Herb Thomas? Or Red Byron.....some interesting info

Discussion in 'Wolfman's Nascar Pit Stop' started by Catgirl, Feb 10, 2007.

  1. Catgirl

    Catgirl New Member

    Messages:
    13,546
    Okay, so I don't know too much about the roots of NASCAR....the history before say, 1970 or so. I didn't know the answer to who the first two-time NASCAR champion was. This morning, after seeing Glenn's answer to that particular question (which was Herb Thomas) I decided to do a little research, and here's what I found. It's pretty interesting, at least I thought so.

    In the particular article I was looking at, THIS is the question that was posed:
    Who was the first two-time champion in NASCAR's top division?

    NASCAR official records (evidently kept only since 1949) say Herb Thomas.
    He started the 1951 season with moderate success in his Plymouth (plus one win in an Oldsmobile) before switching to a Hudson Hornet, at the suggestion of fellow driver Marshall Teague. Thomas won the Southern 500 rather handily in what was famously dubbed "The Fabulous Hudson Hornet", which would be the first of six wins he would earn in a two month span. His late charge helped him narrowly defeat Fonty Flock to win the Grand National Championship. With help from crew chief Smokey Yunick, Thomas subsequently became the first owner/driver to take the championship in the process.

    In 1952, Thomas and his Hornet were involved in a close championship race with another Flock, Fonty's younger brother Tim. The two drivers won eight races in their respective Hudsons, but Flock came out on top at the end, in spite of another late season charge from Thomas. Thomas returned with a vengeance in 1953 and dominated the entire season, winning a series best twelve races en route to becoming the first two-time series champion. Thomas won twelve races again in 1954, including a second Southern 500 win, but he was beaten by a more consistent Lee Petty in the championship standings.

    BUT....the top division of NASCAR in 1948 was the Modified Division (and it's first championship in ANY division) and the top division in 1949 was Strictly Stock (what we now know as cup). Red Byron was the NASCAR champion in 1948 and 1949.

    According to Greg Fielden, NASCAR historian, NASCAR wanted the Strictly Stock to be the headlining event in 1948 but due to the shortage of available stock cars (the manufacturers were still playing catch-up in making enough cars to fill the need of the driving populace in 1948; the shortage was such that most fans wouldn't stand for seeing a brand new car getting beat up in a race while he was tooling around in a pre-1940 clunker waiting for a new car to be available for him to buy) they couldn't get enough entries to make a good race. The other two series that NASCAR had were the modifieds and the roadsters. The roadsters fizzled and the mods ended up running 52 races in 1948 with Red Byron taking the championship.

    Because of NASCAR's desire to see a stock car division headline, the season bombed (the stockers were allowed to run with the mods in some races) and NASCAR doesn't count 1948 as a recordable year.

    And hey, I answered another question for myself by doing this research.....who the character of Doc Hudson (voiced by Paul Newman) in the movie CARS, by Disney/Pixar, is based on. In the movie he's even called "The Fabulous Hudson Hornet" :smile2:.
     
  2. wolfman

    wolfman Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    9,229
    State:
    Triadelphia, WV
    Name:
    Walter Flack
    Yes, Red Byron was the first 2 time champion in 1948 and 1949. In 1948 the cars were not officially strictly stock, they were called modifieds. So it would have been like winning the championships in 2 different series.
    Funny thing is that today, hardly nothing is strictly stock on the cars in any series. I should be more specific with the questions. lol

    1948 they were Nascar Modifieds
    1949 they were Nascar Strictly Stocks
    1950-1970 they were Nascar Grand National
    1971-2003 they were Nascar Winston Cup
    2004-present Nascar Nextel Cup
     

  3. Catgirl

    Catgirl New Member

    Messages:
    13,546
    Yeah, 'cause that one could probably be argued either way, as far as NASCAR "history" goes :big_smile:. Thanks for the yearly breakdown Walter, you're :cool2:.
     
  4. Gordhawk

    Gordhawk New Member

    Messages:
    1,378
    State:
    Iowa
    Catgirl,
    Nascar as we know it today,was not even born until 1949. At that time it was known as the Nascar Strictly Stock Series. The 1949 season consisted of a whole sum of 8 races! I thought this contest was trivia of the modern day nascar,as we know it today. That's not my call though,it's Wolfman's because he's the one that started the contest,and does an excellent job with it in my opinion.
    Glenn
     
  5. Catgirl

    Catgirl New Member

    Messages:
    13,546
    Glenn, I accept Herb Thomas as the answer, just thought this was a good read. If I am CHALLENGING a response, I will post on the trivia thread itself :smile2:. I think Walter already knows that, and I agree that he runs a great contest!