1960 NASCAR Grand National Recap

By the 1960 NASCAR Grand National season, work had already begun on new supertracks in Atlanta, Charlotte, and Hanford, Calif. NASCAR had also found its way into the electronic media with CBS Sports' live telecast of three preliminary races during the Daytona Speedweeks. With NASCAR races beginning to show up on the tube in American homes, the automobile industry realized the Automobile Manufacturers Association 1957 ban on participation was hindering their efforts in promotions, sales, and performance.

Factory representation in NASCAR was on a dramatic rise by 1960, although all members of the AMA said publicly that they were still adhering to the original guidelines of the 1957 resolution. Ford and General Motors even hired individuals to spy on each other.

In 1960, GM won 20 NASCAR Grand National events, including the Daytona 500, Charlotte's World 600, and the NASCAR Grand National championship. Ford won 15 times, while Chrysler's conservative effort with the Petty Engineering camp scored nine wins. 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.

January 31, 1960

The CBS television network sends a skeleton production crew to Daytona International Speed­way to televise the pole position and compact car races during the opening of Speedweeks. Bud Palmer is the anchorman for the first live telecast of NASCAR stock cars.

The largest crash in NASCAR history took place at the Daytona 250-mile Modified-Sportsman race on Feb. 13, 1960.
The largest crash in NASCAR history took place on Feb. 13, 1960, just after the start of the Daytona 250-mile Modified-Sportsman race. Near the conclusion of the opening lap, Dick Foley slid sideways through the fourth turn. Foley was able to right his path and continue on, but the field stacked up behind him. Thirty-seven cars became involved and 24 were eliminated. A dozen cars flipped wildly and eight drivers went to the hospital, none injured seriously. See more pictures of NASCAR.

February 12, 1960

Herman Beam becomes the first driver to be black-flagged in a NASCAR event at Daytona International Speedway. Race officials notice that Beam forgot to put on his helmet before the Twin 100-mile qualifying race. NASCAR officials park Beam for the remainder of the race.

February 14, 1960: Daytona 500

Junior Johnson passes a spinning Bobby Johns with nine laps remaining and hustles to victory in the second annual Daytona 500. Driving a 1959 Chevrolet Impala, Johnson beats a record 68-car field and wins $19,600.

February 28, 1960

Young Richard Petty scores the first win of his career in the 100-mile NASCAR Grand National event at the Charlotte Fairgrounds Speedway. The 22-year-old Petty ­collects $800 for his first win.

Fred Lorenzen, in his self-owned #28 Ford, battles Joe Weatherly's #12 Holman-Moody Ford at the Daytona 500.
Fred Lorenzen, in his self-owned #28 Ford, battles Joe Weatherly's #12 Holman-Moody Ford in the early stages of the Daytona 500. Lorenzen finished eighth, catching the eye of Ralph Moody in the process. A year later, Lorenzen was signed to drive for Holman-Moody, while Weatherly moved to the Bud Moore Pontiac team. Their careers flourished with Lorenzen becoming NASCAR's superspeedway king and Weatherly winning back-to-back championships.

March 27, 1960

Lee Petty finishes first in the controversial 100-mile race at North Wilkesboro (N.C.) Speedway. Petty bumps his way past Junior Johnson with 14 laps remaining to claim his 49th career NASCAR Grand National win. Petty is pelted with rocks and debris in ­victory lane. The victory makes Petty the top race winner in NASCAR ­history, surpassing 48-time-winner Herb Thomas.

Richard Petty's blue Plymouth dashes inside the #29 Chevy of Bob
Richard Petty's blue Plymouth dashes inside the #29 Chevy of Bob Potter during the April 10 Virginia 500 at Martinsville Speedway. Petty won the 250-miler, his first of 15 wins on the track. Potter finished in 12th place.

June 12, 1960

Marvin Porter drives a Ford to victory in the 250-mile race at the new Marchbanks Speedway in Hanford, Calif. Porter leads the final 50 laps on the banked 1.4-mile oval.

June 19, 1960: World 600

Unheralded Joe Lee Johnson gallops to a four-lap victory in the inaugural World 600 at the new Charlotte Motor Speedway. Jack Smith, who had built a five-lap lead, sees his hopes dashed when a piece of debris slices a hole in his fuel tank. Six drivers, including Lee and Richard Petty, are disqualified for a variety of unapproved pit procedures.

July 4, 1960: Firecracker 250

Jack Smith edges Cotton Owens at the finish line to win the second annual Firecracker 250 at Daytona. Smith becomes the first ­driver to win on a superspeedway using radio communication with his pit crew. Crew chief Bud Moore keeps Smith abreast of pertinent information during the race.

Banjo Matthews wheels his #94 Ford Starliner down Asheville-Weaverville Speedway in the Aug. 14 Western North Carolina 500.
Banjo Matthews wheels his #94 Ford Starliner down the front chute at Asheville-Weaverville Speedway in the Aug. 14 Western North Carolina 500. His day ended early when mechanical problems interrupted a strong run. Matthews was one of the most accomplished Modified drivers in NASCAR history, but was constantly hounded by sour luck. He started 51 NASCAR Grand National races, yet only finished 17. He did log 13 top-10 finishes.

July 31, 1960: Dixie 300

Fireball Roberts wheels Smokey Yunick's Pontiac to victory in the Dixie 300 at the new Atlanta International Raceway. Roberts takes the lead with 12 laps to go and outruns Cotton Owens in the final dash.

September 5, 1960: Southern 500

Buck Baker is declared the winner of the tragic Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway. Three men in the pits, including crew chief Paul McDuffie, are killed when Bobby Johns' Pontiac careens into the backstretch pit area. Rex White, who was originally flagged the winner, settles for second after NASCAR officials study the scorecards.

October 16, 1960: National 400

Speedy Thompson drives the Wood Brothers Ford to a big win in the National 400 at Charlotte Motor Speedway. It is the first big track win for Thompson and the Wood Brothers. Thompson takes the lead 35 laps from the finish when leader Fireball Roberts blows a tire and crashes.

Joe Weatherly leads Rex White into the first turn at Martinsville Speedway during the Sept. 25 Old Dominion 500.
Joe Weatherly leads Rex White into the first turn at Martinsville Speedway during the Sept. 25 Old Dominion 500. Weatherly led most of the way, until White scampered into the lead with nine laps to go. White went on to claim the NASCAR Grand National champion­ship, winning six times in 40 starts. His ascent to the pinnacle of NASCAR racing was meteoric, rising from a lightly regarded independent to a top-ranked pilot in less than two years.

October 30, 1960: Atlanta 500

Bobby Johns drives Cotton Owens' Pontiac to his first career NASCAR Grand National victory in the inaugural Atlanta 500 at Atlanta Inter­national Raceway. Rex White finishes fifth and is officially declared the 1960 NASCAR Grand National champion.

Continue on to the next page to learn the full results of the 1960 NASCAR Grand National season.

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