1957 NASCAR Grand National Series

1957 NASCAR Grand National Series
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Champions | Seasons

The 1957 NASCAR Grand National Series saw driver Buck Baker win his second consecutive NASCAR Grand National Series championship. Baker won the championship with 10,716 points over second place driver Marvin Panch (9,956), and Speedy Thompson (8,560). Baker was the first driver to win back-to-back NASCAR championships. Baker accumulated $30,764 for his efforts in the 1957 NASCAR season.


In February 1957 the first '57 Chevy, affectionately known as the 'Black Widow' made its debut in NASCAR at the Daytona Beach and Road Course. Throughout the year drivers Buck Baker, Marvin Panch, Fireball Roberts, Larry Frank, Speedy Thompson, and Bob Welborn would pilot these now classic vehicles.[1]

Early in the 1957 season the Automobile Manufacturers Association (AMA) stated that its members should become less involved in motor sports. After an incident in the May 20 Virginia 500 at Martinsville Speedway that five spectators, including a young boy, ended the race with 59 laps remaining, Ford, General Motors and Chrysler became less passionate about providing financial and administrative support for the teams.[2] On June 6 the auto manufactures withdrew their backing from the sport.[3] Late in the season at the North Wilkesboro Speedway, a wheel from driver Tiny Lund's car was thrown into stands, and a spectator was killed. (There were no wheel tethers installed in NASCAR until a series of open wheel racing fatalities in the late 1990s at Michigan and Charlotte from wheels hurled into stands from crashes.)[2]

On November 27, 1957, construction began on a new race track now known as Daytona International Speedway after five years of negations. The ground-breaking ceremony takes place one month to the day after Buck Baker wins the final event of the season at Central Carolina Fairgrounds in Greensboro, N.C;[3] thus securing his second consecutive championship.[2]

Season recapEdit

The 1957 season opened at the Willow Springs Speedway in Lancaster, California. Marvin Panch won the event, and followed that with a second consecutive win at the following event at the Concord Speedway late in 1956. Fireball Roberts, Cotton Owens, Jack Smith, and Ralph Moody all notched wins during the next four events before Buck Baker took his first trip to victory lane at Hillsboro, North Carolina in March 1957.[4]

On February 17 Pontiac gathered its first-ever NASCAR win at Daytona Beach with Cotton Owens at the wheel.[4] In May, a scheduled 500 lap race at Martinsville Speedway was halted after 441 circuits due to a crash. On June 6 all factory supported teams disbanded as American auto manufactures withdrew their support from NASCAR.[4]

During the Eighth Annual Southern 500 on September 2, driver Bobby Myers was killed in a crash on lap 28 at Darlington Raceway. Speedy Thompson went on to win that first race to average over 100 mph at the track. On October 12, 1957 Fireball Roberts won a 100-mile race at Newberry Speedway; and the event holds the dubious distinction of having the smallest crowd in NASCAR history as only 900 spectators looked on.[4]

When the season had ended, 18 drivers had won at least one Grand National event.[5]

The AMA: All in, and all out.Edit

The 50s can be seen as the building blocks of NASCAR. Automobile speeds increased at a rapid rate, and an example of that can be seen in the events at the Daytona Beach road course. The inaugural 1952 event had a pole speed of 64.7 mph,[6] and by the final event 4 years later in 1956, the speed had risen to a blazing 81 mph.[7] The horsepower race was in full swing, but the leaders of the AMA had concerns. Rising speeds on the track meant higher speeds on the nation's highways; and the fatality rate of America's public was on the rise. NASCAR attempted to appease the AMA, and disallowed the use of superchargers and fuel injection in their sanctioned events. NASCAR also refused to allow the Detroit manufactures to use their race results with media advertisements. Still, the major auto manufactures continued to invest time and money in NASCAR.
Detroit auto manufactures saw NASCAR as a big business opportunity, and by the beginning of the 1957 season , GM, Ford, Mercury, and Plymouth were all backing one team or another. Press agents were hired, and people worked to increase publicity through newspapers, radio, tv and other media venues. It all came to a halt on May 19, 1957, when a race accident injured not just drivers, but spectators as well. Included in the injuries was an 8 year old boy, Alvia Helsabeck.[8] Driver Billy Myers crashed his Mercury through the Martinsville Speedway fence during the Virginia 500, and landed in an area marked "off limits" to spectators, and young Helsabeck lost his life.[9] Myers had been trying to lap Tom Pistone when the two cars tangled on lap 441. Four other fans in the "No Spectators Allowed" area ages 19 to 44 were also injured. The race was red flagged, and Buck Baker was called the winner. As ambulances transported the injured to local hospitals, the weather turned to rain.[8]
On June 6th the AMA leadership voted unanimously to withdraw all auto manufacture support, not just from the NASCAR Grand National series, but from all forms of auto racing. Factory sponsored teams were eliminated, and the equipment given to the individual owners and drivers.[10]

