Al Keller Daytona 1952
Posted 04 November 2017 - 11:05
I have New York native and Florida resident Al Keller tentatively identified as the "Mystery Man" competing in the 1952 IMCA Big car races at the Florida State Fair in Tampa on the afternoons of February 5, 9 and 16. It makes perfect sense, since Keller would have been good enough to finish fourth, second and fourth again in those races, and he had been driving modified stock cars for Joe Telese, nominal entrant for the "Mystery Man", in 1950 already. Also, he drove in stock car races at the nearby Palm Beach Speedway on both February 3 and 17, so it appears he would have been available, too.
However, I now found him listed as a possible competitor at the 100-mile NASCAR modified stock car race on Saturday, February 9 at Daytona Speedway, the day before the 200-mile late model race there, which would blow my theory. Can anyone confirm whether he really raced at Daytona Beach on that Saturday? Advertised starting time for that event was 12:30 pm, I don't suppose it was delayed or something?
Posted 04 November 2017 - 14:32
From what I have (the Greg Fielden book on the beach races), Al Keller is listed as finishing 26th in the Modified-Sportsman race held on the 9th. Keller drove car no. 230, a Ford. It was a massive field, with something like 118 finishers according to Fielden. The time of the race was 1 hr 08 min 39 sec for the 98.4 miles. Was it possible for Keller to make the trek from Daytona Beach to Tampa in time for the IMCA races? Hmmmm, maybe or maybe not... According to the 1952 Florida highway map, it was 153 miles from Daytona Beach to Tampa, probably assuming someone using US 92. However, there also the option of US 92 to Deland where taking FL 44 would take you to US 301 around Wildwood and then into Tampa.
Posted 04 November 2017 - 23:05