Pontiac Wins Daytona Grand National Race 1957

The Daytona Beach Road Course was a race track that was instrumental in the formation of the National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing, or NASCAR. It originally became famous as the location where fifteen world land speed records were set.

The course started on the pavement of highway A1A (at 4511 South Atlantic Avenue, Ponce Inlet 29.108890°N 80.943669°W). A restaurant named "Racing's North Turn" now stands at that location. It went south two miles (3 km) parallel to the ocean on A1A (S. Atlantic Ave) to the end of the road, where the drivers accessed the beach at the south turn at the Beach Street approach 29.084705°N 80.925566°W, returned two miles (3 km) north on the sandy beach surface, and returned to A1A at the north turn.[1] The lap length in early events was 3.2 miles (5.1 km), and it was lengthened to 4.2 miles (6.8 km) in the late 1940s. In the video game NASCAR Thunder 2004 by EA Sports, the course is shortened to about half its distance, but still shows how the basic course was set up.

in 1957 the three-race weekend was revised with new preliminary formats. The first race is a 125-mile (201 km) Modifield/Sportsmen race, and the second is a 160-mile (260 km) Late Model Convertible event. Tim Flock and Curtis Turner are the victors.

In the main event, Cotton Owens moved from his third place starting position to lead the first lap. Paul Goldsmith took the lead briefly after 40 miles (of 160 miles). Goldsmith took the lead back from Owens after Owens pitted after 94 miles (151 km). Goldsmith's quick pit stop gave him a lead that he maintained until he went out with a blown piston with 36 miles (58 km) left in the race. Owens led the rest of the way for his first career win. The win was the first NASCAR win for Pontiac, and the first Grand National race speed average over 100 mph (101.541 mph).

This film concentrates on the main event. Starting with scenes of the NASCAR Inspection Station show the cars of Goldsmith, Tiny Lund, Billy Myers, Marvin Panch and Curtis Turner. Ray Nichels, the car builder who helped bring Pontiac into NASCAR, is shown at his Speedweek headquarters at the Stephens Pontiac garage in Daytona, where both of his red '57 Pontiacs are being prepared for drivers Banjo Matthews and Cotton Owens.

This film takes to the beach for qualifying and Goldsmith, Turner, Darel Dieringer, plus the Nichels Pontiacs of Cotton Owens and Banjo Matthews are all shown in action. Banjo wins the pole and starting beside him is Jack Smith. Owens starts third with Fonty Flock in the #18 Bill Stroppe Mercury fourth, while Tiny Lund starts fifth with Dieringer alongside.

By the end of the first lap Owens has taken the lead, with Paul Goldsmith, who starts in 18th position in Smokey's #3 black '57 Chevy, moving up fast. The first car out of the race is Bob Duell, shown running up the bank in the south turn! Goldsmith takes the lead from Owens briefly at the 40-mile mark, but Owens is back in front the next time around! Goldsmith takes first again when Owens makes his only pit stop after 94 miles. Cotton gets back out in a little over a minute to try and chase down Goldsmith, who must soon come in, himself. Great camera work shows the pit stops of top contenders Goldsmith, Owens and Flock, with car builders Nichels, Yunick and Bill Stroppe all in action! Goldsmith's stop is quicker than Owens', and he keeps the lead in the late stages of the race. Meanwhile other drivers are shown having their problems. Darel Dieringer and Rex White crash in the north turn! Frank Schneider's #45 Babb Chevrolet ends the race stalled in the south turn. Lem Svajian misses the north turn altogether and runs through the safety markers! During the race, you'll also see great driving by Dick Beaty, Fonty Flock and Fireball Roberts.

With 36 miles to go the complexion of the race suddenly changes when Goldsmith's Chevy burns a piston! Owens' #6 Pontiac has been pressuring Goldsmith all the way, with Fonty Flock, in the #18 Stroppe Mercury in third place. Cameras follow the black #3 into the pits where Smokey raises the hood to find Goldsmith's day has ended. Owens again has the lead and soon after takes the checkered flag, giving both himself and Pontiac their first win in NASCAR history! A happy Cotton Owens and proud car owner Ray Nichels are shown in Daytona's victory lane receiving the Harley Earl trophy from Bill France! Cotton Owens becomes the first driver ever to win a Grand National race at more than 100 MPH and his average speed of 101.541 MPH is still a record for the old beach and road course at Daytona!

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