The NASCAR Convertible Division was a division of convertible cars early in NASCAR's history, from 1956 until 1969, although the signature race for convertibles remained a Convertible Division race until 1962. Two remnants of the Convertible Division are still used in NASCAR's Sprint Cup Series today, the Budweiser Duels (one Daytona 500 qualifying race was reserved for convertibles) and the Rebel 500 (started as a convertible race until the end of the division).
NASCAR purchased SAFE (Society of Auto Sports, Fellowship, and Education)'s all-convertible Circuit of Champions “All Stars” circuit late in 1955. Most drivers did not make the transition to NASCAR's sanction. NASCAR ran the division from 1956 until 1959. Some Convertibles raced against the Grand National (now Sprint Cup) hardtop cars in the same race. The 1959 Daytona 500 had one qualifying race for Convertibles and one for the hardtop Grand National cars. 20 of the 59 cars in the Daytona 500 were convertibles. The split qualifying races of the 1959 race led to the development of the Budweiser Duel qualifying races still used in the Daytona 500.
The current Bojangles' Southern 500 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Darlington Raceway was held as a Convertible Division race from 1957-62. As NASCAR's only superspeedway in 1957, the inaugural Rebel 300 was held as a Convertible race on May 11, 1957, only to be delayed by rain and raced on the ensuing Sunday (May 12), drawing a fine for promoter Bob Colvin for violating South Carolina blue law (the track's signature fall race, the Southern 500 (which was discontinued after the Ferko lawsuit in 2004), was held on Labor Day Monday until 1983, when the state waived the Blue Law for 250 mile (402 km) or longer automobile races). The Rebel would be held as a Confederate Memorial Day Convertible race even after the division ended in 1959, with full Grand National points awarded for three more Convertible division races from 1960–62, won by Joe Weatherly, Fred Lorenzen, and the final Rebel 300 for convertibles on May 12, 1962, won by Nelson Stacy.
The Rebel 300 was run as a Grand National race with hardtops for the first time in 1963 as two 150-mile races before adopting a full 300-mile race in 1964, and expanded to 400 miles in 1966, before going to 500 miles in 1974, reverting to 400 miles in 1994, and returning in 2005 back to its Confederate Memorial Day date as a Saturday night 500-mile Sprint Cup race. The race was moved back to the April date of the 1970's in 2014, and will be run in September starting in 2015 as a Sunday evening race. For lineage purposes, the current Bojangles' Southern 500 is regarded as a continuation of the Rebel 500.
List of champions
- ^ Bob Pronger - Biography; Stan Kalwasinski; Chicagoland Auto Racing, Retrieved February 20, 2008
- ^ Coulter, Bill (1998). Building and Detailing Scale Model Cars. Kalmbach Publishing, Co. pp. page 5. ISBN 0-89024-285-2.
- ^ Pepsi 400: Nothing like racing at night; NASCAR.com; Dave Rodman; July 3, 2002; Retrieved February 21, 2008
- ^ Daytona 500 Anniversary - The 50th Run; Stock Car Racing magazine; Benny Phillips; July 3, 2002; Retrieved February 21, 2008
- ^ Nelson Stacy; legendsofnascar.com; Retrieved February 20, 2008
- ^ 1956 NASCAR Convertible statistics, Retrieved February 20, 2008
- ^ 1959 NASCAR Convertible statistics, Retrieved February 20, 2008
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Daytona Beach News-Journal (blog)
Daytona Beach News-Journal (blog)
Wed, 10 Sep 2014 14:56:15 -0700
There also were three NASCAR Convertible Division races held on the asphalt half-mile oval encircling the playing field, won by Tiger Tom Pistone on June 30, 1956; Curtis Turner on Sept. 9, 1956 and Glen Wood on June 29, 1957. These photos are on ...
Thu, 28 Aug 2014 06:07:30 -0700
Johnson also competed in the NASCAR Convertible Division in both 1958 and 1959, taking a pair of victories in 16 starts. In 1959 He was the NASCAR Convertible Division Champion and held numerous other racing titles. He made his last NASCAR start in ...
Tue, 20 May 2014 09:18:45 -0700
He also won 38 of the 79 races he drove in the NASCAR Convertible Division. While the stats don't show it, many whose time in the sport go back to its roots will vouch that Turner was one of the greatest — he's been on the ballot each of the six years ...
Sun, 23 Mar 2014 05:22:37 -0700
He left behind a career 360 race wins in many different series, including 22 in the old NASCAR Convertible Division and 17 in the Grand National Division that is now Sprint Cub. He remains the only NASCAR driver to win 25 major races in one season ...
Mon, 20 May 2013 18:13:03 -0700
Drivers have dominated the four previous classes of those inducted into the NASCAR Hall of Fame, with more than half of the 20 current members chosen primarily for their accomplishments behind the wheel. No fewer than three drivers have been among the ...
Cleveland Daily Banner
Thu, 08 Dec 2011 09:03:45 -0800
He had been a NASCAR Convertible Division champion in 1959, and won the inaugural World 600 NASCAR race in Charlotte, N.C., in 1969. He ran in 55 NASCAR races over seven years. Johnson finished 13th in NASCAR's Grand National points ...
Thu, 08 Apr 2010 00:00:00 -0700
The late Joe Lee Johnson, winner of the inaugural World 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway in 1960 and the 1959 champion of NASCAR's Convertible Division, made his living as owner and promoter of Cleveland Speedway, a dirt track in Tennessee.
Mon, 21 Feb 2011 09:30:14 -0800
He also won a NASCAR Convertible division race at the historic track in 1959. Wood and his engine building brother Len had a knack for the legendary flat .250-mile paved oval. Glen won two NASCAR Whelen All-American Series track championships there.
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