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US Stock Car drivers in UK 1955

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#1 Even Darker

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Posted 14 August 2004 - 18:11

In 1955, a team of US stock car drivers bought their cars over for a series of races on the UKs quarter mile ovals against UK stock car drivers..

The team consisted of Bobby Myers, Curtis “Crawfish” Crider, Bobby Schuyler, Bill Irick, Neil “Soapy” Castles, Pete Folse and Possum Jones. The team was managed by two US promoters Lester Vanadore and Buddy Davenport.

The trip was apparently set up by the leading UK promoter Digger Pugh, on a trip to Daytona in February 1955.

The dominant performances of the US drivers and some of the more colourful incidents of the trip are fairly well documented. But does anyone know how this particular group was put together? Were Vanadore and Davenport well known? Were, as is rumoured, attempts made to get more senior drivers to come over?

Also Myers, Crider, Castles and to a lesser extent Jones, are all fairly well known through their NASCAR racing, But what about the others? Was this the same Pete Folse who became a leading sprint car driver? Is anything known of Schuyler or Irick?

If it would be of interest to anyone, I can post more details of the trip.


#2 Even Darker

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Posted 17 August 2004 - 06:23

Supposedly, Fireball Roberts had been booked to make the trip, but had to withdraw because of clashing commitments and Bobby Myers took over the '38 Ford Coupe that had been built for him by Shuman and Willie Thompson.

Does this seem likely?

Roberts was already well established in the Grand National series by then, would he have considered missing two months of the season for a trip to Europe?

#3 JtP

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Posted 18 August 2004 - 18:38

Do you have a link or info source on stock car racing of the period?

#4 Even Darker

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Posted 18 August 2004 - 21:01

Most of my information comes from books which are published in low volume (with no ISBN) and generally only available at the tracks or through stock car magazines. The best chance of finding them elsewhere is through the motorsport memorabilia section on the UK ebay site.

For stories and atmosphere, the best book is

The Thrill of The Century by Pete Tucker, a leading driver from the first meeting in 1954 through to 1963

The history of the sport has been documented in an evolutionary series of books by Keith Barber (i.e. he keeps adding a bit and putting a new cover on!), the latest is BriSCA Formula One The First Fifty Years 1954 - 2004.

The statistics are documented in books by Malc Aylott and his latest is Formula 1 Stock Car Racing Fifty Years 1954-2003 (this concentrates principally on final winners and statistics by track and driver).

There is not a lot of info available on the internet, there are some picture sites, but I don't have the details to hand, I'll try and add them tomorrow.

#5 Even Darker

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Posted 19 August 2004 - 12:41

The best site I have found for pictures from 50's and later UK stock car racing is David Kiplings. It also has links to a number of other good sites.


#6 Graham Clayton

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Posted 13 September 2011 - 03:26

Davenport was one of the co-founders of the South Carolina Racing Association, who raced at Columbia Speedway in Charlotte, where Davenport was the promoter.

Bobby Shuyler's home track was the Islip Speedway in NY. Schuyler competed in one NASCAR Grand National Race, which was at Islip in 1964.

Folse was a sprintcar driver who was voted into a "Top 100 Sprintcar Drivers of All Time" poll.

The only Lester Vanadore I found was a country music songwriter and arranger.

Digger Pugh was certainly a larger than life character!


#7 Michael Ferner

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Posted 14 September 2011 - 08:52

In 1955, "Pete" (Peter Ansley) Folse was probably better known as a Stock Car or Modified driver, mostly in Florida, than a Sprint Car driver. Although he had been driving Sprints since 1948 minimum, his career didn't really take off until the late fifties, when he took over as the driver of Hector Honore's IMCA Sprinter from Bobby Grim, who permanently joined USAC in 1958. Folse retired in 1964, about 40 years of age, with 99 IMCA main event wins to his credit (if my records are correct).

#8 Richard Jenkins

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Posted 19 September 2011 - 21:34

All I can add is Schuyler was from Islip, NY and Irick from Comanche, Texas, but you possibly knew that already. Seems both of them are predominately stockcar racers.