NASCAR Folklore with Buz – Frank Mundy
This coming weekend’s Auto Club 400 at Auto Club Speedway will be the 133rd NASCAR Sprint Cup event held in California. Most fans do not realize that the first Cup race staged in the Golden State took place way back in April of 1951, less than two years after the series was inaugurated.
A very interesting story came out of that first California event, one that has gone down in NASCAR folklore. Early day star Frank Mundy had secured a car to drive in the California event. The ride would be waiting for him when he got to the track. Mundy hitched a 3000 mile ride from his home in Atlanta to the west coast with fellow driver Marshall Teague. Upon arriving at Gardena, California’s Carroll Speedway, site of the event, the car promised to Mundy could not be found. The Georgia driver then tried to find another car to drive, but he was unknown in that region of the country and no owner trusted this “stranger” with their equipment. About that time Mundy hit on an idea. He went to a local car rental business and rented a new Chevrolet, drove it to the track and raced it in the 100 mile event. Mundy qualified 17th and finished 11th in the 20 car field picking up a grand total of $25 driving what he named the U-Drive-It Rental. He returned the car to the agency later that night, after business hours “so the attendants would not notice the bald tires”.