Wednesday, July 13, 2011

In the Rearview Mirror: “Tiny” Lund; tiny by name only

Sometimes I have a tough time picking who to spotlight for this column each week, so I decided to look at NASCAR’s list of the 50 Greatest Drivers and chose "Tiny" Lund. Join me as I look back, In the Rearview Mirror, at the career of "Tiny" Lund.


Tiny_Lund_with_son
Tiny and his son Christopher
DeWayne Louis Lund, more affectionately known as "Tiny", raced from a young age. Starting on motorcycles, progressing to midgets then sprint cars - he had done it all. After serving in the United States Air Force during the Korean War, Lund came home and went stock car racing.


Lund made his NASCAR debut in 1955, competing in only one race at the Memphis-Arkansas Speedway. He was racing for Carl Rupert, owner of the Rupert Safety Belt Company, who also sponsored his ‘55 Chevrolet. After qualifying mid-pack (23rd) Lund’s debut ended early after being caught in a crash.


Lund returned in 1956 driving for a new team, Gus Holzmueller, and would proceed to drive 21 races that season. His best finish was a fourth place finish at the historic Columbia Speedway in Cayce, SC.


The 1957 season saw more changes for Lund; he split his races between multiple teams including Holzmueller, A.L. Bumgarner (Pontiac) and even Petty Enterprises (Oldsmobile). Despite all the different teams, his finishes had improved to claiming six top-5 and 15 top-10 finishes in just 32 starts.


1963 Tiny Lund Daytona 500 victory lane
Lund in victory lane for the Daytona 500
Credit: Racing One Multimedia
Lund’s first career win came in 1963 and he picked a good race to win, the Daytona 500. Stunning fact: he went down there without a ride, landed a seat with the Wood Brothers team after their driver Marvin Panch had crashed and was injured. The race itself was delayed due to rain and the first ten laps ran under caution.  Once racing was under way, Lund made his way up towards the front from his 12th place starting position. With ten laps to go cars were running out of fuel, Fred Lorenzen had passed Lund but had to head to pit road for fuel. Ned Jarrett tried to take the lead but he too ran out of gas.  "Tiny" Lund would also run out of gas but managed to coast across the finish line to win his first race and the historic Daytona 500.



Tiny’s racing career spanned over 20 years and more than 300 races. He had only five wins but more impressive, 54 top-5 and 119 top-10 finishes. 

Lund was racing in the Grand National East division at Talladega when his life was taken in a horrific accident. Lund collided with another car, both erupted into flames and he died minutes after emergency workers freed him from the wreckage.


Lund's legacy outlasted his career, he was  inducted into the International Motorsports Hall of Fame (1994) and named one of NASCAR's 50 Greatest Drivers (1998).  Daytona International Speedway also has a "Tiny" Lund grandstand section named in his honor.


NASCAR By the Numbers and In the Rearview Mirror (looking back at NASCAR's history) are Amanda's two weekly columns with Skirts and Scuffs, but as an Associate Editor her duties are limitless. Amanda also strives to provide exclusive interviews for the readers of Skirts and Scuffs. To read her past columns and interviews click here. Feel free to contact Amanda via Twitter.

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