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The 1960 Gwyn Staley 160 was a NASCAR Grand National Series (now Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series) event that was held on March 27, 1960, at North Wilkesboro Speedway in North Wilkesboro, North Carolina.

1960 Gwyn Staley 160
Race details[1]
Race 7 of 44 in the 1960 NASCAR Grand National Series season
North Wilkesboro Speedway
North Wilkesboro Speedway
Date March 27, 1960 (1960-March-27)
Official name Gwyn Staley 160
Location North Wilkesboro Speedway, North Wilkesboro, North Carolina
Course Permanent racing facility
0.625 mi (1.005 km)
Distance 160 laps, 100 mi (80 km)
Weather Mild with temperatures of 71.1 °F (21.7 °C); wind speeds of 10.1 miles per hour (16.3 km/h)
Average speed 66.437 miles per hour (106.920 km/h)
Attendance 9,200[2]
Pole position
Driver John Masoni
Most laps led
Driver Junior Johnson John Masoni
Laps 145
Winner
No. 42 Lee Petty Petty Enterprises
Television in the United States
Network untelevised
Announcers none

Paul Lewis, who would eventually be known as the Gentleman Teacher, would make his NASCAR Cup Series debut in this event. Burrhead Nantz would retire from NASCAR Cup Series action after the end of this event.[3]

Contents

BackgroundEdit

Through the 1960s and 1970s the NASCAR Grand National Series began focusing on bigger, faster, and longer tracks. Like other short tracks in NASCAR at the time, crowd capacity and purses were small compared to the larger tracks. Over time, Enoch Staley and Jack Combs attempted to keep the facility modern and on pace with the growth of the sport. The West Grandstand was rebuilt with chair-type seats rather than the old bare concrete slabs. New larger restroom facilities were built, and the South Grandstand was expanded. A garage facility was also built within the track, which at the time was rare for short-track venues. But the main focus was on keeping ticket prices affordable. Food and beverage prices were kept low, and event parking and camping were always free. As long as profits covered maintenance costs, Staley was satisfied with the income of the track.

SummaryEdit

Glen Wood, Junior Johnson and Lee Petty would dominate the entire 120-minute racing event where more than 9,000 people would see Rex White defeated by the elder Petty by less than a lap.[2] After qualifying in 20th place in a 1958 Chevrolet Impala, he would move up eight positions to finish in 12th place. This solid finish would guarantee him more time driving Chevrolet stock cars.[4]

There were 22 American-born drivers who qualified for this 160-lap extravaganza. Joe Lee Johnson was forced to become the last-place finisher due to troubles with his oil pressure. Even Junior Johnson's start in the pole position was barely enough to give him a "top five" finisher. Johnson's top speed of 83.86 miles per hour (134.96 km/h) during solo qualifying runs would allow him to stand up to Wood, Johnson, and both of the Petty family members while participating in this racing event. Lee Petty's son, Richard, would finish a lowly 18th after qualifying in an incredible fourth place due to his youth and general lack of experience behind the wheel.[2] E.J. Trivette would be the lowest-finishing driver to actually finish the event; although he was more than 20 laps behind the lead lap cars by the time the race had ended.[2]

Individual event winnings ranged from the winner's share of $900 ($7,622 when considering inflation) to the last-place finishers' share of $50 ($423 when considering inflation). The total prize purse for the 1960 running of the Gwyn Staley 160 was a then-incredible $3,985 ($33,749 when considering inflation).[5]

Notable crew chiefs who actively participated in this race were Shep Langdon, Ray Fox, Bud Allman, and Louis Clements.[6]

The transition to purpose-built racecars began in the early 1960s and occurred gradually over that decade. Changes made to the sport by the late 1960s brought an end to the "strictly stock" vehicles of the 1950s; most of the cars were trailered to events or hauled in by trucks.

QualifyingEdit

Grid[2] No. Driver Manufacturer Owner
1 27 Junior Johnson '59 Chevrolet John Masoni
2 21 Glen Wood '59 Ford Wood Brothers
3 11 Ned Jarrett '60 Ford Ned Jarrett
4 43 Richard Petty '59 Plymouth Petty Enterprises
5 87 Buck Baker '60 Chevrolet Buck Baker
6 4 Rex White '59 Chevrolet Rex White
7 31 Joe Weatherly '60 Ford Holman-Moody
8 42 Lee Petty '60 Plymouth Petty Enterprises
9 94 Banjo Matthews '60 Ford Banjo Matthews
10 77 Joe Lee Johnson '60 Ford W.J. Ridgeway

TimelineEdit

Section reference:[2]

  • Start of race: Glen Wood started the race in the pole position
  • Lap 2: Junior Johnson takes over the lead from Glen Wood
  • Lap 9: Joe Lee Johnson's oil pressure became faulty, causing him to become the last-place finisher
  • Lap 14: Neil Castles had a problem with his engine, forcing him out of the race
  • Lap 17: Burrhead Nantz' vehicle overheated, ending his day on the track
  • Lap 18: David Pearson had a terminal crash, causing him to withdraw from the event
  • Lap 125: Richard Petty had a problematic engine, forcing him to leave the race
  • Lap 127: Banjo Matthews had a terminal crash, forcing him to withdraw from the event
  • Lap 137: The rear end of Cotton Owens' vehicle fell off, ending his day on the track
  • Lap 144: Buck Baker had major engine issues, causing him to exit the race
  • Lap 147: Lee Petty takes over the lead from Junior Johnson
  • Finish: Lee Petty was officially declared the winner of the event

Finishing orderEdit

Section reference:[2]

  1. Lee Petty† (No. 42)
  2. Rex White (No. 4)
  3. Glen Wood† (No. 21)
  4. Ned Jarrett (No. 11)
  5. Junior Johnson (No. 27)
  6. Doug Yates (No. 23)
  7. Roy Tyner† (No. 78)
  8. Jimmy Pardue† (No. 54)
  9. Buddy Baker† (No. 1)
  10. Joe Weatherly† (No. 31)
  11. L.D. Austin (No. 74)
  12. Paul Lewis (No. 42)
  13. Bunkie Blackburn† (No. 64)
  14. Buck Baker*† (No. 87)
  15. E.J. Trivette (No. 35)
  16. Cotton Owens*† (No. 50)
  17. Banjo Matthews*† (No. 94)
  18. Richard Petty* (No. 43)
  19. David Pearson*† (No. 67)
  20. Burrhead Nantz* (No. 51)
  21. Neil Castles* (No. 80)
  22. Joe Lee Johnson*† (No. 77)

* Driver failed to finish race
† Driver is known to be deceased

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ Weather information for the 1960 Gwyn Staley 160 at The Old Farmers' Almanac
  2. ^ a b c d e f g 1960 Gwyn Staley 160 racing information at Racing Reference
  3. ^ Introductions/retirements for the 1960 Gwyn Staley 160 at Race Database
  4. ^ Declaration of Stock Car Independents at Google Books
  5. ^ 1960 Gwyn Staley 160 racing information at Fantasy Racing Cheat Sheet
  6. ^ 1960 Gwyn Staley 160 crew chiefs at Racing Reference
Preceded by
1960 untitled race at Southern States Fairgrounds
NASCAR Grand National Series Season
1960
Succeeded by
1960 Copper Cup 100