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.

Wade sets record with 4th win in row

Sunday, July 19, 1964 – Bill Wade established a NASCAR premier series record of four consecutive victories when he captured The Glen 151.8 at Watkins Glen International. Wade, driving the No. 1 Mercury for car owner Bud Moore, sported a six-second winning margin over LeeRoy Yarborough. The race consisted of 66 laps around the 2.3-mile road course.

Prior to the streak, Wade, a Houston, Texas native, had been winless on NASCAR’s top circuit.

The consecutive wins came at Old Bridge, Bridgehampton, Islip and Watkins Glen, a part of NASCAR’s “Northern Tour” at the time.

Wade began driving for Moore in ’64 after spending much of the ’63 season driving for another Spartanburg, S.C. owner, Cotton Owens.

Richard Petty fell out just 10 laps into the race when he hit a tire barrier; Petty later replaced David Pearson in the No. 6 Dodge fielded by Owens for the remainder of the race, giving Pearson credit for a sixth-place finish.

Wade was named NASCAR’s Rookie of the Year in 1963

According to reports, Wade had to overcome carburetor issues as well as a constant barrage of rocks bouncing off his car’s windshield to score the win at Watkins Glen. “Those stones sounded like the pop of a shotgun,” he told the Associated Press.

Wade finished fourth in points in ’64; the following January, he was killed when a tire on his entry blew while he was testing at Daytona international Speedway and his car struck the wall. He was 34.