Friday, October 6, 2023

1963 – Superb Driving Gives Hassler Second 300 Win

A huge trophy awaited Friday Hassler after the Chattanooga speedster won his second Southern 300 at Nashville's Fairgrounds Speedway. 

Nashville, Tenn. (October 6, 1963) – When Friday Hassler won last year’s Southern 300 modified stock car race at Fairgrounds Speedway, he had to get a friend to take the trophy home for him because he didn’t have room in his truck.

So, the Chattanoogan wins the race again this year and what do you think happens? He’s got to do the same the same thing again – still no room in the truck.

But of Hassler didn’t learn a lesson in 12 months about how to carry a trophy home, he demonstrated that he nevertheless is an expert at winning them by duplicating his 1962 victory with a superb driving performance before 7,985 fans.

And again, his closest pursuer and second place finisher was Columbia’s Malcolm Brady, except that Brady finished only three seconds behind Hassler; last year he came in a full lap after running out of gas with 17 miles to go.

“I believe that last year’s race was easier,” said Hassler, who collected $1,000 for his victory. “I didn’t have anyone pushing me as hard as Brady did today.”

Bob Reuther and Bill Morton, who both drove fine races, finished third and fourth, respectively. All four drivers qualified in the top 10 behind Donnie Allison’s record breaking 20.50 second qualifying run on Saturday.

Allison led the race’s first two laps, then Freddy Fryar moved in front as fuel line problems plagued Allison. Hassler took the lead on lap 10 and held it until lap 34, when Brady took over. Hassler regained the top spot on the 94th circuit and stayed there until lap 134 when Brady again took the lead. On the 230th lap, when Brady made his third and final pit stop, Hassler popped out front again, this time for good.

Brady spent the remainder of the race glued to Hassler’s bumper and appeared to have enough power to pass him. He said after the race he thought he was a lap ahead and didn’t really attempt to get around him. A check of the scorecards, however, showed that Hassler was in front.

Allison went out eventually on lap 36 with a blocked fuel line. His brother Bobby finished in sixth behind Charlie Stofel. Freddy Fryar wrecked, Bob Burcham had drive-shaft issues, Red Farmer’s right front wheel spindle broke, and Joe Lee Johnson’s crankshaft snapped.

Results –

1. Friday Hassler, Chattanooga
2. Malcolm Brady, Columbia
3. Bob Ruether, Nashville
4. Bill Morton, Nashville
5. Charlie Stofel, Columbia
6. Bobby Allison, Hueytown, Ala.
7. Herb Lewis, Nashville
8. Bobby Celsor, Hartsville
9. John Thoni, Nashville
10.Joe Holley, Memphis
11.Jack Marlin, Nashville
12.Charlie Parrish, Nashville
13.Dave Mader, Birmingham, Ala.
14.Coo Coo Marlin, Columbia
15.Eddie Mitchell, Nashville

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