DECADES of RACING
Dodge is Back in Town
by Gene Bowman
Due to the fact Dodge has not won a race since 1977,( in Ontario, Canada driven by Neal Bonnett ) and Dodge is making a come back in 2001, I thought I would start my first two columns discussing the history of Dodge in the Grant National and the Winston Cup racing series.
Dodge became popular as a racecar in 1953 when it came equipped with a V-8 engine. Lee Petty a dedicated Chrysler driver decided he had to purchase a Dodge and went on to win five of the six races won by a Dodge that year. The other Dodge victory came at Martinsville and driven by Jim Paschal. In 1954 John Soares drove the Dodge to victory at Gardena, California, the only Dodge to win that year. In 1955 Dodge again made it to victory lane once, and that was at Winston-Salem and the driver was Lee Petty. In 1956 Buck Baker drove his Dodge to victory lane five times followed by Speedy Thompson and Lee Petty with two victories each. Royce Haggerty and Jack Smith made it to victory lane once each for a total of eleven victories for Dodge that year. During a period of seven years from 1957 to 1963 Dodge recorded only one victory and that was at Sumter, South Carolina in 1960 and driven by Ned Jarrett.
The '60s were some good years for Dodge, especially starting in 1964 when Dodge crossed the finish line first, thirteen times. David Pearson drove his Dodge to victory eight times in that year winning at Richmond, VA. , Greenville, SC. , Hillsboro, NC. , Chattanooga, TN. , Oxford, PA. , Myrtle Beach, SC , Columbia, SC. and Hickory, NC. During that same year Buddy Baker had two victories followed by Junior Johnson, A. J. Foyt, and Cotton Owens with one victory each. In 1965 the Ford's came alive to capture a remarkable forty-eight of the fifty-five races ran that year. David Pearson did collect two victories that year at Columbia, SC. and Richmond, VA.. During the '66 season David Pearson took his Dodge to victory lane fourteen times followed by Earl Balmer, Sam McQuagg and Lee Roy Yarbrough one victory each. During one stretch in '66 David Pearson was in victory lane four straight races.
In 1967 Richard Petty took his Plymouth to victory a record twenty-seven times and recorded a record ten wins in a row. The Dodge drivers were able to get to victory lane four times that year with David Pearson making it two times followed by Bobby Allison and Buddy Baker once each. In 1968 David Pearson switched from Dodge to Ford and continued his winnings. During the '68 & '69 season Bobby Isaac had his Dodge in victory lane twenty-one times with three of those coming in '68. Buddy Baker and Charlie Glotzbach recorded the two other Dodge victories that year. In 1969 Bobby Isaac chased after the Richard Petty twenty-seven wins but came up short with eighteen wins. Bobby Allison had three wins followed by Richard Brickhouse with one win.
Watch next week for "Dodge Is Back In Town " '70s & '80s " a continuation of this story. Below is a list of the races and drivers who won driving a Dodge during the '50s & '60s;