Wednesday, June 14, 2023

1952 – Harrison Cops 100-Mile Run

 The field zooms down the front stretch at the start of the 100-miler at Nashville. Eventual winner Bill Harrison is driving the car at the extreme right. Don White (6) is at the far left, moments before crashing into the south turn.

Nashville, Tenn. (June 14, 1952) – “Wild” Bill Harrison of Topeka, Kan., slithered his 1952 DeSoto through the tight turns of the Tennessee State Fairgrounds dirt track on Saturday afternoon to win the International Motor Contest Association strictly stock car race and in doing so, established a new record.

Some 10,000 speed enthusiasts watched E.V. Derr of Fort Madison, Iowa, take second place in an Oldsmobile 88 and Jerry Wimbush of Atlanta grabbed third place money, driving the same vehicle.

Harrison’s time was 1 hour, 40 minutes and .685 seconds. He collected $500 and $50 in lap money.

Don White of Keokuk, Iowa, did a spectacular four-time roll through the outside rail in the south turn on the very first lap of the race but miraculously escaped injury. His 1952 Olds 88, only 10 days old, tumbled through 13 sections of the wood fence. Paling and posts tore through his windshield and the back seat was littered with wood.

Blistering the track for the first 57 circuits, Gober Sosebee of Atlanta set the big crowd buzzing with his daring maneuvers. Sosebee was all over the track in his 1952 Chrysler, cutting into the turns with no braking and throwing dirt with skidding recoveries.

He and Harrison started a duel for first place going into the 55th lap and it took “Wild” Bill two laps to subdue the Cherokee Indian arrow.

Sosebee picked up $100 in lap money but finished sixth after mechanical trouble.

Defending IMCA national champion Hershel Buchanan, who speared his way around the track in 54.61 seconds to pace all qualifiers, drove a beautiful race in his 1951 Nash. The Shreveport, La., throttle-master finished fourth after being seventh at the 60-mile mark. He mentioned after the race that his speedometer was flirting with a true 100 miles per hour in the long stretches of the track.

Bill Holland, famed Indianapolis 500 pilot, was well up in the race until the 43rd lap when he went into the pits for mechanical aid. His hood jammed and the crew was unable to service the motor in his Hudson Hornet, forcing him out of the race.

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