Dale Jr Bud...
Buy this Tin Sign for $12.99
Dale Sr Legacy of...
Buy this Tin Sign for $12.99
Alfred Bruce "Speedy" Thompson
Born: April 3, 1926 - Union County, NC
Died: April 2, 1972
"Speedy" Thompson was one of the most successful drivers of late 50's. Speedy made 198 starts from 1950 - 1971 winning 20 races along with seventy-eight top fives, 106 top tens, and nineteen poles.
He finished no lower than third in the final standings from 1956 - 1959 while driving for Carl Kiekhaefer.
During a late model sportsman race on Easter Sunday, April 2, 1972 at the half mile Metrolina Fairgrounds in Charlotte, Speedy started the race despite reporting he was not feeling well. During a caution flag, he went to his pit, complaining of a shortness of breath. When the cars pulled back out onto the track for the re-start, he made only three-fourths of a lap before his car veered into the wall. Thompson suffered a suspected heart attack and broke his neck as well. He died on the way to the hospital, one day before his 46th birthday.
20 NASCAR Wins
19 NASCAR Poles
198 career starts
Won the Pole or Race 1 race in every 10 Races
- Thompson started racing roadsters in 1946, switched to modifieds in 1948, and then began concentrating on the Grand National Stock Car Circuit in 1950.
- He was inducted into the National Motorsports Press Association's Hall of Fame in 1984 and the Georgia Automobile Racing Hall of Fame.
- Thompson also won the Southern 500 at Darlington in 1957 and had 20 wins for 29th on the all time list.
- One of the drivers for Carl Kiekhaefer's Chrysler team of the mid-1950s, Thompson won a career-best eight times in 1956, when he finished third in the points.
- To prove it wasn't just the power of the Kiekhaefer cars that made him successful, Thompson drove his own equipment to four of his 20 career victories in 1958. He finished third in points in each year from 1957 to 1959.
- "Speedy's" father Bruce was instrumental in what racing has evolved into today. He was a welder, race car driver, owner, builder and promoter of the sport. The Thompsons lived at the intersection of Old Charlotte Highway and Indian Trail, Waxhaw Road on a 300 acre farm. Bruce ran the Standard Oil station that used to sit on the comer of the crossroads. This is where Bruce did his mechanical work and built race cars. Later, Bruce moved his family to a house at Five Points in Monroe, where he built engines in the small welding shop next door, which became known as Thompson's Speed Shop.
- This is where Speedy and his older brother, Jimmy, got their racing start. Jimmy Thompson ran some Grand National events but mostly raced modified Sportsman, where he is remembered as one of the very best and was extremely competitive.
- Son of Franklin Bruce and Colen Austin Thompson and his grandfather, James Franklin Thompson who was one of five original commissioners for Vance Township in NC.,
Thompson made his Nascar debut in 1950 and won two of the seven races he competed in 1953 in the #46 Buckshot Morris Oldsmobile. Thompson made 15 starts in 1955 and made a serious attack on the Championship the next year, competing in 42 races in Carl Kiekhaefer's factory-backed Chryslers and Dodges, winning eight times and finishing third in points. 1957 saw a switch to Hugh Babb's and his own Chevrolets and another third place result, only capturing two victories that year. Speedy drove his own Chevy for the entire 1958 season, and another third place was the reward for his four victories in 38 starts. Another third place in points came in 1959 from 29 starts in a variety of different cars, this time with no wins. 1959 would be his last full-time effort in the series and he left Grand National after the 1962 season, choosing to race at late models at local North Carolina short tracks. He returned to NASCAR's top series, then called Winston Cup, in 1971 for the World 600 where he finished 16th.
The Woods of Virginia - Part 4: Super Speedy
By Rick Minter | Senior Writer RacinToday.com January 05, 2010
The Wood Brothers Racing Team has been one of the backbones of NASCAR since the sport was founded. The Woods, from Stuart, Va., have been racing continuously in the division now known as Sprint Cup since 1953 and have 96 wins to their credit.
In a RacinToday exclusive series, Eddie Wood, one of the second-generation members of the team, will discuss what he considers the top 10 wins in Wood Brothers history.
The wins aren’t ranked in any particular order. This week’s entry recalls the team’s first superspeedway victory. It came on Oct. 16. 1960, at Charlotte Motor Speedway in the inaugural National 400.
Eddie’s dad Glen recalled that he initially didn’t plan to enter a car in the race, since a tire test before the event indicated problems with a rough racing surface.
But Wood’s old friend Curtis Turner, a co-owner of the speedway, convinced him to bring his Ford to the race.
“I didn’t have anybody to drive it, so Curtis said he’d drive it,” Glen Wood said. The plan was for Speedy Thompson, who had been sitting on the sidelines for most of that season, to take Turner’s place in the Holman-Moody Ford.
But Turner’s duties as track owner were consuming so much of his time that Thompson wound up running some of the practice sessions in the Wood’s No. 21 Ford. Finally, after it was evident that Turner wouldn’t be able to give the car his full attention, the decision was made to put Thompson in it for good.
