Title Chase Had Upside Down Ending In ’52


Tim Flock

Tim Flock after winning at West Palm Beach.  Pictured third from the left is track promoter Carl Queen.  Note the Georgia dealer tag on Tim's Hudson.  Photo courtesy the Marilynn Clinard collection

Tim Flock after winning at West Palm Beach. Pictured third from the left is track promoter Carl Queen. Note the Georgia dealer tag on Tim's Hudson. Photo courtesy the Marilynn Clinard collection

Tim Flock, the youngest of three racing brothers, had established himself as a force to be reckoned with driving modifieds, and took well to the Grand National circuit.  Tim always had a smile, and was one of the most popular drivers on the circuit.  Behind the wheel, he was all business.  Smooth and calculated, he had come from a family background rich in automotive history.

While he had never driven any moonshine trips down Highway 9 from the hills of Georgia into thirsty Atlanta, he had tagged along with brothers Fonty and Bob on their trips.  All three found they had a taste for racing, and found NASCAR to be a great banner to race under.

They were there from the beginning, with all three known as terrors in the modified division.  Fonty was the 1948 NASCAR modified champion.  All three had competed four years earlier in the first Strictly Stock event (later to become Grand National, today known as the Sprint Cup).  And until the early 90’s, they were the only three brothers to compete against each other on NASCAR’s premier circuit.

After the West Palm Beach event, the tour moved to the beach and road course in Daytona, where Marshall Teague grabbed the win on his home track, in a race cut short due to an incoming tide.  Herb Thomas, driving a team Hudson Hornet to Teague, finished second.  Fonty Flock finished fourth in his Frank Christian owned Oldsmobile, and took over the points lead after brother Tim finished 55th with a mechanical failure.

Herb Thomas (left) and Marshall Teague (right) went three for three at Daytona Beach, Jacksonville and North Wilkesboro.

Herb Thomas (left) and Marshall Teague (right) went three for three at Daytona Beach, Jacksonville and North Wilkesboro.

The tour moved just a little north to Jacksonville, where it was again Teague and Thomas running first and second in the 100-miler on the dirt half-mile.  After a few weeks off, Thomas put his Hudson into victory lane for the first time that season, outdistancing Fonty Flock at North Wilkesboro, NC.

1952 had one common theme as the tour went to Martinsville to start off the month of April – Hudson.  The Hudson Hornet had won every event so far in the year.  The streak stayed alive at the tight Virginia half-mile, as Dick Rathmann led the final 20-laps in his Hornet to win.

Fonty Flock had issues when his Olds threw a wheel, sending his car flipping end over end.  Fonty dislocated his shoulder in the crash.

Buck Baker kept the Hudson streak going one week later, with his Hornet outdistancing Lee Petty for the win at Columbia, SC.  Petty took over the points lead with Fonty Flock getting relief from Gober Sosebee.

One interesting side note to the Columbia race came on lap 81, when an intoxicated fan attempted to drive his 1950 Mercury across the track during the race, and traveled into the path of the Ford of E.C. Ramsey.  Ramsey, enraged and out of the race, pulled the fan out of the Mercury and began to pummel him.  Both Ramsey and the fan spent the night in the local jail.

Georgia racing Hall of Fame driver Gober Sosebee appeared to be on his way to breaking the Hudson streak at his home track, Atlanta’s Lakewood Speedway.  But with seven laps left, his Cadillac broke a spindle, handing the win to Bill Blair in an Oldsmobile.

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