14/12/1910 - 20/6/1953
Frank Arford competed in three Nextel Cup races in 1953. Sadly he was killed in practice for his four race. Frank Arford died 69 years ago, he was 43
Frank Arford was a used car dealer who fielded cars for Dick Passwater on the NASCAR circuit in 1952. In just six races, Passwater recorded three top 10 finishes, including a 5th place showing at Playland Park in Indiana.
Arford decided to expand his team to two cars for 1953, fielding one for himself as well as Passwater. He made his debut at Daytona Beach. Starting 5th, he dropped back in the race to finish 57th. He then finishing in the top-twenty in two of his other three races, finishing 17th at North Wilkesboro and a career-best 12th at Pensacola.
Six days later he entered the International 200 on the 1-mile dirt oval track at Langhorne, Pennsylvania. It was an unusual race as it was the first NASCAR event open to both domestic and foreign cars. The field including six Jaguars, one of which was on pole with Lloyd Shaw at the wheel, two Porsches, a Volkswagen and an Aston Martin.
Sadly Arford was seriously injured when his Oldsmobile rolled and crashed through the wall in practice. His seatbelts broke and he was thrown around inside the car. He died later at the Mercer Hospital in Trenton, New Jersey, without regaining consciousness.
The race was also marred by a number of other incidents: Ray Duhigg suffered a broken neck and Lawrence Shultz was hospitalised with multiple injuries. Dick Rathmann won in his Hudson with Lee Petty a close second in his Dodge.
Dick Allwine was the first import car home, finishing 6th in his Jaguar, 16 laps down.
Frank Arford was not only a racer, but also a boxing fan. He was known to referee ameture boxing fights for free. He was a past president of the Indiana Amateure Athletic Association and a member of the Hoosier Boxing Club.