February 11: Marshall Teague dies at Daytona on this date in 1959


Home from fighting World War II, Daytona Beach, Fla., native Marshall Teague found himself entranced by racing. A talented mechanic, Teague saw quickly that the 1948 Hudson Hornet would lend itself well to stock-car racing, and after an unannounced visit to the factory, Teague enlisted Hudson into the cause, tuning its straight six into the engine that would dominate the early years of NASCAR, starting on this date in 1951. (Having a young Smokey Yunick in the pits didn't hurt, either.) Even though he was a top driver and team owner, Teague left NASCAR in 1953 over one of numerous disputes with NASCAR organizer Bill France, moving onto USAC and Indy car racing. On this date in 1959, Teague set out to test a modified Indy car on the new Daytona Motor Speedway, where he had set a record of 171.8 mph a day before. During the run, the car spun in a turn, throwing Teague from the vehicle and killing him instantly. At 37, Teague became the youngest of NASCAR's pioneers to be taken by speed:

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