Monday 30th April 1956
Junior Johnson took advantage of Fred Lorenzen’s engine woes to win the NASCAR GN ‘Virginia 500’ Sweepstakes race at Martinsville Speedway, Virginia, US. Johnson was 4 laps behind when leader Lorenzen’s Ford made a lengthy pit stop with engine trouble. Despite having a 2 lap lead and being repeatedly given a pit board reading “EZ”, Johnson refused to let up. Car owner Rex Lovette threatened Johnson with a sledgehammer during his last pit stop, so Johnson reluctantly eased his pace. Johnson’s Pontiac finished 4 laps ahead of Emanuel Zervakis in a convertible Chevy. “Sweepstakes” races were open to Convertibles and 8 started.