Gober Sosebee from the moonshining epicenter of Dawson County, Georgia won the pole for the 28-car field. He dominated the race by leading 34 of the 40 laps on the 4+ mile course along the Atlantic Ocean and State Highway A1A.
|Credit: Sorrentolens Blog|
From the time this blog was started about 4 years ago, I've included a sidebar link to a recommended book, Driving With The Devil: Southern Moonshine, Detroit Wheels, and the Birth of NASCAR, by Neal Thompson. The book covers the convergence of southern moonshining and the invention of the automobile. Eventually, the two found their way to countless racing bullrings around the country. Thompson writes about the 1949 Daytona Beach race:
On the afternoon of July 9, 1949, Vogt had the Olds 88 ready and waiting for Byron to tow to Daytona Beach for the next day's race, the 166-milers that would be the second of NASCAR's eight strictly stock races that year.
Byron first squeezed in a Saturday night midget race at Atlanta's Peach Bowl, which he won. He then drove all night and reach Daytona a few hours before race time.
Despite some vocal complaints form others drivers, France allowed three women to race: Sara Christian, Ethel Flock Mobley, and Louise Smith. France hoped the prospect of three women battling crusty moonshiner/racers on the beach, not to mention four Flock siblings on the same track, would draw a record crowd. But rainy weather caused a sparse showing of five thousand.
|UDR: Never a fan of rain at the races|
Dawsonsville's Gober Sosebee led the early laps, with Tim Flock and Red Byron stalking from behind. Louise Smith flipped her Ford in the chopped-up and rutted north turn, landing upside down and dangling from her seat belt. A dozen fans ran to her aid, but Smith insisted she wasn't hurt and asked if they'd help roll her back over so she could go back in the race. Smith stayed put in the driver's seat while the men flipped her car back onto its wheels, and she took off. Sosebee held the lead until losing a tire with six laps to go. It gave Byron the perfect opening to jump into the lead.
Byron was now a master of the complicated beach course. He knew how to drive at the surf's edge, so seawater could mist up and cool his brakes, but not too close. He knew, when his windshield became gauzy and opaque with salt spray, to eyeball the telephone poles of highway A1A to help him stay on the road. He knew how to shoulder his car into the turns, to broadslide thorough the knotting, slurried arcs, trusting [Red] Vogt's reinforced wheels to withstand the pressure. With no bucket seats in his strictly stock car, he had to hold tight to the steering wheel to keep from sliding into the passenger seat.
He and his Olds 88 kept a steady pace for the final twenty-five miles, and Byron comfortably crossed the finish line nearly two miles ahead of Tim Flock for his fourth Daytona victory, more than any other driver in the stock car racing's brief history.
Ethel Flock Mobley, driving with her AM radio blasting throughout the race, finished an impressive eleventh - ahead of brothers Bob and Fonty. Sara Christian finished eighteenth, and Louise Smith, after her flip, came in second to last.
Byron's win was a first for a General Motors car in a NASCAR race. In fact, the top four finishers were all Oldsmobiles. A Ford didn't even finish among the top ten, lost in a crowd of Chryslers, Mercurys, Hudsons, Cadillacs, and Buicks. ~ pp. 298-301
|Credit: Sorrentolens Blog|
|Source: Daytona Beach Morning Journal|
|L to R: SROH member 200WINZ, NASCAR HOF crew chief Dale Inman, Uncle Dave|
Happy Birthday! SCHA-LOOT!!
|SHOF entrant number 5: Uncle Dave|