THE DON HUNTER COLLECTION
THE FIRST WORLD 600
A field of 60 cars line up for the start of the inaugural World 600 at the brand-new track then known as Charlotte Motor Speedway, held on June 19, 1960. Fireball Roberts is on the pole, Jack Smith is sandwiched in the middle and Curtis Turner, scheduled to start third, is on the outside of the front row.
Turner served as president of the facility during its construction, alongside partner Bruton Smith. Work on the racing surface wasn't completed until the day of the first round of time trials, and even then, it wasn't exactly ready. Holes were torn in the track, causing huge chunks of debris to tear cars to pieces.
To combat the problem, several cars started the race with thick screens attached in front of the radiator. One such contraption is visible on car No. 46, driven by Bobby Johns, who went on to finish third.
Jack Smith had a five-lap lead with less than 50 circuits to go, but a chunk of pavement tore a hole in the gas tank of his Bud Moore-owned Pontiac. Moore and crew members desperately attempted to repair the damage by stuffing rags and even a cake of soap, but nothing worked. That handed the lead to Joe Lee Johnson, who went on to become the track's first winner.