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Monday
Jun222015

Video from 1961 NASCAR race

I just ran across this cool video showing "Fireball" Roberts at the 1961 NASCAR Grand National race at Marchbanks. 

The only detail shared by YouTube poster Richard Trivette, Roberts' son-in-law, is that the video is 8 millimeter film with no sound. It shows Glenn 'Fireball' Roberts in the Fresno Pontiac during practice, and later being interviewed by famed broadcaster Chris Economaki. 

The quality isn't great but there are some terrific views from within the infield showing cars shooting down the front stretch and along the second stretch. Then there's the awful shape of the infield. 

But this was a nice find, since it's the first images I've seen from that NASCAR race, the third of three Grand National races held at Marchbanks. 

Here's what I wrote about that 1961 race in my main track history:

On March 12, 1961, the legendary Fireball Roberts dominated the track’s final Grand National race in a 1961 Pontiac, leading all 178 laps and winning by more than two laps in averaging 95 mph on his way to a $2,000 prize. Bob Ross averaged 98 mph in grabbing the pole. Ron Hornaday Sr. was among four drivers earning $0 from a total purse estimated at $9,000 to $11,475. Total attendance was not available. The Hanford race was one of four NASCAR races in California that year (Riverside, Los Angeles and Sacramento joined the schedule). 

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