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Gober Sosebee
Born: October 15, 1915      Died: November 11, 1996
Home: Atlanta, GA

Known to many as the “Wild Injun", more so because of his hard charging style than because of his heritage, Georgia’s Gober Sosebee, competed in seventy-one NASCAR events in his career, spanning from 1949 to 1959. Sosebee had a solid career, earning two victories, thirty-three top-tens, four poles and four top-seventeen points finishes. Although 1953 was his best year points wise (14th), Sosebee's victories came at Augusta in 1952 and Macon in 1954. Poles came in 1949, 1951, 1954, and 1958 and led at least 503 laps in his career. Gober died from injuries suffered in an agricultural accident (1996).

THE BEACH
 
  Gober Sosebee leads Fireball Roberts in the #11
Sosebee is a three-time winner on the beach course at Daytona (1949, 1950 and 1951).  He was born in Dawson County Georgia and his racing career started in 1940 at the old Lakewood Speedway in Atlanta.  He raced all over the US and drove any type of car that would put on a show for the fans.  In the early days he drove modified Fords, but as the modified era began to fade, he drove everything from Cadillac, Oldsmobile, Studebaker, Plymouths and Chevrolets. If it would run, he would drive it into the ground or blow it sky high, usually running sideways through the turns.  He traveled anyplace where he could race.

July 10th, 1949 -- Red Byron passes Gober Sosebee with 6 laps to go to win the summer strictly stock race on the Daytona Beach Road Course. A less than expected crowd of 5000 watches the event. Three female drivers, Ethel Mobley, Louise Smith, and Sara Christian, compete. Mobley fares the best, finishing 11th.

February 4, 1950 -- Even though racing has been a February fixture in Daytona Beach for years, the first race of the first official "Speed Week" program is a 100-mile Modified race on the 4.17-mile highway/beach course. Gober Sosebee wins it ahead of Fireball Roberts and Red Cummings.

They raced for the thrill of it in those days. Gober will be remembered always, as one of the pioneers of auto racing as we have known it through the years and was inducted into the Jacksonville Hall of Fame, Thunder Road USA and featured in Daytona USA.

CADILLAC? 

Gober Sosebee took the pole position and finished second in a Cadillac in the 100-mile NASCAR Grand National race on a half-mile dirt track in Columbus, Ga., in June 1951.

Here's Fun Fact for Daytona.

Whenever the drivers get down to Daytona some of the old stories of racing on the beach pop up and this is one of my favorites. Whenever Gober Sosebee got down to Daytona he always liked to tell how he made NASCAR re-write their rule book, one year, after a sports car beach race.

Gober in the #50, Red Byron #22 to his rightSeems back then the gas tank was kept inside the cock pit where it was safe from rear end damage. Well, a lot of the races run back then were short enough to not need refueling during the race. But Gober, the "Wild Indian" had a plan if he should come in need of re-fueling. His first opportunity for his brilliant idea for a pit stop came during a sports car race at Daytona Beach. As he pulled to a quick stop in his pit a crew member jumped into the car with a 5 gallon can of gas. After a brief 2 or 3 second stop he was off, with crew member aboard.

The crew member fueled the car on the go and remained in the car until the finish. The 3 second stop was enough to give Gober the win but within seconds NASCAR was talking "disqualification". They claimed that having the crew member aboard was a violation and they were taking his win away.

But Old Gober was ready for them and immediately stated that there was no rule against a second man on board. NASCAR read, searched and reread their rules before finally deciding that there was no rule against a 2nd man in the car. The "disqualification" talk quickly ended and Sosebee took home the trophy.

The following year there was an addition to the rule book: "No car shall carry more than one person at any time during a race, practice, or warm-up."

Now we know.

It Was a Dark and Stormy Night…
The Night Gober Crashed the Scoring Stand



"A race which has generated as much interest as any stock car event ever staged here is scheduled to be run at the Columbia Speedway at 8:30 tonight if the weatherman cooperates," reported Columbia's newspaper The State its March 26, 1955, edition. "The extra week, if anything, has served to increase the attention and interest.

"For one thing, it gave the Chevrolet division of General Motors time to send a team of experts, headed by Mauri Rose, three-time winner of the Indianapolis 500, here to supervise the running of its 1955 models…. With the combined experience and know-how of Herb Thomas and Rose, this entry should be hard to beat." The story also noted that "the colorful Georgian" Fonty Flock would be racing a '55 Chevy entered by independent Frank Christian.

