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Old 11-14-2003, 09:31 PM   #1
HistoricMustang
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Augusta International Raceway 40 years ago this weekend!

For those interested, here is what was taking place in Augusta 40 years ago this weekend. I WAS THERE:

Augusta International Raceway

• The “Augusta 510” was run on November 17, 1963 with a noon start time and a 5:00 PM end time. The race actually covered 417 miles so it is now referred to as the “Augusta 417”.
• This event was the second race for the 1964 Grand National Division of NASCAR which was later to become the Winston Cup Division.
• The preceding race was held in Concord, NC and the following race was held in Jacksonville, FL.
• Glenn “Fireball” Roberts was the winner of the “Augusta 417” and he would die later that season as the result of burns suffered at Charlotte Motor Speedway. He was driving a 1963 Ford and this would be his last win.
• The pole sitter was Fred Lorenzen with a speed of 89.545. He would only run 12 laps before engine failure.
• Weldon Adams would finish last after completing only 2 laps.
• Wendell Scott would finish 18th. He would win the next event in Jacksonville becoming the only African American to win a major NASCAR race. His feat has not been duplicated in 40 years.
• 36 cars started the race and 16 cars finished.
• The event lasted for four hours and fifty minutes and the average speed was 86.32 miles per hour.
• There were 10 lead changes during the event and Richard Petty led the most laps (56).
• The total purse for the event was $50,620.
• The expected turnout was to be 75,000 race fans. Only 15,000 actually attended.
• The track itself is a 3 mile long, high banked road course with 21 total turns. The average width of the track is 45 feet.
• The track elevation change was 110 total feet with the highest point being at pit entrance and the lowest point being on the “backstretch” where the infield lakes drain into Spirit Creek just outside the track.
• The track had a 15,000 square foot garage area (50’ x 300’) with two restrooms.
• There were seven main grandstands and these were located along the pit lane.
• The control tower was located between the four and fifth grandstand
• Four of the top six finishers that day would die on track before the season was over: Fireball Roberts, Dave MacDonald, Joe Weatherly and Jimmy Pardue.
• Five days after this event President Kennedy would be shot in Dallas.

Henry
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Old 12-27-2003, 06:44 PM   #2
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OK, a bit of an update. It looks like I will be busy in 2004.

After forming "The Augusta International Raceway Preservation Society" this past fall, while documenting the track, I was informed on December 17, 2003 by the local government that a monument would indeed be built to honor the former track and drivers. It will be constructed at Diamond Lakes Regional Park which is now located in the infield of the old circuit.

I have put up some more interesting stuff when you guys get a free minute (Ha!):

Augusta International Raceway

More research has found that five of the top six finishers in the "Augusta 510", which was the second race of the 1964 season, would lose their lives on track before the second race of the 1965 season: Glenn "Fireball" Roberts, Joe Weatherly, Dave MacDonald, Jimmy Pardue and Billy Wade. The sixth driver was Ned Jarrett.

Do an extra pull on those belts in 2004!

If you make it to Augusta let me know and we will "do a lap".

Henry
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Old 12-27-2003, 07:17 PM   #3
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Cool stuff Henry.
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Old 01-16-2004, 06:33 PM   #4
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Good news and bad news.

First bad:

More research finds that six of the top seven finishers in the "Augusta 510" road race would perish before the next season: Glenn "Fireball" Roberts, Joe Weatherly, Dave MacDonald, Jimmy Pardue, Billy Wade and Larry Thomas.

Now Good:

Next Wednesday will be meeting with the county officials to identify that parcel of land where the initial "monument" will be placed at the track. That monument WILL somehow be on the ground this September.

When you come to town I will take you for a lap.

Henry
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