Opening-lap accident claims life of Staley

Sunday, March 23, 1958 – Gwyn Staley, 30, dies as a result of injuries sustained in a crash that occurred on the opening lap of the 200-lap convertible race held at Richmond Fairgrounds Raceway. Staley, a native of North Wilkesboro, N.C., was the younger brother of Enoch Staley, one of NASCAR’s early promotors in the Carolinas and owner of North Wilkesboro Speedway. The younger Staley’s car flipped several times after contact on the first lap, then struck the board fence surrounding the track. He was pinned under his vehicle. He was pronounced dead upon arrival at Richmond Memorial Hospital.

• Staley was third in the National Convertible points standings heading into the Richmond race. He was driving a 1957 Chevrolet owned by Julian Petty, brother of premier series driver Lee Petty. A week before his fatal crash, Staley had finished second to Curtis Turner in a 150-lap Grand National race at Champion Speedway in Fayetteville, N.C.

Enoch Staley named the spring NASCAR race at North Wilkesboro in his brother’s honor – the Gwyn Staley 400 (the Gwyn Staley 160 in ’59-60).

The Richmond race was resumed following Staley’s accident with Joe Weatherly collecting the win.