Profile: Louis Grier "Buddy" Shuman
An Opinion ----
July 27, 2007 By Allen Madding
While there are no
clear records or history of when Louis Grier "Buddy"
Shuman officially began racing, we do know that he
won the first Stock Car race held at Alcyon Speedway at
Pitman, New Jersey on August 27, 1948, with Chick Di
Natale of Trenton, New Jersey, finishing second. Born
September 8, 1915 in Charlotte, North Carolina, Shuman
quickly established himself in the racing community as a
mechanic and a driver.
It is told that
Shuman shined in the NASCAR Modified ranks where he
scored 100 feature wins.
NASCAR Grand National Division competition in 1951.
Shuman drove R .H. Yandell’s No. 17 Ford at the ½-mile
Greenville-Pickens Speedway in South Carolina finishing
tenth. He followed that with a third place finish in the
Southern 500 at Darlington. A sixth place finish came on
the ¾-mile dirt Charlotte Speedway.
He finished eighth
in the Wilkes 200 at North Wilkesboro’s .625-mile dirt
track, ninth at Jacksonville, Florida’s ½-mile dirt
Speedway Park, eighth at the one-mile dirt Lakewood
Speedway in Atlanta, and sixth at the ¾-mile dirt
Lakeview Speedway in Mobile, Alabama. In seven starts in
his first year of competition with the series, Shuman
recorded an amazing one top-5 and seven top-10s.
Shuman began the
1952 season driving his own No. 17 Ford and Oldsmobile
in six events and then began driving B.A. Pless’s No. 89
Hudson Hornet. He finished second in the Motor City 250
on the one-mile dirt track at Michigan State Fairgrounds
On July 1, 1952
NASCAR held its first event outside the United States.
The location was Stamford Park, Ontario, Canada near
Niagara Falls. Stamford was a flat ½-mile dirt horse
track that began hosting stock car races in 1948. Shuman
took the lead of the event on lap 71 and led the rest of
the 200-lap event winning by two laps over the second
place car of Herb Thomas. Only seventeen cars started
the race that day, but because the track became so
rough, only six cars managed to complete the event.
In 15 starts in
1952, Shuman scored one win, three top-5s, and seven
In 1953, Shuman
drove J. R. Dunberry’s No. 190 Hudson at the beach
course at Daytona Beach. On the fourth lap, the car lost
a clutch putting him out of the competition. He made two
starts in his own No.12 Oldsmobile and then made two
more starts driving Pless’s No. 89 Hudson including a
14th place finish in the Southern 500.
In 1955, Shuman
drove Frank Christian’s No. 14 Chevrolet at Hickory
Speedway finishing ninth. He drove Bob Griffin’s No. 87
Oldsmobile at Southern States Fairgrounds in Charlotte
in August finishing sixth. On November 13, 1955, Buddy
Shuman tragically perished in a hotel fire. He was 40
years old at the time of his death.
In 1957, NASCAR
established the Buddy Shuman Award to recognize
outstanding contributions to NASCAR racing. Some of the
recipients of the Buddy Shuman Award have included Banjo
Mathews, Richard Petty, Rick Hendrick, Dave Marcis and
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