A win for Rathman; death visits Langhorne

Sunday, June 21, 1953 – Dick Rathman started on the pole and led all 200 laps to capture the International 200 NASCAR premier series event at Langhorne (Pa.) Speedway. Rathman, driving a ’53 Hudson, beat Lee Petty by four laps to score his seventh career victory. It was the first NASCAR premier series race to feature both America-made and foreign-built entries.

There were 11 different makes of automobiles in the lineup, including four from outside the U.S. ­– Aston Martin, Jaguar, Porsche and, for the only time in series history, Volkswagen.

Team owner and part-time driver Frank Arford, 42, died from injuries sustained in a crash during qualifying the day before the race. A native of Indianapolis, Arford also owned the entry driven by Dick Passwater. According to reports, Arford was thrown from his vehicle after the car began to roll. It stopped only after crashing through a barrier. In addition to being in the used car business, Arford also worked as a boxing referee in amateur bouts.

Canadian Lloyd Shaw, driving one of six Jaguars entered in the race, won the pole in his first NASCAR outing. It also proved to be his only NASCAR outing.

Langhorne, a 1-mile dirt track, hosted NASCAR events from 1949 through 1957.

Petty, Jim Paschal, Herb Thomas and Bill Blair rounded out the top five in the 38-car field.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *