Home Training CEUs Training Schedule Contact Us Links About Us








Click here for   Click on the link for more information on Nelson's  Racing History 


Click here for   Nelson Stacy's MARC/ARCA History     


Nelson, my uncle, was ARCA Champion for three years 1958, 1959, 1960, prior to entering Winston Cup racing when he was over 40. An "Old Man" for a rookie by today's standards. He still managed to win the World 600 and two races at Darlington and Martinsville before his health caused him to slow down after only 3 years in NASCAR. Originally from Kentucky, Nelson was a veteran of World War II driving a tank while serving under General Patton.


Nelson Stacy

December 28, 1921 - May 14, 1986


Better Late Than Never

Late-comer Nelson Stacy didn't quite set the world of NASCAR on fire, but he certainly added a welcome spark. A veteran of World War II, the Kentucky-born Stacy spent his time in the war driving a tank while serving under General Patton.

After making but one NASCAR start in 1952, Stacy seemed content to drive in the "lesser", but just as challenging, ARCA Series. (Back then, ARCA was known as the Midwest Association for Race Cars (MARC) until the series changed its name in 1964. We'll use the ARCA name for familiarity.)

In fact, the word "content" may be quite fitting in this instance, if you can consider Stacy's three consecutive ARCA Championships (1958, 1959, 1960) as "contentment".

Having clearly demonstrated his prowess in the ARCA Series, Stacy returned to the NASCAR circuit in 1961.

Now, if you've paid attention so far, you may have been doing a little math. For a man to have been of age to serve in WWII and then only begin making waves in NASCAR in 1961... you may have figured out that Nelson Stacy didn't really start his "real" NASCAR career until just before the age of 40. Born December 28, 1921, he was often referred to as "Grandpa Nelson Stacy" by his peers, and was a grandfather, to boot.

He was also known by the nicknames "Bull-necked Nelson Stacy" and the "Bull Fighter". And there aren't a lot of pictures around where you'll find Nelson Stacy smiling. He looked like he meant business from the word Go.

Age wouldn't be a factor for the nearly 40 year-old NASCAR rookie in 1961. The Ford driver from Cincinatti, Ohio racked up eight top-ten finishes and notched his first career NASCAR Grand National race in the Southern 500 at the track "Too Tough to Tame"; Darlington Speedway. The driver Stacy beat to the line in that race was also the only other driver on the lead lap in that event, Marvin Panch. Panch just happened to be subbing for another driver known all too well for his expertise at Darlington, Fireball Roberts. that year, while finishing a decent 16th in the championship points standings. Had Stacy not been a past champion of another racing series, he would have likely taken NASCAR's 1961 Rookie of the Year honors.

Although Stacy never ran for a NASCAR championship, he was often in the thick of the action.

He followed up his auspicious 1961 debut with three wins in only fifteen Grand National starts in 1962, recording another victory at Darlington in the Rebel 300 (again beating a second-place Marvin Panch), and notching additional wins at Charlotte (see story below) and Martinsville. He added another four top-ten finishes along the way.

1962 would end up being Stacy's banner year, though. He did achieve a career-best 14th place in NASCAR Championship points in 1963, but had no luck finding the Winner's Circle.

Health did become a factor for Nelson Stacy, and he competed in only two more Grand National events with one start each in 1964 and 1965. He officially retired following a 24th-place finish in the 1965 Firecracker 400.

All told, Stacy drove in only 45 races in NASCAR's top tier, but clearly made the most of his short Grand National career.

- Don Falloon

"Grandpa" Nelson Stacy and the Boy Scouts

Some things can't be re-written, and all of the research in the world won't make a great story better. That said, I'll close my Nelson Stacy biography with a great story by Steve Samples of Jeff Gordon Online:

In an era when major league baseball players, NFL greats, and NBA superstars charge upwards of $20 an autograph at impersonal signing sessions with long lines, it's refreshing to see NASCAR's good 'ol boys still signing for free, talking to kids, and generally making themselves available to the public. Sure, there are times when drivers have to leave to catch flights and excuse themselves from such activities, but most NASCAR drivers are genuinely nice guys who will accommodate race fans when they can. The nice guy tradition isn't new to the sport- it started a long time ago.

