Today In NASCAR History

1918: Johnny Mantz, best known for his victory in the first Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway in 1950, is born. The Indiana-born Mantz, who drove in just 12 races in NASCAR’s top series, was the slowest qualifier for the first event at Darlington, but started 43rd in the 75-car field after a convoluted qualifying process. Mantz drove at a methodical pace in a Plymouth equipped with truck tires that were far more durable than those of his rivals. He led 351 of the 400 laps and collected $10,510. The 1.366-mile track awards present-day winners of the Southern 500 the Johnny Mantz Trophy in honor of his only big-league NASCAR triumph. Mantz died in a highway crash in 1972.

Greg Engle
About Greg Engle 7421 Articles
Greg is a published award winning sportswriter who spent 23 years combined active and active reserve military service, much of that in and around the Special Operations community. Greg is the author of "The Nuts and Bolts of NASCAR: The Definitive Viewers' Guide to Big-Time Stock Car Auto Racing" and has been published in major publications across the country including the Los Angeles Times, the Cleveland Plain Dealer and the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. He was also a contributor to Chicken Soup for the NASCAR Soul, published in 2010, and the Christmas edition in 2016. He wrote as the NASCAR, Formula 1, Auto Reviews and National Veterans Affairs Examiner for and has appeared on Fox News. He holds a BS degree in communications, a Masters degree in psychology and is currently a PhD candidate majoring in psychology. He is currently the weekend Motorsports Editor for Autoweek.