Friday, August 12, 2011

1951 - Thompson wins Detroit Grand National 250-miler

Tommy Thompson is all smiles in victory lane after winning the 250-mile NASCAR Grand National race at the Michigan State Fairgrounds.

Detroit, Mich. (August 12, 1951) – Tommy Thompson of Louisville, Ky., drove his 1951 Plymouth to victory yesterday in the 250-mile NASCAR Grand National anniversary stock car race at the Michigan State Fairgrounds.

The race came down to Thompson battling with Curtis Turner. With 25 laps left in the event, Turner attempted a slide job and the two collided spinning into the track’s wooden retaining wall. Joe Eubanks of Spartansburg, S.C., driving a 1950 Oldsmobile 88, grabbed the lead while the two struggled to recover from the crash. Eubanks however appeared to be unaware that he was leading and continued driving at a very conservative pace. Thompson recovered and ran down Eubanks. Turner’s 1951 Oldsmobile retired from the race with a damaged radiator.

Thompson passed Eubanks for the lead with seven laps remaining. He established a 37 second lead in the remaining laps for his first win in the NASCAR Grand National Division and was awarded $5,000 prize money.

A field of 54 cars started the four hour grind on the 1-mile dirt track. Thompson covered the distance in 4 hours, 21 minutes and 28 seconds, beating out Eubanks by 37 seconds at the finish.

Johnny Mantz of Long Beach, Calif., driving a 1951 Nash Ambassador, was third. Red Byron of Atlanta, Ga., in a 1950 Ford “6” was fourth and Paul Newkirk of Cedar Rapids, Iowa was fifth in a 1951 Nash Ambassador.

Marshall Teague of Daytona, Fla., who had the pole position at the start of the 250-mile race, didn’t finish in the money as engine trouble forced him out midway through the race.

Results –

1. Tommy Thompson
2. Joe Eubanks
3. Johnny Mantz
4. Red Byron
5. Paul Newkirk
6. Jack Goodwin
7. Lloyd Moore
8. Ewell Weddle
9. Curtis Turner
10. Erick Erickson
11. Bill Majot
12. Jim Feibelkorn
13. Lee Petty
14. Lou Figaro
15. Bob Myers
16. Jim Paschal
17. Tim Flock
18. Bob Jeffries
19. John McGinley
20. Bob Flock
21. Les Snow
22. Iggy Katona
23. Dell Pearson
24. Bob Prince
25. Bobby Myers
26. Oda Greene
27. John Barker
28. Ray Duhigg
29. Jack White
30. Danny Letner
31. Walt Flanders
32. Bill Carden
33. Marshall Teague
34. George Seeger
35. Fonty Flock
36. Bob Greer
37. Jack Smith
38. Billy Myers
39.Tom Suligoy
40. Al Miller


  1. Thompson drove a 1951 Chrysler

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