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!”

Weatherly awarded short Concord win

Tues., March 6, 1962 – Norfolk, Va., native Joe Weatherly is declared the winner of the previous Saturday’s NASCAR Grand National race at Concord (N.C.) Speedway even though only 76 of the race’s 200 laps were completed when rain forced officials to halt the event. The race was initially slated to be resumed the following Saturday.

A race isn’t official today until two of the three “stages” have been completed, a format change announced in Jan. of 2017. Prior to that change, races were not considered official until reaching the halfway point of the advertised distance.

Competitors in the 1962 race were reportedly paid 50 percent of the advertised purse. Because of the ruling, NASCAR and track operator Bruton Smith added another race at Concord, also won by Weatherly, on May 6.

• Weatherly had led all 78 laps (39 miles) after starting on the pole. Richard Petty was credited with second while Ralph Earnhardt was third in the 20-car field.

The victory was the 15th of Weatherly’s career and his second of the ’62 season.