By Ben White
Tim Flock logged eight wins and 25 top-10 finishes in 33 starts on his way to securing the 1952 NASCAR Cup Series championship. He drove a Hudson Hornet entered by car owner Ted Chester of Atlanta.
Among automotive manufacturers, the Hudson Hornet was by far the most dominant car throughout the 1952 season, winning 27 of the 34 races. Its center of gravity and center point steering system contributed heavily to the car’s success.
Tim Flock won the season opener at Florida’s Palm Beach Speedway, but it was the second race of the season that proved to be the most popular, as an estimated 20,000 spectators saw Marshall Teague win on the 4.1-mile Beach and Road Course in Daytona Beach, Florida.
Sixty-one cars started the crash-filled event with only 10 running at the finish. The race ended on lap 37 (cut by 11 laps) when it was halted due to the high tide.
Another major event came in June at the Michigan Fairgrounds when the second Motor City 250 was run on a one-mile dirt oval that was built in 1899. Before the race, NASCAR offered its first five-figure purse at $11,675, which equates to $112,831 in today’s dollars.
Another highlight came on Sept. 1, at South Carolina’s Darlington Raceway with the running of the prestigious Southern 500. It was the 25th race of the season and winner Fonty Flack took more than six hours to complete the 500-mile distance.Herb Thomas won the final race of the year in West Palm Beach, Florida, on Nov. 30 but was still 104 points behind Tim Flock in the championship chase. Flock finished 12th that day after flipping on the 164th lap.
PRESIDENT: HARRY S. TRUMAN
NO. 1 SONG: “BLUE TANGO” BY LEROY ANDERSON
MOVIES TO WATCH: SINGIN’ IN THE RAIN AND HIGH NOON
GALLON OF GAS: 27 CENTS
POP CULTURE: “THE TODAY SHOW” FIRST AIRED ON NBC.
Tim Flock, driving a Hudson Hornet fielded by Ted Chester, tied championship rival Herb Thomas with eight victories during the season. However, the Atlanta native didn’t let anything stop him from claiming the title. All he had to do to earn the crown was to start the season finale but still, on lap 164, Flock flipped his car. Uninjured, Flock said, “I bet I’m the only guy who ever won a championship while in his head.”
Fonty Flock, driver of the No. 14 Oldsmobile, won the biggest race of his career when he topped the Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway in South Carolina. Flock started from the pole and led 321 of the 367 laps after making only three pit stops during the race. Johnny Patterson finished second followed by Hern Thomas, Bob King and Banjo Matthews.
Tim Flock’s No. 91 Fabulous Hudson Hornet recorded eight wins, 25 top-10 finishes and claimed four poles in 33 starts.
Herb Thomas’ No 92 Fabulous Hudson Hornet also claimed eight victories with 22 top-10 results in 32 appearances.
1952 Season Recap
DATE | LOCATION | WINNER
Feb. 11 | Daytona Beach and Road Course | Marshall Teague
April 1 | Charlotte Speedway | Curtis Turner
April 8 | Lakeview Speedway | Tim Flock
April 8 | Carrell Speedway | Marshall Teague
April 15 | Occoneechee Speedway | Fonty Flock
April 22 | Arizona State Fairgrounds | Marshall Teague
April 29 | North Wilkesboro Speedway | Fonty Flock
May 6 | Martinsville Speedway | Curtis Turner
May 30 | Canfield Fairgrounds | Marshall Teague
June 10 | Columbus Speedway | Tim Flock
June 16 | Columbia Speedway | Frank Mundy
June 24 | Dayton Speedway | Curtis Turner
June 30 | Carrell Speedway | Lou Figaro
July 1 | Grand River Speedrome | Marshall Teague
July 8 | Bainbridge Speedway | Fonty Flock
July 15 | Heidelberg Speedway | Herb Thomas
July 29 | Asheville-Weaverville Speedway | Fonty Flock
July 31 | Monroe County Fairgrounds | Lee Petty
Aug. 1 | Altamont Speedway | Fonty Flock
Aug. 12 | Michigan Fairgrounds | Tommy Thompson
Aug. 19 | Fort Miami Speedway | Tim Flock
Aug. 24 | Morristown Speedway | Tim Flock
Aug. 25 | Greenville-Pickens | Speedway Bob Flock
Sept. 3 | Darlington Raceway | Herb Thomas
Sept. 7 | Columbia Speedway | Tim Flock
Sept. 8 | Central City Speedway | Herb Thomas
Sept. 15 | Langhorne Speedway | Herb Thomas
Sept. 23 | Charlotte Speedway | Herb Thomas
Sept. 23 | Dayton Speedway | Fonty Flock
Sept. 30 | Wilson County Speedway | Fonty Flock
Oct. 7 | Occoneechee Speedway | Herb Thomas
Oct. 12 | Thompson Speedway | Neil Cole
Oct. 14 | Martinsville Speedway | Frank Mundy
Oct. 14 | Pine Grove Speedway | Tim Flock
Oct. 14 | Oakland Stadium | Marvin Burke
Oct. 21 | North Wilkesboro Speedway | Fonty Flock
Oct. 28 | Hanford Motor Speedway | Danny Weinberg
Nov. 4 | Jacksonville Speedway | Herb Thomas
Nov. 11 | Lakewood Speedway | Tim Flock
Nov. 11 | Carrell Speedway | Bill Norton
Nov. 25 | Lakeview Speedway | Frank Munday