Before the 1962 World 600 a boy scout group in Charlotte contacted the speedway and requested the presence of a NASCAR driver at their weekly meeting. The boys in the troop had made their preference known. They wanted Fireball Roberts, and if they couldn't get Fireball they would take David Pearson. The "Pontiac Pack" as it was known in those days, made up of Roberts, Pearson, Joe Weatherly, Jack Smith, Junior Johnson and others, was the dominant force in racing. On the big tracks, they frequently qualified three to six miles an hour faster than the Fords of Fred Lorenzen and Nelson Stacy, the Plymouth of Richard Petty, and the Chevrolet of Ned Jarrett. Kids identify with headline makers and clearly the Pontiacs were making headlines.

Unfortunately for the local boy scout troop, Roberts and Pearson had commitments. Speedway executives began calling car owners everywhere, trying on short notice to recruit a "star" to appear at the meeting. When just about everyone had said, "Sorry our guy is booked", the phone rang. It was the office of Holman-Moody. They had a driver named Nelson Stacy. Otherwise known as "bull necked Nelson Stacy," or "Grandpa Nelson Stacy," as Nelson did not begin his NASCAR career until his mid-forties, and was indeed a grandfather. Stacy was a first rate Grand National driver (as Winston Cup was known in those days). He had won the Southern 500 in Darlington the year before and could handle a race car with the best of them. Unfortunately Nelson hadn't made any headlines that season and the scouts were less than excited when they found out someone called "grandpa" was going to be their speaker. None the less they all showed up hoping to meet a real NASCAR driver and were loaded with questions for the aging chauffeur.

When Nelson arrived he introduced himself to the kids who began to shower him with racing questions. "Have you ever passed Fireball Roberts?" one youngster asked. "Once I think, but he was in the pits," Stacy replied. "Well what about this week, you think you could pass Fireball just one time, for us"? the inquisitive scout asked. "I don't know," Stacy replied, "he's awfully fast, but I'll sure try." The session ended with autographs for everyone and a commitment from Nelson to run as hard as he could on Sunday.

On race day the scouts sat together watching their new found hero with hopes he would finish the race, and maybe even pass the famous Fireball Roberts, even if the pass took place when Roberts was in the pits. The race began with the Pontiac pack leading the way, but soon the powerful Pontiacs began to fall out. The Fords driven by Stacy and Fred Lorenzen moved closer to the front. As the race passed the halfway point it looked as if there might be an upset but several makes of car were in contention. Educated fans were simply waiting for the Pontiacs to take over. Despite their edge in horsepower it was not a day for Pontiac. Stacy rocketed to the lead as if he were shot out of a cannon and Lorenzen moved to third. As the laps ran down the scouts began to look at each other. Was it possible an old man, a guy over 40, who they had never heard of, could beat not only Fireball but the entire field? Indeed it was. Nelson Stacy won the World 600 that year, one of four victories in a short career, and a group of boy scouts had finally met someone who could pass Fireball Roberts. The celebration began in victory circle but ended in the stands with a screaming group of boy scouts that had just witnessed what they thought was a genuine miracle!

I met Nelson Stacy once following that day. The occasion was after a race at Martinsville Speedway in Virginia. Searching diligently for my boyhood hero Fred Lorenzen, I came upon Stacy standing next to his car in the pits. The year was 1963. It took four and a half hours to run 500 laps at the little half mile oval in those days, and Stacy looked exhausted. Realizing he was Lorenzen's teammate, I approached him for an autograph. "Mr. Stacy would you sign this for me?" I asked. He looked back and smiled. "Would you give me a dollar for my autograph?" he said in a serious voice. "Yes sir," I replied, reaching into my pocket and pulling out a crumpled dollar bill. As I reached to hand it to him, he chortled. "No, you keep your dollar. I'll be glad to sign your program," he said, laughing so hard I thought he would fall over.

Sadly, Nelson Stacy passed away several years ago. He spent his final years in Florida where he owned a car dealership, complete with a big yellow sign with a red 29, just like his Holman-Moody Ford. If he was around today I would have a hard time envisioning Nelson Stacy charging $20 for an autograph. But maybe, just maybe, at those autograph tables, he could bring himself to charge a dollar.

Last updated: 12/29/18 12:49:57 -0500.




(Click on images to enlarge)

Nelson Stacy

Nelson with his 1961 Ford.

NASCAR on dirt in the early 60's

Nelson driving a Studebaker at Daytona International Speedway.

Nelson at the finish line in ARCA

Nelson in Victory Lane in the late 50's

Nelson served in WWII driving a tank under General Patton.

Almost looks real.

Some real old timers.

One of the first women drivers.


  Circle Track Racing Parts 

Visa logo  Mastercard logo 

For Circle Track Racing Parts  E-Mail  with questions or comments 
 Copyright 2008 Stacy Motorsports
Last modified: October 30, 2008