Throwback: Fireball Roberts wins 1958 Northern 500
By Anthony Caruso III | Publisher
In this throwback story, we’ll look back on the 1958 Northern 500. It was the first NASCAR Grand National event held at Trenton Speedway near Trenton, New Jersey on Friday, May 30, 1958.
Fireball Roberts won the event. He was driving an entry for Frank Strickland, as he led 380 of the 500 laps.
This was Roberts first win of the 1958 season. It was his first win since Oct. 13, 1957 when he won the NASCAR Grand National event at Concord Speedway on Sunday, Oct. 13, 1957 in Concord, North Carolina.
Roberts had the only Chevrolet in the Top 5. Johnson, Jim Reed, who finished fourth, and Eddie Pagan, who finished fifth, drove Ford’s. Petty drove an Oldsmobile.
Roberts won $6,500 for the win.
Junior Johnson finished second in the Paul Spaulding entry. Lee Petty was also third in the Petty Enterprises entry.
Besides Roberts leading 380 laps, Johnson led 20. Marvin Panch led 59 laps and Speedy Thompson led 41.
Of the 34 cars that entered, nearly half of the field had problems. Seven of the drivers had engine problems, including Johnny Mackison, Emanuel Zervakis, Jim Linke, Charlie Cregar, Reds Kagle, Jack Smith, and Frank Lies.
Al White and Jim Rhoades had right hub problems. In addition, Jerry Draper and L.D. Austin had piston problems.
Pete Frazee had a head gasket problem and John Dodd, Sr. exited the race following a crash. Panch had a clutch problem.
Cotton Owens had a valve problem and Mel Larson had a rear end issue that took him from the race.