Marvin Burke, from Pittsburg, California was a longtime veteran of the Pacific Coast Stock Car circuit and was best know as a Midget and Sprint car driver. He had attempted to qualify a Kurtis Kraft Duray for the Indy 500 in 1950.
In a June 1951 article, the Oakland Tribune described him as "one of the most Intrepid pilots to push a wheel in the last decade." He made his Grand National (NASCAR) debut in a 400-lapper on the paved track at Oakland that year. Dick Rathmann, who had taken pole, led the first 30 laps before being passed by Lou Figaro. Figaro then led until lap 70 when Robert Caswell took over the position. Burke then took the lead on lap 94 and, though he briefly lost it on lap 121 to John Soares, he regained it one lap later. He went on to lead a total of 156 laps to take the win.
This feat made him the only driver in Cup history to win in his only career start as he never raced again.