For the 1957 NASCAR Grand National season, Kiekhaefer's departure left Chrysler without a top-ranked team. The MoPar unit quickly patched together a team, but Chrysler was far behind Chevrolet and Ford, both of whom were spending millions on their racing efforts.
Each car manufacturer had swarms of press agents to beat the drums of publicity in newspapers, magazines, radio, and television. Fuel-injected engines and superchargers were available to the public, and, therefore, eligible for NASCAR competition. However, the directors of the Automobile Manufacturers Association soon became disturbed about the excessive advertising of brute horsepower -- the nation's highways had become lethal with record numbers of fatalities.
On Thursday, June 6, 1957, heads of several car companies, sitting as directors of the Automobile Manufacturers Association, unanimously recommended that the industry take no part in, or assist in any way, automobile races or other competitive events that emphasized speed or horsepower. When the resolution came down, the automotive industry retreated from NASCAR stock car racing.
The unlimited gravy train of racing goodies from Detroit and Dearborn to the Southern racing teams dramatically slowed down, but most teams had the resources to finish out the 1957 season. Buck Baker won 10 races and captured his second straight NASCAR Grand National championship driving his own Chevrolets. You can learn about these events and more in the following article, from season highlights to the year's final standings, all packed with plenty of photos.
December 30, 1956
Fireball Roberts leads a 1-2-3-4 sweep for Peter DePaolo Fords in the 90-mile NASCAR Grand National race on the Titusville-Cocoa Airport runways in Florida. The DePaolo Engineering team is managed by master mechanic John Holman.
Larry Frank loops his #76 Chevy convertible as Curtis Turner slides past during the Feb. 16 NASCAR Convertible race at Daytona. See more pictures of NASCAR.
Cotton Owens drives the Ray Nichels Pontiac to victory in the Daytona Beach NASCAR Grand National event, recording the first NASCAR win for the Pontiac nameplate.
May 19, 1957: VIrginia 500
Buck Baker is declared winner of the Virginia 500 at Martinsville Speedway after a crash halts the event on lap 441 of the scheduled 500-lapper.
Number 87 Buck Baker and #47 Jack Smith wheel their Chevrolets around the lapped #154 Ford of Nace Mattingly in the March 17 NASCAR Grand National at Wilson County Fairgrounds in North Carolina. Baker finished second and Thompson came home third. Paul Goldsmith, in the #97 Ford, finished sixth, while Mattingly placed 11th. The 1/2-mile dirt track is still used for weekly racing events today.
The Automobile Manufacturers Association recommends unanimously that the auto industry divorce itself entirely from all forms of racing, including the NASCAR Grand National series. The factory-supported teams will be disbanded and all machinery will be given to the drivers.
July 4, 1957
Paul Goldsmith wheels Smokey Yunick's Chevrolet to victory in the 250-mile NASCAR Grand National race at Raleigh Speedway. Herb Thomas makes his first start of the season after injuries suffered in October 1956.
August 4, 1957
Buck Baker wins the 100-mile NASCAR Grand National event on the road course in Watkins Glen, N.Y. Baker dominates the race, leading flag to flag.
Number 42 Lee Petty and Jim Paschal race in close quarters in the March 24 race at Hillsboro, N.C. Petty and Paschal were close friends throughout their racing careers. Petty provided a ride for Paschal in a number of races during the 1960s, and Paschal claimed nine of his 25 NASCAR Grand National career wins piloting Petty equipment.
Speedy Thompson wins the Southern 500, averaging 100.094 mph. It is the first Southern 500 to average better than 100 mph. Bobby Myers is fatally injured in a three-car crash on the 28th lap.
October 6, 1957: Sweepstakes 500
Bob Welborn, with relief help from Possum Jones, wins the Sweepstakes 500 at Martinsville Speedway. Welborn's convertible Chevrolet outruns the 40-car field of sedans and convertibles. It is Welborn's first NASCAR Grand National win.
Number 98 Marvin Panch and #97 Paul Goldsmith slice their way through traffic during the 100-miler at North Wilkesboro Speedway on April 7. Panch and Goldsmith were in Peter DePaolo-owned Fords. Goldsmith finished second as Panch brought his car home fourth.
Only 900 spectators watch Fireball Roberts wheel his Ford to victory in the 100-mile NASCAR Grand National race at Newberry Speedway in South Carolina. To this day, it remains the smallest trackside attendance in NASCAR history.
October 20, 1957
Jack Smith edges Lee Petty to win the 100-mile NASCAR Grand National event at North Wilkesboro Speedway.
Curtis Turner, driving his peach-colored #26 Ford, pairs up with #21 Glen Wood on the front row for the start of the April 22 NASCAR Convertible race at Winston-Salem's Bowman Gray Stadium. Turner prevailed in the race, giving his Peter DePaolo Ford team its eighth win in 11 starts at the outset of the 1957 ragtop campaign. A crowd of 7,800 packed the grandstands around the flat 1/4-mile track to watch the event.
Buck Baker wraps up his second straight NASCAR Grand National championship campaign by wheeling his Chevrolet to a win in the 250-lap season finale at Central Carolina Fairground in Greensboro, N.C. Baker beats Marvin Panch by 760 points in the title hunt with his 10th win of the season.
November 27, 1957
The first spade of dirt is turned on the tract of land that will become the Daytona International Speedway. After nearly five years, the red tape has been cleared to proceed with the construction of the world's most modern racing facility.
Continue on to the next page to learn the full results of the 1957 NASCAR Grand National season.
For more information on all things NASCAR, see:
- NASCAR Home Page
- NASCAR Season Recaps
- NASCAR Tracks
- NASCAR Results
- NASCAR Drivers
- How NASCAR Race Cars Work
- How the Daytona 500 Works