Every so often, we here at Splash ‘n Go will do a “Did You Know That?” Each post will feature three interesting tidbits or stories about NASCAR that you may have not heard before. Hopefully, you will find them interesting and will initiate conversation about other little-known facts about our favorite sport.
The three facts today come from “The Official NASCAR Trivia Book,” which was written by John C. Farrell and was published by Fenn / McClelland & Stewart, a division of Random House of Canada.
FACT #1: THREE-A-DAYS
The NASCAR premier series has run two points races on the same day several times during its long history; however, there are only two days on which the NASCAR premier series hosted three points races: October 14, 1951, and May 21, 1961. The three races held on October 14 took place at Oakland (Calif.) Stadium, Martinsville (Va.) Speedway and Pine Grove Speedway (Shippenville, Pa.). On May 21, 1961, NASCAR held two World 600 Qualifiers at Charlotte Motor Speedway in Concord, N.C., (both qualifying events were points races in 1961) and 102-mile event at Riverside (Calif.) International Raceway.
FACT #2: IS THAT A MONKEY IN YOUR CAR?
In 1953, future NASCAR Hall of Famer Tim Flock competed in eight races with a most unusual co-pilot: a Rhesus monkey named “Jocko Flocko.” He actually won the May 16 race at Hickory (N.C.) Motor Speedway with the monkey in his cockpit. The partnership, however, was short-lived when while running in the Raleigh 300 at Raleigh (N.C.) Speedway the monkey got out of his seat and opened the trap door in the race car’s floorboard. Jocko got freaked out and was hanging onto the back of Flock, who had to make a pit stop to remove the monkey from the car. To this day, Flock is the only driver in NASCAR history to pit for this reason.
FACT #3: DON’T MAKE ME USE A SLEDGEHAMMER!
There is no question that Junior Johnson was an excellent race car driver, and he displayed his great skill every time he sat behind the steering wheel of a race car. His talent was definitely on display during the April 30, 1961, Virginia 500 at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway where he took the checkered flag by more than four laps over Emanuel Zervakis. The margin of victory would have probably would have been even greater if he hadn’t been threatened by a most unlikely person: his car’s owner, Rex Lovette. Since Johnson had built up such a huge lead in the race, his pit crew was told to hold up the “EZ” sign to get the speeding driver to slow down and save the car. When Johnson continued to ignore the sign, Lovette threatened him with a sledgehammer.