Thursday, February 21, 2013

February 21, 1954 - Lee Petty Fleeces Flock at Daytona

February 21, 1954: Lee Petty wins the beach race at Daytona - on a technicality.

Starting from the pole, Petty paced the 62-car field for the the majority of laps. When the checkers fells, however, Tim Flock was the first to the flag and received the winner's trophy. But a day or so later, NASCAR disqualified Flock for alterations to his carburetor.

Flock is believed to have been the first driver to use a two-way radio in his car so he could communicate with his crew.

Lee's pristine Chrysler before the start of the 39-lap, 160-mile race on Daytona's 4.1 mile combination sand and asphalt "track".

Photo courtesy of COMCAMJAM on Flickr
Pole-winner Lee and Otis Martin (#48) on the outside of the front row pace the field for the start.

Credit: scook801 on Flickr

Source: Daytona Beach Morning Journal via Google News Archive
But then uh oh, Flock was disqualified after NASCAR discovered an unapproved carburetor.

Greg Fielden wrote in his book, Forty Years of Stock Car Racing - Vol. 1:
It marked the second time in three that years that Flock had been disqualified from a Daytona victory. He also lost the 1952 Modified-Sportsman on a technicality. In a teardown after Flock had finished first in the race, the carburetor in Flocks' Ernest Woods-owned Oldsmobile was found to have been polished, and the butterfly shaft was soldered. NASCAR president Bill France said it was a difficult decision for him to disqualify Flock, but he added that rules must be obeyed by everyone, including the sport's top names. Any car found not complying with the rule book must be disqualified. ~ p. 138
Lee getting some post-race congratulations before later being awarded with the win itself.

Photo courtesy of Russ Thompson
Daytona Beach Morning Journal's race coverage included a neat side story - a feature piece on Elizabeth Petty, Lee's wife and mother to Richard and Maurice. This feature is particularly interesting considering the limited coverage stock car racing in general received in that era.

Source: Daytona Beach Morning Journal via Google News Archive


  1. 'Richard, 16, is already interested in working arond the cars but doesn't think he will ever want to race like this father..'

    Ha! :)

    Thanks for posting this cool article.

  2. Athletic talent usually doesn't transfer through generations but Richard should have at least tried racing. We'll never know if he could have been one of the greats like his daddy. It's no surprise that Maurice wasn't interested, he's not tall enough to see over the wheel.

    Mrs. Petty looks like she wasn't gonna take any funny business from those kids of hers.

  3. "Lee's pristine Chrysler before the start of the 39-lap, 160-mile race on Daytona's 4.1 mile combination sand and asphalt "track".

    I don't think that the #42 would have been looking as pristine after the race!