1957 final standingsEdit

Finish Driver Races Wins Poles Points Earnings
1 Buck Baker 40 10 6 10,716 $30,763
2 Marvin Panch 42 6 4 9956 $24,307
3 Speedy Thompson 38 2 4 8580 $26,841
4 Lee Petty 38 2 4 8528 $18,325
5 Jack Smith 40 4 2 8464 $14,561
6 Fireball Roberts 42 8 4 8268 $19,828
7 Johnny Allen 42 0 1 7068 $9,814
8 L.D. Austin 40 0 0 6532 $6,485
9 Brownie King 36 0 0 5740 $5,589
10 Jim Paschal 35 0 0 5136 $4,999

Race resultsEdit

Position Date Site Winner
1 11/11/1956 Lancaster Speedway Marvin Panch
2 12/2/1956 Concord Motor Speedway Marvin Panch
3 12/30/1956 Titusville-Cocoa Airport Fireball Roberts
4 2/17/1957 Daytona Beach Road Course Cotton Owens
5 3/3/1957 Concord Motor Speedway Jack Smith (NASCAR driver)
6 3/17/1957 Wilson Speedway Ralph Moody
7 3/24/1957 Occoneechee Speedway Buck Baker
8 3/31/1957 Asheville-Weaverville Speedway Buck Baker
9 4/7/1957 North Wilkesboro Speedway Fireball Roberts
10 4/14/1957 Langhorne Speedway Fireball Roberts
11 4/19/1957 Southern States Fairgrounds Fireball Roberts
12 4/27/1957 Piedmont Interstate Fairgrounds Marvin Panch
13 4/28/1957 Greensboro Agricultural Fairgrounds Paul Goldsmith
14 4/28/1957 Portland Speedway Art Watts
15 5/4/1957 Cleveland County Fairgrounds Fireball Roberts
16 5/5/1957 Richmond International Raceway Paul Goldsmith
17 5/19/1957 Martinsville Speedway Buck Baker
18 5/26/1957 Portland Speedway Eddie Pagan
19 5/30/1957 Eureka Speedway Lloyd Dane
20 5/30/1957 Oxford Plains Speedway Buck Baker
21 6/1/1957 Lancaster Speedway Paul Goldsmith
22 6/8/1957 Ascot Park Eddie Pagan
23 6/15/1957 Tennessee-Carolina Speedway Fireball Roberts
24 6/20/1957 Columbia Jack Smith
25 6/22/1957 Sacramento Bill Amick
26 6/29/1957 Spartanburg Lee Petty
27 6/30/1957 Jacksonville Buck Baker
28 7/4/1957 Raleigh Paul Goldsmith
29 7/12/1957 Southern States Fairgrounds Marvin Panch
30 7/14/1957 LeHi Marvin Panch
31 7/14/1957 Portland Eddie Pagan
32 7/20/1957 Hickory Jack Smith
33 7/24/1957 Norfolk Buck Baker
34 7/30/1957 Lancaster Speedy Thompson
35 8/4/1957 Watkins Glen Buck Baker
36 8/4/1957 Bremerton Parnelli Jones
37 8/10/1957 New Oxford Marvin Panch
38 8/16/1957 Old Bridge Lee Petty
39 8/26/1957 Myrtle Beach Gwyn Staley
40 9/2/1957 Darlington Speedy Thompson
41 9/5/1957 Syracuse Gwyn Staley
42 9/8/1957 Weaverville Lee Petty
43 9/8/1957 Sacramento Danny Graves
44 9/15/1957 San Jose Marvin Porter
45 9/15/1957 Langhorne Gwyn Staley
46 9/19/1957 Columbia Buck Baker
47 9/21/1957 Shelby Buck Baker
48 10/5/1957 Southern States Fairgrounds Lee Petty
49 10/6/1957 Martinsville Speedway Bob Welborn
50 10/12/1957 Newberry Speedway Fireball Roberts
51 10/13/1957 Concord Motor Speedway Fireball Roberts
52 10/20/1957 North Wilkesboro Speedway Jack Smith
53 10/27/1957 Greensboro Agricultural Fairgrounds Buck Baker


