Saturday, September 5, 2015

September 5, 1957 - Gwyn Staley Scores Syracuse

NASCAR's Grand National drivers arrived at the New York State Fairgrounds in Syracuse on Thursday, September 5, 1957. They readied to compete for 100 laps on Syracuse's legendary one-mile dirt oval.

Gwyn Staley won the pole in Julian Petty's #38 1957 Chevrolet. Short-track ace Jim Reed qualified alongside him. Twenty-two other cars trailed behind the two front-row starters.

Staley took control of the race early. He led the first 62 laps from his top starting spot though Reed hounded him lap after lap. As the race neared its two-thirds mark, Reed decided it was time to go to the front. He made the pass and led the next 10 laps. In a true That's Racin' moment, Reed then blew a tire, pounded the guardrail and saw his chances for a win disappear. His crew changed the tire and did what they could to make repairs to the car. When the checkers fell, however, Reed found himself in 12th place, 26 laps behind the winner.

With Reed out of the picture, Staley re-took the lead and ran a moderate pace to get the win. Lee Petty in a 1957 Oldsmobile finished second, one lap down to his brother's car.

Source: Syracuse NY's The Post Standard
Source: Syracuse NY's The Post Standard
Staley shared victory lane, such that it was, with Julian. His victory was the second of only three career Grand National wins. The race was also the fifth and final NASCAR Grand National and Convertible division races at Syracuse.

Source: Syracuse NY's The Post Standard
About 20 years later, the historic Syracuse track became home to one of the premier dirt modified races in the nation. The Schaefer 100 (and later 200) ran at Syracuse from the 1970s through early 1980s. Scha-LOOT!


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