The first Southern 500 is contested. Indy Car driver Johnny Mantz, who showed up as a spectator, had a car bought for him — then being used to run business errands. He won after being the slowest qualifier. He ran the full 500 miles on the same set of tires, as witnessed by Firestone’s Bill McCrary. The night before the race, Mantz attended a party in Myrtle Beach and almost didn’t make it back in time for the race. He popped two aspirins and buckled up. Jack Smith, who finished 29th, said preparing his own car meant placing masking tape over the headlights, securing the doors with dog collars, and using rope as a seat belt.