Roberts wins inaugural Atlanta stop

Sunday, July 31, 1960 – Glen “Fireball” Roberts of Daytona Beach, Fla. passed Cotton Owens with 12 laps remaining to capture the inaugural Dixie 300 NASCAR premier series race at Atlanta International Raceway. The victory was the second of the year for Roberts and came in his sixth start of the ’60 season.

Roberts was flagged the winner when the race ended under caution. Owens and Jack Smith were second and third, respectively. All three were fielding Pontiac entries.

The win was the 23rd of Robert’s NASCAR career.

Bud Moore, head mechanic for Smith, lodged a protest after the race claiming his driver and Owens were both ahead of Roberts when the checkered flag appeared. NASCAR officials, however, ruled in Roberts’ favor.

Official starter Ernie Moore was knocked unconscious after he was struck in the neck by a piece of debris that flew off one of the race cars. He was transported to a local hospital with non life-threatening injuries.

According to reports, attendance for the inaugural race was 25,000, fewer than what had been anticipated.

Driver Speedy Thompson suffered three broken ribs when his car slammed into the fourth turn guard rail, bringing out the caution and sealing the win for Roberts.

Owens complete the entire 200-lap race on a single set of tires.

Eddie Rickenbacker, the World War 1 flying ace and recipient of the Medal of Honor, provided the American flag that was raised in the AMS pits. Rickenbacker was also a racer, competing in the Indianapolis 500 four times.

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