When it came time to qualify, Thompson convinced the Woods to use baby powder on the car instead of wax to make it slicker and faster. And he didn’t want anyone else to know his secret, which posed a problem.
“You could smell that baby powder a mile away,” Wood said. “And it was hard to hide that white powder on a red car.”
While Wood isn’t sure whether the baby powder helped or not, Thompson ran fast, qualifying third behind Fireball Roberts and Jack Smith for the 400.
Wood is sure about one factor that contributed to the speed.
The car was purchased from a junkyard. Originally a street car (this was when stock cars were pretty much stock cars), the interior of which had burned in a fire.
But that was a good thing. Gone were all the heavy soundproofing materials and glue and such that were a part of a street car.
“The fact that the interior had been burned was all the much better,” Glen Wood said. “You normally wouldn’t have taken all that stuff out of a car.”
Wood also figured that in his team’s favor was the fact that Thompson, a very capable driver, had been out of action for a while and was anxious to prove he could still drive.
“It livened him up,” Wood said, explaining that Thompson and his brother Jimmy were much like the Allison brothers – Bobby and Donnie – in their day.
During the race, the No. 21 was one of the leading contenders. Eddie Wood recalls listening to the broadcast on a console radio from the family home in Stuart, accompanied by his brother Len and a neighbor lady assigned to watch the youngsters that day.
In the closing laps, Fireball Roberts was leading but blew a tire and hit the wall. Thompson took over and sailed to victory, one lap and 12 seconds ahead of runner-up Richard Petty. The winner’s share was $12,710 plus a new convertible. Thompson kept the car, paying Wood for his share.
The victory and the money won that day were a major turning point for the Wood Brothers team.
“It had been pretty lean for a few years up to that point,” Wood said. “That win put some money in the bank and let us keep racing a while.”
The good times continued into the next week’s race at Richmond. Immediately after the Charlotte win, Richmond promoter Paul Sawyer called and offered Wood $2,500 to bring Thompson and the winning car to his track and added another grand if he’d bring a second car for Joe Weatherly.
“Paul was pretty good about getting something while it was hot,” Wood said.
And Sawyer was spot on. Thompson qualified on the outside pole at Richmond and dominated the race, leading 173 of 200 laps to score his 20th and final Cup victory. He raced just eight more times in his Cup career, choosing instead to concentrate on Late Model races. He died just after crashing in an April 2, 1972 at Metrolina Fairgrounds in Charlotte, possibly after suffering a heart attack. He would have been 46 the next day.
To follow up on his breakthrough 1960 season, Wood bought a new 1961 Ford Starliner, turned it into a race car and was back on the NASCAR trail. More importantly he offered the car to Ford, which wasn’t officially involved in NASCAR at that point, to conducts tests at Concord, N.C.
Soon Ford was officially back in racing, and the Woods were part of their plan.
“I’ve been with Ford ever since,” Wood said. RacinToday.com
Speedy Thompson (L) win congrats, 1960; Glen Woods second from right
May 6th, 1956: Speedy Thompson takes the win in the 100 mile event in Concord, NC.
It is the 4th straight event in which the 2 Kiekhaefer cars have finished 1-2. T. Taylor Warren Photo
Tim Flock, Speedy, Fonty Flock
Speedy and tire rep; That smile . . .
Daytona Beach Start, 1958
The famed Fish Carburetor #M-1driven by Fireball Roberts. The Fish Carburetor cars were always among the ones to beat in any Daytona Modified-Sportsman race back then and they had a five car team in 1955. Actually this #M-1 car, a 1940 Ford, ran both races in 1955, with Roberts driving it to 3rd in the Sportsman race and Speedy Thompson finishing 6th in the Mod-Spts Saturday race. In that race Roberts drove the #M-3 car, a 37 Chevy but dropped out for 44th place. Thompson won the Friday race with the M-5 car and Milt Hartlauf (M-2) and Herb Thomas (M-4) recorded top five finishes on Saturday, the M-3 car the only one not to make a top five finish in one of the two races.
Thompson also won the Southern 500 at Darlington in 1957 and had 20 wins for 29th on the all time list. (The photo of the M-1 was taken at the Fish Carburetor plant parking lot. The plant was on the west side of the Halifax River just off one of the main bridges between the beach and mainland. Smokey Yunick's "Best Damn Garage in Town" was just up the road) Courtesy RacewayMagazine.com
Speedy Thompson pitches his #M-5 Fish Carburetor Ford into the North Turn en route to victory in the 1955 Sportsman race at Daytona. Thompson took the lead from Curtis Turner with 15 laps remaining in the 100-mile event and delivered the first Daytona triumph for team owner Bob Fish
#97 Bill Amick, #8 Marvin Panch, #57 Speedy Thompson
#46 Speedy Thompson just ahead of Fireball Roberts in the '57 Ford #22 at Daytona Beach
#46 Speedy Thompson just behind Buck Baker's #87at Daytona Beach
The picture above and below is of a Slot Car!
