Chuck Stevenson

Chuck Stevenson

15/10/1919 - 21/8/1995

Chuck Stevenson was born in Sidney, Montana, and drove in the AAA and USAC Championship Car series, racing in the 1949-1954, 1960-1961 and 1963-1965 seasons with 54 starts, including 9 in the Indianapolis 500 race: 1951-1954, 1960-1961, and 1963-1965. He finished in the top ten 37 times, with 4 victories, 2 of them, Milwaukee and DuQuoin, coming in the 1952 season when he won the AAA National Championship.

1952 also saw Chuck take the first of his two victories in the Carrera Panamericana road race in Mexico, driving a Lincoln to victory in the stock car division with Clay Smith. In the race, Stevenson, Johnny Mantz and Wall Faulkner took first, second and third places with their 205 horse power Lincolns. Captain Bob Korf from the “Wright Patterson” Air Force Base in Ohio, drove the fourth place Lincoln to the finish after loosing his co-driver, who fell out of the car on the first stage. Gow had discovered a fire in the electrical system. He unbuckled his seat belt and while climbing into the back of the car to investigate puched against the door handle as they rounded a bend. The door came open and he fell out fortunately ending up only badly bruised.

He did the same the following year in 1953.

In 1954 he drove for J. C. Agajanian. In June he won the Rex Mays Memorial in Milwaukee but, in September at DuQuoin, Ill., Stevenson's mechanic and friend, Clay Smith, was killed in a pit accident, Stevenson was never the same and effectively retired from open-wheel racing until 1960.

Known more for his open-wheel exploits, Stevenson only ran in two NASCAR races. He drove one of Pete DePaolo's Fords at the big dirt oval at Lehi in October of 1955, finishing 30th when the car suffered vapor lock.

His only other NASCAR appearance came a month later, when the series visited Willow Springs Raceway in the high desert of California. The 2.5-mile road course had not yet been paved, so the race was contested on the dirt base, with oil added to keep the dust down.

Driving a Ford for Carl Dane, Stevenson started second and led 54 of the 80 laps to edge Marvin Panch to take home the first-place check worth $1,570.

Stevenson returned to Indianapolis in 1960 and ran five more 500s, with a best finish of sixth in 1961. He retired before the 1968 Indianapolis 500.

He also drove the Chuck Porter Mercedes-Corvette in 1960. The Mercedes started life as a regular 300SL that Porter bought as a wreck. He rebuilt it with a new body and, after he found it a bit underpowered, decided to fit a Corvette V8 4640cc engine. The car still exists in Germany, but has been rebuilt with a 300SL motor. Stevenson drove it in the Examiner Herald Express 200 at the Riverside Raceway and the Los Angeles Grand Prix 200 also at Riverside.

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