Born: October 15, 1915 Died:
November 11, 1996
Home: Atlanta, GA
to many as the “Wild Injun", more so
because of his hard charging style than because of his heritage,
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).
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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
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
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
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.
"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
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