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A stuffed monkey named Hearsay recently rode with Jason Keller during a Nationwide Series race at Charlotte, in memory of Tim Flock and Jocko Flocko, a live Rhesus monkey that rode with the legendary driver in several 1953 Grand National races. (Bryan Hallman)

By Rick Houston

In 1953, a live Rhesus monkey named Jocko Flocko rode with the legendary Tim Flock during several NASCAR Grand National races.

Now, Jason Keller has Hearsay.

Flock actually won a May 16, 1953 race at Hickory, N.C. with Jocko Flocko as his "co-pilot." Unfortunately, Jocko had to retire a couple of weeks later.

"Back then, the cars had a trap door that we could pull open with a chain to check our tire wear," Flock is quoted as saying on his Web site, "Well, during the Raleigh 300, Jocko got loose from his seat and stuck his head through the trap door, and he went beserk.

"Listen, it was hard enough to drive those heavy old cars back then under normal circumstances, but with a crazed monkey clawing you at the same time, it becomes nearly impossible. I had to come into the pit to put him out and ended up third. The pit stop cost me second place and a $600 difference in my paycheck."

Hearsay, by comparison, is much tamer. Then again, he's a stuffed monkey ... but he's a stuffed monkey that's led quite an interesting life. Hearsay has done a tour of duty in Iraq and has also visited Australia, Germany, Northern Ireland, Canada and numerous places in the United States.

The intrepid Hearsay rode with Keller, the Nationwide Series' all-time leader in career starts and money won, during the Oct. 16 Dollar General 300 at Charlotte. After qualifying 19th, Keller -- and Hearsay -- finished the night in 17th place, one lap down to race winner Kyle Busch.

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