He’d seek out the sheriff and get him on a chase

Posted by | July 27, 2016

During the July 27, 1941 race at the Daytona Beach-Road Course he suffered a crushed chest, broken pelvis, head and back injuries, and severe shock. He raced his two brothers and his sister in the July 10, 1949 race at the same course, the only NASCAR event to feature four siblings. And years later, after all the track dust settled, he died on July 15, 1972. You could say July tended to be an eventful month for NASCAR pioneer Truman Fontell “Fonty” Flock.

The Ft. Payne, AL native delivered moonshine as a teenager on his bicycle, and a few years later he was making trips in his car from Atlanta to Dawsonville, GA hauling moonshine. Fonty once said that he would seek out the sheriff and get him on a chase because he had a faster car. Fonty would send off to California and get the best parts for his car and the sheriff couldn’t keep up with him and loved to tease him. The sheriff didn’t have the sources to get the parts to make his car keep up with Fonty’s.

He ran some of the semi-organized races before World War II broke out, winning a 100-mile race at Lakewood Park in Atlanta in 1940. By the time he was 20 in 1941, Flock was regarded as one of stock car racing’s best drivers. After running the dirt tracks in Georgia for a couple of years he made his way to Daytona Beach, Florida searching for the high speed excitement of the Beach-Road courses.

NASCAR driver Fonty FlockHe got plenty of it and more in the July 27, 1941 race mentioned above, where he landed the pole position alongside Roy Hall. Flock took a narrow lead in the opening lap, but the relentless Hall was nipping at his heel all the way down the long but narrow blacktop backstretch. As the pair wheeled into the South turn, the cars banged together. Flock’s Ford darted to the high side of the corner, climbed the outer edge of the track and spiraled end-over-end and side-over-side into a clump of palmetto bushes. The seat belt had snapped in one of the early turnovers and Flock’s limp body was flopping around inside the car. Flock was rushed by ambulance, to the Medical Center in Daytona Beach. He lived, barely.

Five months after Fonty’s wreck the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor and auto racing was banned until 1945. Fonty missed the 1945 and 1946 seasons because of his injuries and the ’47 season was well under way when he was healed enough to race again. Despite the late start he was crowned the champion of the 1947 National Championship Stock Car Circuit, the forerunner to NASCAR. He finished second in the 1948 NASCAR standings and won the 1949 Modified title. Flock won 34 races in a few more than 100 starts.

During the early 1950s, Flock drove mostly in Grand National events. He finished second in the point standings in 1951, fourth in 1952, fifth in 1953, and tenth in 1955. Fonty quit NASCAR early in the 1954 season and campaigned in a Midwestern stock car series. He returned to NASCAR in 1955 and won three races, including a March 26, 1955 event that gave Chevrolet its first NASCAR Winston Cup victory in a 200-lap, 100-mile dirt-track race at Columbia (S.C.) Speedway.

He had established an insurance agency in Nashville and raced only part-time beginning in 1954.

In 1957 he entered only the beach-road race at Daytona, though he also drove in the Darlington 500 as relief for Herb Thomas, who’d been injured in a practice crash. The car was in bad shape: it blew a tire on the sixth lap and got hit by two other cars. On the 28th lap, the car escaped his control and spun at the entrance of turn three. Split seconds later, Bobby Myers and Paul Goldsmith smashed full-bore into the idle Flock. Flock and Goldsmith were seriously hurt. Bobby Myers was killed instantly. Flock announced his retirement from a hospital bed.

Fonty Flock was inducted into both the Georgia Automobile Racing Hall of Fame Association and the Talladega-Texaco Walk of Fame in 2004.

Sources: www.gonascargo.com/drivers/fonty-flock.php



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