| Rebel 300|
| May 6, 1961 (1961-May-06)|
Darlington, South Carolina, U.S.
Permanent racing facility
1.366 mi (2.198 km)
219 laps, 301.3 mi (606.7 km)
Temperatures up to 82 °F (28 °C); wind speeds up to 11.1 miles per hour (17.9 km/h)
The 1961 Rebel 300 was a NASCAR Grand National Series (now Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series) event that was held on May 6, 1961, at Darlington Raceway in Darlington, South Carolina. Two hundred and nineteen laps were done on an oval track spanning 1.375 miles (2.213 km).
Just months prior to the race, the Friendship Nine picketed McCrory's on Main Street in Rock Hill to protest the segregated lunch counters at the business. They walked in, took seats at the counter and ordered hamburgers, soft drinks and coffee. The students were refused service and ordered to leave. When they didn't, they were arrested. The African-American Civil Rights Movement of the 1950s and 1960s seemed to avoid NASCAR until Wendell Scott reached mainstream NASCAR success at the 1964 Jacksonville 200.
1961 Rebel 300 Wikipedia
Only one caution was given out and Fred Lorenzen defeated Curtis Turner by six car lengths after a series of intentional hits and brake checks. Thirty-two thousand people attended this two-and-a-half-hour-long race. Speeds were considered to be 119.520 miles per hour (192.349 km/h) for the average speed and 128.965 miles per hour (207.549 km/h) for the pole position speed. The winner received the top prize of $8,420 ($67,481.89 when adjusted for inflation) while the last-place finisher (32nd) received $200 ($1,602.90 when adjusted for inflation). Ford had the winning vehicle while Chevrolet's fastest entry was third place.
There were two entries by a 1959 Thunderbird and Pontiac would have its fastest vehicle finish in fourth place. The Dodge driven by Bobby Waddell would finish in 29th and be the only entry for that manufacturer. Most of the DNFs were caused by crashes (the rest were caused by engines, handling, and oil pressure). Richard Petty would be noted for finishing in last place. This would be one out of the fifteen times in his 35-year-long NASCAR Cup Series career that he would finish a race in last place. However, his final last place finish would be at the 1989 Holly Farms 400 race that took place at North Wilkesboro Speedway.
Everyone in the race who received winnings would gain a grand total of $30,625 ($245,443.35 when adjusted for inflation) collectively spread throughout the qualifying drivers. The transition to purposely-built racers began in the early 1960s and occurred gradually over that decade. Changes made to the sport by the late 1960s brought an end to the "strictly stock" vehicles of the 1950s; most of the cars were trailered to events or hauled in by trucks.
Note: * denotes that the driver failed to finish the race.Start of race: Fred Lorenzen officially started the event with the pole position
Lap 10: Fred Lorenzen took over the lead from Fireball Roberts before losing it to Joe Weatherly on lap 72
Lap 11: Richard Petty's engine problems forced him out of the race
Lap 14: Elmo Langley vehicle wasn't able to handle itself properly
Lap 16: Vehicle handling issues took Tim Flock out of the race
Lap 22: Bobby Waddell's vehicle had terrible oil pressure
Lap 38: Oil pressure issues forced Bobby Waddell to leave the track prematurely
Lap 46: Tom Dill had a terminal crash; forcing him to retire from the race
Lap 62: Jimmy Thompson had a terminal crash; forcing him to retire from the race
Lap 81: Fireball Roberts took over the lead from Banjo Matthews before losing it to Curtis Turner on lap 143
Lap 115: Buddy Baker had a terminal crash; forcing him to retire from the race
Lap 157: Fireball Roberts took over the lead from Johnny Allen before losing it to Curtis Turner on lap 199
Lap 173: Rex White had a terminal crash; forcing him to retire from the race
Lap 199: Curtis Turner took over the lead from Fireball Roberts before losing it to eventual race-winner Fred Lorenzen on lap 218
Lap 218: Fred Lorenzen took over the lead from Curtis Turner; becoming the move that would cause Lorenzen to win the event
Finish: Fred Lorenzen was officially declared the winner of the race