Open main menu

The 1956 Buddy Shuman 250 was a NASCAR Grand National Series (now Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series) event that was held on November 11, 1956, at Hickory Speedway in Hickory, North Carolina.

1956 Buddy Shuman 250
Race details[1][2]
Race 55 of 56 in the 1956 NASCAR Grand National Series season
Date November 11, 1956; 62 years ago (1956-11-11)
Official name Buddy Shuman 250
Location Hickory Speedway
Hickory, North Carolina, U.S.
Course Permanent racing facility
0.400 mi (0.644 km)
Distance 250 laps, 100 mi (150 km)
Weather Chilly with temperatures of 64.9 °F (18.3 °C); wind speeds of 13 miles per hour (21 km/h)
Average speed 66.420 miles per hour (106.893 km/h)
Attendance 3,500[2]
Pole position
Driver Pete DePaolo
Most laps led
Driver Speedy Thompson Carl Kiekhaefer
Laps 154
No. 300 Speedy Thompson Carl Kiekhaefer
Television in the United States
Network untelevised
Announcers none


Hickory Motor Speedway is a short track located in Hickory, North Carolina. It is one of stock car racing's most storied venues, and is often referred to as the "World's Most Famous Short Track" and the "Birthplace of the NASCAR Stars".

The track first opened in 1951 as a 12-mile (0.80 km) dirt track. Gwyn Staley won the first race at the speedway and later became the first track champion. Drivers such as Junior Johnson, Ned Jarrett, and Ralph Earnhardt also became track champions in the 1950s, with Earnhardt winning five of them.

In 1953, NASCAR's Grand National Series (later the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series) visited the track for the first time. Tim Flock won the first race at the speedway, which became a regular part of the Grand National schedule. After winning his track championship in 1952, Junior Johnson became the most successful Grand National driver at Hickory, winning there seven times.

The track has been re-configured three times in its history. The track became a 0.4-mile (644 meters) dirt track in 1955, which was paved for the first time during the 1967 season.[citation needed]

Race reportEdit

Ralph Earnhardt would make his NASCAR Cup Series debut here; being the first member of the Earnhardt family to enter the organization. 250 laps took place on a dirt track that spanned 0.400 miles or 0.644 kilometres per lap; for a grand total of 100.0 miles or 160.9 kilometres.[2] The race took one hour and thirty minutes to successfully conclude with Speedy Thompson defeating Earnhardt by four seconds in front of 3500 live spectators.[2] The average speed of the race would be 66.420 miles per hour or 106.893 kilometres per hour while the pole position winner would dial in at a speed of 68.278 miles per hour or 109.883 kilometres per hour.[2] All 22 racers on the starting grid were American-born males.[2]

Other notable racers of the era like Tiny Lund, Lee Petty, and Buck Baker would make an appearance during this race.[2] Billy Carden would be credited for making the race's last-place finish with a clutch problem on lap 9.[2] DePaolo Engineering would sponsor four of the drivers in the race (Earnhardt, Ralph Moody, Bill Amick, and Carden). This would be the last NASCAR race for Junior Johnson before he went to jail for 11 months for his illegal moonshine activities.[2]

The combined prize purse for this race was $4,285; with the winner (Speedy Thompson) taking home $850 ($7,833 when adjusted for inflation) while Pete Yow would be the 20th-place finisher bringing home a meager $50 ($461 when adjusted for inflation). Blackie Pitt and Billy Carden both failed to make a paycheck during this race; causing them to lose money for their hard efforts.[3]

Carl Kiekhaefer was the only notable crew chief on attendance for this race.[4]

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.


