The Chrysler 300 B
By Russ Truelove

My experiences with the 300 B were with the one currently at the Henry Ford Museum. Back in February of 1998 Bob Valpey of New Hampshire owned the car. Bob and I were at Daytona for Speed Week and the 50th anniversary of NASCAR. On Thursday Feb 23, we were attending a "Living Legends of Auto Racing Car Show" being held next to the Daytona Flea Market. Bob had his 300 B and I had my 1956 Mercury #226 that I had raced in the 1956 NASCAR Beach Race.

Click to enlarge                Russ Truelove, Tim Flock, Bob Valpey

Near the end of the day, Bob left with the 300 B, driving it over to the Klassic Museum nearby where he had parked his Motor Home & Car Trailer.

I was late leaving and was packing my displays when a fellow drove up and approached me. He wanted to know where he could get an old car that raced on the Beach in the fifties. I told him," This Mercury had raced on the Beach at that time, what do you need it for?" His reply was they wanted to use it for some filming they wanted to do on the beach on Friday along with some of the older drivers; Tim Flock, Herb Thomas, Buck Baker, and Junior Johnson.

            click to enlarge       Tim Flock
Tim Flock This got my attention but I felt like it must be a joke. I asked his name. He responded "Seilers Shy." I felt this guy was pulling my leg and he knew it. He went over to his car and pulled out a cap with CBS Sports on it and put it on my head. "Do you believe me now?" My immediate answer was, "Yes, but you really want the 300 B that those Champions drove on the Beach!"

He wanted to know what the 300 B was. With that I suggested he drive us over to Bob's Motor Home & Trailer. I knocked on the door told Bob he should come out and listen to what this fellow was looking for. Seilers explained CBS Sports wanted to use his 300 B over on the beach Friday morning. Within a half-hour arrangements were made to meet there at 9AM and if necessary CBS would have a police escort so Bob could drive his unregistered 300 B over to the Beach near the old South Turn. That evening I had dinner with Russ Hamilton and his wife Joanne out at Racings North Turn Restaurant. I told him about the above story. He got excited as Dick Berggren had previously asked him to find out where this filming was going to take place and to get some pictures for his magazine.

Friday morning we all met at the Klassic Museum for the trip out to the Beach. Seilers had been asked to get a checker flag for the filming. I went into the Klassic Museum and borrowed one from Jim Kelsey Manager, an old friend. We took off with out any escort, and with out a problem. Out at the old South Turn on the Beach those involved started to show up: Buck Baker, Red Farmer, Junior Johnson, and Tim Flock. Tim was quite ill at the time with cancer but insisted he could go through with anything needed. He passed away the next month. Herb Thomas failed to show.

Russ Truelove, Red Farmer, Buck Baker, Tim Flock, Junior Johnson
Russ Truelove, Red Farmer, Buck Baker, Tim Flock, Junior Johnson                Click to enlarge

When the Director and film crew showed up Bob told him any driving of the 300 B would be handled by me, as I was familiar with the clutch that was giving trouble at the time. The director asked me if I had raced on the Beach. I advised him I had in my Mercury. He said "Fine, you're in."

We did the filming with the 300 B. Russ Hamilton was busy getting a collection of still photos while the CBS crew were filming material to be shown during the lead in prior to the 500 Race on Sunday. In the finishing part of the filming, I drove the 300 B along with both Tim Flock and Junior Johnson with our racing helmets on, down the Beach to get a checker Flag from Red Farmer.

It was an honor to give Tim his last ride on the Beach to get the checker flag.

Tim Flock, Russ Truelove
Click to enlarge                 Tim Flock, Russ Truelove

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