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The Stock Car Ghosts

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#1 Biffo

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Posted 28 November 2021 - 19:09

I recently came across a post in TNF’s Archive titled, “US Stock Car drivers in UK 1955.” It ran between 2004 and 2011 therefore it is now locked away in the archives.

It focuses on the seven NASCAR drivers that came over to tour the UK in 1955.

It concludes that although the tour has been mentioned in the odd magazine article, or a few paragraphs in larger motorsport histories, there was never a book written on the subject.

I’d just like to point out that there is one now called The Stock Car Ghosts, which is printed by Amazon and full details are on their website.


More importantly there is a connection to the start of stock car racing in the UK and Autosport magazine which involves that 1950s motoring icon John Bolster.

I believe John Bolster was a BBC commentator and journalist who was also the Autosport magazine technical editor.

He went over to France in 1953 to report on a new French pastime, the American sport of stock car racing which had just started in Paris. 

On his return he formed an association with a showman named Digger Pugh and helped him organise the first race meeting in this country at New Cross Stadium on April 16th 1954.

John assisted with the track commentaries at the first few meetings but soon became unhappy with the dubious lap scoring, which could cause some very questionable race results and many angry race fans.

John Bolster left Pugh’s organisation soon after.


All royalties from The Stock Car Ghosts are being donated to The Rowans Hospice in Hampshire.

They give end of life care to patients and their families.


#2 Tim Murray

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Posted 28 November 2021 - 19:29

Here’s the earlier thread. It is currently in the archive, but isn’t locked and can be added to at any time:

US Stock Car Drivers in UK 1955

#3 peter kropotk

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Posted 29 November 2021 - 19:24

Oops second try at posting.


I got hold of this book, and it's quite a read; a rare piece of personal research that's unusual in the big magazine and book world.


We know that some promoters and backers cut corners, break 'promises', and even disappear with the cash --- on both sides of the Atlantic.  This 1955 stock car tour of Britain's speedway ovals --- mostly cinders and shale grit  --- introduced the Brits to V8 powered stock car racing, and to the sound of race-tuned V8 engines ---- something most English had never heard


One of the lead 'characters' was a showman who could sell you the Brooklyn Bridge, if you believed him that he was also a champion boxer and decorated war pilot.


The author was lucky to secure interviews with the very few remaining racers still alive, as well as digging up shipping records and even old police files.  Postwar Britain, fairly austere and 'down', loved the Southern good ol' boys, and the tour sparked a whole new sport.  treece%20and%20cryder.jpg


And a few of those young 'Yanks' turned the tables on a crooked promoter in a hilarious way.

#4 Zoe

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Posted 29 November 2021 - 20:42

I love the glowing eyes of the drivers in that photo. Spooky and eery!