  1. ^ "Welcome to the 57 Chevy Black Widow". 57chevyblackwidow.com: 57chevyblackwidow.com. p. facts. Retrieved 17 April 2011.CS1 maint: location (link)
  2. ^ a b c Fleischman, Bill; Pearce, Al (2004). "11. At A Glance; 1957". The Unauthorized NASCAR Fan Guide; 2004 (10 ed.). 43311 Joy Rd. #414, Canton, MI: Checkered Flag Press; Visible Ink Press. pp. 145, 146 of 576. ISBN 0-681-27587-1.CS1 maint: location (link)
  3. ^ a b Auto Editors of Consumer Guide. "1957 NASCAR Grand National Recap". HowStuffWorks, Inc. © 2006-2009 Publications International, Ltd. Retrieved 2009-08-04.
  4. ^ a b c d Auto Editors of Consumer Guide. "1957 NASCAR Grand National Results". HowStuffWorks; Publications International. Retrieved 2009-08-04.
  5. ^ Sowers 2000, p. 78.
  6. ^ staff. "1952 - 01". Racing Reference Info. NASCAR Digital Media, LLC. Retrieved 24 September 2019.
  7. ^ staff. "1956 - 07". Racing Reference Info. NASCAR Digital Media, LLC. Retrieved 24 September 2019.
  8. ^ a b Fielden 1993, p. 255-258.
  9. ^ Sowers 2000, p. 76.
  10. ^ Fielden 2015, p. 102.
  11. ^ Fleischman, Bill; Pearce, Al (2004). "15. Race Results 1949-2004". The Unauthorized NASCAR Fan Guide; 2004 (10 ed.). 43311 Joy Rd. #414, Canton, MI: Checkered Flag Press; Visible Ink Press. p. 223. ISBN 0-681-27587-1.CS1 maint: location (link)
  12. ^ "1957 Season Recap". nascar.com: Turner Sports Interactive, Inc. February 6, 2002. p. 1. Retrieved 17 April 2011.


  • Fleischman, Bill; Pearce, Al (2004). "12. At A Glance; 1957". The Unauthorized NASCAR Fan Guide 2004 (10 ed.). 43311 Joy Rd. No. 414, Canton, MI: Checkered Flag Press; Visible Ink Press. ISBN 0-681-27587-1.CS1 maint: location (link)
  • Fielden, Greg (2015). with Bryan Hallman and editors of Consumer Guide Automotive (ed.). NASCAR the complete history (7th ed.). 7373 North Cicero Ave, Lincolnwood IL., 60721: Publications International Ltd. p. 97. ISBN 978-1-4508-9994-9.CS1 maint: location (link)
  • Fielden, Greg (1993). "All". Forty Years of Stock Car Racing The Beginning 1949-1958 (Revised 3rd ed.). USA: Garfield Press. p. 336. ISBN 0-9621580-2-X.
  • Sowers, Richard (2000). The Complete Statistical History of Stock-Car Racing. Phoenix AZ. 85018: David Bull Publishing. p. 426. ISBN 1-893618-06-4.CS1 maint: location (link)