Nelson Stacy tamed Darlington twice

2012-05-09T17:34:00Z 2012-05-09T17:40:02Z Nelson Stacy tamed Darlington twiceby Ron Bailey Ledger Independent
May 09, 2012 5:34 pm  • 

     In one of my earlier blogs I  wrote about the late Nelson Stacy who was a pioneer of NASCAR and he did it all on a small budget, but yet he was very capable of beating the big boys of NASCAR. Every time the NASCAR circuit stops at the Darlington track, I think of Nelson Stacy. The track is called "Too tough to tame", yet Nelson Stacy tamed it twice as he won in 1961 and 1962. Nelson , who is from our area was a pioneer in the beginning of NASCAR as he honed his skills on the dirt tracks before winning some big NASCAR races. I believe that we get caught up in the present moment and we forget about men like Nelson Stacy who helped develop NASCAR into what it is today. When the Darlington race starts this weekend, remember that a driver from Orangeburg dominated the track in 1961 and 1962. Nelson Stacy won the Southern 500 and Rebel 300 in back to back years. Nelson Stacy, like many other racers in that day operated on a shoestring budget. Nelson Stacy started out racing right here in Maysville on a track that was built where Country Club Heights is located today. Nelson and his brother Dudley Stacy honed their skills on the ARCA circuit, including tracks in Cincinnati and Dayton. Nelson drove briefly in 1952 on the NASCAR circuit as he competed in one race. Nelson Stacy then was content to race in the ARCA series and he dominated. Nelson won the series championship in 1958 and 1959 and followed it up in 1960. Having clearly demonstrated his prowess in the ARCA Series, Stacy returned to the NASCAR circuit in 1961. Nelson who was a WWII veteran, who drove a tank for General Patton and later in life he was ready to tackle the NASCAR series. Nelson was 40 years of age when he settled in the seat of a NASCAR ride. He was also known by the nicknames "Bull-necked Nelson Stacy" and the "Bull Fighter". Nelson after the birth of his grandson Jerry Parker , was given another nickname as that was Grandpa Stacy as being a grandfather was not the norm of the NASCAR driver as most of them were young and was just starting their families. The driver of the #29 Ford meant business and thus he lived up to his nicknames. The Ford driver from Orangeburg racked up eight top-ten finishes and notched his first career NASCAR Grand National race in the Southern 500 at the  Darlington Speedway. Nelson followed up his 1961 season with three wins in fifteen starts in 1962. He won again at Darlington winning the Rebel 300 as he dominated the track for the second time. Nelson won the World 600 at Charlotte and again at Martinsville. Nelson after battling health problems retired from NASCAR after his 24th place finish in the 1965 Firecracker 500. Stacy raced in only 45 races in his short six-year NASCAR stint. The Orangeburg native clearly made the most of his short NASCAR career. Nelson had total earnings of 91,743 dollars for his six-year career. In 1962 he earned 43,080 dollars as he won three NASCAR races. Nelson later drove stunt cars for several movies, including some of Elvis's movies. The Ford motor company hired Nelson to test drive and critique the handling and performance of the latest race car that Ford had on the track. Nelson Stacy was a pioneer and a throwback to racing on dirt tracks on a limited budget, but he was just that good to win on the NASCAR circuit. This Saturday night when you watch the Darlington race on Fox and look how far NASCAR has come, just think a good old boy from our area beat them all twice at the track they call "Too tough to tame". Everyone that knew Nelson would sum him up the same way " He was one of a kind".

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