Category archives for: A Lesson in History

Lincoln Once Played Strong Role In Auto Racing

LINCOLN MAN: Jim Roper won the first NASCAR Strictly Stock race in 1949 in a Lincoln. (NASCAR Photo)

Since Dwight Eisenhower’s first term in the White House, the Lincoln brand has had little involvement in motorsports.

Winged Sportsman Cars Ruled California In Mid 1970s

DIFFERENT BREED: Sportsman cars line up for action at California’s Merced Speedway in the mid 1970s. (Photo Courtesy Marshall Weaver)

One of the most interesting things about short-track racing is the evolution of local rules, which created some fascinating offshoots, perhaps none more so than the unique sportsman division of central California.

Bud Moore’s Life Was More Than Just Winning Races

WINNING TIME: Bud Moore (left) and Bobby Allison enjoy a long ago NASCAR victory lane. (NSSN Archives Photo)

Legendary NASCAR team owner Bud Moore was elected into the NASCAR Hall of Fame last month, the crowning achievement on a career which included victories, championships and distinguished service in the Army during World War II.

Soft Spoken Henry Banks Showed Great Driving Ability

AT THE WHEEL: Noted midget racer Henry Banks later became a trusted USAC official. (Bob Gates Collection Photo)

Henry Banks didn’t look like a race-car driver. Soft spoken and well mannered, he looked more like an accountant or a teacher. Yet, behind the wheel of a race car, that Clark Kent persona disappeared, replaced with an extraordinary finesse, aggression and ability.

Herb Harvey Made Junkyard Into His Own Dirt Track

HERB'S PLACE: Mike Colsten was among the regular competitors at Pennsylvania's Herb Harvey Speedway. (Photo Courtesy Program Dynamics)

Junkyard owner Herb Harvey built a dirt track next to a swamp in Lemon Township, north of Tunkhannock, Pa., and having no false modesty, named it after himself.

Black Beast Is Among Last Of An Unique Era Of Racers

BLACK BEAST: The Black Beast steam racer was recently shown at the Saratoga (N.Y.) Automobile Museum. (Howard Kroplick Collection Photo)

The American Locomotive Co. was headquartered in Schenectady, N.Y., though a factory in Providence, R.I., actually built the ALCO-6 Black Beast, one of four racers in a run of 1,100 cars built between 1908 and 1913.

Bay Meadows Horse Track Had Grand Auto-Racing History

HORSEPOWER: A full field of race cars charges through turn one at California's Bay Meadows race track. (Radbruch Collection Courtesy Bob Lawrence Photo)

The history of U.S. auto racing is firmly rooted in fairgrounds dirt ovals — tracks originally built for horses. Though far less common, some privately owned horse tracks hosted auto races.

Banjo Matthews Carries Unique NASCAR Legacy

IN THE MIDDLE: Banjo Matthews (center) chats with Lee Petty (left) and Junior Johnson at Riverside, Calif., in 1968. (Chris Economaki Photo)

“When Banjo first came around, he wore a pair of glasses that were so thick, it made everyone, on first impression, think of a ‘banjo,’” said legendary car owner-car builder Bud Moore of Spartanburg, S.C.

Indianapolis Motor Speedway Attracted Hoosiers Like Griffith

INDY TIME: Cliff Griffith after qualifying for his second of four Indy 500 starts in 1952. (Indianapolis Motor Speedway Photo)

Born Clifton Reign Griffith in Nineveh, Ind., Feb. 6, 1916, Cliff Griffith spent his formative years in and around Indianapolis. Like most young men from central Indiana, he was inevitably drawn to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Cunningham Purchased Unique Offy Powerplant

Cunningham Purchased Unique Offy Powerplant

Briggs Cunningham, a millionaire/sportsman based on Long Island, N.Y., was a pioneer in American sports-car racing. Not afraid to get his hands dirty, he…


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