Finishing an unimpressive 25th was driver Mario Rossi racing in his fourth and final NASCAR Grand National race as a driver. Rossi turned his focus to what he did best - working on cars. In the late 1960s, he fielded his own cars for The Alabama Gang - first Donnie Allison and later, his brother Bobby. In the early 1970s, the paths of Rossi and Donnie Allison crossed again when Rossi was hired by DiGard to crew chief for Allison. In mid 1975, Allison was fired and replaced by a rising driver from Franklin, TN: Darrell Waltrip. From the jump, the two didn't mesh. In 1976, DW got his wish when the team owners fired Rossi.
|Source: Lakeland Ledger via Google News Archive|
Anyway, back to Lincoln...
The original promoter of the track was Hillen "Hilly" Rife. A few interesting nuggets about Hilly Rife as noted in a Godwin Kelly column from The Daytona Beach News-Journal include:
- In 1957, Rife was involved in a bad racing accident. Bill France Sr. ensured Rife had the proper physician and paid his medical bills.
- Their friendship continued for decades. When Big Bill's health situation worsened, Rife moved to Daytona Beach to become his personal assistant.
- Rife worked with NASCAR to start the "Northern Swing" tour for the Grand National cars. For about a 10-year span or so, NASCAR sanctioned Grand National races in places such as Islip, Rochester, Bridgehampton and Buffalo, NY; Trenton, Langhorne and Morristown, NJ; Oxford, ME; Pittsburgh; etc.
|Source: Spartanburg Herald-Journal via Google News Archive|