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They laughed when NASCAR's stock cars took to the road at Elkhart Lake, but Tim Flock gave the show A DETROIT SURPRISE
Kenneth Rudeen
August 20, 1956
The way I figure it," drawled Lee Petty, a grizzled veteran of the stock car racing circuits, before the start of an extraordinary event last weekend, "this race will be won by the driver who can go the fastest the slowest."
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August 20, 1956

They Laughed When Nascar's Stock Cars Took To The Road At Elkhart Lake, But Tim Flock Gave The Show A Detroit Surprise

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As Panch, driving very fast and very hard, added to his lead, little Joe Weatherly made a strong move with his Ford and took over the second position. After another siege of hectic pit stops, just after the halfway point, Panch emulated Baker by running out of gas three-quarters of a mile from home. This time it was Ford Driver Glenn (Fireball) Roberts who took over the pushing chore, and although Panch moved briskly back onto the course, he left it just as quickly with a misbehaving differential.

Thompson's Dodge, which had not lost as much time as might have been expected, now assumed command with considerable authority, achieving a solid margin over Weatherly's Ford. Turning some laps at 75 mph, Thompson was driving with as much verve as if the race had just begun.

With 16 laps to go Weatherly turned into the pits, never to resume the chase. Thompson needed only to maintain a steady pace to hold off the threat of Flock, a distant second, and Flock's Mercury teammate Billy Myers, the third man. But this was not to be Kiekhaefer's day. Suddenly Thompson, last of the Kiekhaefer team, pitted for gas. That cost 48 seconds, reducing Thompson's lead over Flock to 23 seconds. And as he pulled back on the track, Thompson's motor sounded rough. His left exhaust pipe belched blue smoke. When he had to retire out on the course, Tim Flock grabbed the lead and kept it.

And so it was that the man who went the fastest the slowest won the race. Julius Timothy Flock of Atlanta, a man who has often proved that he knows how to pace himself and his car and who had driven the Mercury as smoothly and carefully as any man could, flashed over the finish line 25 seconds ahead of Billy Myers' identical Mercury. Flock's brakes, specially ventilated in front by air scoops and in the rear by electric blowers, were still sound. His time of three hours 29 minutes 50 seconds averaged out to 71.485 mph. Fireball Roberts brought his Ford in third. Paul Goldsmith drove a Chevrolet to fourth.

"This road racing," said Flock, "is all right."

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