Grid[2] No. Driver Manufacturer Owner
1 22 Ralph Earnhardt '56 Ford Pete DePaolo
2 300B Buck Baker '56 Chrysler Carl Kiekhaefer
3 86 Doug Cox '56 Ford John Foster
4 2 Junior Johnson '56 Ford Pete DePaolo
5 83 Johnny Dodson '56 Chevrolet Johnny Dodson
6 4 Bobby Myers '56 Mercury Bill Stroppe
7 500 Jack Smith '56 Dodge Carl Kiekhaefer
8 97 Billy Amick '56 Ford Pete DePaolo
9 300 Speedy Thompson '56 Chrysler Carl Kiekhaefer
10 42 Lee Petty '56 Dodge Petty Enterprises
11 16 Tiny Lund '56 Chevrolet Gus Holzmueller
12 12 Ralph Moody '55 Ford Pete DePaolo
13 297 Billy Carden '56 Ford Pete DePaolo
14 64 Johnny Allen '56 Ford Spook Crawford
15 75 Bill Blair '56 Mercury Frank Hayworth
16 60 Brownie King '56 Chevrolet Brownie King
17 31 Bill Champion '56 Ford John Whitford
18 209 Pete Stewart '56 Plymouth Pete Stewart
19 203 Pete Yow '56 Ford Pete Yow
20 59 Blackie Pitt '56 Plymouth Brownie Pitt
21 96 Bobby Keck '56 Chevrolet Bobby Keck
22 418 George Green '56 Chevrolet George Green

Finishing orderEdit

Section reference:[2]

  1. Speedy Thompson† (No. 300)
  2. Ralph Earnhardt† (No. 22)
  3. Buck Baker† (No. 300B)
  4. Ralph Moody† (No. 12)
  5. Doug Cox (No. 86)
  6. Bill Amick† (No. 97)
  7. Tiny Lund† (No.16)
  8. Johnny Dodson (No. 83)
  9. Bill Champion† (No. 31)
  10. Bill Blair† (No. 75)
  11. Lee Petty*† (No.42)
  12. Pete Stewart (No. 209)
  13. George Green (No. 418)
  14. Johnny Allen (No. 64)
  15. Junior Johnson* (No. 2)
  16. Brownie King (No. 60)
  17. Bobby Keck*† (No. 96)
  18. Jack Smith*† (No. 500)
  19. Bobby Myers*† (No. 4)
  20. Pete Yow* (No. 203)
  21. Blackie Pitt*† (No. 59)
  22. Billy Carden*† (No. 297)

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


Section reference:[2]

  • Start of race: Buck Baker starts off the race in the pole position
  • Lap 9: Billy Carden's faulty vehicle clutch would render him the last-place finisher for this event
  • Lap 39: Junior Johnson takes over the lead from Buck Baker
  • Lap 63: Blackie Pett developed engine problems with his vehicle
  • Lap 82: Ralph Earnhardt takes over the lead from Junior Johnson
  • Lap 89: Pete Yow suddenly had a faulty transmission in his racing vehicle
  • Lap 97: Speedy Thompson takes over the lead from Ralph Earnhardt
  • Lap 105: Bobby Myers' radiator went haywire, forcing him out of the race
  • Lap 126: Jack Smith's vehicle developed the same problem as Bobby Myers back on lap 105
  • Lap 179: Bobby Keck had to leave the race due to a problem with his vehicle's bearings
  • Lap 210: Junior Johnson's vapor lock developed issues, forcing him to exit the event
  • Lap 232: The right rear axle of Lee Petty's vehicle became problematic, causing him to leave the race
  • Finish: Speedy Thompson was officially declared the winner of the event


  1. ^ "1956 Buddy Shuman 250 weather information". The Old Farmers' Almanac. Retrieved 2012-08-03.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l "1956 Buddy Shuman 250 information". Racing Reference. Retrieved 2011-02-21.
  3. ^ "1956 Buddy Shuman 250 information". Fantasy Racing Cheat Sheet. Retrieved 2012-09-03.
  4. ^ "1956 Buddy Shuman 250 crew chief information". Racing Reference. Retrieved 2018-07-30.
Preceded by
1956 Old Dominion 400
NASCAR Grand National Series Season
Succeeded by
1956 untitled race at Wilson Speedway