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NASCAR in Canada - Part 1
The Grand National Races

Posted Jan 28, 2005


This article will evolve over time as more research is completed. I need photos from these events. If anyone has any, I'd really appreciate seeing them!
The 2004 season saw the first year of the NASCAR Dodge Weekly Series at Delaware Speedway and Autodrome Old Milwaukee. In addition, "NASCAR Canada" was announced in June, 2004 and CASCAR's partnership with NASCAR in the fall. With these events many stock car fans are saying to themselves, "Well, it's about time NASCAR recognized Canada."

This isn't the first time Canada has been on NASCAR's radar. Some fans will remember the NASCAR North Series from the late 1970's and early 1980's. Slightly older fans will remember the first NASCAR-Canada sanctioning body from the mid 1970's or the Winston West series events in British Columbia. Even older fans will remember that the NASCAR Grand National Series (the old name for the Nextel Cup) came to the CNE in 1958 but for NASCAR's first foray into Canada we have to go back even farther, to 1952.

1952 Grand National Race
Stamford Park Race Track, near Niagara Falls, was the site of Canada's first NASCAR race on July 1, 1952. Stamford was a flat, half-mile dirt horse track that also ran stock car races beginning in 1948. About 4,000 fans were on hand to see the 100 lap event. Buddy Shuman, from Charlotte, NC, driving a Hudson Hornet won the race by 2 laps over second place finisher Herb Thomas. Shuman took the lead on lap 71 and led the remaining laps. Seventeen cars started the race but the rough track caused high attrition with only 6 drivers finishing. Admission was $1.75 for the event.

July 1, 1952 Stamford Park Results

Fin
Qual
Num
Driver
Car
Laps
Status
Winnings
1
8
89
Buddy Shuman 1952 Hudson Hornet
200
Running
$1,000
2
1
92
Herb Thomas 1952 Hudson
198
Running
$700
3
7
44
Ray Duhigg 1951 Plymouth
193
Running
$450
4
14
421
Jack Reynolds 1951 Plymouth
183
Wheel
$350
5
13
Perk Brown 1950 Ford
176
Running
$200
6
10
52
Neil Cole 1950 Plymouth
168
Engine
$150
7
16
Fonty Flock 1951 Henry J
163
Running
$125
8
5
118
Bucky Sager 1951 Hudson
154
Wheel
$100
9
12
93
Ted Chamberlain 1950 Plymouth
134
In pits
$75
10
17
Albert Lemieux 1950 Mercury Meteor
121
Running
$50
11
11
Charles Barry 1951 Ford
87
Overheating
$25
12
3
120
Dick Rathman 1951 Hudson
78
Engine
$25
13
2
91
Tim Flock 1951 Hudson
59
Accident
$25
14
9
1
Eddie Lenz 1950 Oldsmobile 88
55
Accident
$25
15
6
3
Hershel McGriff 1952 Oldsmobile 88
45
Engine
$25
16
4
42
Lee Petty 1951 Plymouth
40
Engine
$25
17
15
Jack Hauher 1949 Ford
26
Engine
$25
Time of Race: 2 hours, 11 minutes, 33 seconds
Average Speed: 45.610 mph
Pole Winner: Herb Thomas, 52.401 mph


1958 Grand National Race
The next visit for the NASCAR Grand National division was on July 18, 1958. The track was the 1/3 mile oval at the Canadian National Exhibition grounds in Toronto. Over 9,700 fans were in attendance for the evening which also included the regular CNE modified stock car division (early version of a super modified). There were three heat races with the winners being Shorty Rollins, Lee Petty and Cotton Owens. In the 100 lap feature Lee Petty took over the lead on lap 72 and held on for the victory. The event was fairly incident-free except for some minor spins due to the track still being somewhat wet from a heavy rain earlier in the evening. The purse for this race was $4200.

Of interest, is that this was Richard Petty's first Grand National race. He had previously competed in a few NASCAR Convertible Division races. In an event that is now famous in Petty lore, Richard crashed out of the race after being bumped by his father.

Another interesting note on this race was the attitude that the local Toronto papers took toward it. More coverage was given to the regular CNE Speedway Modified Division races and the papers took the view that the NASCAR race was boring.

July 18, 1958 CNE Speedway Results

Fin
Qual
Num
Driver
Car
Laps
Status
Winnings
1
3
42
Lee Petty 1957 Oldsmobile
100
Running
$575
2
4
6
Cotton Owens 1957 Pontiac
100
Running
$480
3
2
7
Jim Reed 1957 Ford
100
Running
$305
4
5
99
Shorty Rollins 1958 Ford
100
Running
$275
5
6
23
Johnny Mackison 1957 Mercury
99
Running
$220
6
8
57
Billy Rafter 1957 Ford
99
Running
$210
7
1
44
Rex White 1957 Chevrolet
98
Running
$190
8
12
79
Tiny Benson 1957 Chevrolet
98
Running
$175
9
11
711
Bill Poor 1956 Chevrolet
97
Running
$180
10
17
95
Bob Duell 1957 Ford
96
Running
$150
11
10
17
Howard Phillippi 1957 Ford
94
Running
$160
12
9
74
L.D. Austin 1956 Chevrolet
93
Running
$120
13
16
93
Ted Chamberlain 1957 Chevrolet
92
Running
$115
14
14
33
Al White 1958 Ford
86
Running
$105
15
18
13
Peck Peckham 1956 Chevrolet
86
Running
$95
16
15
41
Neil Haight 1956 Chevrolet
69
Running
$105
17
7
142
Richard Petty 1957 Oldsmobile
55
Crash
$115
18
13
83
Lennie Page 1956 Ford
22
Ignition
$90
19
19
18
Dick Walters 1956 Ford
18
Read End
$65
Time of Race: 46 minutes, 16 seconds
Average Speed: 43.184 mph
Pole Winner: Rex White, 51.406 mph


Part two of this series will cover the NASCAR Winston West races in British Columbia.