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Louis Grier "Buddy" Shuman
Born: September 8, 1915      Died: November 13, 1955
Home: Charlotte, NC 

 

Buddy Shuman was a pioneer NASCAR Grand National driver and tough competitor who was well respected by his peers. He died in a hotel fire in 1955. NASCAR established the Buddy Shuman Award in 1957 to recognize outstanding contributions to NASCAR racing. Other recent Shuman Award winners have included Richard Petty, Rick Hendrick, Dave Marcis and Chris Economaki.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fireball Roberts and Buddy Shuman - The early 50's and Modified racing

Behind Buddy's arm is Shuman & Thompson on car

 

 


 

Racer Profile: Louis Grier "Buddy" Shuman
An Opinion     ----     July 27, 2007   By Allen Madding

While there are no clear records or history of when Louis Grier "Buddy" Shuman officially began racing, we do know that he won the first Stock Car race held at Alcyon Speedway at Pitman, New Jersey on August 27, 1948, with Chick Di Natale of Trenton, New Jersey, finishing second. Born September 8, 1915 in Charlotte, North Carolina, Shuman quickly established himself in the racing community as a mechanic and a driver.

It is told that Shuman shined in the NASCAR Modified ranks where he scored 100 feature wins.

Shuman entered NASCAR Grand National Division competition in 1951. Shuman drove R .H. Yandell’s No. 17 Ford at the ½-mile Greenville-Pickens Speedway in South Carolina finishing tenth. He followed that with a third place finish in the Southern 500 at Darlington. A sixth place finish came on the ¾-mile dirt Charlotte Speedway.

He finished eighth in the Wilkes 200 at North Wilkesboro’s .625-mile dirt track, ninth at Jacksonville, Florida’s ½-mile dirt Speedway Park, eighth at the one-mile dirt Lakewood Speedway in Atlanta, and sixth at the ¾-mile dirt Lakeview Speedway in Mobile, Alabama. In seven starts in his first year of competition with the series, Shuman recorded an amazing one top-5 and seven top-10s.

Shuman began the 1952 season driving his own No. 17 Ford and Oldsmobile in six events and then began driving B.A. Pless’s No. 89 Hudson Hornet. He finished second in the Motor City 250 on the one-mile dirt track at Michigan State Fairgrounds in Detroit.

On July 1, 1952 NASCAR held its first event outside the United States. The location was Stamford Park, Ontario, Canada near Niagara Falls. Stamford was a flat ½-mile dirt horse track that began hosting stock car races in 1948. Shuman took the lead of the event on lap 71 and led the rest of the 200-lap event winning by two laps over the second place car of Herb Thomas. Only seventeen cars started the race that day, but because the track became so rough, only six cars managed to complete the event.

In 15 starts in 1952, Shuman scored one win, three top-5s, and seven top-10s.

In 1953, Shuman drove J. R. Dunberry’s No. 190 Hudson at the beach course at Daytona Beach. On the fourth lap, the car lost a clutch putting him out of the competition. He made two starts in his own No.12 Oldsmobile and then made two more starts driving Pless’s No. 89 Hudson including a 14th place finish in the Southern 500.

In 1955, Shuman drove Frank Christian’s No. 14 Chevrolet at Hickory Speedway finishing ninth. He drove Bob Griffin’s No. 87 Oldsmobile at Southern States Fairgrounds in Charlotte in August finishing sixth. On November 13, 1955, Buddy Shuman tragically perished in a hotel fire. He was 40 years old at the time of his death.

In 1957, NASCAR established the Buddy Shuman Award to recognize outstanding contributions to NASCAR racing. Some of the recipients of the Buddy Shuman Award have included Banjo Mathews, Richard Petty, Rick Hendrick, Dave Marcis and Chris Economaki.

