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1955 Richmond 200

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Official name  Richmond 200
1955 Richmond 200
Date  May 22, 1955 (1955-May-22)
Location  Atlantic Rural Fairgrounds, Richmond, Virginia
Course  Permanent racing facility 0.542 mi (0.872 km)
Distance  200 laps, 100 mi (150 km)
Weather  Mild with temperatures approaching 78.1 °F (25.6 °C); wind speeds up to 19 miles per hour (31 km/h)

The 1955 Richmond 200 was a NASCAR Grand National Series (now Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series) event that was held on May 22, 1955, at Richmond Fairgrounds (now Richmond International Raceway) in Richmond, Virginia. Two hundred laps took place on a dirt track spanning 0.500 miles (0.805 km). The exact time of the race was one hour, fifty minutes, and thirty seconds.

Contents

Qualifying was rained out so they had to draw for the pole position. All twenty-eight competitors were of American origin. Individual race earnings for each driver ranged from $1,000 ($8,940.37 when considering inflation) to $50 ($447.02 when considering inflation); the total prize amount given to all eligible competitors was $4,085 ($36,521.42 when considering inflation).

By the 1990s, NASCAR's top-level series became a media circus that only races at facilities that are worth hundreds of millions of dollars.

Background

In 1953, Richmond International Raceway began hosting the Grand National Series with Lee Petty winning that first race in Richmond. The original track was paved in 1968. In 1988, the track was re-designed into its present D-shaped configuration

The name for the raceway complex was "Strawberry Hill" until the Virginia State Fairgrounds site was bought out in 1999 and renamed the "Richmond International Raceway". The Strawberry Hill Races, which are a series of steeplechase horse races were formerly held the third Saturday of April at the Richmond Raceway Complex. In 2001, the races were moved to Colonial Downs in New Kent County, Virginia's first Thoroughbred racetrack.

Summary

Tim Flock won the race; beating his brother Fonty by unrecorded amount of time. They both were driving 1955 Chrysler 300 passenger vehicles. Flock would also lead the most laps with 123 lead laps accomplished out of 200. Sonny Hutchins would make his NASCAR Cup Series debut in this race; he would go on to outpace rivals like Dale Earnhardt, Richard Petty and Darrell Waltrip on a regular basis. Local NASCAR owners like Junie Donlavey and Emanuel Zervakis would refine Hutchins' stock car driving skills shortly after the conclusion of this race.

Jimmie Lewallen (driving the 1955 model year Oldsmobile 88 machine) finished in last place because the mechanics failed to adjust the vehicle for dirt racing conditions (his record listed this reason as being stuck in the mud). The number 88 designation may or may not have been an indirect promotion to the Oldsmobile 88 vehicle; one of the hottest selling vehicles during the mid-1950s. It was assumed that the highline Super 88 was being used as Lewallen's vehicle; since it was never specified within the NASCAR grid listing. Horsepower for stock Oldsmobile vehicles during 1955 were between 185 and 202.

Arden Mounts gained the pole position for being 2 miles per hour (3.2 km/h) faster than Dick Rathmann. Henry Ford (no relation to the founder of the Ford Motor Company) would compete in his second final race of his one-season career during this race.

Other notable racers included: Lee Petty, Junior Johnson, and Billy Carden. The average speed of the entire race is 54.298 miles per hour (87.384 km/h). Most drivers either owned their own vehicle or were attached personally to an individual rather than a multi-car team due to the "small business" mentality of NASCAR during the first 22 years of its operation. Image consultants and multimillion-dollar sponsorships were not even thought of back in 1955; forcing most drivers to speak for themselves. Local gas stations would often have stock cars ready for that day's NASCAR Cup Series racing event. Since the race took place on a dirt track, speeds were generally lower than the races that took place on paved oval courses. This is due to the dirt's natural ability to slow down the stock cars; acting as a natural restrictor plate.

Finishing order

† signifies that the driver is known to be deceased
* Driver failed to finish race

Timeline

  • Start of race: Jim Paschal starts the race in the pole position
  • Lap 3: Jimmie Lewallen's vehicle somehow managed to get into the mud and couldn't get out
  • Lap 11: The fuel line in Chick Dawson's vehicle became severed
  • Lap 15: Sonny Hutchins' vehicle managed to overheat itself
  • Lap 59: Dick Rathman takes over the lead from Jim Paschal
  • Lap 64: The pistons on Fred Dove's vehicle came to a screeching halt
  • Lap 66: The driveshaft on Dick Rathmann's vehicle stopped working properly
  • Lap 67: Jim Paschal takes over the lead from Dick Rathman
  • Lap 78: Tim Flock takes over the lead from Jim Paschal
  • Lap 95: The tie rod came loose off Ken Fisher's vehicle
  • Lap 99: Carl Krueger's vehicle managed to lose its spindle
  • Lap 109: Billy Carden managed to overheat his vehicle
  • Lap 115: Both Harvey Henderson and Henry Ford had problems with their vehicle, forcing them not to finish the race
  • Lap 133: Buck Baker's wheel fell off his vehicle, causing him to leave the event
  • Lap 141: Eddie Skinner's vehicle bearings became problematic, ending his day on the track
  • Lap 145: Johnny Roberts' car overheated, ending his weekend on the track
  • Lap 172: Dave Terrell developed a problem with his car's piston, forcing him out of the race
  • Finish: Tim Flock was officially declared the winner of the event
  • References

    1955 Richmond 200 Wikipedia


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