Blair Wins at
Fonty lets one get away
Long before Bill France constructed his famous speedway on the western outskirts of Daytona Beach, the series ran its winter classic on the already esteemed Daytona Beach and Road Course. The 4.2 mile circuit consisted of a southerly two-mile paved asphalt section (Highway A1A) and a more spectacular two mile dash north along the ocean upon the hard packed sands of Daytona Beach. In 1953, the event was a scheduled 39-lap festival for a distance of 160 miles.
T. Fontell "Fonty" Flock (#14 Frank Christian Oldsmobile) put his Olds on the pole and easily gapped the field during a Daytona era when drivers only stopped for mechanical trouble and not regular fuel service. Running free and clear to the cheers of a jubilant beach crowd with over a minute margin to spare, Flock sped by the white flag, sprinted back down Highway A1A, and turned back north onto beach for the final time. Moments later, Flock’s Oldsmobile sputters due to lack of fuel and slows as the driver feathers the pedal in order to nurse his car back up the beach towards the finish.
Meanwhile in the background, Bill Blair (#2 Bill Blair Oldsmobile), who worked his way up to 2nd place from his starting sixth position, turns onto the beach, takes notes of Flock’s predicament, and charges up the hard sand with the scent of victory in the air. As Flock desperately creeps toward the finish, Blair roars past in an utter surprise and steals the trophy, his only win in 1953 and the last in his NASCAR Grand National career. Flock’s fuel pressure finally expires as he coasts across the line with an agonizing second place finish, thirty seconds behind Blair but still minutes ahead of third place runner Tommy Thompson.
THIS IS A PHOTO OF THE 1953 OLDSMOBILE SUPER 88 IN WHICH DRIVER BILL BLAIR OF HIGH POINT, NC SET A RECORD SPEED OF 85 AND 1/2 MILES PER HOUR TO WIN THE GRAND NATIONAL STOCK CAR RACE IN DAYTONA BEACH, FLORIDA WITH HALIFAX MOTORS, PUROLATER AND AIR LIFT AMONG THE SPONSORS