Baker declared winner at Martinsville

Sunday, May 19, 1957 – Defending NASCAR premier series champion Buck Baker was declared the winner of the Virginia 500 at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway after officials halted the event to attend to injured spectators. Contact between race leader Billy Myers and the lapped entry of Tom Pistone sent Myers’ car into the concrete barrier and over the wall on lap 441 of the 500-lap event.

Nine-year-old Alvin Helsaveck suffered a head injury when he was struck by debris from the crash. According to reports, four other spectators suffered non-life threatening injuries.

Neither Myers nor Pistone was hurt in the crash.

The victory was career win No. 29 for Baker.

Officials were preparing to resume the race, which had been slowed earlier for 45 minutes due to rain, when rain returned and the race was declared official.

It seemed like a good idea at the time

Saturday, May 10, 1952 – There was Strictly Stock, the forerunner of today’s Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series, and later the Convertible division, but in 1952 and ’53, NASCAR gave open-wheel entries a whirl. And on this date, the sanctioning body held its first race for Indy-style entries, known as the Speedway Division, at Darlington (S.C.) Raceway.

Buck Baker won the inaugural race in an entry powered by a Cadillac engine. He led the final 46 laps of the 160-lap event and according to reports sported a four-lap lead on runner-up Bill Miller at the finish.

Twenty-three entries were in the race and lined up three-abreast for the start; Speedy Thompson was the pole winner.

The Speedway Division was short-lived, lasting only from 1952-53. Baker won the series championship in ’52 while Pete Allen took the honor in ’53.