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12/26/05: New Page: Daytona 1955 - Check it Out!

                                                           

Daytona Track Fact:
Fireball Roberts Grandstand (Named in 1969): Glenn "Fireball" Roberts, (1929-1964). Fireball was NASCAR's first superstar and Daytona's hometown hero. His career transcended the sport for which he was famous. Roberts won 4 of the first 10 major Winston Cup races held at Daytona International Speedway, as well as a complete sweep of every event he entered at Daytona in 1962.

In this rare February, 1962, photo Fireball poses with his #22 Ferrari Berlinetta GT250 that he wheeled around the Daytona 3.81 mi. infield course in the inaugural Daytona Continental 3 hour race to finish 2nd in class and 12th overall. This race counted towards the World Sports Car championship. 
(Motorsports Images and Archives)

RACE NEWS: Touted as a grudge race, the Daytona Continental lived up to its billing. Semi-Expatriate Phil Hill, the 1961 Grand Prix champion, angered his U.S. competitors by tooling around the tightly banked, 3.81-mile course in a 103.m.p.h. practice run and remarking, "It's nothing. A simple course." Belgium's Olivier Gendebien went even further: "To win here, you don't have to be the best driver—only crazier than the rest." Britain's Stirling Moss and the foreign contingent clucked at the pink powder puffs that Stock Car Driver Joe Weatherly wore on each wrist as goggle wipers. Said Stocker Glenn ("Fireball") Roberts: "Hill and Moss? They've only got two hands and two feet, haven't they? I can dust 'em off."

Stocker Roberts, piloting a Ferrari Berlinetta identical to Moss's, did precious little dusting-off. He finished second in the Grand Touring (closed car) class, twelfth overall. "I was ahead of Moss going into the first turn," said Fireball sadly. "But I came in too hot and went wide. Moss passed me, and from then on it was adiós. I never saw him again." Stocker Weatherly also had a run-in with Moss: a broken distributor rotor forced him to slow down, and Moss impatiently nudged him off the course. "I don't think he meant anything by it," said Weatherly. "I just got in his way." An easy winner in the G.T. division, Moss picked up $7,500, and Ferrari picked up nine points toward the 1962 manufacturers' world championship. Driving in the faster sports-car class, California's Dan Gurney, a three-year Grand Prix veteran, wound up the overall winner. He averaged 104 m.p.h. in a low-slung Lotus, managed to limp over the line on his starter motor when his engine quit 200 yds. from the finish.

Daytona did not increase to 24 hours until 1966.

Ferrari 250 GT #2725GT - Ferrari N/A   North American Racing Team (USA)   Driven by: Fireball Roberts (USA)          11.2.1962
listed, never drove: Peter Ryan (CDN)   
Result: 12th    GT3.0      3 Hours of Daytona      Colours: metallic blue (+white)

1962 Daytona 3-Hour Continental 22 Ferrari (Please read description because of minimal narration.)This is a short clip taken from home movies of the 1962 Daytona 3-Hour Continental. This is the first of what will become the 24 Hours of Daytona. At the start of the clip is Dan Gurney looking at his winning Lotus Climax. He won in legendary fashion. He had a huge lead when the engine began to fail so he parked himself right in front of the start finish line and when the three hours were up he used his starter motor and gravity to cross the finish line and win. The following year the FIA outlawed this practice. Keep an eye open for the silver Ferrari 250 GT as it comes quickly into the pit area. It is driven by legendary stock car driver Fireball Roberts. Note in the clip when Jo Bonnier squats down next to a beautiful blond in a car. That girl was a well known movie star in the 1960's. Do you know who she is? This film clip courtesy of Mario Levetto. Check out my photo captures from this video and other vintage race photos at my Flickr page. Go to the following site:

 

About 32 seconds into the clip you will see Fireball enter Pit Row in the #22 Ferrari
Also notice at the end all the people in the infield at the Lemans Type start.
No way would that be allowed today!

 

Yes! Fireball raced in the 1962 24 Hours of Lemans

First NASCAR driver to compete at the 24 Hours of LeMans, France,
posted a 6th overall finish!

 

23-24 June 1962 - Le Mans (F): Round 6, International Championship for Manufacturers (Divisions II and III). Round 4, Challenge Mondial.
24 Hour duration in which 330 laps of a 8.364 mile/13.461 km circuit - 2765.886 miles/4451.255 kms were completed by winner
Weather: hot, dry

PHOTO BEFORE THE START OF THE 24 HOURS OF LE MANS IN 1962.

THE CAR #17 IS THE GTO FERRARI OF GROSSMAN/FIREBALL ROBERTS, ENTERED BY THE N.A.R.T.

