The 1960 season featured a popular underdog who battled for a championship against the sport’s top teams. When the dust settled, a new champion was crowned.
The 1960 NASCAR season actually started with two races in late 1959 and featured a total of 44 events on a variety of tracks, including both paved and dirt short tracks along with a pair of new 1.5-mile speedways, as the sport began to expand its horizons.
The Chevrolets fielded by General Motors won 20 of the 44 races, including the Daytona 500, Charlotte’s new World 600 and the series championship. Ford drivers won 15 races, while Chrysler’s conservative effort logged nine total victories for its drivers.
The intensely competitive field of drivers included Rex White, in the No. 4 Chevrolet he owned, and rising star Richard Petty, part of the powerful Petty Enterprises operation. White, a native of Taylorsville, North Carolina, and Petty, of Level Cross, North Carolina, were involved in an interesting battle for the series championship.
White’s lone career NASCAR title came through consistent finishes, highlighted by victories in Mont- gomery, Alabama; Weaverville, North Carolina; Martinsville, Virginia; North Wilkesboro, North Carolina; and twice in Columbia, South Carolina. He accumulated 25 top-five finishes and 35 top-10 results.
After a long year full of triumphs and occasional setbacks, White was crowned the 1960 champion after finishing fifth in the season finale at Atlanta Motor Speedway.
Petty’s three victories came on short tracks in Martinsville, Virginia; Hillsboro, North Carolina; and the fairgrounds oval in Charlotte, North Carolina. His 16 top-five results and 30 top-10 finishes were not quite as strong as the numbers amassed by White. Petty’s season long tally of 17,228 points fell 3,936 short of White’s 21,164.
PRESIDENT: John F. Kennedy
NO. 1 AT THE BOX OFFICE: Ben-Hur
NO. 1 SONG: “Theme From a Summer Place,” Percy Faith and His Orchestra
– 1960 Olympics open in Rome, Italy
– Elvis Presley returns to U.S. after military service.
GALLON OF GAS: 31 cents
REX WHITE WON THE 1960 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series championship by wheeling the gold-and-white No.4 Chevrolets he and crew chief Louis Clements constructed with financial support from various sponsors that kept White’s fledgling team in business. White was consistent everywhere he raced, often finishing among the lead cars as he posted six victories, 25 top-five results and 35 top-10 finishes. At 5-foot-4, White bested all other drivers by capturing NASCAR’s top honor.
DRIVING A 1960 Chevrolet sorely lacking in horsepower, Junior Johnson won the Daytona 500 after discovering how to draft other cars. After being pulled to the front by faster cars, Johnson took the lead with eight laps remaining when the rear window blew out of Bobby Johns’ car and he spun. Johnson, a moonshiner from Wilkes County, North Carolina, picked up the ride in John Masoni’s car just eight days before the race.
REX WHITE, IN THE NO 4. Impala, sponsored by Nalley Chevrolet, collected six victories, 25 top-five finishes and 35 top-10 results in 40 starts. Richard Petty, driving the No. 43 Petty Enterprises Plymouth, amassed three wins, 15 top-five results and 30 top-10 finishes in 40 starts.
DATE | LOCATION | WINNER
Nov. 8 | Charlotte Fairgrounds | Jack Smith
Nov. 26 | Columbia Speedway | Ned Jarrett
Feb. 12 | Daytona International Speedway | Fireball Roberts
Feb. 12 | Daytona International Speedway | Jack Smith
Feb. 14 | Daytona International Speedway | Junior Johnson
Feb. 28 | Charlotte Fairgrounds | Richard Petty
March 27 | North Wilkesboro Speedway | Lee Petty
April 3 | Arizona State Fairgrounds | John Rostek
April 5 | Columbia Speedway | Rex White
April 10 | Martinsville Speedway | Richard Petty
April 15 | Hickory Speedway | Joe Weatherly
April 17 | Wilson Speedway | Joe Weatherly
April 18 | Bowman Gray Stadium | Glen Wood
April 23 | Greenville-Pickens Speedway | Ned Jarrett
April 24 | Asheville-Weaverville Speedway | Lee Petty
May 14 | Darlington Raceway | Joe Weatherly
May 28 | Hub City Speedway | Ned Jarrett
May 29 | Orange Speedway | Lee Petty
June 5 | Richmond International Raceway | Lee Petty
June 12 | Marchbanks Speedway | Marvin Porter
June 19 | Charlotte Motor Speedway | Joe Lee Johnson
June 26 | Bowman Gray Stadium | Glen Wood
July 4 Daytona International Speedway Jack Smith
July 10 | Heidelberg Stadium | Lee Petty
July 17 | Montgomery Air Base | Rex White
July 23 | Rambi Raceway | Buck Baker
July 31 | Atlanta Motor Speedway | Fireball Roberts
Aug. 3 | Dixie Speedway | Ned Jarrett
Aug. 7 | Fairgrounds Speedway | Johnny Beauchamp
Aug. 14 | Asheville-Weaverville Speedway | Rex White
Aug. 16 | Hub City Speedway | Cotton Owens
Aug. 18 | Columbia Speedway | Rex White
Aug. 20 | South Boston Speedway | Junior Johnson
Aug. 23 | Bowman Gray Stadium | Glen Wood
Sept. 5 | Darlington Raceway | Buck Baker
Sept. 9 | Hickory Speedway | Junior Johnson
Sept. 11 | Sacramento Fairgrounds | Jim Cook
Sept. 15 | Gamecock Speedway | Ned Jarrett
Sept. 18 | Orange Speedway | Richard Petty
Sept. 25 | Martinsville Speedway | Rex White
Oct. 2 | North Wilkesboro Speedway | Rex White
Oct. 16 | Charlotte Motor Speedway | Speedy Thompson
Oct. 23 | Richmond International Raceway | Speedy Thompson
Oct. 30 | Atlanta Motor Speedway | Bobby Johnson