The '57 Chevrolet sedan line promised to be brand new with a drastic redesign from the ’56 model. Chevy introduced an improved and more rigid frame, a redesigned open grille and massive bumper that combined form and function, a lower-profile hood, and distinctive fender fins that became the ’57 trademark.
Of the three sedans available, the ‘One-Fifty’ was the base utility model, also known as the ‘salesman’s Chevy’ because the back seat had been removed for extra storage room. Under the hood, Chevy offered the 235 ci “Blue Flame” 6-cylinder, the 265 ci V-8, or the 283 ci Turbo-Fire small block V8.
Coupled with new Ramjet fuel injection, the 283 achieved the engineering benchmark of 1 horsepower per 1 cubic inch of engine; Chevy boasted that “the road isn’t built that can make it breathe hard”. While not as glamorous as its ‘Two-Ten’ or Bel Air stablemates of 1957, and despite a very small production run, the 283 ci fuel-injected V8 ‘One-Fifty’ in the distinctive black-and-white “Black Widow” paint scheme was revered on the race circuit. Unfortunately, three months into the 1957 race season, fuel- injected stock cars were banned, due to the advantage over independent racers.
Grand National / Cup DRIVER Statistics
Date Race Name Track Make 1 9/13/1953 Central City 200 Central City Speedway Olds 2 10/11/1953 Wilkes 160 North Wilkesboro Speedway Olds 3 10/9/1955 Memphis-Arkansas Speedway Memphis-Arkansas Speedway 4 10/16/1955 Martinsville Martinsville 5 5/5/1956 Columbia Speedway Columbia Speedway 6 5/6/1956 Harris Speedway Harris Speedway 7 5/12/1956 Hickory Speedway Hickory Speedway 8 5/27/1956 Charlotte Speedway Charlotte Speedway 9 6/15/1956 Southern States Fairgrounds Southern States Fairgrounds-Charlotte 10 6/22/1956 Monroe County Fairgrounds Monroe County Fairgrounds 11 7/27/1956 Cleveland County Fairgrounds Cleveland County Fairgrounds 12 11/11/1956 Hickory Speedway Hickory Speedway 13 7/30/1957 Lancaster Speedway Lancaster Speedway 14 9/2/1957 Darlington Darlington 15 4/10/1958 Columbia Speedway Columbia Speedway 16 4/12/1958 Hub City Speedway Hub City Speedway 17 8/7/1958 Columbia Speedway Columbia Speedway 18 9/14/1958 Atlantic Rural Fairgrounds Atlantic Rural Fairgrounds-Richmond 19 10/16/1960 Charlotte Charlotte 20 10/23/1960 Atlantic Rural Fairgrounds Atlantic Rural Fairgrounds-Richmond
Year Age Races Win T5 T10 Pole Laps Led Earnings Rank AvSt AvFn 1950 24 1 of 19 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 21.0 1951 25 3 of 41 0 1 1 0 39 0 275 75 17.0 17.3 1952 26 2 of 34 0 0 0 0 409 0 305 37 32.5 16.5 1953 27 7 of 37 2 5 7 0 1257 99 6,546 11 11.3 3.1 1954 28 7 of 37 0 1 3 0 949 0 1,165 23 42.5 15.6 1955 29 15 of 45 2 3 5 0 1918 222 7,089 15 7.7 14.7 1956 30 42 of 56 8 24 29 7 6957 2023 27,169 3 5.1 9.7 1957 31 38 of 53 2 16 22 4 6201 648 26,841 3 7.1 10.2 1958 32 38 of 51 4 19 24 7 6808 230 15,215 3 7.7 10.3 1959 33 29 of 44 0 5 9 1 4785 228 6,816 3 10.6 14.2 1960 34 9 of 44 2 4 5 0 1646 217 18,035 25 15.1 17.6 1961 35 3 of 52 0 0 0 0 440 0 1,100 63 8.0 23.0 1962 36 3 of 53 0 0 1 0 443 0 1,400 42 20.7 16.3 1971 45 1 of 48 0 0 0 0 376 0 1,800 9.0 16.0
14 years 198 20 78 106 19 32228 3667 113,756 8.8 11.8 11.4
Copyright © 2003 LegendsofNascar.com by Roland Via. All rights reserved. Revised: 06/08/12 08:11:17 -0400. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works. FAIR USE NOTICE: This web page may contain copyrighted material whose use has not been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. This page is operated under the assumption that this use on the Web constitutes a 'fair use' of the copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. Any text or images that you feel need to be removed please contact me. LegendsofNascar.com is not associated or affiliated with any racing club or organizations including that of NASCAR. It is constructed simply as an internet information source. Images and content made be used with email permission. Opinions and other content are not necessarily those of editors, sponsors.
Please visit official NASCAR information website at NASCAR.COM.