THE DON HUNTER COLLECTION
Carl Kiekhaefer (dark pants) and Lee Petty chat prior to a 1956 race at Asheville Weaverville Speedway in North Carolina.
While other owners had fielded more than one entry in a NASCAR event before him, Kiekhaefer was certainly the first to take an almost scientific approach to the concept. In 1955, six drivers won a total of 22 races for Kiekhaefer. Tim Flock won 18 of those races, and captured the championship. The team followed that title up with another in 1956 with driver Buck Baker behind the wheel.
Others who won while driving for Kiekhaefer included Fonty Flock, Norm Nelson, Speedy Thompson, Jack Smith and Herb Thomas. Kiekhaefer, who made his fortune manufacturing outboard motors, left NASCAR prior to the start of the 1957 season. Fans had grown restless watching one team dominate the sport (sound familiar?!?), and after whispers that his teams bent the rulebook, Kiekhaefer folded the operation out of a concern that negative publicity might hurt the sales of his Mercury Marine company.
Kiekhaefer died Oct. 5, 1983.