Friday, May 17, 2013

May 17, 1953 - Lee Petty Masters Martinsville

May 17, 1953:  Lee Petty wins a 200-lap, 100-mile race at Martinsville Speedway in Virginia. Yet as often was the case when Lee contended for a win, his victory involved some controversy.

Because of confusion with 'official' scoring by the teams and NASCAR (a tag-team effort from the early days of NASCAR until about 20 years ago), Petty was not credited with leading a lap. Yet, he was declared the winner of the race. Huh? What?

Source: Motor Racing Programme Covers
In his book, Forty Years of Stock Car Racing - Vol. 1, Greg Fielden writes:
Herb Thomas zipped past Joe Eubanks in the 74th lap, led the rest of the way, and was flagged the winner at ... Martinsville Speedway. However, when NASCAR officials checked the score cards, it was discovered that, on paper, Lee Petty had completed the 200 laps ... before Thomas did.

Petty was then declared the winner for the third time in the 1953 season. Thomas yelled foul, claiming Petty never passed him on the track. Most of the 9,000 spectators in attendance seemed to agree with Thomas. They went home thinking the Olivia, NC speedster had won the race.

Modified hot shot (TMC: and future NASCAR HOFer) Glen Wood of Stuart, VA made his first Grand National start and finished 30th in a Lincoln. 

Source: Spartanburg Herald via Google News Archive

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