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The 1959 Western North Carolina 500 was a NASCAR Grand National Series (now Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series) event that was held on August 16, 1959, at Asheville-Weaverville Speedway in Weaverville, North Carolina. This event took place after the 1959 Nashville 300; which was set at Nashville Speedway (now Fairgrounds Speedway) in Nashville, Tennessee.

1959 Western North Carolina 500
Race details[1]
Race 32 of 44 in the 1959 NASCAR Grand National Series season
Date August 16, 1959; 60 years ago (1959-08-16)
Official name Western North Carolina 500
Location Asheville-Weaverville Speedway, Weaverville, North Carolina
Course Permanent racing facility
0.500 mi (0.804 km)
Distance 500 laps, 250 mi (310 km)
Weather Very hot with temperatures of 87.1 °F (30.6 °C); wind speeds of 12 miles per hour (19 km/h)
Average speed 71.633 miles per hour (115.282 km/h)
Pole position
Driver Rex White
Most laps led
Driver Bob Welborn Bob Welborn
Laps 1
No. 49 Bob Welborn Bob Welborn
Television in the United States
Network untelevised
Announcers none

From 1949 to 1972, Richard and Lee Petty were the most dominant drivers on any circuit in NASCAR. David Pearson was easily the third most dominant NASCAR driver. Buck Baker and Rex White were considered to be the middle-of-the road competitors in NASCAR from 1949 to 1972. Fonty and Tim Flock along with Herb Thomas, Joe Weatherly, Ned Jarrett and Bobby Isaac were considered to be below-average performers during the early years of NASCAR.

The race car drivers still had to commute to the races using the same stock cars that competed in a typical weekend's race through a policy of homologation (and under their own power). This policy was in effect until roughly 1975. By 1980, NASCAR had completely stopped tracking the year model of all the vehicles and most teams did not take stock cars to the track under their own power any more.

Race reportEdit

There were 42 American-born drivers who competed at this event; all of them were Caucasian males since Wendell Scott didn't make his introduction into NASCAR until the next decade. There were 500 laps on this race that took almost three and a half hours to resolve. Brownie King was the last-place finisher in this race due to trouble with his fan belt on lap 44.

A lot of engine problems emerged within the first 100 laps in addition to faulty spindles, decaying axles, and one crash involving Richard Petty on the 281st lap. While Rex White would zoom into the pole position driving at speeds up to 77.687 miles per hour (125.025 km/h) during solo qualifying runs, Bob Welborn in a 1959 Chevrolet convertible would defeat Lee Petty in a 1959 Plymouth hardtop vehicle by three laps averaging speeds up to 71.633 miles per hour (115.282 km/h).[2] Welborn would go winless after this race until he retired after the running of the 1964 Pennsylvania 200 in New Oxford, Pennsylvania.

A lot of Chevrolets, Thunderbirds, and Ford vehicles participated in this race. These vehicles were considered to be the quintessential vehicles own during the late 1950s and early 1960s. The only problems with fuel occurred when G.C. Spencer ran out of gas on lap 463. Bill Scott and Dominic Persicketti were the typical example of maverick stock car drivers who drove during the days when it was affordable for the daring to go without a sponsor.[2] All the inside starters were hardtops while all the outside starters were convertibles.

Benny Rakestraw would make his grand exit from top-level NASCAR racing after this event while Chuck Tombs and Layman Utsman would make their introductions here.[3]

Notable crew chiefs for this race were Shorty Johns, Mario Rossi and Jess Potter. Potter was also the owner of Brownie King's vehicle while Rossi took care of Tom Pistone's vehicle while in the pits. Shorty Johns was also listed as the owner of Bobby Johns' vehicle.[4]


Grid[2] No. Driver Manufacturer
1 4 Rex White '59 Chevrolet
2 21 Glen Wood '58 Ford
3 72 Bobby Johns '57 Chevrolet
4 49 Bob Welborn '59 Chevrolet
5 47 Jack Smith '59 Chevrolet
6 77 Joe Lee Johnson '57 Chevrolet
7 36 Tommy Irwin '59 Ford Thunderbird
8 10 Elmo Langley '59 Buick
9 42 Lee Petty '59 Plymouth
10 93 Banjo Matthews '59 Ford Thunderbird
11 88 Buck Baker '59 Chevrolet
12 76 Larry Frank '57 Chevrolet
13 5 Tiny Lund '57 Chevrolet
14 41 Joe Weatherly '59 Ford Thunderbird
15 92 Speedy Thompson '59 Ford Thunderbird
16 17 Fred Harb '57 Ford Thunderbird
17 40 Dave White '58 Chevrolet
18 9 Roy Tyner '57 Chevrolet
19 6 Cotton Owens '59 Ford Thunderbird
20 25 Gene White '57 Chevrolet

Finishing orderEdit


  1. ^ Weather information for the 1959 Western North Carolina 500 at the Old Farmers' Almanac
  2. ^ a b c d 1959 Western North Carolina 500 racing information at Racing Reference
  3. ^ 1959 Western North Carolina 500 racing information at Race Database
  4. ^ 1959 Western North Carolina 500 crew chief information at Racing Reference
Preceded by
Western North Carolina 500 races
Succeeded by