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The second NASCAR stock car race at North Wilkesboro had 26 cars entered in the race. Four drivers exchanged the lead a total of 5 times. 21 year old Edward Glenn (“Fireball”) Roberts won his first ever NASCAR stock car pole with a qualifying speed of 73.266 mph on the dirt surface. Engine problems forced him to a 16th place finish. Fonty Flock started from the third position and led the most laps (104), but also experienced engine troubles and finished 18th.
At the end of the day, Leon Sales was the race winner. Sales led just 8 of the 200 laps. Sales became the 4th NASCAR stock car driver of 6 (I believe) to win an event in his debut race. The others to do so were Jim Roper (the first NASCAR Strictly Stock race ever) in 1949, Jack White (’49), Harold Kite (’50), Marvin Burke (’51) and Johnny Rutherford (’63).
Jack Smith, a 21 time NASCAR race winner, finished 2nd. Smith led 55 laps. Smith ran in the Strictly Stock/Grand National Series for 15 years. He started 264 races, had 21 wins, 95 top fives and 142 top ten finishes. He finished in the top 10 in season points 5 times—two of which he ran in less than half of the season’s races.
Ewell Weddle came in 3rd. There was only one car in the top seven that wasn’t a 1950 Plymouth. It was Weddle’s ’49 Lincoln. It would be his only top 5 finish in his 17 starts in the NASCAR stock car ranks. As a masterful engine builder and mechanic, Weddle had tremendous success in the modified series as a driver and as an owner. As a driver, Weddle won over 40 modified races from 1949 to 1956. Several well known drivers drove his cars in the modified series including Billy and Bobby Myers.
Herb Thomas bettered his 1949 NWS 5th place finish by coming in 4th. Thomas became the first driver to win 3 Southern 500’s. Thomas had the pleasure of driving a Hudson Hornet, which dominated the series in the early 50’s. After the Hudson was gone, Thomas enjoyed success driving cars he owned and cars owned by Carl Kiekhafer. Thomas’ career came to a quick halt after a crash at the Cleveland County Fairgrounds in Shelby, NC in October of 1956. Thomas was the season points leader at the time. But the crash left him critically injured and in a coma. Unable to compete, he was passed by Buck Baker in the championship. Thomas finished second that year. There’s an interesting story about the controversy that was taking place at the end of the season. It can be found at http://www.nascar.com/2002/kyn/history/dbd/02/06/1956/index.html Keep in mind that Thomas drove for Kiekhafer for a good part of the season, but finished the season in a car owned by himself. Kiekhafer had a history of butting heads with his drivers.
Gayle Warren finished in the fifth position. It would be Warren’s only career top 5 finish. Warren’s driving record was rather interesting—his personal driving record. In 1948 and ’49, Warren was slapped with two reckless driving charges and had his personal license taken away and was fined $100. He made $300 for coming in 5th in 1950.
The 1950 NASCAR champion, Bill Rexford, did not make an appearance that day. His first NWS race wasn’t until the spring race of 1951.