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1957:

Bus-driver turned racer defends his champion title again

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The 1957 NASCAR premier series season saw a very popular former-bus-driver- turned-racer from Charlotte, North Carolina, successfully defend his title as Buck Baker – driving his own car – battled the factory teams for the championship.

The 1957 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series season consisted of 53 races on tracks both dirt and paved. Thirty-eight races were held on dirt, 10 on paved surfaces and five on road courses. Eight were contested on short tracks with two being run on the superspeedways in Darlington, South Carolina, and Raleigh, North Carolina.

Circle B Diecast Block

Chevrolets won 21 of 53 events and enjoyed a title run as Baker took top honors with 10 victories. Ford’s drivers won 16 races, while Oldsmobile drivers logged four wins to Pontiac’s two triumphs.

Baker began his championship quest with an early season victory on the short track in Hillsboro, North Carolina, in his black-and-white No. 87 Chevrolet he built himself. Baker finished among the top 10 in 38 of the 40 races he entered with 35 of those coming in consecutive races.

Rising star Marvin Panch won the first race of the season at the Willow Springs road course in Lancaster, California, driving Pete DePaolo’s No. 98 Ford. He followed it by winning again at Concord (N.C.) Speedway, establishing himself as a season-long frontrunner and title hopeful.

Panch also fielded his own car for a portion of the schedule and over the next 11 months he and Baker combined for 16 victories, 52 top-five finishes and 65 top-10 results. When the 1957 season ended in Greensboro, North Carolina, on Oct. 27, Baker had successfully defended his 1956 NASCAR title by 760 points.

1957

PRESIDENT: DWIGHT D. EISENHOWER

NO. 1 SONG: “ALL SHOOK UP,” BY ELVIS PRESLEY

TOP NEWS:

MAY 6: JFK AWARDED PULITZER PRIZE

JUNE 27: HURRICANE AUDREY LANDS

NOV. 22: CONSTRUCTION OF DAYTONA INTERNATIONAL SPEEDWAY ANNOUNCED

BEST DRIVER

GLENN “FIREBALL” ROBERTS collected eight victories in 42 starts. The native of Apopka, Florida, showed strength in Pete DePaolo’s No. 22 factory-supported Ford as well the Ford Roberts fielded himself in 22 races. His year was that of feast or famine as his cars failed to finish 10 times. His average start was 5.8 and average finish was 9.2, slightly less than Baker’s statistics.

BEST RACE

ALFRED “SPEEDY” THOMPSON, driving his own Chevrolet, passed veteran Curtis Turner on the 216th of 364 laps to collect the most prestigious victory of his career in the Southern 500 at South Carolina’s Darlington Raceway. Thompson led 210 laps and averaged 100.094 mph in the hot, attrition-filled event. Sadly, driver Bobby Myers lost his life in a multi-car crash on the 27th lap of the race.

TOP CARS

BUCK BAKER, DRIVER

and owner of the No. 87 Chevrolet Bel Air, logged 10 victories, 30-top-five finishes, 38 top-10 results and six pole positions. Marvin Panch, driver of the No. 98 DePaolo Ford, scored six wins, 22 top-five results, 27 top-10 finishes and four pole positions.

SEASON RECAP

DATE | CIRCUIT | WINNER

Nov. 11 | Willow Springs Int’l Raceway | Marvin Panch

Dec. 2 | Concord Speedway | Marvin Panch

Dec. 30 | Titusville-Cocoa Speedway | Fireball Roberts

Feb. 17 | Daytona Beach & Road Course | Cotton Owens

March 3 | Concord Speedway | Jack Smith

March 17 | Wilson Speedway | Ralph Moody

March 24 | Orange Speedway | Buck Baker

March 31 | Asheville-Weaverville Speedway | Buck Baker

April 7 | North Wilkesboro Speedway | Fireball Roberts

April 14 | Langhorne Speedway | Fireball Roberts

April 19 | Southern States Fairgrounds | Fireball Roberts

April 27 | Hub City Speedway | Marvin Panch

April 28 | Greensboro Agricultural Fairgrounds | Paul Goldsmith

April 28 | Portland Speedway | Art Watts

May 4 | Cleveland County Fairgrounds | Fireball Roberts

May 5 | Atlantic Rural Exposition Fairgrounds | Paul Goldsmith

May 19 | Martinsville Speedway | Buck Baker

May 26 | Portland Speedway | Eddie Pagan

May 30 | Eureka Speedway | Lloyd Dane

May 30 | Lincoln Speedway | Buck Baker

June 1 | Lancaster Speedway | Paul Goldsmith

June 8 | Los Angeles Fairgrounds | Eddie Pagan

June 15 | Newport Speedway | Fireball Roberts

June 20 | Columbia Speedway | Jack Smith

June 22 | Capitol Speedway | Bill Amick

June 29 | Hub City Speedway | Lee Petty

June 30 | Speedway Park | Buck Baker

July 4 | Raleigh Speedway | Paul Goldsmith

July 12 | Southern States Fairgrounds | Marvin Panch

July 14 | Memphis-Arkansas Speedway | Marvin Panch

July 14 | Portland Speedway | Eddie Pagan

July 20 | Hickory Speedway | Jack Smith

July 24 | Norfolk Speedway | Buck Baker

July 30 | Lancaster Speedway | Speedy Thompson

Aug. 4 | Watkins Glen International | Buck Baker

Aug. 4 | Kitsap County Airport | Parnelli Jones

Aug. 10 | Lincoln Speedway | Marvin Panch

Aug. 16 | Old Bridget Stadium | Lee Petty

Aug. 26 | Coastal Speedway | Gwyn Staley

Sept. 2 | Darlington Raceway | Speedy Thompson

Sept. 5 | New York State Fairgrounds | Gwyn Staley

Sept. 8 | Asheville-Weaverville Speedway | Lee Petty

Sept. 8 | California State Fairgrounds | Danny Graves

Sept. 15 | Santa Clara Fairgrounds | Marvin Porter

Sept. 15 | Langhorne Speedway | Gwyn Staley

Sept. 19 | Columbia Speedway | Buck Baker

Sept. 21 | Cleveland County Fairgrounds | Buck Baker

Oct. 5 | Southern States Fairgrounds | Lee Petty

Oct. 6 | Martinsville Speedway | Bob Welborn

Oct. 12 | Newberry Speedway | Fireball Roberts

Oct. 13 | Concord Speedway | Fireball Roberts

Oct. 20 | North Wilkesboro Speedway | Jack Smith

Oct. 27 | Central Carolina Fairgrounds | Buck Baker

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