Archive for February 20, 2014


— 50 years ago, the debut of the Chrysler Hemi powerplant by Daytona 500 polesitter Paul Goldsmith and his 1964 Nichels Engineering Plymouth Belvedere shocked the racing community with a qualifying speed of 174.910 miles per hour — shattering the previous year’s Daytona 500 pole run by Fireball Roberts, who then had posted a qualifying pole speed of 160.943 mph.

During the Daytona 500, an unscheduled pit stop due to Goldsmith’s radiator being covered with food wrappers that had littered the superspeedway at the green flag, cost him the race.  To this day, Goldsmith contends he had the car to beat had it not been for his Plymouth over-heating in the early laps. Had Goldsmith won, it would have marked the second time that Ray Nichels and Nichels Engineering had come to Daytona with an unproven car & powerplant and completed a Speedweeks sweep, as they had done in 1957.