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The 1961 Buddy Shuman 250 was a NASCAR Grand National Series (now Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series) event that was held on September 8, 1961, at Hickory Speedway in Hickory, North Carolina.

1961 Buddy Shuman 250
Race details[1][2]
Race 43 of 52 in the 1961 NASCAR Grand National Series season
Date September 9, 1961 (1961-September-09)
Official name Buddy Shuman 250
Location Hickory Speedway, Hickory, North Carolina
Course Permanent racing facility
0.400 mi (0.644 km)
Distance 250 laps, 100 mi (150 km)
Weather Very hot with temperatures of 87.1 °F (30.6 °C); wind speeds of 11.1 miles per hour (17.9 km/h)
Average speed 67.529 miles per hour (108.677 km/h)
Attendance 10,500[3]
Pole position
Driver Rex White
Most laps led
Driver Ned Jarrett B.G. Holloway
Laps 160
No. 4 Rex White Rex White
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.

Race reportEdit

Two hundred and fifty-two laps were accomplished on a dirt track spanning 0.400 miles (0.644 km).[2][3] The race took one hour and twenty-eight minutes to complete[3] (the approximate length of three modern 30-minute sitcoms aired simultaneously). The pole position speed achieved by eventual winner Rex White was 72.290 miles per hour (116.339 km/h).[3] Jack Smith would become the eventual second-place finished after being outlapped by White in front of 10500 live spectators.[3] Two cautions slowed the race for an undetermined length of laps. Junior Johnson would crash on lap 58 in his 1961 Pontiac Catalina machine while the winning vehicle would be classified as a Chevrolet with a 1961 model year[2][3][4] (presumably a Bel Air). Being a modest race on a short dirt track, the highest prize that was awarded at the time was $900 ($7,546 in current U.S. dollars).[3]

A young Richard Petty (being only 24 years old during this race) would finish in 17th place due to issues with his vehicle's rear end on lap 102.; it would be a rare occasion where he drove a car other than his signature number 43.[2][3][4] The entire 20-car field was made up of American-born males.[3] Bud Allman was Ned Jarrett's crew chief for the race;[5] he helped Jarrett finish in eighth place.

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.


Grid[3] No. Driver Manufacturer Owner
1 4 Rex White '61 Chevrolet Rex White
2 27 Junior Johnson '61 Pontiac Rex Lovette
3 7 Joe Weatherly '60 Pontiac Elmo Henderson
4 54 Jimmy Pardue '60 Chevrolet Jimmy Pardue
5 86 Buck Baker '61 Chrysler Buck Baker
6 42 Richard Petty '61 Plymouth Petty Enterprises
7 11 Ned Jarrett '61 Chevrolet B.G. Holloway
8 6 Cotton Owens '60 Pontiac Cotton Owens
9 17 Fred Harb '61 Ford Fred Harb
10 23 Doug Yates '59 Plymouth Raeford Johnson
11 85 Emanuel Zervakis '60 Chevrolet Monroe Shook
12 48 G.C. Spencer '60 Chevrolet G.C. Spencer
13 47 Jack Smith '61 Pontiac Jack Smith
14 19 Herman Beam '60 Ford Herman Beam
15 93 Lee Reitzel '60 Ford Lee Reitzel
16 3 Mark Hurley '59 T-Bird unknown
17 36 Larry Thomas '60 Chevrolet Wade Yonts
18 74 L.D. Austin '61 Chevrolet L.D. Austin
19 5 Paul Lewis '59 Chevrolet unknown
20 71 Bob Barron '60 Dodge Bob Barron

Top ten finishersEdit

Pos[3] Grid No. Driver Manufacturer Laps Winnings Laps led Time/Status
1 1 4 Rex White Chevrolet 250 $900 32 1:28:51
2 13 47 Jack Smith Pontiac 249 $525 0 +1 lap
3 5 86 Buck Baker Chrysler 249 $375 0 +1 lap
4 8 6 Cotton Owens Pontiac 248 $275 0 +2 laps
5 11 85 Emanuel Zervakis Chevrolet 246 $250 0 +4 laps
6 12 48 G.C. Spencer Chevrolet 242 $215 0 +8 laps
7 9 17 Fred Harb Ford 240 $175 0 +10 laps
8 7 11 Ned Jarrett Chevrolet 239 $150 160 Left rear axle problems
9 18 74 L.D. Austin Chevrolet 233 $140 0 +17 laps
10 15 93 Lee Reitzel Ford 225 $130 0 +25 laps


Section reference: [3]

  • Start of race: Rex White started the race with the pole position, who was prompted overtaken by Junior Johnson prior to lap 2
  • Lap 58: Junior Johnson had a terminal crash, forcing him to withdraw from the event
  • Lap 59: Rex White took the lead from Junior Johnson
  • Lap 61: The clutch in Doug Yates' vehicle became problematic, ending his day on the track
  • Lap 89: The rear end of Larry Thomas' vehicle was disabled, ending the race early for him
  • Lap 102: Richard Petty's vehicle would be missing a rear end, prompting him to leave the race early
  • Lap 162: The rear end of Bob Barron's vehicle fell out, forcing him to leave the race prematurely
  • Lap 189: Joe Weatherly noticed that the ball joints on his vehicle came out, forcing him to end his race session early
  • Lap 190: Rex White took over the lead from Ned Jarrett
  • Lap 194: The left-rear axle that belonged to Jimmy Pardue's vehicle stopped working properly on this lap
  • Lap 209: Ned Jarrett took over the lead from Rex White
  • Lap 239: The left-rear axle of Ned Jarrett's vehicle developed major issues, forcing him to accept a respectable eighth-place finish
  • Lap 240: Rex White took over the lead from Ned Jarrett for the final 11 laps of the event
  • Finish: Rex White was officially declared the winner of the event


  1. ^ "1961 Buddy Shuman 250 weather information". The Old Farmers' Almanac. Retrieved 2012-10-11.
  2. ^ a b c d "1961 Buddy Shuman 250 information (second reference)". Ultimate Racing History. Retrieved 2010-12-05.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l "1961 Buddy Shuman 250 information". Racing Reference. Retrieved 2010-12-05.
  4. ^ a b "1961 Buddy Shuman 250 information (third entry)". Everything Stock Car. Retrieved 2010-12-05.
  5. ^ Crew chief information for the 1961 Buddy Shuman 250 at Racing Reference
Preceded by
1961 Southern 500
NASCAR Grand National Series Season
Succeeded by
1961 Capital City 200