Saturday, October 5, 2013

October 5, 1957 - Lee Petty Shines in Charlotte

October 5, 1957: Starting from the pole position, Lee Petty wins a 200-lap, 100-mile race at the half-mile, dirt Southern States Fairgrounds in Charlotte, NC.

The rest of the top five in qualifying were Speedy Thompson, Joe Weatherly (driving car #2X), Johnny Allen and Fireball Roberts.

While its unknown the leaders of each lap, Petty apparently led a large portion of the race - including taking over the for good around the halfway point of the race. As noted in the following article, Petty managed to go the full race - leading most of it - without making a pit stop.

Perry Allen Wood recapped the race in Silent Speedways of the Carolinas:
The third visit for the 1957 came on Saturday, October 5th, the day after the Russians launched Sputnik and two days before Dick Clark launched American Bandstand. Lee Petty took the pole and led most of the way in an Olds, edging Fireball Roberts' Ford... Petty won the $900 first prize in just under two hours. The next afternoon, there was a sweepstakes race in Martinsville, VA, for 250 miles. What a schedule! ~ p. 198
Source: Spartanburg Herald-Journal via Google News Archive
As Wood noted, the Grand National series made an overnight dash to Martinsville. Many of the same drivers competed in a 'sweepstakes race' - one that included drivers and cars from NASCAR's Grand National and Convertible series. Petty backed up his win at Charlotte on October 5th with a third place finish at Martinsville 24 hours later.


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