- February 22, 1921
- February 11, 1959
- United States
- Not Active
Marshall Teague (1921-1959) was an American racing driver and one of the pioneers of stock car racing in the US. He recorded 23 starts in NASCAR's premier division between 1949 and 1952, winning seven times. He was also known as the 'King of the Beach' for his performances at the Daytona Beach Road Course, which was his home track as he was born in Daytona Beach.
Teague left NASCAR in 1953 and competed in AAA and USAC races until 1958, including three participations at Indianapolis 500. He was AAA Stock Car Series champion two times.
Teague lost a life in an accident during an attempt to break the closed course speed record at Daytona International Speedway in February 1959, being the first fatal victim of the newly-built race track.
When the NASCAR Strictly Stock Series has been inaugurated in 1949, Marshall Pleasant Teague participated in one race, the second round at the Daytona Beach Road Course, driving the #6 Hudson for Bill Appleton and finishing in 14th place.
In 1950, he expanded his schedule in the NASCAR Grand National Series to three races in the #6 Lincoln of Paul Cox. He raced at Daytona Beach, Occoneechee Speedway in Hillsboro and Darlington Raceway.
The milestone turn happened in 1951 when Teague became a member of Hudson Motors factory team, driving the #6 Fabulous Hudson Hornet. He participated in a development and tuning of a race car, converting Hudson Hornet into the most successful car of a period.
In February 1951, Teague scored his maiden NASCAR victory, winning at his home track at Daytona Beach. Later in the season, he won four more times (Gardena, Phoenix, Canfield, Grand Rapids) in fourteen races. The season featured 41 races so Teague had no chance to win a championship with just fifteen starts. The champion was Herb Thomas, who started in 34 races and won seven times.
In 1952, Teague participated in just four NASCAR Grand National races, winning two of them, at Daytona Beach and Jacksonville. In the same time, he participated in the AAA National Stock Car Championship, winning the title.
Outside stock car racing, Teague recorded two participations at famous Carrera Panamericana road race, driving Hudson Hornet on both occasions. In November 1951, he finished in the sixth place in the #44 Hudson. The winners were Piero Taruffi and Luigi Chinetti in a Ferrari 212 Inter, ahead of Alberto Ascari and Luigi Villoresi in a similar car.
A year later, in November 1952, driving the #154 Hudson Hornet, Teague finished 13th at Carrera Panamericana. It was a famous race in which Karl Kling and Hans Klenk took a victory in a Mercedes-Benz 300 SL after a bizarre accident with a vulture.
In 1953, following a dispute with NASCAR founder William France Sr., Teague left NASCAR, continuing his career in AAA and USAC sanctioned races. He won one more AAA Stock Car title in 1954.
In May 1953, Teague made a debut at Indianapolis 500. He was driving the #22 Kurtis Kraft-Offenhauser for Hart Fullerton, stopping after 169 laps due to an oil leak. Next year, at 1954 Indianapolis 500, Teague failed to qualify his car so he was a relief driver for Duane Carter and Gene Hartley, spending 46 laps in two cars.
Teague's racing record for 1955 is empty. He returned to full-time racing in 1956, finishing second in the USAC Stock Car Series. He won three races but lost a title to Johnny Mantz. In 1957, Teague participated part-time in the USAC Stock Car Series but also recorded one more attempt at Indianapolis 500.
This time, he was driving the #48 Kurtis Kraft-Offy for Chapman Root, progressing from 28th place on the starting grid to the seventh place at the end of the race, completing all 200 laps.
In 1958, his last active season before premature death, Teague participated in the USAC Stock Car Series, finishing in the fifth place driving a Chevrolet.
He also took part in one race of the USAC Road Racing Championship, driving a Jaguar D-Type in a race at Lime Rock Park. He didn't finish the race, being classified in 13th place.
Marshall Teague's life came to a premature end on February 11, 1959, when he was trying to break the closed course speed record at Daytona International Speedway. The record of 177 mph was set by Tony Bettenhausen in 1957 at Monza.
Driving a reconfigured open-wheel race car from the USAC Championship, the Sumar Special streamliner, Teague reached 171.821 mph on February 9. Two days later, in a new attempt, he crashed on Turn 3 and died instantly. He was the first fatal victim of newly-built Daytona International Speedway, eleven days before the first official race (NASCAR's Daytona 500).
Photos: Getty Images,
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