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1961 : Lark at Charlotte World 600

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  • 1961 : Lark at Charlotte World 600

    Bill H
    Daytona Beach
    SDC member since 1970
    Owner of The Skeeter Hawk .

  • #2
    I remember seeing a Hawk with 304 CI on the hood running at the USAC sponsored Yankee 300 which ran on the road course at IRP in Indy, (Now O'Rielly Speedway). It was not competitive but looked grand.
    Diesel loving, autocrossing, Coupe express loving, Grandpa Architect.

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    • #3
      Is it my tired old eyes, or does the HP numbers on the hoods say that the Pontiac is packing 149 more horse power than the lowly little Lark? ...'taint fair.
      John Clary
      Greer, SC

      SDC member since 1975

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      • #4
        John, fair? The Lark's in front! (I know that doesn't mean what it looks like)

        I would be interested in learning more about that era in NASCAR. Between the car size and the hp output, it appears that there were more than one class of vehicle racing the same track, or they had a more lax attitude to what they let race on the track at any one time. I like the hood securing bungee cord on the Lark. Really boys? You can fabricate any number of pieces to make that go faster, but can't fashion a more secure hood latch than a piece of clothesline or rubber cord??

        Shifter4, cool pic, thank you.

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        • #5
          I don't believe there was any formula for power to weight in those days, there was just a maximum displacement.....but it had to be offered for public consumption I think. So the pontiac had 389 CI and the studie had 259.

          The studey had no chance but could beat all the dnf cars.
          Diesel loving, autocrossing, Coupe express loving, Grandpa Architect.

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          • #6
            If "Smooky" prepaired that Studie It would have 100 HP more than the Pontiac.

            LOL Johnny

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            • #7
              I bet you mean Smokey Yunick.....and well, maybe, yes. His rule reading was legendary.

              I have his autobiography and although I love and admire him some of his claims seem, frankly, a little hard to believe. IE he claimed he did something to the flywheel on his pontiac stocker that acted as a blower and gave significant horsepower increases. I do believe most of it was true.....for example that chevelle that he qualified on the pole at Daytona was actually 7/8 scale. He narrowed it and even sectioned the grill so it all looked in proportion. His transam camaro was dipped and lightened and the subframe in front modified so he could set the engine lower....but then in those days even Penske was cheating in trans am, they had two cars, one legal the other 200# lighter and they switched the numbers and ran the same car through tech twice!

              Those were the days. I am sure they cheat today too but in more subtle ways.
              Diesel loving, autocrossing, Coupe express loving, Grandpa Architect.

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              • #8
                1961 was getting toward the end of the era when anyone could enter and run. It was also getting toward the end of the era when half the field dropped out with engine and various other failures and thus a tortoise could place high if he finished. FWIW, the first high-banked superspeedway race was won by a Plymouth flathead 6-cyl who ran hard truck tires. He just stayed up against the guardrail and circulated at 75 MPH while all the faster OHV8s blew tires by the dozen.

                jack vines
                PackardV8

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                • #9
                  From the factory,the Pontiac's 389 cid with a single 4bbl made 333 hp. If it had the 3X2bbl option, (which I doubt it had) would have made 348 hp. That's only 138 hp more. Imagine how much more the full size Pontiac Catalina weighed than the Lark... (Details).

                  Dan Miller
                  Auburn, GA

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                  • #10
                    On a shorter track, the Lark with less wheelbase might have had an advantage over the pontiac and could get thru the turns quicker.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by ROADRACELARK View Post
                      From the factory,the Pontiac's 389 cid with a single 4bbl made 333 hp. If it had the 3X2bbl option, (which I doubt it had) would have made 348 hp. That's only 138 hp more. Imagine how much more the full size Pontiac Catalina weighed than the Lark... (Details). Dan Miller Auburn, GA
                      Right, Dan: IIRC, NASCAR stayed with the best you could do on one 4-bbl carburetor. I do wish someone would check and confirm that, however. BP
                      We've got to quit saying, "How stupid can you be?" Too many people are taking it as a challenge.

                      Ayn Rand:
                      "You can avoid reality, but you cannot avoid the consequences of avoiding reality."

                      G. K. Chesterton: This triangle of truisms, of father, mother, and child, cannot be destroyed; it can only destroy those civilizations which disregard it.

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                      • #12
                        Here are the race results .:

                        Finish/start pos. / car No. / Driver / Make / Owner points / laps / Laps led / status / Money won .
                        48 53 31 Gene Stokes Studebaker Gene Stokes 0 95 0 Oil pressure 200
                        There were 55 starters .

                        Also here is some info on the carbs etc . Having lived in Daytona for most of my years , we do/did
                        get a lot of stories thru the local paper , and through friends involved in racing . Back then , some of
                        the Nascar drivers lived in regular houses around town , as well as Smokey , and Ray Fox and others.
                        I remember this engine carb rule coming in .
                        "At the end of April 1957 NASCAR banned multi-carbs, fuel injection and superchargers. The new rule was a single 4-bbl. carb only. NASCAR did allow a camshaft change but it had to be a flat tappet cam. The reason NASCAR allowed non-stock cams was to make cars that were not available with hi-perf. engines to be competitive. For example in 1958 Fords had a new 352 FE engine that was not available with a hi-performance option. NASCAR allowed the '58 Ford teams to run a solid lifter cam in the 352/300. Another example would be Lee Petty's 1959 Olds that won the '59 Daytona 500. Car manufactures often put their own part #s on these "optional" cams. My '57 Olds J-2 had a solid lifter cam made by Isky which was available thru the Olds parts dept and it had an Olds part #."
                        Last edited by shifter4; 01-06-2013, 05:31 PM.
                        Bill H
                        Daytona Beach
                        SDC member since 1970
                        Owner of The Skeeter Hawk .

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          I seem to remember that smokey bought up a bunch of second hand indy 500 tires and bought tall wheels so he could run them in nascar. I cannot remember the car though at that time. I do remember him being pretty tough to beat in the hudson hornets though.
                          Diesel loving, autocrossing, Coupe express loving, Grandpa Architect.

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                          • #14
                            Shifter4,

                            Thanks for the great info. I thought NASCAR made some changes to "level the playing field", ok, track, not field. I just wasn't sure when they made those changes. Again, thanks for the info.

                            Dan Miller
                            Auburn, GA

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by ROADRACELARK View Post
                              Shifter4,

                              Thanks for the great info. I thought NASCAR made some changes to "level the playing field", ok, track, not field. I just wasn't sure when they made those changes. Again, thanks for the info.

                              Dan Miller
                              Auburn, GA
                              I, too, would like to thank Shifter4 for the information. His post has imbedded links that lead to other interesting links. For example, one shows that Gene Stokes' Studebaker failed to finish due to loss of oil pressure. Another link showed the car lost its fuel pump. Of course, we know if you are not pumping fuel, the engine stops, and oil pressure drops...either way...both are correct. Following another link to the World 600 results...there is no record of a Studebaker in the actual race. That has led me to conclude that the race the Studebaker was in was a "QUALIFIER" race. This gets rather complicated for casual race fans like me. Back in 1961 I was probably listening to the races on a second hand transistor radio while trespassing on Mr. Turner's farm pond for some excellent fishing.

                              Gene Stokes, himself, must have been an interesting character to "self-sponsor" a Lark and attempt to race it in the longest NASCAR event. I bet that is a "back-story" worth investigating.
                              John Clary
                              Greer, SC

                              SDC member since 1975

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