Late Model mayhem and a near riot

Thursday, March 15, 1956 – NASCAR fined points leader Bob Welborn and Herb Thomas, second in the standings, $250 each for unsportsmanlike conduct following a 150-lap Late Model race at Fayetteville Raceway on March 11. Both drivers were also required to post $250 bonds to assure their compliance with all NASCAR rules for the balance of the year.

A series of on-track altercations throughout the race got out of hand after Welborn was knocked out of the lead in the final laps by Thomas. Fans, upset over the contact, attempted to accost Thomas in the pits after the race. Reports indicated fans also broke windows out of the Thomas car. Local police had to climb atop Thomas’ entry while he was still behind the wheel to hold irate fans at bay with dry fire extinguishers.

NASCAR’s Bill France Sr. suspended the two drivers until an investigation into the incident could be completed.

Driver Gwyn Staley grabbed the lead with three laps remaining and won the race. 

A real trophy queen for Hillsboro

Sunday, March 10, 1963 – More than a decade before Elizabeth Taylor attended her first NASCAR event at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway, and her second a year later Charlotte Motor Speedway, tiny Orange Speedway, a .9-mile dirt track in Hillsborough, N.C. played host to one of Hollywood’s biggest female stars. When Junior Johnson stepped into victory lane, he was presented the winner’s trophy by Hollywood sex symbol Jayne Mansfield, star of the stage, screen and apparently supper clubs.

NASCAR founder Bill France and Enoch Staley (of North Wilkesboro Speedway fame), race promoters for the event, extended the offer to Mansfield, who was performing at a Greensboro supper club during the week of the race.

According to reports, Mansfield told reporters earlier in the week she had “never seen one of these races before, and I’m looking forward to it very much.” To which driver Joe Weatherly was said to have responded: “I’m not at all sure what she’s looking forward to. But man, she really looks forward!”