21/3/1921 - 15/7/1952
Record updated 21-Mar-23
Fonty's career began by delivering illegal moonshine. He was one of the central figures in the formative days of NASCAR. Retired in 1957 with 19 NASCAR Grand National wins and countless modified wins.
Fonty delivered moonshine as a teenager on his bicycle and a few years later he was making trips in his car from Atlanta to Dawsonville, Georgia hauling moonshine. Fonty once said that he would seek out the sheriff and get him on a chase because he had a faster car. Fonty would send off to California and get the best parts for his car and the sheriff couldn't keep up with him and loved to tease him. The sheriff didn't have the sources to get the parts to make his car keep up with Fonty's.
Fonty ran some of the semi-organized races before World War 2 broke out, winning a 100-mile race at Lakewood Park in Atlanta in 1940. He ran the dirt tracks in Georgia for a couple of years before making his way to Daytona Beach, Florida searching for the high speed excitement of the Beach-Road courses.
Fonty's first race after getting to Daytona was on July 27, 1941 where he landed the pole position along side Roy Hall. Flock took the lead over Hall early in the race but Hall kept nipping at Fonty all the way. In the south turn Fonty and Hall made contact and Flock's Ford headed toward the high side of the corner. Flock's Ford climbed the outer edge of the track and flipped end-over-end and side-over-side into a clump of bushes. The seat belt snapped during the rolling and Flock tumbled like a rag doll inside the car. The car landed upside down and yet Fonty somehow survived the crash. Flock was rushed, by ambulance, to the Medical Center in Daytona Beach. Fonty suffered a crushed chest, broken pelvis, head and back injuries and severe shock.
Four months after Fonty's wreck the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor and Auto Racing was banned until 1945 when the roar of stock car engines could be heard again in the south.
Fonty missed the 1945 and 1946 seasons because of his injuries and the '47 season was well under way when he was healed enough to race again.
Bob Flock, Fonty's older brother, convinced car owner Ed Schenck to put Fonty in his car for the inaugural stock car race at North Wilkesboro Speedway. The grand opening for the new track was May 5, 1947 and 10,000 fans and a couple dozen drivers showed up for the event. Fonty won the pole and his heat race despite being out of racing for four and half years. He then raced to victory in the 30-lap feature, outrunning Glenn Dunnaway and Pepper Cunningham.
A month later Fonty won at Greenville, South Carolina. He won again the next week at Greensboro which put him in a battle for the Points race. Victories followed at Charlotte and Trenton while driving a car owned by Al Dykes. Fonty and brother Bob were tied for the points lead at one point during the season for the National Championship Stock Car Circuit, the name used prior to the NASCAR name. Ed Samples the 1946 National Champ was also in the hunt for a title, his second in a row.
Bob Flock driving for Raymond Parks crashed his Ford and broke his back in a race at Spartanburg in October. Fonty took over the #14 Ford and accumulated more points, from that point to the conclusion of the season, than any other driver to win the Championship.
Fonty started 47 races in 1947 and won seven of those races. He finished 235 points ahead of Ed Samples, who won two of his 34 starts. Red Byron who won nine of his eighteen starts finished third in the points race.
What stands out so much about Fonty was his incredible win in his first start and then finishing it off with the Championship.
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