Supriya Ghosh (Editor)

1956 Old Dominion 400

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Official name  Old Dominion 400
1956 Old Dominion 400
Date  October 28, 1956 (1956-October-28)
Location  Martinsville Speedway, Martinsville, Virginia
Course  Permanent racing facility 0.500 mi (0.804 km)
Distance  400 laps, 200 mi (321 km)
Weather  Cold with temperatures approaching 60.1 °F (15.6 °C); winds reaching up to approximately 8 miles per hour (13 km/h)

The 1956 Old Dominion 400 was a NASCAR Grand National Series (now Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series) event that was held on October 28, 1956, at Martinsville Speedway in Martinsville, Virginia. As a NASCAR-sanctioned "Sweepstakes" race, sedan vehicles from the Grand National Series and stock convertibles from the NASCAR Convertible division raced side-by-side with other for the same amount of money and championship points.


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.


Martinsville Speedway is one of five short tracks to hold NASCAR races. The standard track at Martinsville Speedway is a four-turn short track oval that is 0.526 miles (0.847 km) long. The track's turns are banked at eleven degrees, while the front stretch, the location of the finish line, is banked at zero degrees. The back stretch also has a zero degree banking.


Four hundred laps were done on a paved oval track spanning 0.500 miles (0.805 km) for a grand total of 200.0 miles (321.9 km). The race took three hours, sixteen minutes, and seventeen seconds to complete thanks to four caution flags. During the late 1950s, the admirable traits concerning NASCAR stock car drivers who were successful included broadly-defined shoulders and arms that were relatively large. These drivers generally were tougher competitors in 1956 than they are today due to the lack of technology that was inside the vehicles. Forty vehicles would qualify to start this race; an incredible amount for the NASCAR Cup Series in its formative years.

Nine thousand and five hundred stock car racing fans attended the live race to see Jack Smith win the race in his 1956 Dodge vehicle (beating thirty-nine other drivers in the process). A Canadian named Norman Schihl participated in the race and finished in 23rd place; making his only Grand National appearance. Notable speeds were: 61.136 miles per hour (98.389 km/h) for the average speed and 67.643 miles per hour (108.861 km/h) for the pole position speed. While some multi-car teams were present in the race, the majority of drivers had an owner that wasn't incorporated into a team. Jack Smith officially became the fiftieth different driver to win what is now known as a Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race.

Total winnings for this race were $11,739 ($103,409.53 when considering inflation). The winner of the race (Jack Smith) would receive the majority of the winnings with $2,264 ($19,943.71 when considering inflation) being awarded to him while last place finisher Jimmie Lewallen would walk away with only $100 ($880.91 when considering inflation).

Larry Frank, Bill Lutz, Larry Odo, and Bill Poor would make their NASCAR debut in this racing event.

Finishing order

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


  • Start of race: Joe Eubanks had the pole position to start the race
  • Lap 11: Fuel pump issues forced Jimmie Lewallen to become the last-place finisher
  • Lap 62: Bill Lutz managed to blow his engine while racing
  • Lap 77: Oil pressure issues forced Larry Frank out of the race, Mel Larson had to deal with a troublesome piston
  • Lap 87: The RF hub on Billy Carden's vehicle had problems that were terminal enough to knock him out of the race
  • Lap 103: The RF lugs were acting problematically on Joe Eubanks' car, forcing his exit from the race
  • Lap 104: Speedy Thompson took over the lead from Joe Eubanks
  • Lap 106: Tom Pistone had some problems with his connecting rod and had to leave the event
  • Lap 110: Glen Wood managed to blow his engine while racing
  • Lap 143: Rex White managed to blow his engine while racing
  • Lap 163: Jim Paschal managed to blow his engine while racing
  • Lap 179: Jack Smith took over the lead from Speedy Thompson
  • Lap 183: The rear end of Ralph Moody's vehicle came off in an unsafe manner to continue racing
  • Lap 189: Fireball Roberts took over the lead from Jack Smith
  • Lap 201: Bill Amick took over the lead from Fireball Roberts
  • Lap 210: Marvin Panch took over the lead from Bill Amick
  • Lap 226: Jack Smith took over the lead from Marvin Panch
  • Lap 245: Bob Duell managed to overheat his vehicle
  • Lap 299: Curtis Turner managed to blow his engine while racing
  • Finish: Jack Smith was officially declared the winner of the event
  • References

    1956 Old Dominion 400 Wikipedia

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