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Lloyd George "Shorty" Rollins
Born: April 3, 1929      Died: December 28, 1998
Born: Granbury, Texas          Home: Pensacola, FL

Lloyd George "Shorty" Rollins  nicknamed "Shorty", was the first official NASCAR Rookie of the Year in 1958. He began stock car racing in Corpus Christi, Texas. The great success achieved there led him to Fayetteville, North Carolina and to NASCAR Grand National . His rookie year 1958, he had 1 win, 12 top five finishes and 22 top ten finishes in 29 starts with car owner Spook Crawford. He won the first stock car race at the Daytona International Speedway, a 100-lap qualifying race in the NASCAR Convertible Division, which gave him a second place start in the first Daytona 500 in 1959. He made 43 starts in three professional seasons and earned $17,018. He left racing in 1960 with just 43 starts and settled in Pensacola, Florida with his wife Mozelle, where he established Hurricane Fence Industries. He was a resident of Pensacola until his death at the age of 69.                                                        

Stateline History

The winner of the Stateline race, Shorty Rollins, went on the win the 1958 NASCAR Rookie of the Year title. The following season, Richard Petty earned the outstanding rookie award. Rollins was from the same hometown, Corpus Christi, TX , as future NASCAR champions, brothers Terry (1984 and 1996) and Bobby (2000) Labonte.

The win at Stateline was the only career Grand National win by Shorty Rollins, but it wasn’t his only NASCAR win. In 1959, Bill France opened his mammoth, two and a half mile, high-banked superspeedway at Daytona. The very first competitive event ever contested at the new facility was a Convertible Division race on February 20, 1959, two days prior to the inaugural Daytona 500. Rollins, who had originally registered for the Daytona 500 in the Grand National Division in his “zipper-top” 1958 Ford, noticed the lack of cars entered in the Convertible Division race. So he removed the roof from his Skyliner and reregistered as a Convertible. His decision was a success as he beat Marvin Panch and Richard Petty to the finish line to become the answer to one of auto racing’s best trivia questions: “Who won the first race at the Daytona International Speedway”?

Rollins, Panch, Richard Petty, and the other Convertibles were also permitted to race in the inaugural Daytona 500, but the ragtops proved to be uncompetitive against their hardtop cousins. Lee Petty’s ’59 Oldsmobile won the Daytona 500 in a photo finish over Johnny Beauchamp’s ‘59 Thunderbird.

Rollins is in the Chautauqua County, New York Hall of Fame

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Grand National DRIVER Statistics

Year Age Races Win T5 T10 Pole Laps Led Earnings Rank AvSt AvFn
1958 29 29 of 51 1 12 22 0 5324 87 13,398 4 7.8 9.4
1959 30 10 of 44 0 0 4 0 1391 0 1,500 27 14.2 15.8
1960 31 4 of 44 0 0 1 0 952 0 2,120 30 27.8 18.5
3 years 43 1 12 27 0 7667 87 17,018   11.2 11.8

Convertible Series Statistics

Year Age Races Win T5 T10 Pole Laps Led Earnings Rank AvSt AvFn
1958 29 4 of 19 0 0 1 0 781 0 490 41 12.2 17.5
1959 30 5 of 15 1 2 3 0 1084 32 2,417 14 17.0 7.6
2 years 9 1 2 4 0 1865 32 2,907   14.9 12.0
 

 


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