| Earl Balmer|
| December 13, 1935 (age 79)
Floyds Knobs, Indiana, United States (1935-12-13) |
23rd – 1965 NASCAR Grand National Series season
1959 Western North Carolina 500 (Asheville-Weaverville Speedway)
1968 World 600 (Charlotte Motor Speedway)
1966 Daytona 500 Qualifier #2
Earl Balmer Wikipedia
Earl Balmer (born December 13, 1935 - Floyds Knobs, Indiana, USA) is a former NASCAR Grand National Series driver whose career spanned from 1959 to 1968. He would set the 1965 speed record for the Mercury manufacturer in the Darlington Record Club; which revolved around qualifying records set at the time trials for the annual Southern 500 held on Labor Day weekend. Balmer's entry into the club with be secured with a top speed of 136.551 miles per hour or 219.758 kilometres per hour while trying to qualify for the 1965 Southern 500.
From the age of 23 to the age of 32, Balmer has competed in 6076 laps of professional stock car racing. His total lifetime career earnings while in NASCAR add up to $34,725 ($239,153.90 when adjusted for inflation). While his average starting position is in 10th; he usually finishes worse off than he starts with an average finish of 20th place. Balmer has never failed to qualify for a race and he raced in his vehicle for the equivalent of 6,794 miles or 10,934 kilometres of driving.
Replacing Gordon Johncock on Nord Krauskopf's racing operations in 1966, he would go on to finish in 30th place at the 1966 Firecracker 400 and another 30th-place finish at the 1966 Southern 500. His fifth-place finish at the 1966 National 500 due to his prior experience with the stock car racing scene would make Balmer have seven starts driving the K&K Insurance Special during the remainder of the 1966 Grand National Series season.
His most favorable race track was the Nashville Fairgrounds where he would finish in fourth place on average. Balmer's last favorable track was Rockingham Speedway where he would finish in an excruciating 32nd place on average after starting in ninth place on average. He would be most successful at short track racing with an average finish of 15th place while being baffled and confused by intermediate tracks (with an average finish of either 20th to 28th depending on the track type). The primary ride of Balmer during his NASCAR career was his #12 Mercury sponsored by Thorne Pistone and owned by Tom Pistone; even though notable moments of his career were spent driving for Bud Moore Engineering and Wood Brothers Racing.
Balmer is best remembered for an incident during the 1966 Southern 500 race at the Darlington Raceway. The press box was located on the top of Turn 1, which gave journalists an excellent view of the start-finish line. On lap 189 of the 364 lap race, Balmer and the car of Richard Petty touched, resulting in Balmer's car mounting the guardrail on top of Turn 1. Balmer's car spewed petrol and debris up towards the press box, causing the journalists inside to duck for cover. No-one was injured, but the journalists handed a petition to track management asking to be moved to a safer location.