1952 NASCAR Grand National Series

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1952 Grand National Series
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The 1952 NASCAR Grand National Series was the fourth season of the premier stock car racing championship sanctioned by NASCAR. Once the season was concluded, driver Tim Flock was crowned the Grand National champion after winning 8 of the 33 events that he competed in. This was the first year that NASCAR scheduled its events to avoid the conflicts of having two races, at two different tracks, on the same day. The only exception was on June 1, when races were held at both Toledo Speedway in Ohio, and Hayloft Speedway in Augusta, Georgia. Herb Thomas finished second to Flock after competing in 32 races, and Lee Petty finished third in the standings that year.[1] Throughout the 1952 season, a total of 261 drivers entered at least one of the 34 events.[2] Virtually every American car manufacturer had at least one of their cars start that season.[3]

This was also the first season that sponsors such as Pure Oil Co (which later became Union 76, and eventually Unocal), and Champion Spark Plug Inc. started paying contingency award monies in exchange for the publicity they received by drivers sponsoring their products.[1][4]

Contents

1952 season recap

a Hudson Hornet, outfitted for racing, circa early 1950s

The 1952 NASCAR Grand National season was dominated by Hudson automobiles, winning 27 of the scheduled 34 races. No other make won more than three times.[5] The reason the Hudson Hornet was so successful, winning over 80 NASCAR races between 1951 and 1955, has been attributed to its low center of gravity, "mono-built" body and center point steering system. The center point steering system contributed to the car's superior handling and cornering abilities; allowing the vehicle to excel on the dirt-covered race tracks of the day.[6]

Palm Beach Speedway in West Palm Beach, Florida, was a half-mile, dirt track that saw its first NASCAR event when it opened the 1952 NASCAR season on January 20, 1952. The 100-mile event was slowed by two caution flags, and was won by driver Tim Flock. Six-thousand fans were on hand to see Flock capture his first of eight victories in the 1952 season.[7] Flock started on the pole, and drove his No. 91 1951 Hudson, sponsored by Ted Chester, to victory. He claimed his $1,025 winnings with only five drivers still running at the end of the race.[8] Flock captured the pole position for the race in 27.78 seconds, with an average speed of 64.79 mph.[9] The second event of the 1952 season took place on the famed 4.1 mile road course of Daytona Beach Speedway, and driver Marshall Teague took the victory in a 1952 Hudson. Herb Thomas led the first lap of the event, but Teague managed to lead laps 2 to 37. Twenty-thousand spectators witnessed 61 drivers start the event; but at the end of the race, only 10 cars were still running. The race was eventually halted on lap 37 due to the incoming tide which encroached on the beachfront straight of the track.[10] The third event of the season took place at the half-mile dirt track of Speedway Park in Jacksonville, Florida. Marshall Teague won his second race in a row in the 200 lap, 100 mile contest, defeating the other 28 drivers.[11]

On June 29, NASCAR traveled to Detroit, Michigan, for a scheduled 250-mile event, dubbed the "Motor Sports 250".[12] The race was held at the Michigan State Fairgrounds Speedway; a one-mile dirt oval built in 1899.[13] NASCAR offered its first five-figured purse, of $11,675, to the contestants, and driver Tim Flock came away with the winner's share of $5,050. Fans watched as Flock led laps 88 – 110, until driver Buddy Shuman took the lead for one lap on the 111th circuit. Flock, with the fourth and final lead change, on the next lap, went on to lead the remaining laps of the event. Shuman finished the event in second place, capturing a total of $2,225. The event concluded after four hours, with over half of the 47 contestants still running at the drop of the checkered flag.[12]

For the 25th race of the season, fans and drivers assembled at the Darlington Raceway on September 1. The purse for the 400-lap, 500-mile event was $23,855; after six lead changes, and seven caution flags, Fonty Flock took home the winner's trophy with an average speed of 74.5 mph.[2] Over 32,000 fans watched as Flock's victory in his number 14, 1952 Oldsmobile, netted him a $9,430 check for over 6.5 hours of driving. Flock started on the pole, and led the first 17 laps before the first lead change between four drivers. Flock recaptured the lead for the final time on lap 185.[14] Eventual season champion Tim Flock and his No. 91 Hudson were involved in an accident on lap 321, but Flock stepped in and replaced driver Jack Smith in the No. 9. While Flock drove the No. 9 Hudson to an 11th-place finish, he was credited with finishing 34th of the 66 starters, and Smith was awarded the 11th place points.[15]

Palm Beach Speedway both opened and closed the 1952 NASCAR season when it held the 34th and final event on October 30, 1952. Herb Thomas won three of the final four races in the season to finish second in the final standings.[2] Thomas claimed the final victory of the season, winning the event with a two lap advantage over second-place Fonty Flock.[16]

