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1957 Virginia 500

The 1957 Virginia 500 was a NASCAR Grand National Series (now Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series) event that was held on May 19, 1957, at Martinsville Speedway in Martinsville, Virginia.

1957 Virginia 500
Race details[1]
Race 17 of 53 in the 1957 NASCAR Grand National Series season
A map showing the layout of Martinsville Speedway
A map showing the layout of Martinsville Speedway
Date May 19, 1957 (1957-May-19)
Official name Virginia 500
Location Martinsville Speedway, Martinsville, Virginia
Course Permanent racing facility
0.525 mi (0.844 km)
Distance 441 laps, 231 mi (372 km)
Scheduled Distance 500 laps, 262.5 mi (442.4 km)
Weather Temperatures of 81 °F (27 °C); wind speeds of 11.1 miles per hour (17.9 km/h)
Average speed 57.318 miles per hour (92.244 km/h)
Pole position
Driver Smokey Yunick Racing
Most laps led
Driver Billy Myers Bill Strope
Laps 201
No. 87 Buck Baker Hugh Babb
Television in the United States
Network untelevised
Announcers none

Barney Oldfield made his only NASCAR Cup Series appearance at this event.[2] Months after this race, the Automobile Manufacturers Association decided to legally separate themselves from all forms of automobile racing that was being held in the United States; donating millions of dollars in machinery directly to the drivers.[3]


Martinsville Speedway is one of five short tracks to hold NASCAR races.[4] The standard track at Martinsville Speedway is a four-turn short track oval that is 0.526 miles (0.847 km) long.[5] The track's turns are banked at eleven degrees, while the front stretch, the location of the finish line, is banked at zero degrees. The back stretch also has a zero degree banking.[5]

Race reportEdit

It took nearly four hours to race 441 laps worth of stock car automobile racing. While originally scheduled for 500 laps, it was stopped prematurely due to a bad in-race crash. Tom Pistone and Billy Myers would end up getting involved in the collision on lap 441; making Buck Baker the automatic winner. Just before the accident took form, Pistone straightened his car and continued. Myers headed for the wall and then jumped it near where a crowd of folks was standing. The 24-driver starting lineup was made up of drivers who were all born in the United States of America. T.A. Toomes would take up the last-place position due to problems with his gasket on lap 121.[6]

Paul Goldsmith, Tiny Lund and Buck Baker would dominate the laps prior to the accident. The victory of Buck Baker over second-place finisher Curtis Turner would demonstrate the power of the 1957 Chevrolet.[6] Although its real-life counterpart had fuel injection, the NASCAR version had to use a carburetor. Fuel injection did not become legal in what is now known as the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series until the 2012 season.

Individual race earnings for this event ranged from the winner's share of $3,170 ($28,278 when adjusted for inflation) to the last-place finisher's share of $125 ($1,115 when adjusted for inflation). A grand total of $12,240 was handed out by NASCAR officials for the explicit purpose of paying off the qualifying drivers ($109,188 when adjusted for inflation).[7] Jess Potter was the only notable crew chief to take part in the race, leading the pit road crew of Brownie King's Chevrolet.[8]

Winning CarEdit

| 87 || Buck Baker Driver || '57 Chevrolet 150 sedan black widow || Hugh Babb prepared |-


Grid[6] No. Driver Manufacturer Owner
1 3 Paul Goldsmith '57 Ford Smokey Yunick
2 46 Speedy Thompson '57 Chevrolet Hugh Babb
3 55 Tiny Lund '57 Pontiac A.L. Bumgarner
4 50 Tom Pistone '57 Chevrolet Hugh Babb
5 98 Marvin Panch '57 Ford Pete DePaolo
6 14 Billy Myers '57 Mercury Bill Stroppe
7 22 Fireball Roberts '57 Ford Pete DePaolo
8 42 Lee Petty '57 Oldsmobile Petty Enterprises
9 88 Ralph Earnhardt '57 Oldsmobile Petty Enterprises
10 99 Curtis Turner '57 Ford Pete DePaolo
11 64 Johnny Allen '57 Plymouth Spook Crawford
12 47 Jack Smith '57 Chevrolet Hugh Babb
13 29 Russ Hepler '57 Pontiac Howard Coulter
14 87 Buck Baker '57 Chevrolet Hugh Babb
15 6 Cotton Owens '57 Pontiac Ray Nichels
16 32 Brownie King '56 Chevrolet Jess Potter
17 421 T.A. Toomes '56 Dodge C.M. Julian
18 76 George Green '56 Chevrolet Lonnie Fish
19 74 L.D. Austin '56 Chevrolet L.D. Austin
20 94 Clarence DeZalia '56 Ford Clarence DeZalia
21 28 Eddie Skinner '57 Ford Eddie Skinner
22 24 Barney Oldfield '56 Ford Rat Garner
23 17 Jim Paschal '57 Mercury Bill Stroppe
24 71 Bill Bowman '56 Chevrolet Bill Bowman

