first Sprint Cup race took place 65 years ago June 19

First NASCAR premier series race was held at Charlotte Speedway

PHOTOS: First NASCAR race revisited

Everything has a beginning and June 19 marks the 65th anniversary of the first NASCAR premier series race (under the banner of NASCAR Strictly Stock). The race was held at Charlotte Speedway on June 19, 1949 before an estimated crowd of 13,000.

The race was scheduled to be 200 laps long on the a .750 mile dirt track and was won by Jim Roper. Glenn Dunaway crossed the finish line first but was disqualified, giving Roper the win. Dunaway was disqualified because his car owner Hubert Westmoreland had shored up the chassis by spreading the rear springs, a trick to help improve traction and handling. Dunaway was credited with a last place finish in the 33-car field.

Fonty Flock was the runner-up, followed by the series first champion Red Byron, Sam Rice and NASCAR Hall of Famer Tim Flock finished fifth.

Other NASCAR Hall of Famers to compete in the race included: Buck Baker (11th place), Lee Petty (17th place) and Herb Thomas (29th place).

Sara Christian finished 14th in the race. She was one of NASCAR’s earliest and most successful female driving stars.

A historical marker was placed at the site of the old Charlotte Speedway in May of 2006.

In May 2006, a new State of North Carolina Historical Marker was placed at the site of the old Charlotte Speedway, the venue used for the inaugural NASCAR Strictly Stock (now NASCAR Sprint Cup Series) race on June 19, 1949. On hand were left to right, NASCAR Hall of Famer Ned Jarrett; C.T. Allison, owner of the property; Lt. Gov. Beverly Perdue; Humpy Wheeler, Charlotte Motor Speedway President; Charlotte Mayor Pat McCrory (now governor of North Carolina); NASCAR Hall of Famer Bobby Allison, NASCAR President Mike Helton and Concord Mayor Scott Padgett.
(Photo courtesy of Harold Hinson Photography)


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