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Bill Blair
Born: July 14, 1911     Died: November 2, 1995
Home: High Point, NC

 

Bill Blair was a true Pioneer of Stock Car Racing in the 1930's and was one of the original drivers that raced with Bill France when he formed NASCAR. Bill won the 1953 Daytona Beach Race in a '53 Oldsmobile that he drove from High Point, NC to Daytona Beach, FL.. Blair won the race, then drove the car back to High Point.

3 Wins

Blair won three NASCAR Strictly Stock/Grand National  races:

June 18, 1950 - Blair piloted a 1950 Mercury owned by Sam Rice to victory in a race at Vernon Faigrounds in Vernon, NY.

April 20, 1952 - Blair drove a 1952 Oldsmobile owned by George Hutchens to his second win at Lakewood Speedway in Atlanta, GA.

February 15, 1953 - In his final series victory, Blair drove his 1953 Oldsmobile to victory lane at the Beach & Road Course at Daytona Beach, FL.

Memorial

Blair, Jimmie Lewallen, and Fred Harb are the subject of the upcoming independent movie "Red Dirt Rising", which is based on the book "Red Dirt Tracks: The Forgotten Heroes of Early Stockcar Racing" by Gail Cauble Gurley.

Movie being made about stock car racing: If you happened to drive by North Wilkesboro Speedway you may have heard the rumble of a flathead Ford making a few laps around the historic five-eighths mile circuit. It was all part of a music video shot at the track for a new song by recording artist Matt Dylan and members of the Midnight Steel Band titled "Carolina Moonshine." The music video is part of a larger production, a movie called "Red Dirt Rising." The movie is based on the book "Red Dirt Tracks," a work of historical fiction by Gail Gurley. The film is centered on the life of Jimmie Lewallen, as well as fellow drivers Bill Blair and Fred Harb, all of whom raced and ran moonshine. Set during the 1940s, the film is meant to accurately portray the life and times of those involved with stock car racing before NASCAR was a household name. "Red Dirt Rising" is scheduled for official release on Jan. 13 at Johnny and June's Saloon in Winston-Salem, NC.
Two of the big players behind the production of "Red Dirt Rising" are Gary Lewallen and Bill Blair Jr. Lewallen and Blair are the sons of drivers portrayed in the film, the late Jimmie Lewallen and Bill Blair. Blair, who volunteered his flathead 1939 Ford for the music video, hopes that the movie paints an accurate picture of what life was like for drivers back in those days.
Proceeds from both the film and the soundtrack will be put toward the Racing Legends Foundation, which is a nonprofit organization for which Lewallen took the chair after his father died in 1995. The shoot was closed to the public. NASCAR legend Junior Johnson and son Robert also appeared in the video shoot.
(Wilkes Journal Patriot) more info about the movie at reddirtrising.com or facebook. More info about North Wilkesboro Speedway at savethespeedway.net and historicnws.com.

Under Construction. Send Pictures and Stories

Racing's roar returns to North Wilkesboro track

- Winston-Salem Journal, N.C.

When Bill Blair cranks up his 1940 Ford coupe and heads out for a 20-lap Legendary Flathead Ford Series race Saturday night at North Wilkesboro Speedway, he'll be a link between the track's history and future.

The speedway has a schedule of races of 200 or more laps in the fall, and drivers have tested cars on the track, but tonight will mark the first time that spectators will be in the stands for races since the speedway closed in 1996.

''It's a historic thing and it's something we all look forward to," Blair said. "It's an honor, especially since my father raced there in the first race in 1947."

His late father, also named Bill Blair, was one of NASCAR's pioneers, and is featured with other early Piedmont race drivers Jimmie Lewallen and Fred Harb as subjects in the independent movie Red Dirt Rising. The movie will make its premiere tonight on a big screen outside, after the races and a concert.

Fans will be in the stands along the front straightaway. Work on re-opening other portions of the stands and complex will continue in the future.

Blair, who lives on Speedway Drive in Thomasville, said he expects about 10 or so cars in the race, and figures they'll be running about 100 mph at the short track. The cars are modified coupes, with interior roll bars and other safety features, but look like the cars the old bootleggers used.

The elder Blair preferred driving to farming. ''He'd rather go race and go places than be stuck in one place milking a cow," Blair said.

His father was arrested while hauling moonshine on Christmas Day 1932 in Martinsville, Va. He got caught when it started snowing, and authorities boxed him in, then shot out his tires. He was fined $100. That's the story the younger Blair said he heard from his parents.

The Matt Dylan Band will perform a live concert after the races, starting shortly after 7 p.m. Dylan's song "Carolina Moonshine" is on the soundtrack for the movie. A music video shot at the speedway can be seen on YouTube, where it's gotten more than 28,000 hits.

 

After the concert and just before the movie showing, plans will be unveiled for the Benny Parsons Memorial Sports Complex in Wilkes County.

Terri Parsons, the widow of the late Winston Cup champion, was instrumental in helping Alton McBride Jr. and his Speedway Associates Inc. in the effort to revitalize North Wilkesboro Speedway.

Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services.   Read more: NewsObserver.com 

 

 

'62 was the first year you could buy a hot Poncho right off the assembly line. The "Super Duty" package cost $1,334.24 over the cost of the standard Catalina V-8. The four-speed transmission cost another $234.00!

In 1962, Pontiac built approximately 179 of these special cars for racing - known as Super Duty cars.

The "Packer Pontiac" was #84 of the special cars built for racing. It was owned and campaigned by Howard Maseles in 1962. The "Packer Pontiac" has the 421, two-four engine, a four speed transmission with the Hurst-Campbell floor shifter. A Heavy-duty linkage set-up was supplied by Pontiac and a 4:33 posi-track rearend.

The "Packer Pontiac" competed in NHRA's toughest division, racing against other factory supported teams from Detroit. The '62 "Packer Pontiac" was a NHRA record holder.

The restoration of this vintage Super Duty Pontiac was done by owner Bill Blair, from High Point, North Carolina, the son of Nascar racer Bill Blair. The car is still campaigned by Bill across the country at drag strips and car shows alike.
                  
                              MIC Ertl Diecast No. 29263 - Limited Edition of 2,500

Blair Wins at Daytona! (Beach, that is...)
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.

More:

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 



Bill Blair # 75 Mercury (L) and #12 Ford of Ralph Moody

Pictures from the Bill Blair Facebook.com page made by ?

 


Fireball Roberts, Fonty Flock, Bill Blair



 


Bill Blair Strictly Stock and Grand National Racing Statistics

Year Age Races Win T5 T10 Pole Laps Led Earnings Rank AvSt AvFn
1949 37 6 of 8 0 3 5 0 763 325 1,280 4 6.0 7.2
1950 38 16 of 19 1 5 7 0 1550 218 4,320 10 24.7 12.6
1951 39 18 of 41 0 4 7 0 815 0 2,735 16 16.8 17.4
1952 40 19 of 34 1 10 13 1 2427 120 7,899 6 10.4 10.3
1953 41 21 of 37 1 6 8 0 1043 51 4,534 15 18.9 15.5
1954 42 19 of 37 0 2 10 0 2853 7 2,650 13 14.0 13.0
1955 43 12 of 45 0 0 0 0 1320 0 565 37 18.5 22.6
1956 44 9 of 56 0 0 4 0 1275 0 1,005 38 21.8 17.4
1957 45 1 of 53 0 0 0 0 63 0 100 157 46.0 38.0
1958 46 2 of 51 0 0 0 0 147 0 200   29.5 22.0
10 years 123 3 30 54 1 12256 721 25,288   16.5 14.9






 

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