THE CAR # 1 IS THE CORVETTE CHEVROLET OF SETTEMBER/TURNER.

THE NOSE OF THE CAR # 60 IS THE ONE OF AN AC BRISTOL OF MAGNE/MARTIN.

North American Racing Team, USA
Ferrari 250 GTO # 17

Overall Finish 6th - Completed 297 Laps
Experimental 3000 Class - 1st Overall - Class Winner

Bob Grossman, USA
Glenn 'Fireball' Roberts, USA


Red Line 164 Ferrari 250GTO Sixth Le Mans 1962

Lovely hand built model of the beautiful Ferrari 250GTO,Curiously this is described as "Experimentale" on both the packaging and in the race results but I don't recall it
being other than a "standard" GTO. 1/43rd Scale Resin by Redline in Great Britain

 

 

 

 

New Curtis Turner Book Now Available!

Full Throttle - The Life and Fast Times of Curtis Turner
Author:
Robert Edelstein
ISBN: 
1585674389     Format:  Hardcover     Publication Year:  2005
Category:  Biography & Memoir / Auto sports         Condition:  New

Price: $24.95 + 4.35 Shipping =
$ 29.30 Total
SPECIAL! Only 6 left! $14.00 Including Mailing!
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Race For The 1950 Championship Or The Race?      October 29, 1950
Entering the final race of the 1950 season, Fireball Roberts had a decision to make. If points leader Bill Rexford had any problems, should he drive conservatively to try and score as many points as possible and earn the championship, or should he charge hard all day and try to win the race. The Championship paid a whopping $1,000 to win; the race-on the other hand-paid $1,500 for first place. Roberts' decision was made. Rexford did indeed fall out early in the event, when the Oldsmobile of car owner Julian Buesink blew an engine and wound up in 26th place out of 29 starters. Roberts continued to flog his mount, until his engine expired as well. He was scored in 21st. Neither driver scored any points, so the championship went to Rexford at the tender age of 23. Lee Petty capitalized on the bad luck of Roberts and Fonty Flock, to drive into the lead on lap 133 which he held until the race was ended on lap 175. The race was originally scheduled for 200 laps, but impending darkness forced the abbreviation. This was Lee Petty's 2nd career win.

The Year Was 1962

Fireball Roberts, a Daytona Beach native, won one for the home crowd on Feb. 18, 1962 when his Pontiac finished 27 seconds in front of Richard Petty's Plymouth in the 4th Daytona 500.

The estimated attendance for the 1962 Daytona 500 was 58,070, or nearly half of Volusia County's population of 125,319 in 1962.

In 1962, Deltona was created -- and by 2005, its population of 71,599 made it the largest city in Volusia, according to the West Volusia Chamber of Commerce.

Two days after Roberts' win, John Glenn made history of his own when he became the first American in orbit, taking just under five hours to make three trips around the globe.

In 1962, Ford redesigned its Fairlane model, making it shorter, lighter and more powerful, especially with the 260-cubic inch Challenger V8 engine.

Ford sold 297,000 Fairlanes that year. At the manufacturer's standard retail price of $2,257, Roberts could have snapped up 10 Fairlanes with the winner's share of $24,190 and still have enough left over to buy gas at 31 cents a gallon.

Singer-songwriter Sheryl Crow was born on Feb. 11, 1962. Her single "Steve McQueen" was released in 2002.

In 1962, Steve McQueen was starring in "Hell Is For Heroes." He would later portray a racecar driver in "LeMans" and race a Mustang through the streets of San Francisco in "Bullitt."

The hot dance craze in February of 1962 was the Twist. No fewer than three songs in the Cash Box Top 10 were Twist-related: "The Twist" by Chubby Checker, "Peppermint Twist" by Joey Dee & The Starlighters and "Dear Lady Twist" by Gary (U.S.) Bonds. Buck Baker was the only driver to twist up his car during the Daytona 500 that year, finishing 28th.

The No. 1 song was "Duke of Earl" by Gene Chandler. Gerald Duke drove a Ford in the 1962 Daytona 500, finishing 25th. Future President Gerald Ford was a member of the House of Representatives in 1962.

The No. 1 television program in the country in 1962 was "The Beverly Hillbillies."

If Roberts had loaded up his Pontiac and gone to see Uncle Jed and Granny, it would have taken him about 50 hours to make the 2,525-mile journey between Daytona Beach and Beverly Hills, Calif., at freeway speeds -- or 16 hours and 33 minutes at the race-winning speed of 152.529 mph.



 
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