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Charley Griffith
Born:
September 4, 1929      Died: November 22, 1999
Home: Chattanooga, TN

Note: Page under construction. Please send stories or pictures for inclusion.

A "Mystery" Driver
Not much is known about this driver that barely missed racing infamy by finishing third in the first Daytona 500. Pictured below is one of the most well known racing photos in which Lee Petty #42 won the 1959 Daytona 500 & Johnny Beauchamp #73 finished second. It took 3 days to verify the winner, but Bill France's decision was law. The car on the outside is the #48 Chevy  of Joe Weatherly, a lap down. What would've been the future of Charley had he won that 500?
(Thanks to Dave Westerman for the update)

                               

This mystery began with a Legends of Nascar visitor who sent the following email:

Hello, my name is Paul G. Hudson Jr.. My mom and dad had a car that was in Daytona in 1959. It was a 1957 Pontiac an it was number 18 and it placed 3rd I think. The drivers name was Charley Griffith and the owner was Helen and Paul G. Hudson Sr.. If you can find or have any info, would you share and maybe post on your web site?  Thanks,        PAUL G. HUDSON JR., HILLIARD,  FLORIDA

Webmaster: Mr. Hudson, I cannot find any evidence of your parents ownership, but it was common in the early days for there to be owner-sponsored cars. Look below in the owner statistics and you will see that Nascar records show Mr. Griffith as the owner. This does not mean he didn't have co-owners. The sponsorship is known as "Red Bank" if that rings a bell.

UPDATE: The Hudson's emailed me back and told me that the sponsor Red Bank was the town in Tennessee his mom and dad had a gas station and a recap store in.

                                           

Charley Griffith, born September 4, 1929, is a former NASCAR driver from Chattanooga, TN. He competed in 17 Grand National Series events in his career prior to his death on November 22, 1999.

In those seventeen races, Griffith would earn three top-tens, all of which came in 1959. His best finish came in the inaugural Daytona 500, where Griffith came home 3rd after finishing 9th in the qualifier event. After tacking on a 7th place effort later in the year at Nashville Speedway USA, Griffith could not earn another top-ten again.
 

Almost lost to history because of the stirring Lee Petty- Johnny Beauchamp photo finish in the first Daytona 500 (1959) was the fact Charley Griffith finished third in a Pontiac albeit a lap down. Cotton Owens finished fourth that day, also in a Pontiac.

The 1959 Music City 200 was a Grand National  event held at Nashville Speedway USA on May 24, 1959. Rex White won from the pole, holding off a field of just 12 cars. 1959 Champion Lee Petty finished sixth.

Finish Start No. Name Make Laps Lead Status
1 1 4 Rex White Chevy 200 40 running
2 7 11 Junior Johnson Ford 200 12 running
3 3 36 Tommy Irwin T-Bird 199 111 running
4 5 87 Buck Baker Chevy 198 0 running
5 4 77 Joe Lee Johnson Chevy 198 0 running
6 2 42 Lee Petty Plymouth 196 37 running
7 8 18 Charley Griffith Pontiac 193 0 running
8 6 6 Cotton Owens Pontiac 192 0 running
9 9 73 Bob Burdick T-Bird 191 0 running
10 11 19 Herman Beam Chevy 179 0 running
11 10 34 G.C. Spencer Chevy 171 0 running
12 12 13 Tommy Thompson Chevy 160 0 running

Charley Griffith finished seventh, his final career top-ten finish.

Note: Page under construction. Please send stories or pictures for inclusion.

Charlie Griffith Grand National DRIVER Statistics

Year Age Races Win T5 T10 Pole Laps Led Earnings Rank AvSt AvFn
1958 28 2 of 51 0 0 0 0 211 0 215 65 10.5 20.0
1959 29 6 of 44 0 1 3 0 438 0 4,955   13.3 17.2
1960 30 5 of 44 0 0 0 0 599 0 1,300 40 42.2 36.4
1962 32 3 of 53 0 0 0 0 229 0 625 87 24.7 26.0
1963 33 1 of 55 0 0 0 0 182 0 60 135 19.0 18.0
5 years 17 0 1 3 0 1659 0 7,155   23.8 24.8
Race Site Cars St Fin # Sponsor / Owner Car Laps Money Status Led
1 Fayetteville 25 25 25 18 Red Bank   (Charley Griffith) Pontiac 0/150 0 engine 0
2 Daytona 38 9 9 18 Red Bank   (Charley Griffith) Pontiac 38/40 140 running 0
3 Daytona 59 17 3 18 Red Bank   (Charley Griffith) Pontiac 199/200 4,955 running 0
6 Atlanta 21 10 20 18 Red Bank   (Charley Griffith) Pontiac 2/100 50 axle 0
16 Nashville 12 8 7 18 Red Bank   (Charley Griffith) Pontiac 193/200 165 running 0
20 Atlanta 40 11 39 18 Red Bank   (Charley Griffith) Pontiac 6/150 0 engine  

Charlie Griffith Grand National OWNER Statistics

Year Driver Races Win T5 T10 Pole Laps Led Earnings Rank AvSt AvFn
1959 Freddy Fryar 1 0 0 0 0 53 0 0   40.0 39.0
1959 Charley Griffith 6 0 1 3 0 438 0 4,955   13.3 17.2
1959 Jerry Smith 2 0 0 0 0 644 0 215   30.5 18.0
1 year 9 0 1 3 0 1135 0 5,170   20.1 19.8


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