The half-mile speedway also hosted annual Grand National / Cup races from 1958 through 1965 when it was a dirt track known as Rambi Raceway. Soon after the track opened in 1958, NASCAR ran a convertible division event on July 23rd. The race was won by Bob Welborn in Julian Petty's ragtop Chevy.
Welborn and Petty returned on August 23, 1958 with a hard top bolted to the convertible to run Rambi's inaugural Grand National race. Twenty-one cars qualified for the 200-lap, 100-mile race.
Speedy Thompson in a Chevy won the pole. Rookie Shorty Rollins timed second. Junior Johnson and Joe Weatherly made up the second row, and Buck Baker and Lee Petty started fifth and sixth, respectively. Welborn was eighth quickest in Julian's Chevrolet, and Julian's nephew Richard Petty lined up ninth for his sixth career racing start.
Weatherly got tangled up with traffic on the start, was credited for completing just one lap and finished dead stinkin' last. Richard Petty was running in the top ten when his #2 Oldsmobile sailed off turn three and into one of the ponds off the turn. Richard was thoroughly soaked, and he had to settle for a 16th place DNF as his Olds was fished from the pond. That turn would later become known as "alligator alley", but the future King did not report an encounter with a gator in that particular race.
Thompson broke an axle and parked his Chevy on lap 166. Welborn, in contention as was generally the case in 1958, took the lead. He held off a hard-charging Baker and Rollins for the win and a sweep of NASCAR's two big races held in Rambi's first year.
|Source: Greenwood SC Index-Journal|
Thanks to fellow Petty fan Tim Leeming for the assist in noting information about Rambi and this race.