Friday, March 31, 2017

"2-Time NASCAR Champ" Tim Flock Dies - March 31, 1998

May 11, 1924 – March 31, 1998
Tim Flock
(Photo; georgiaracinghistory.com)
Born in Fort Payne, Alabama, USA.
He was one of NASCAR's early pioneers, and a two-time series champion. He was a brother to NASCAR's second female driver Ethel Mobley and NASCAR pioneers Bob Flock and Fonty Flock.

Tim Flock finished 5th in NASCAR’s inaugural Strictly Stock race at Charlotte, North Carolina in 1949. NASCAR's first official season ended with Tim in eighth, Tim's brother Fonty Flock in fifth, and Tim's other brother Bob Flock in third in the overall points standing. Tim sat out the 1950 NASCAR season recovering from a four car pile up at Charlotte.

Returning to racing in 1951, Flock won seven races. 1952 brought eight wins and four poles. At the end of the 1952 NASCAR season, Tim Flock had 106 more points than Herb Thomas, earning Flock his first Grand National Championship title, despite flipping in the final race at West Palm Beach. Flock later joked, "I was the only driver to ever win a championship upside-down."

Tim had a Rhesus monkey co-driver named "Jocko Flocko" with him in his May 16, 1953 Grand National win at Hickory Motor Speedway. Jocko Flocko became the only winning monkey ever. The monkey was retired two weeks later at Raleigh, where the monkey pulled the device to allow the driver to observe the right front tire and was hit by a pebble. Tim had to do a pit stop to remove the monkey, and he finished third.

In 1954, Flock was disqualified despite winning at the Daytona Beach Road Course for illegally screwed carburetor screws.

1955 was a record setting year for Flock as well as NASCAR. On the way to Flock's second Grand National Championship title, Flock had 19 poles and 18 victories in 45 races. The 18 victories stood as a record until broken by “The King”, Richard Petty, in 1967. The 19 poles is still the highest number in a NASCAR season.

Flock won the only NASCAR Sprint Cup event ever held at Road America in 1956. No other stock car events of any type were held at the track until the 1990s, and in 2010 the Nationwide Series began racing there. The 1956 season, however, was filled with off-track frustration for Flock, particularly with team owner Carl Kiekhaefer. Despite their combined on-track success, Flock left Kiekhaefer's team immediately after his victory in the April 8th race at North Wilkesboro, North Carolina, citing stomach ulcers. Upon departing from the Kiekhaefer camp, he had compiled 21 triumphs out of his 46 starts with Kiekhaefer.

In his final race before "retiring" Tim Flock was disqualified and banned from NASCAR as a result of "having too much solder on his carburetor screw" which was illegal. This was widely known by the public to be retaliation by NASCAR management for Flock's support of a NASCAR driver's union. Like Curtis Turner, he faced a life ban from NASCAR.

Flock continued to race under other sanctioning bodies, including the Midwest Association for Race Cars, competing in the 100-mile event on the dirt at Lakewood Speedway, Georgia, in October 1961, where he finished second. He also raced at a USAC event in Concord, North Carolina, in 1963.

Flock was also employed by the Ford Motor Company to entertain customers at track events.
Flock was reinstated to NASCAR competition in 1966.

Tim died of liver and throat cancer on March 31, 1998 at the age of 73 which was during NASCAR's 50th Anniversary. Darrell Waltrip honored him in a special paint scheme named "Tim Flock Special" after his death as a tribute to Flock.

A month before his death, Flock was honored as one of NASCAR's 50 Greatest Drivers. He has been inducted in numerous halls of fame, including the: International Motorsports Hall of Fame in 1991, Motorsports Hall of Fame of America in 1999, National Motorsports Press Association Hall of Fame in 1972, State of Georgia Hall of Fame in 1972, and Charlotte Motor Speedway Court of Legends in 1994. He was inducted in the Alabama Sports Hall of Fame in May 2006. On May 22, 2013, Flock was named a member of the NASCAR Hall of Fame for 2014. Tim's 39 wins out of 187 races gives him the 2nd highest winning percentage in NASCAR history, at 20.9%.

Tim's very last race was the Battle of the NASCAR Legends race at Charlotte Motor Speedway in 1991. The race featured such drivers as Cale Yarborough, Junior Johnson, Pete Hamilton, and Donnie Allison. The winner was Elmo Langley, beating Yarborough to the line by about 3 feet (0.91 m) on the last lap. Tim finished 10th out of 22 drivers.
(Photo; www.timflock.com)
9 NASCAR Nextel Cup Championships between them. Tim and Dale Earnhardt at the International Motorsports Hall of Fame in Talladega in 1991.

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