"Strictly Stock"
The Champions of 1955 & 1956

by Dan Elliott

Flock and the Chrysler 300 were the Champions. Buck Baker finished second in points for the season, driving a DePaolo Ford at the last race. Unlike the bonuses Carl gave Frank Mundy for winning the AAA title, Tim Flock apparently did not receive the same for winning the Grand National Championship, although the NASCAR purse must have been much greater than the money in AAA.

      A final note pertaining to the 1955 season was a request made by NASCAR president Bill France to Carl asking that he supply a sports car to be driven in a NASCAR-SCODA race to be held at Raleigh during the season. Carl provided a 1955 Mercedes SL Gullwing costing $8,700 and driver, Tim Flock. Tim won the race. At the time, Carl purportedly was in negotiations with Daimler-Benz either to merge Kiekhaefer Mercury Marine with them, or to sell his business interests to the German company. It would have been hard to imagine in 1955 that Daimler-Benz eventually would own Chrysler.
      The 1956 Grand National season started just two weeks later on November 13,1955 at Hickory, NC. Although Tim won the race driving his 1955 300 #300, the most interesting drivers in the race were Fonty Flock, driving a Ford factory team car, DePaolo Engineering 1956 Ford #297 to 8th place and Bob Flock, driving a Chevrolet factory team car, Mauri Rose Engineering 1955 Chevrolet #296 to a 27th place finish. Was this Kiekhaefer team reconnaissance, or were the Flock's starting to move away from the larger Kiekhaefer team? It probably was the former, because Carl was quoted in True Magazine as having said that he'd race Fords and Chevrolets where he thought they could win. Change was in the wind that would make the 1956 Grand National season one of the most competitive ever with big Detroit auto manufacturing money in the game with both feet. And it would be the last full NASCAR season to allow the extra power that comes from multiple carburetors. The stage was set for the season to be a real barnburner.
      The first several races before Daytona were successful for the Kiekhaefer team, with Tim, Fonty and Frank Mundy placing well in their 1955 Chrysler 300's. Another addition to Carl's stable of drivers was newly hired Buck Baker, who won the January 22, 1956 race at Phoenix in Fonty's #301 car. According to Tim, Carl signaled to him during the race to take it "E-Z". In another words, he didn't want Tim to win the race. Tim complied, but was unsettled by the directive. According to Kiekhaefer team members in 2004, Carl didn't' want "super-star" drivers to overshadow his efforts.
      For new 1956 car models, of which the 300B was one with its new larger 354 cubic inch Hemi, NASCAR rules specified the following: "The engine size displacement recognized by NASCAR as stock for a particular make AND model at the beginning of the manufacturer's 1956 model year is the only cubic inch displacement size that will be recognized as stock by NASCAR during the model year." Exception (c) to the rule probably applied to the 300B, which perhaps was not introduced at the same time as other 1956 Chrysler models: It specified that a new engine size (displacement) introduced as a "bonafide" car by a manufacturer must be accompanied by public announcements made at least 90 days prior to participation in a NASCAR sanctioned event and by suitable national advertising through the manufacturer's regular national advertising media at least 30 days prior to the event. A "bonafide" car per these rules was a model of which at least 1,000 units were scheduled to be produced as certified by a Vice President of the carmaker, and of which at least 100 had been distributed to dealers at the time of the event. Clearly the 1955 300 would not have been legal under 1956 rules, which may have been promulgated as a response to the sudden appearance of the 300 at Daytona. However, 300B production started on December 11 with car

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