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Larry Frank
Born: April 29, 1931 Died: January 5, 2010 (in Greenville, SC)
Home: Indianapolis, IN

           

Larry Frank is a former NASCAR driver from Indianapolis, IN. He competed in 103 Grand National events in his career spanning from 1956 to 1966. Frank would earn one victory, ten top-fives and thirty-two top-tens in his career.

Frank's lone triumph came in the 1962 season, when he pulled an upset at Darlington Speedway. He led 85 of the 364 laps in route to a five-second victory on legend Junior Johnson. He earned a career best eight top-tens that year in route to a career best 14th place in points.

Frank, however, was never much of a factor. The Darlington race was the only race he was in true competition and his part-time schedule prevented him from ever making a good run in the sport. In his last year of 1966, he earned a finish of 9th and 10th in his only two starts of the year before hanging up the helmet.

Larry S. Frank, 80, husband of Margaret Ann Gilreath Frank, died Tuesday, January 5, 2010. Born in Marshall County, W.Va., he was the son of the late Lawrence and Florence Marie Crowe Frank.

Mr. Frank was retired owner of Larry Frank Auto Body Works and L&M Self Storage. He was a veteran of the United States Marines and Merchant Marines. Larry was a NASCAR Legend and a 1962 Southern 500 winner.

Surviving, in addition to his wife, are two sons, Larry J. Frank (Crystal) and Rob, all of Greenville; grandchildren, L. J., Adam and Nicholas Frank; and two sisters, Harriet Nocifora of Woodbridge, Va. and Wilma Douglas of Newark, Ohio.

Visitation will be Thursday, January 7, 2010, from 6 to 8 p.m. at Thomas McAfee Funeral Home, Downtown. The funeral service will be Friday, January 8, 2010, at 1:30 p.m. in the Downtown Chapel. Burial will be at Greenville Memorial Gardens.

Condolences may be sent to the family by visiting
www.thomasmcafee.com.

Southern 500 Winner Larry Frank Passes Away

By SmokinNews, 6 January, 2010

Larry Frank was a poster boy for HIS United States Marines. Crew cut. Sinewy muscles. Thirty-inch waist. Square jaw. Deep, coarse voice. Take no prisoners attitude.

For those who are too young to remember, or not well-versed in NASCAR history, Larry Frank made an indelible mark on the sport in 1962 when he was eventually named the rightful winner of Darlington Raceway’s Southern 500. Hall of Famer Junior Johnson received the checkered flag on Sunday afternoon but an overnight scoring recheck revealed Frank as the winner.

It was the only race Larry would win during his colorful, but abbreviated career. To writers of Larry’s day, stock car racing was still trying to gain acceptance in newspapers, on radio and television (there was no internet at the time), he was probably one of the most popular drivers on the circuit. He always had time for the media in a period when stock car drivers, other than Richard Petty, didn’t have much to say.

Larry always had something to say and when he and racing buddy Tiny Lund got together, you could have opened a comedy club on the spot. Lund, a Daytona 500 winner, was a big fella (6-5, 260 or so) and dwarfed Larry in size, but Tiny always said he’d rather tangle with a pride of lions than his pal Larry Frank.

Larry died Tuesday in the little town of Piedmont, S.C. He was 80.

It was only fitting his lone victory came at NASCAR’s toughest track because Larry Frank set the standard for toughness in a sport that definitely required it during Larry’s racing days.

A Story with "Little" Joe Weatherly

Weatherly was a delight to watch, sober or drunk. During one race, Joe was beating on fellow competitor Larry Frank --- really tearing up his car. Frank, a tough, ex-Marine who wasn't afraid to tangle with anyone, chased ‘Little Joe' into the parking lot after the race. To escape his wrath, Joe jumped on a car's roof, and ran across the roof's of every car parked in that row -- denting them all. Both men laughed about it the next day.


Curtis Turner passes a looping Larry Frank (76)


David Pearson (#6) and Frank (#9)


Interesting. Evidently Larry Frank raced a Purple Ford before Fireball. 1960 at Daytona


Larry Frank and Little Joe Weatherly


The 1962 Southern 500 was a Grand National  event held at Darlington Speedway on September 3, 1962. Larry Frank pulled an upset out of his hat, leading eighty-five laps late in the race in route to his only career victory. Junior Johnson finished second, five seconds behind. Eventual points champ Joe Weatherly finished 10th.

View of National Association of Stock Car Racing at Daytona Beach

Original caption: Close call and winner at stock car races.  Larry Frank (76), traveling at 80 miles an hour, buzzes past Marvin Panch (98) going in the opposite direction after a skid on the North turn.

IMAGE:    © Bettmann/CORBIS       DATE PHOTOGRAPHED:    February 20, 1957
LOCATION:      Daytona Beach, Florida, USA        COLLECTION:   Bettmann

 

The Southern 500 was Junior Johnson being flagged the winner in 1962, seemingly realizing a deep personal goal of capturing the race.
 
Johnson, a former moonshiner-turned-farmer, declared that he was going to use his approximately $21,000 in winnings to "build some more chicken houses."
 
Around midnight, after repeated checks of scoring cards, NASCAR declared that Larry Frank actually had triumphed, with Johnson second.
 
Associated Press motorsports writer Bloys Britt memorably observed, "Junior counted his chicken houses before they got built."
 
It proved to be the only victory of Frank's career.

The Win

Race Site Cars St Fin # Sponsor / Owner Car Laps Money Status Led
1962-45 Darlington 44 10 1 66 Ratus Walters Ford 364/364 21,730 running 85

UNDER CONSTRUCTION: More info is needed on this driver. If you have stories, stats or pictures, please send them HERE.

Larry Frank DRIVER Statistics

Grand National Statistics

Year Age Races Win T5 T10 Pole Laps Led Earnings Rank AvSt AvFn
1956 25 1 of 56 0 0 0 0 77 0 50   26.0 38.0
1957 26 4 of 53 0 0 0 0 1113 0 995   19.2 15.2
1958 27 11 of 51 0 1 4 0 2099 0 2,590 137 14.7 18.8
1959 28 15 of 44 0 4 9 0 3300 39 5,993 22 12.9 10.5
1960 29 11 of 44 0 0 2 0 1984 11 2,440 34 20.3 19.0
1961 30 8 of 52 0 0 1 0 978 0 2,380 42 19.2 28.1
1962 31 19 of 53 1 2 8 0 3566 85 32,986 14 15.2 18.1
1963 32 11 of 55 0 2 2 0 2392 5 5,450 28 13.8 15.7
1964 33 12 of 62 0 0 3 0 1483 0 7,830 24 17.8 18.6
1965 34 9 of 55 0 1 1 0 1009 33 5,080 53 8.3 23.3
1966 35 2 of 49 0 0 2 0 232 0 1,575 50 14.0 9.5
11 years 103 1 10 32 0 18233 173 67,369   15.5 18.1

1957 Chev

Convertible Series

Year Age Races Win T5 T10 Pole Laps Led Earnings Rank AvSt AvFn
1956 25 38 of 47 0 0 16 0 4497 0 4,877 12 13.5 12.8
1957 26 35 of 36 0 9 23 0 5601 0 8,569 4 11.8 9.4
1958 27 17 of 19 0 8 13 1 3155 0 5,428 2 8.6 7.7
1959 28 15 of 15 0 8 12 2 2860 148 8,393 2 6.5 6.9
4 years 105 0 25 64 3 16113 148 27,267   11.1 10.0

Frank finished in the Top 10 in 64 races out of 105.

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