Thursday, March 19, 2015

NASCAR One Hit Wonder #1 Jim Roper

I have so much I want to post about, but I keep getting distracted by other things, both posting things and things I'm working on that will be posted someday, that this post has been something I wanted to do since January, when I got the card, and I am just getting it written up now! I made a promise back when I began the One Hit Wonder series that NASCAR would get coverage, and I'm finally fulfilling that promise today.

And what better way to start than the winner of the first ever Strictly Stock race?

For those who may not know, the Strictly Stock series, after one year, became the Grand National division in 1950. It became Winston Cup in 1971 and Nextel Cup in 2004, and since 2008 has been known as Sprint Cup. It is NASCAR's top division. There have been more than 2000 races held in the division (actually, I think it's closer to 3000) but the winner of the first race is actually somewhat of a footnote to NASCAR history- because he won the very first race.

Jim Roper, of Kansas, read about the race in a newspaper, and drove his car from Kansas to Charlotte, to enter the race. He was not flagged the winner- Glenn Dunaway was- but he was DQ'd after it was found that his car had heavy duty springs installed, thus voiding the Strictly Stock agreement. He was credited with a last place finish.

Roper, who was driving a Lincoln, was elevated to the victory. He only ran one more NASCAR race, later in 1949, and that was the end of his career. (At least as far as NASCAR is concerned, he raced in other series, but this post is about NASCAR).

NASCAR had to wait until 1988 to get trading cards on a regular basis, and the pioneer era - roughly, pre-1959 - is not all that well covered in card form. There are, in fact, more drivers from that era without a single card that those that have them. In 1991, there was a brief surge of early days of the sport being a popular card subject, but unfortunately it didn't last very long.

One of the sets of early drivers (mostly, it also included some later drivers) was issued by a company called Track Pack, consisting of 48 cards, which included a cover card and a checklist. It was marketed as Series 1 but it was the only series produced. All the photos are in black and white, unfortunately, even the ones that had originally been in color. It was sold as a factory set only.

The set wasn't without color- although, with the color chosen, it probably would have been better off!

The set is unusual in that it has the card numbers on the front of the card. Cards are arranged alphabetically by last name.

Roper is the only driver or owner in the set to be a One Hit Wonder; everyone else included has multiple cards, although some do not have many.

As you can see, it is not the most attractive card design, in fact, it's probably the worst card design in all of NASCAR.

The complete 48 card set has been posted to the Trading Card Database (by me) so you can see the rest if you wish.

I must say, the back of the card is excellent. Almost perfect stats and a good write-up of the person on the card.
Jim Roper passed away in June of 2000, at age 83.


  1. He drove a LINCOLN!?!?!??? This is an amazing story. He probably told it to his grandchildren for a long time....interesting life.

  2. I gave virtually y no NASCAR cards. Thanks for posting. Nice seeing some cards for the first time

    1. Oh, I could fix that deficiency for you if you are interested. I've got thousands upon thousands of extras!

    2. That would be awesome. Always looking to add to the collection.

    3. Excellent! Have any preferences on drivers or sets?