1952 Race schedule and results

Date Site Winner Make / model Miles Purse
January 20, 1952 W. Palm Beach Tim Flock 1951 Hudson 100 $3,580
February 10, 1952 Daytona Beach Marshall Teague 1952 Hudson 152 $6,110
March 6, 1952 Jacksonville Marshall Teague 1952 Hudson 100 $3,675
March 30, 1952 North Wilkesboro Herb Thomas 1952 Hudson 125 $3,550
April 6, 1952 Martinsville Dick Rathmann 1951 Hudson 100 $3,500
April 12, 1952 Columbia Buck Baker 1952 Hudson 100 $3,500
April 20, 1952 Atlanta Bill Blair 1952 Oldsmobile 100 $3,645
April 27, 1952 Macon Herb Thomas 1952 Hudson 99 $4,815
May 4, 1952 Langhorne Dick Rathmann 1952 Hudson 150 $4,745
May 10, 1952 Darlington Dick Rathmann 1951 Hudson 100 $3,550
May 18, 1952 Dayton Dick Rathmann 1951 Hudson 100 $3,325
May 30, 1952 Canfield Herb Thomas 1952 Hudson 100 $3,700
June 1, 1952 Augusta Gober Sosebee 1952 Chrysler 77 $3,575
June 1, 1952 Toledo Tim Flock 1951 Hudson 100 $3,550
June 8, 1952 Hillsboro Tim Flock 1951 Hudson 100 $3,425
June 15, 1952 Charlotte Herb Thomas 1952 Hudson 113 $3,550
June 29, 1952 Detroit Tim Flock 1951 Hudson 250 $11,675
July 1, 1952 Niagara Falls Buddy Shuman 1952 Hudson 100 $3,375
July 4, 1952 Owego Tim Flock 1951 Hudson 100 $3,600
July 6, 1952 Monroe Tim Flock 1952 Hudson 100 $3,325
July 11, 1952 Morristown Lee Petty 1951 Plymouth 100 $3,750
July 20, 1952 South Bend Tim Flock 1951 Hudson 100 $3,425
August 15, 1952 Rochester Tim Flock 1952 Hudson 88 $3,550
August 17, 1952 Weaverville Bob Flock 1951 Hudson 100 $3,635
September 1, 1952 Darlington Fonty Flock 1952 Oldsmobile 500 $23,855
September 7, 1952 Macon Lee Petty 1951 Plymouth 150 $4,865
September 14, 1952 Langhorne Lee Petty 1951 Plymouth 250 $8,225
September 21, 1952 Dayton Dick Rathmann 1951 Hudson 150 $5,550
September 28, 1952 Wilson Herb Thomas 1952 Hudson 100 $3,500
October 12, 1952 Hillsboro Fonty Flock 1952 Oldsmobile 150 $5,045
October 19, 1952 Martinsville Herb Thomas 1952 Hudson 100 $3,675
October 26, 1952 North Wilkesboro Herb Thomas 1952 Hudson 125 $3,625
October 30, 1952 W. Palm Beach Herb Thomas 1952 Hudson 100 $3,425
November 16, 1952 Atlanta Donald Thomas 1952 Hudson 100 $3,820

Individual races

1952 Grand National final standings[1]

  1. Tim Flock, 8 wins in 34 races, 6,858.5 points, $22,890 in earnings
  2. Herb Thomas, 8 wins in 32 starts, 6,752.5 points
  3. Lee Petty 3 wins in 32 starts, 6,498.5 points
  4. Fonty Flock
  5. Dick Rathmann
  6. Bill Blair
  7. Joe Eubanks
  8. Ray Duhigg
  9. Donald Thomas
  10. Buddy Shuman
  11. Ted Chamberlain
  12. Buck Baker
  13. Perk Brown
  14. Jimmie Lewallen
  15. Bub King
  16. Herschel Buchanan
  17. Johnny Patterson
  18. Jim Paschal
  19. Neil Cole
  20. Lloyd Moore
  21. Gene Comstock
  22. Banjo Matthews
  23. Ralph Liguori
  24. Jack Reynolds
  25. Dick Passwater
  26. Bucky Sager
  27. Frankie Schneider
  28. Otis Martin
  29. Coleman Lawrence
  30. Ed Samples
  31. Fred Dove
  32. Slick Smith
  33. Iggy Katona
  34. Jack Smith
  35. Tommy Moon

Other notable drivers with at least one start include: Speedy Thompson, Curtis Turner, Louise Smith, Frank Mundy, Hershel McGriff, Marshall Teague, Nelson Stacy, Bill Rexford, Bob Welborn, Gober Sosebee, Bill Snowden, Fireball Roberts, George Bush, champ car racer Al Keller, Bob Flock, Cotton Owens, Joe Weatherly, crew chief Smokey Yunick, and Dutch Hoag.

