Curtis Turner

Curtis Turner

(b. 4/12/24 – d. 10/4/70)
Hometown: Roanoke, Va.
Competed: 1949-68
Starts: 184
Wins: 17
Poles: 16

Called by some the “Babe Ruth of stock car racing,” Curtis Turner was among the fastest and most colorful competitors in the early years of NASCAR premier series racing. Turner posted his first of 17 career victories in only his fourth start on Sept. 11, 1949, at Langhorne, Pa.

Although many of Turner’s victories came on short tracks and dirt ovals – much of his career pre-dated NASCAR’s superspeedway era – he won the 1956 Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway and the first American 500 at Rockingham in 1965. He also won 22 races in NASCAR’s convertible division in 1956.

Turner competed in NASCAR’s first “Strictly Stock” race in 1949 in Charlotte and was the only driver to win a NASCAR premier series race in a Nash. He remains the only series driver to win two consecutive races from the pole leading every lap. Turner drove for many legendary NASCAR owners including the Wood Brothers, Junior Johnson, Smokey Yunick and Holman-Moody.

Turner was named one of NASCAR’s 50 Greatest Drivers in 1998.

Greg Engle