First, last and monkey business

Sunday, April 5, 1953 – Indiana native Dick Passwater registers his lone victory in NASCAR’s premier series, winning at Charlotte (N.C.) Speedway. Piloting a 1953 Olds 88, Passwater led only the final three laps in the 150-lap feature.

Passwater made just 20 starts between 1952-53. His Charlotte win was the first NASCAR victory for car No. 78.

It was also the only NASCAR victory for Passwater’s car owner, Frank Arford.

Two spectators were injured in the race when driver Gene Comestock’s entry rolled over a fence and pinned them underneath the car. They were transported to local hospitals.

According to reports, the Charlotte race also marked the first appearance of Jocko Flocko, a rhesus monkey that rode “shotgun” with 1952 series champion Tim Flock for eight events that season.