New in the collection: Charlotte Speedway pinback

Blue pinback with words "World 600. I'll be there!"

A 600-mile stock-car race? How come? Because Bruton Smith and Curtis Turner, owners of the brand-new Charlotte Motor Speedway, wanted to one-up the famed Indianapolis 500 on Memorial Day 1960.

Undercutting their ploy, construction problems delayed the track’s opening by three weeks –and even then the rough, uncured surface caused a memorable mess. Six drivers – Richard Petty, Lee Petty and Junior Johnson among them — were disqualified for cutting through the grass for pit stops to replace blown tires.

By 1981 Charlotte Motor Speedway had put its ragged debut behind it, and World 600 drivers could confidently promise, “I’ll Be There!”

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