All gearheads know the story of Preston Tucker, the little guy that wanted to build his own car, but was squashed out by the Big 3 because they felt he was too big a threat, right? Well, we still really have no idea how true the Jeff Bridges movie “Tucker” was to history, but we do know that Preston Tucker was an incredibly inventive guy that, for just as a little while, was a car builder.
His revolutionary rear-engine, safety-glassed, third-headlight mobile was produced in minimal numbers and is today highly sought after by collectors and enthusiasts. Rumors have been rampant that at one point a Tucker raced in NASCAR, and we now know the truth thanks to the Hemmings blog!
Race day picture! Image: Hemmings
According to the blog post, a Tucker Torpedo raced in only one race, and it was at the Canfield Speedway in Youngstown, OH over Memorial Day in 1951. The photos you see to the right was dated 1951, but the NASCAR encyclopedias of Greg Fielden lead Hemmings to believe that it was actually the 1950 Memorial Day race that the Tucker was entered in.
During that weekend Canfield hosted the NASCAR Grand National Series, and the race itself was called the “Poor Man’s 500,” which was actually 200 laps, or 100 miles. A Joe Merola did indeed enter the Tucker in the race, but records show he finished in last place with no laps completed, meaning he entered but did not compete.
So, long story short, a Tucker Torpoedo did enter a NASCAR Grand National race back in the day, but it apparently never raced!