July 31, 1977: Benny Parsons Gets Serious at Pocono
Stock Car Racing History
Glad I found the post & was able to help - even though it took me several years to do so!
This portion of RacersReunion is dedicated to STOCK CAR racing. This RHM is about a AAA "Indy Car" race - but on a track known for it's NASCAR stock car racing history. Therefore, I thought it appropriate to add a post to add to the documented history about Darlington.
For the third time in four years, Darlington hosted the AAA championship roadsters of the Indy circuit. Chuck Stevenson won the pole. Stevenson was a recent winner of the Mexican road race. That event was won in 1950 by Hershel McGriff - who happened to be in South Carolina that week as well to race from the pole on July 3rd at Spartanburg. (Tim Leeming's RHM)
The Spartanburg provided a pretty good race report for an event that was atypical in the south. The Spartanburg Herald staff also had a local NASCAR Grand National event to cover at Piedmont Interstate Fairgrounds.
I knew about two of Darlington's fatalities - Bobby Myers in 1957 and Buren Skeen in 1965 - both in Southern 500 races. I was not aware until today about the death of Bob Scott at Darlington.
Manuel Ayulo won the 200-mile races that was overshadowed by Scott's injury and subsequent death.
Following Scott's death, the AAA ended its Darlington experiment - though the roadsters returned once more in 1956 under USAC sanctioning and promotion. To this day, it seems AAA-USAC-CART-Champ Car-IRL-IndyCar and whatever other sanctioning bodies I omitted really struggled to get a toe-hold in the southern US where stock car racing and NASCAR more specifically have always reigned.
NASCAR's modified division raced at Spartanburg's Piedmont Interstate Fairgrounds on Independence Day, 1949. A Who's Who line-up of drivers - many who found their way to NASCAR's Grand National and Convertible divisions - raced that Saturday in South Carolina.
Race preview. The line-up included two 10-lap heat races, a 15-lap semi-final race, a 10-lap consolation race, and a 35-lap feature (or maybe 30 laps).
And as the preview somewhat predicted, Fonty Flock returned home the happiest. Curtis Turner led the first 25 laps of the feature, but Fonty got by Pop and led the remaining laps to capture the win. The preview article said the feature was to be 35 laps, but the race report said it was 30. So who knows.
BUMP - And though these races don't appear to have been NASCAR-sanctioned, I think the NASCAR Hall of Fame should have at least a temporary exhibit for them. With all the NC taxpayer funding that has gone into that place, these races should be noted as being as much a part of North Carolina history as they with racing in general.