References

  1. ^ a b c Fleischman, Bill; Pearce, Al (2004). "At a Glance: Year-By-Year Summaries". In Visible Ink Press. The Unauthorized NASCAR Fan Guide 2004 (10 ed.). Canyon, Michigan: Checkered Flag Press. pp. 139–141. ISBN 0-681-27587-1.
  2. ^ a b c "Grand National standings for 1952". racing-reference.info. Retrieved 2009-05-03.
  3. ^ Auto Editors of Consumer Guide. "1952 NASCAR Grand National Recap". HowStuffWorks. Archived from the original on June 1, 2009. Retrieved December 24, 2014.
  4. ^ "Driver: Marshall Teague". LegendsofNascar.com. Retrieved 2009-05-05.
  5. ^ the Auto Editors of Consumer Guide. "1952 NASCAR Grand National Results". HowStuffWorks. Publications International, Ltd. Retrieved 2009-05-04.
  6. ^ "1952 Hudson Hornet NASCAR: NASCAR Information and History". Conceptcarz.com. Archived from the original on 2009-05-14. Retrieved 2009-05-04.
  7. ^ a b "Palm Beach Speedway: W. Palm Beach, FL". racing-reference.info. Archived from the original on 2009-05-14. Retrieved 2009-05-03.
  8. ^ "1952-01". racing-reference.info. Retrieved 2009-05-03.
  9. ^ "NASCAR 1952 Round 1 Starting Grid". motorsportsalmanac.com; BM Web Services. Archived from the original on 2009-05-14. Retrieved 2009-05-04.
  10. ^ a b "1952-02". racing-reference.info. Retrieved 2009-05-03.
  11. ^ a b "1952-03". racing-reference.info. Retrieved 2009-05-03.
  12. ^ a b "1952 Motor City 250". racing-reference.info. Retrieved 2009-05-04.
  13. ^ "Michigan State Fairgrounds History in NASCAR". motorsportsalmanac.com; BM Web Services. Retrieved 2009-05-04.
  14. ^ "1952 Southern 500". racing-reference.info. Retrieved 2009-05-05.
  15. ^ "NASCAR 1952 Round 25 Race Result". Motorsports Almanac; BM Web Services. Retrieved 2009-05-05.
  16. ^ a b "1952-34". racing-reference.info. Retrieved 2009-05-03.
  17. ^ "1952 Grand National Results". racing-reference.info. Retrieved 2009-05-03.
  18. ^ "1952-04". racing-reference.info. Retrieved 2009-05-05.
  19. ^ "1952-05". racing-reference.info. Retrieved 2009-05-03.
  20. ^ "1952-06". racing-reference.info. Retrieved 2009-05-05.
  21. ^ "1952-07". racing-reference.info. Retrieved 2009-05-05.
  22. ^ "1952-08". racing-reference.info. Retrieved 2009-05-05.
  23. ^ "1952-09". racing-reference.info. Retrieved 2009-05-05.
  24. ^ "1952-10". racing-reference.info. Retrieved 2009-05-05.
  25. ^ "1952-11". racing-reference.info. Retrieved 2009-05-05.
  26. ^ "1952-12". racing-reference.info. Retrieved 2009-05-05.
  27. ^ "1952-13". racing-reference.info. Retrieved 2009-05-05.
  28. ^ "1952-14". racing-reference.info. Retrieved 2009-05-05.
  29. ^ "1952-15". racing-reference.info. Retrieved 2009-05-07.
  30. ^ "1952-16". racing-reference.info. Retrieved 2009-05-07.
  31. ^ "1952-17". racing-reference.info. Retrieved 2009-05-07.
  32. ^ a b "1952-18". racing-reference.info. Retrieved 2009-05-07.
  33. ^ "1952-19". racing-reference.info. Retrieved 2009-05-07.
  34. ^ "1952-20". racing-reference.info. Retrieved 2009-05-07.
  35. ^ "1952-21". racing-reference.info. Retrieved 2009-05-07.
  36. ^ "1952-22". racing-reference.info. Retrieved 2009-05-07.
  37. ^ "1952-23". racing-reference.info. Retrieved 2009-05-07.
  38. ^ "1952-24". racing-reference.info. Retrieved 2009-05-09.
  39. ^ "1952-25". racing-reference.info. Retrieved 2009-05-09.
  40. ^ "1952-26". racing-reference.info. Retrieved 2009-05-09.
  41. ^ "1952-27". racing-reference.info. Retrieved 2009-05-09.
  42. ^ "1952-28". racing-reference.info. Retrieved 2009-05-09.
  43. ^ "1952-29". racing-reference.info. Retrieved 2009-05-09.
  44. ^ "1952-30". racing-reference.info. Retrieved 2009-05-07.
  45. ^ "1952-31". racing-reference.info. Retrieved 2009-05-07.
  46. ^ "1952-32". racing-reference.info. Retrieved 2009-05-07.
  47. ^ "1952-33". racing-reference.info. Retrieved 2009-05-05.
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