NASCAR in the 1950s

By | September 8, 2018

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Daytona Beach in 1956

The very first beach race was in 1936 in Daytona.

Daytona Beach is the starting place of every season in NASCAR even though now they actually race on a real track rather than the beach. This beach course was most unique and provided the longest straightaways in stock car racing with two miles up the beach front and two miles down a paved road. There were hairpin curves at both the north and south ends. Some of the fans would watch the race from the sand dunes that were on the outer edges of the course. Others would sit in the wooden grandstands and some in the infield dunes.

In the 1936 race, there were all types of cars that entered – no car was considered ineligible. Convertibles, hardtops, sports cars -- you name it -- were entered in the race. Can you imagine some of those heavier cars on the beach? They would get bogged down in the sand. That race was scheduled for 250 miles but the officials stopped it 10 miles before the entire distance was completed. Ten cars out of the twenty-seven cars were left when they stopped it. Milt Marion was the winner with his 1936 Ford.   

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In 1953, Tim Flock went along with this crazy gimmick of putting a monkey in the car with him. They installed a small seat in the car for “Jocko Flocko” the monkey. He even had a helmet to wear. For eight races the monkey rode with him and they even won one of them. Two weeks later, Jocko rode for the last time, when late in the race, he got loose from his seat and jumped down on the floorboard. He pulled the cable that opened a trap door and a rock from the track flew in and hit Jocko right between the eyes. As you can imagine, he went crazy and started jumping on Tim. It was all Tim could do to keep from wrecking the car until he could stop for a pit stop. He said he had to stop to “get that monkey off his back.”