Failed to qualify: Emanuel Zervakis (#11), Bill Champion (#35), Nace Mattingly (#154), Frank Jamison (#80)[9]


Section reference: [6]

  • Start of race: Paul Goldsmith started the race with the pole position
  • Lap 55: Tiny Lund takes over the lead from Paul Goldsmith
  • Lap 121: Problems with the vehicle's head gasket made T.A. Toomes into the last-place finisher
  • Lap 128: Buck Baker takes over the lead from Tiny Lund
  • Lap 145: Billy Myers takes over the lead from Buck Baker
  • Lap 146: The rear end of Eddie Skinner's vehicle became problematic, forcing him to quit the race
  • Lap 211: Cotton Owens had a terminal crash; causing him to withdraw from the event
  • Lap 233: Buck Baker takes over the lead from Billy Myers
  • Lap 281: Tiny Lund's engine developed problems, forcing him to make an early exit from the race
  • Lap 329: Billy Myers takes over the lead from Buck Baker
  • Lap 377: Johnny Allen noticed that his vehicle's clutch had some issues, causing him to pull over and end his hopes of winning the race
  • Lap 441: Tom Pistone and Billy Myers crashed into each other, jointly ending their chances of winning the race
  • Finish: Buck Baker was declared the winner after starting the event in 14th place

Finishing orderEdit

Section reference: [6]

  1. Buck Baker† (No. 87)
  2. Curtis Turner† (No. 99)
  3. Tom Pistone* (No. 50)
  4. Billy Myers* (No. 14)
  5. Lee Petty† (No. 42)
  6. Jack Smith† (No. 47)
  7. Paul Goldsmith (No. 3)
  8. Marvin Panch (No. 98)
  9. Fireball Roberts† (No. 22)
  10. Jim Paschal† (No. 17)
  11. Speedy Thompson† (No. 46)
  12. Brownie King (No. 32)
  13. Ralph Earnhardt† (No. 88)
  14. L.D. Austin (No. 74)
  15. George Green (No. 76)
  16. Johnny Allen* (No. 64)
  17. Bill Bowman (No. 71)
  18. Barney Oldfield (No. 24)
  19. Clarence DeZalia (No. 94)
  20. Tiny Lund*† (No. 55)
  21. Russ Hepler* (No. 29)
  22. Cotton Owens*† (No. 6)
  23. Eddie Skinner* (No. 28)
  24. T.A. Toomes* (No. 421)

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


  1. ^ Weather information for the 1957 Virginia 500 at The Old Farmers' Almanac
  2. ^ Barney Oldfield's only NASCAR Cup Series race at Race Database
  3. ^ 1957 NASCAR Grand National Recap at How Stuff Works
  4. ^ "NASCAR Race Tracks". NASCAR. Archived from the original on October 12, 2010. Retrieved October 26, 2012.
  5. ^ a b "NASCAR Tracks—The Martinsville Speedway". Martinsville Speedway. Retrieved October 26, 2012.
  6. ^ a b c d e 1957 Virginia 500 racing information at Racing Reference
  7. ^ Winnings information for the 1957 Virginia 500 at Fantasy Racing Cheat Sheet
  8. ^ 1957 Virginia 500 crew chief information at Racing Reference
  9. ^ Qualifying information for the 1957 Virginia 500 at Racing Reference
Preceded by
Virginia 500 races
Succeeded by