| Southern 500|
| September 6, 1954 (1954-September-06)|
Darlington Raceway, Darlington, South Carolina
Permanent racing facility
1.375 mi (2.221 km)
400 laps, 500 mi (800 km)
Hot with temperatures reaching up to 100 °F (38 °C); wind speeds up to 10.1 miles per hour (16.3 km/h)
The 1954 Southern 500, the fifth running of the event, was a NASCAR Grand National Series event that was held on September 6, 1954, at Darlington Raceway in Darlington, South Carolina.
The race car drivers still had to commute to the races using the same stock cars that competed in a typical weekend's race through a policy of homologation (and under their own power). This policy was in effect until roughly 1975. By 1980, NASCAR had completely stopped tracking the year model of all the vehicles and most teams did not take stock cars to the track under their own power anymore.
1954 Southern 500 Wikipedia
Darlington Raceway, nicknamed by many NASCAR fans and drivers as "The Lady in Black" or "The Track Too Tough to Tame" and advertised as a "NASCAR Tradition", is a race track built for NASCAR racing located near Darlington, South Carolina. It is of a unique, somewhat egg-shaped design, an oval with the ends of very different configurations, a condition which supposedly arose from the proximity of one end of the track to a minnow pond the owner refused to relocate. This situation makes it very challenging for the crews to set up their cars' handling in a way that will be effective at both ends.
The track is a four-turn 1.366 miles (2.198 km) oval. The track's first two turns are banked at twenty-five degrees, while the final two turns are banked two degrees lower at twenty-three degrees. The front stretch (the location of the finish line) and the back stretch is banked at six degrees. Darlington Raceway can seat up to 60,000 people.
There were 364 laps done on a paved oval track that spanned 1.375 miles (2.213 km). Van Van Wey would make his NASCAR debut in this race; starting in 43rd place and ending in 20th place due to a crash on the 260th lap of the race. Otis Martin, Buck Mason, and Frank Stutts would retire from professional stock car racing while Walt Harvey and Joe Sheppard would make their only NASCAR Cup Series appearance in this event.
Overall, the race took five hours, sixteen minutes, and one second from the first green flag to the checkered flag.The average speed was 95.026 miles per hour (152.930 km/h) and the pole speed was 108.261 miles per hour (174.229 km/h). There were two cautions for four laps and the margin of victory was twenty-six seconds. Attendance of the race was confirmed at 28,000 people during the start of the race. Notable racers that appeared in the race and didn't finish in the "top ten" included Lee Petty (whose streak of 36 top-ten finishes ended at this race), Cotton Owens, Jimmie Lewallen, Ralph Liguori, Arden Mounts, Elmo Langley (in his NASCAR debut) and Buck Baker (pole winner).
The total winnings of the race was $27,405 ($244,403.70 when adjusted for inflation) with the winner taking home $6,830 in winnings ($60,911.41 when adjusted for inflation). Manufacturers involved in the race included Hudson (defunct), Oldsmobile (defunct), Dodge (active), Mercury (active but not racing), Cadillac (active but not racing), Buick (active but not racing), Nash (defunct), Plymouth (active but not racing), Studebaker (defunct), Chrysler (active but not racing), Ford (active), but no entry by any Chevrolet (active) vehicles.Start: Buck Baker was leading the starting grid as the green flag was waved in the air
Lap 35: Bill Amick took over the lead from Buck Baker
Lap 44: Curtis Turner took over the lead from Bill Amick
Lap 130: Charlie Cregar took over the lead from Curtis Turner
Lap 138: Pop McGinnis took over the lead from Charlie Cregar
Lap 142: Curtis Turner took over the lead from Pop McGinnis
Lap 191: Herb Thomas took over the lead from Curtis Turner
Lap 204: Curtis Turner took over the lead from Herb Thomas
Lap 298: Herb Thomas took over the lead from Curtis Turner
Lap 302: Curtis Turner took over the lead from Herb Thomas
Lap 308: Herb Thomas took over the lead from Curtis Turner
Lap 314: Curtis Turner took over the lead from Herb Thomas
Lap 345: Herb Thomas took over the lead from Curtis Turner
Finish: Herb Thomas was officially declared the winner of the event