not. Take a look at the license plate and it will show that the Stoudebaker Lark is registered in SOUTH CAROLINA and was driven from Sumter, SOUTH CAROLINA. It would be great to have Gene at Columbia.....Many stories could be shared.
Mike Flowers
@mike-flowers   11 years ago
I must have misunderstood where he got the car. He did tell me that a dealer loaned the car to him. It is likely that he got it from a local dealer and made the trip with it.
Lawayne Stokes Bradshaw
@lawayne-stokes-bradshaw   11 years ago
I remember when my daddy won this event and it was in our local paper. I was maybe 6. I saw the picture and back then there was always a beauty queen involved giving the winner a kiss. I was so mad because my Daddy wasn't supposed to be kissing somebody else! Oh the mind of a child! I'm sure my Daddy will have a memorable time at the event in Columbia. He deserves so much recognition due to all he did for racing!
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