By Brandon Reed
Posted in Feature Stories 12/4/09
The 2009 Chase for the Sprint Cup championship is now history, the champagne has been poured, and most of the Lowe’s team members are enjoying the spoils of victory.
With winning a record fourth straight title, Jimmie Johnson has surpassed the mark set by legendary throttle stomper Cale Yarborough, who won three back-to-back championships from 1976 through 1978.
This has led some racing experts to compare Johnson to some of the all time greats.
So, with the comparisons to the “Good Old Days,” that begs the question, “What did the Championship chase look back when it was real racing?”
Let’s take a look at how things shaped up some 57 years ago. At first glance, it appears to be one with all its own twists and turns that had a finish straight out of a Hollywood script.
So, let’s step into Mr. Peabody’s Way-Back machine, and visit the Sprint Cup series, circa 1952.
At the beginning of the season, the Grand National series, as it was known before big dollar title sponsorship came into the sport, was entering its fourth year of existence, and was proving to be a popular attraction. Fans were filling the stands wherever NASCAR came to race, and had watched Herb Thomas win the 1951 title, beating out brothers Fonty and Tim Flock.
The season opened at West Palm Beach. Tim Flock took the win after starting up front, driving Ted Chester’s Hudson Hornet to the win over Lee Petty. The win marked the ninth career victory for the Georgia driver on the Grand National tour.