Racin' News at It's Most Real

By Liam O'Brian

Julius "Tim" Flock

The younger brother of Fonty Flock had a shorter career than his brother.  Tim's career was very successful and paid more because he was in his prime when the purses were much bigger.  Tim's brothers Fonty and Bob actually tried to talk Tim out of racing.

It was Tim's older sister Ethel and her husband who helped Tim get his career going in 1948.  Tim ran modified cars in '48 and completed enough Grand National races in '49 to place eighth in the points standing.  Brother's Bob and Fonty finished 3rd. and 5th. respectively.  Wow three brothers in the Top-10, the first for the Grand National.  Tim did not race in 1950 due to injuries he suffered in a four-car crash at Charlotte Speedway.  However he did come back strong and finished third in 1951 and won the championship in 1952.

Tim finished sixth behind brother Fonty, in 1953.  In 1955 Tim had one of his greatest seasons ever witheighteen wins, a NASCAR record, and won his second Grand National championship.  Tim earned $3,000. for his first title and $5,000. for his second title.  Not much compared to the purses today.

Tim was the only driver in NASCAR history to have a monkey as a passenger when he raced.  The monkey called Jocko Flocko raced with Tim in eight races.  When Jocko died and the children asked about him, Tim told them he had to get rid of Jocko because he couldn't sign autographs.  Jocko got loose once and grabbed Tim around the neck, forcing Tim to make a costly pit stop.

Tim won 21.2% of the 189 races he ran.  In 1955 and '56 Tim won a race each year and in 1954 he had a victory taken away because of an illegal carburetor.  Tim captured NASCAR season points championship in '52 and '55 and won 40 races in a career that ended in 1962.  Tim was considered the best beach course racer.

During the '55 season when Tim won 18 races he also led more than 40% of the laps ran that season.  He also earned 19 poles in '55 as well.  Tim passed away on March 31, 1998 a short time after being  named one of NASCAR's 50 greatest drivers.  Actually they held a private informal ceremony in his hometown to honor him for being one of the 50 greatest drivers for NASCAR a month before he died.  In January 1999 he was officially honored.

Other awards earned by Tim were the National Motorsports Press Association (NMPA) Hall of Fame,  State of Georgia Hall of Fame(72),  International Motorsports Hall of Fame (91)  and the Charlotte Motor Speedway Court of Legends (94). 

Flock was named one of NASCAR’s 50 Greatest Drivers in 1998.


Information From: Decades of Racing

Jack Ingram

The NASCAR Nationwide Series has had a variety of incarnations through the years but when considered collectively, an argument can be made that "Ironman" Jack Ingram is the series’ all-time greatest driver.
When the series was called Late Model Sportsman, he won three consecutive championships from 1972-74. When the series was named the NASCAR Busch Series, he won titles in 1982 and ’85.
The last two championships more or less cemented Ingram’s legendary status. In the NASCAR Busch Series’ inaugural 1982 season, he edged another legend, two-time series titlist Sam Ard, by 49 points in the final standings. In ’85, his championship points margin was 29, over Jimmy Hensley. In ’86 Ingram nearly won another title, but those hopes were derailed by a late-season two-race suspension for a controversial rough driving incident.
In his 10 years of competition in what was called the NASCAR Busch Series, Ingram had 31 wins, a record that stood until Mark Martin broke it in 1997. All but two of Ingram’s 31 wins came on short tracks. No wonder then that Ingram has called himself, only half-jokingly, “the best short-track racer ever.”
Ingram was named one of NASCAR’s 50 Greatest Drivers in 1998.

Dale Jarett

Even though Dale Jarrett's father, Ned, won two championships and was quite successful, Dale did not grow up wanting to be a racecar driver. He just thought it was fun to go to the racetrack and play with the other drivers' kids.

Dale Jarrett loved sports and played a lot of sports during high school including being the quarterback of the football team, forward for the basketball team, shortstop for the baseball team, and a star golfer! He was even offered a golf scholarship but turned it down. Instead, he got married, had his first son, Jason, and got a job at the track his dad owned doing odd jobs around the track.

When Dale was about 20, he started working on a racecar with some high school buddies. He drove the car and ended up 9th in his first race. That's when it hit him that this is what he wanted to do for a living.

He drove his first Winston Cup race in 1984 and went full-time in the series in 1987. He won the 1993 and 1996 Daytona 500s, the crowning jewel in the Winston Cup series. Now driving the #88 UPS Ford Taurus, Dale Jarrett is always one to watch in the championship race. In 1999, he won the championship, becoming only the second father-son combo to win Winston Cup Championships.

Dale Jarrett made $6,574,596 as he won the 1999 championship. His father Ned won the 1965 title and made $77,966.

Jarrett was named one of NASCAR’s 50 Greatest Drivers in 1998.

Maurice Petty

Maurice Petty was the chief engine builder at Petty Enterprises and the lead mechanic for his brother, Richard Petty. In his driving career, Petty competed in twenty-six NASCAR Cup events and earned sixteen top-tens. His best finish was a 3rd at Piedmont Interstate Fairgrounds, Spartanburg in 1961.

Petty, 21 months younger than his Richard Petty, overcame polio as a child. Both Richard and Maurice worked on their father’s pit crew as teenagers. He later consulted with Dodge upon its return to NASCAR’s premier series in 2001.