          The Famous Cherokee Racing Garage in Atlanta, Ga.

"Nevertheless," the story continued, "the odds still favor the proven class exemplified by the Chrysler, Oldsmobile and Hudson models entered…. The most notable entry is Tim Flock's 300-horsepower 1955 Chrysler. Flock won the 160-mile race at Daytona Beach in February with it, but this will be the first appearance of a passenger car of this power on a half-mile track."

The 26th was a frigid and windy Saturday night at Columbia Speedway, four miles down the Charleston Highway from the city's center, but almost 3,000 fans braved the elements and paid $3 to stand in the infield or $4 to sit in the grandstands. All the big NASCAR names of the era were entered: Lee Petty, Buck Baker, Junior Johnson and Jim Paschal in addition to the Flock brothers and Thomas. The total purse was $4,100 with the winner taking home a full $1,000. That was big money for racing in 1955.

Tim Flock's Carl Kiekhafer-owned Chrysler 300 proved as intimidating as promised and qualified for the pole. The big Chrysler took the lead when the race started and kept it through most of the race.

Then chaos ensued.

"A spectacular four-car pileup on the 132nd lap decommissioned the scoring system as Gober Sosebee rammed the official stand," reported National Speed Sport News (The State claimed it was a five-car incident on lap 140 — no one really knows for sure now). As the wreckage was being cleared, and amid the general confusion of wiping out the scoring system, Tim Flock entered the pits for tires putting Fonty Flock's Chevrolet in the lead.

Suddenly, Chevrolet was positioned to win a NASCAR Grand National race for the first time, which it did. Fonty Flock won the race going away, though the rest of the finishing order was in disarray. Herb Thomas' "official" Chevrolet entry finished a disputed 10th and Tim Flock's Chrysler 300 came in 5th.


Gober Sosebee DRIVER - Strictly Stock / Grand National Statistics

Year Age Races Win T5 T10 Pole Laps Led Earnings Rank AvSt AvFn Miles
1949 33 3 of 8 0 1 2 1 170 34 1,305 15 1.5 9.7 170.0
1950 34 2 of 19 0 0 0 0 385 4 315   11.0 23.5 542.6
1951 35 10 of 41 0 4 5 1 717 7 2,953 17 13.0 16.4 711.2
1952 36 9 of 34 1 4 5 0 744 215 2,125 90 11.0 10.0 555.5
1953 37 17 of 37 0 2 9 0 943 73 2,721 14 15.0 10.2 928.0
1954 38 18 of 37 1 4 7 1 1970 170 3,150 15 6.0 14.2 1376.0
1955 39 6 of 45 0 2 2 0 344 0 775 64 9.2 17.8 218.1
1958 42 5 of 51 0 0 3 1 692 0 695 112 8.0 12.2 475.8
1959 43 1 of 44 0 0 0 0 44 0 100   36.0 49.0 110.0
9 years 71 2 17 33 4 6009 503 14,139   10.8 13.8 5087.3

Gober Sosebee OWNER- Strictly Stock / Grand National / Winston Cup Statistics

Year Driver Races Win T5 T10 Pole Laps Led Earnings Rank AvSt AvFn Miles
1950 Gober Sosebee 1 0 0 0 0 364 4 290   3.0 17.0 455.0
1951 Gober Sosebee 7 0 3 4 0 613 0 2,953 17 20.3 15.0 607.2
1952 Gober Sosebee 3 0 2 2 0 195 0 2,125 90 13.5 12.7 97.5
1953 Gober Sosebee 15 0 2 9 0 733 73 2,721 14 15.0 10.1 686.2
1954 Gober Sosebee 17 1 4 6 1 1817 170 3,150 15 6.0 14.5 1146.5
1955 Gober Sosebee 6 0 2 2 0 344 0 775 64 9.2 17.8 218.1
1958 Gober Sosebee 5 0 0 3 1 692 0 695 112 8.0 12.2 475.8
1959 Gober Sosebee 1 0 0 0 0 44 0 100   36.0 49.0 110.0
1979 David Sosebee 3 0 0 0 0 547 0 2,910 80 36.7 29.3 891.6
1986 David Sosebee 2 0 0 0 0 267 0 2,310 90 28.5 35.0 404.0
10 years 60 1 13 26 2 5616 247 18,029   15.3 15.5 5092.0


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