Friday, June 7, 2013

1959 – Chicago’s Tom Pistone Takes Old Dominion 500

Martinsville, Va. (June 7, 1959) - Tom Pistone of Chicago beat the torrid sun and a record field of opponents here yesterday in the 250-mile Old Dominion 500 for late model convertibles.

Pistone, driving a 1959 Thunderbird, won by six laps after taking the lead on the 301st lap. His victory was worth $2,650.

Accidents in the race at Martinsville Speedway were relatively few and nobody was injured, but several drivers received treatment for heat exhaustion when it was over. A crowd of 7,500 saw Pistone's triumph.

Until Glen Wood of Stuart, Va., had fan belt trouble with his 1958 Ford on the last 200 laps, Pistone never was in front of the record 36-car field entered in the $13,675 event.

Wood held the advantage for the first 50 laps, yielded the lead, then regained it on the 190th and didn't give it up until he was forced to make a pit stop on the 301st. The stop cost him four laps, another later on cost him five more, and he never got back into contention.

Larry Frank of Piedmont, S.C., in a 1957 Chevrolet took second place. Joe Lee Johnson of Chattanooga, Tenn., in another ’57 Chevy, was third.

Pistone’s winning time was 4 hours, 3 minutes, 31 seconds – for an average speed of 60.60 miles per hour for the half-mile Martinsville Speedway oval.

Last year’s Old Dominion 500 winner, Lee Petty of Randleman, N.C., finished sixth this year in: his 1959 Plymouth and the 1958 NASCAR convertible champion, Bob Welborn of Greensboro, N. C., went out in the early stages of competition and wound up 30th.

Results –

  1. Tom Pistone
  2. Larry Frank
  3. Joe Lee Johnson
  4. Roy Tyner
  5. Bobby Johns
  6. Lee Petty
  7. Richard Petty
  8. Jimmy Massey
  9. Junior Johnson
  10. Joe Eubanks
  11. Gene White
  12. Glen Woods
  13. Barney Shore
  14. Shorty Rollins
  15. Brownie King
  16. Fritz Wilson
  17. Shep Langdon
  18. Billy Carden
  19. Buck Baker
  20. Joe Halton
  21. Bob Burdick
  22. Paul Walton
  23. L.D. Austin
  24. Max Berrier
  25. Ermon Rush
  26. Buck Brigance
  27. Tiny Lund
  28. Ken Rush
  29. Johnny Allen
  30. Bob Welborn
  31. Ben Benz
  32. Joe Weatherly
  33. Rex White
  34. Ned Jarrett
  35. Bunk Moore
  36. Neil Castles

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