Petty was the chief engine builder at Petty Enterprises and helped make P.E. What it is today. with his two sons Richard, Maurice, and Lee Petty would form the team together.. Maurice was a part of over 250 wins as either engine builder, crew-chief, or team owner at Petty Enterprises.

Both Richard and Maurice worked with their father Lee Petty. They were instrumental in helping him win the first Daytona 500 in 1959.

Richard is known as the "King of NASCAR," and Maurice is known as the "Chief". He built the motors that helped Richard Petty win his record 200 victories, and 7 Cup Series championships (1964, '67, '71, '72, '74, '75, '79). Richard Petty had 7 Daytona 500 victories with his engines. Lee Petty, Buddy Baker, Jim Paschal and Pete Hamilton also raced and won with his engines (over 250 wins total).

Fireball Roberts

  No matter the age of the racing fan, hear the name “Fireball” when it’s connected to auto racing and imaginations are immediately fueled with visions of a handsome and talented race driver, both intense and cavalier, literally setting the racing world on fire with his speed and derring-do. And that’s not far from the truth. Yet, too many of today’s fans have no idea what kind of race driver or what kind of man it took to earn the name “Fireball” and live up to it.
Edward Glenn Roberts, Jr. was born on January 20, 1929, in Tavares, Florida. He was arguably stock-car racing's first superstar, an immensely popular prototype for some of today's competitors who are stars on and off the track.
Roberts’ fitting, and now legendary nickname wasn't earned in racing. In fact, organized stock car racing apparently wasn’t even a blip on his radar when the name first stuck. It was bestowed upon Roberts for his ability to throw a baseball during his years as a pitcher in youth baseball in Apopka, FL.
He preferred racing over baseball, which surprised some people, entering his first modified race in 1947 at the age of 18 on the Daytona Beach Road Course, he ended up crashing on the ninth lap.
He scored his first NASCAR Grand National (Sprint cup) victory on August 13, 1950, at Hillsboro's Occoneechee Speedway. At the tender age of 21, Roberts spanked the field in only his third career start. And he finished second in points that year.
He didn't win a major race until 1957 when he was first in the Rebel 300 at Darlington.
He scored his first NASCAR Grand National victory on August 13, 1950, at Hillsboro's Occoneechee Speedway. At the tender age of 21, Roberts spanked the field in only his third career start. 
Fireball knew aerodynamics. Back in late 1958 NASCAR founder Bill France was just completing his new 2 1/2 mile Daytona International Speedway and had offered a bounty of something like $10,000 for the first driver to go 150 miles an hour on the new high-banked track. The sports editor, Norm Froscher ask. “One hundred and fifty miles an hour?” “Jeez, where's it gonna stop, at 160 or 170 even, what's the limit?“ Roberts didn't hesitate. “When the car gets airborne, that's the limit. As long as you can keep that from happening, there's little limit” 
For '58, Roberts accepted a ride with Frank Strickland's Chevrolet team, and won six of his 10 starts. In 1959, Fireball teamed with Pontiac's Smokey Yunick and the pair became the most feared team in NASCAR. A shining example of excellence, Roberts and Yunick set dozens of speed records. Roberts was a master in qualifying, taking nine poles in 17 starts in '59 and '60. He won three races, and would have won several more if the tire companies had been able to produce a rubber compound that could've withstood his heavy right foot. 
Despite being one of NASCAR's epic risk takers, Roberts possessed an intangible that many other racers lacked, intelligence. A thinking man's racer, Roberts was a master on the high-speed Daytona International Speedway, winning the summer Firecracker 250 and 400-milers three times in five years. He also captured the 1962 Daytona 500 in a Pontiac groomed by Yunick during the 1962 Daytona Speedweeks events, Roberts compiled a record that is unsurpassed.
But for all he had accomplished, sadly, it is Roberts’ death that makes his life and career seem even more legendary.
Roberts was mulling the prospect of retirement in 1964, having just taken a prominent public relations position with the Falstaff Brewing Co. In what was scheduled to be one of his final race appearances, Roberts entered the May 24 Charlotte World 600. He wanted one last crack at Charlotte Motor Speedway, the only superspeedway in the South where he had failed to score a win. Roberts had qualified in the eleventh position and started in the middle of the pack. When he, Ned Jarrett, andJunior Johnson crashed. Fireball's car landed on its roof, and flaming gasoline filled the cockpit. Ned pulled him out of the car, and he was rushed to the hospital with burns over 80% of his body. 
He would eventually succumb to severe burns. From that fiery crash of May 24 he would hang on until slipping away from complications due to pneumonia on 39 days later on July 2, 1964. 
The death of Fireball Roberts left its mark on Lorenzen, though. Lorenzen points to his friend's death as a major reason he retired early from stock car racing. Had Fireball lived, who knows how many more wins might have been made by the two men, and how many Championships might have been earned between them?
Of course, Roberts' fame was based on what he did when he got behind like some of his major victories like the Daytona 500, Firecracker 250, Dixie 400, and the Firecracker 400, and is perhaps the greatest driver never to win a NASCAR title.
Roberts was named one of NASCAR's 50 Greatest Drivers in 1998.

RIP Jason Leffler: 1975-2013

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