You can contact Allen Madding at .. Insider Racing News

 

Buddy Shuman being
congratulated
by the legendary
Cannonball Baker,
an early Nascar official

 

 

Bill France, Jr. displaying
Buddy Shuman Award

 

 

 

 

Buddy Shuman (9/8/15 - 11/13/55): Charlotte, North Carolina's Buddy Shuman ran 29 races from 1951 - 1955, accumulating one win and 16 other top ten finishes.  His win came at Niagra Falls, Ontario 7/1/52 in a Hudson Hornet.  Buddy was one of many drivers who fielded cars for Junie Donlavey.  Shuman died in a hotel fire in Hickory, NC in 1955.  NASCAR honored Shuman by naming their "Lifetime Achievement Award" the "Buddy Shuman Award."

 

 

BUDDY SHUMAN RACE STORY: 1952 Grand National Race
Stamford Park Race Track, near Niagara Falls, was the site of Canada's first NASCAR race on July 1, 1952. Stamford was a flat, half-mile dirt horse track that occasionally ran stock car races beginning in 1948. About 4,000 fans were on hand to see the 100 lap event. Buddy Shuman, from Charlotte, NC, driving a Hudson Hornet won the race by 2 laps over second place finisher Herb Thomas. Shuman took the lead on lap 71 and led the remaining laps. Seventeen cars started the race but the rough track caused high attrition with only 6 drivers finishing. Admission was $1.75 for the event.

July 1, 1952 Stamford Park Results

Fin
Qual
Num
Driver
Car
Laps
Status
Winnings
1
8
89
Buddy Shuman 1952 Hudson Hornet
200
Running
$1,000
2
1
92
Herb Thomas 1952 Hudson
198
Running
$700
3
7
44
Ray Duhigg 1951 Plymouth
193
Running
$450
4
14
421
Jack Reynolds 1951 Plymouth
183
Wheel
$350
5
13
 
Perk Brown 1950 Ford
176
Running
$200
6
10
52
Neil Cole 1950 Plymouth
168
Engine
$150
7
16
 
Fonty Flock 1951 Henry J
163
Running
$125
8
5
118
Bucky Sager 1951 Hudson
154
Wheel
$100
9
12
93
Ted Chamberlain 1950 Plymouth
134
In pits
$75
10
17
 
Albert Lemieux 1950 Mercury Meteor
121
Running
$50
11
11
 
Charles Barry 1951 Ford
87
Overheating
$25
12
3
120
Dick Rathman 1951 Hudson
78
Engine
$25
13
2
91
Tim Flock 1951 Hudson
59
Accident
$25
14
9
1
Eddie Lenz 1950 Oldsmobile 88
55
Accident
$25
15
6
3
Hershel McGriff 1952 Oldsmobile 88
45
Engine
$25
16
4
42
Lee Petty 1951 Plymouth
40
Engine
$25
17
15
 
Jack Hauher 1949 Ford
26
Engine
$25
Time of Race: 2 hours, 11 minutes, 33 seconds   Average Speed: 45.610 mph   Pole Winner: Herb Thomas, 52.401 mph

The 1969 Buddy Shuman 250 was a Grand National event held at Hickory Speedway on September 5, 1969. Bobby Isaac led 155 of the 250 laps in route to a dominating one-lap victory on Neil Castles. Eventual season champ David Pearson finished 21st after engine woes on the first lap took him out of contention.

Buddy Shuman Grand National DRIVER Statistics

Year Age Races Win T5 T10 Pole Laps Led Earnings Rank AvSt AvFn
1951 35 7 of 41 0 1 7 0 391 0 2,755 6 15.0 7.1
1952 36 15 of 34 1 3 7 0 1785 65 4,587 10 16.5 13.5
1953 37 5 of 37 0 0 0 0 342 0 395 28 19.3 31.0
1955 39 2 of 45 0 0 2 0 379 0 350 138 9.0 7.5
4 years 29 1 4 16 0 2897 65 8,087   16.0 14.6

Buddy Shuman Grand National OWNER Statistics

Year Driver Races Win T5 T10 Pole Laps Led Earnings Rank AvSt AvFn
1952 Buddy Shuman 8 0 1 4 0 593 0 4,587 10 16.4 14.8
1952 Bill Widenhouse 1 0 0 0 0 19 0 50 100 23.0 20.0
1953 Buddy Shuman 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 395 28 7.0 27.0
2 years 11 0 1 4 0 612 0 5,032   16.0 17.5


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