Jim Roper
Auto Racer

Christian D. "Jim" Roper (Aug. 13, 1916 – Jun. 23, 2000) was a NASCAR driver. He lived in Halstead, Kansas. His first racecar was a midget car that he purchased in 1944 at age 27. He was first able to use the car after World War II, since all racing was halted in the United States during the war.


Racing career
He drove numerous types of cars after the war. He won the Beacon Championship at CeJay Speedway in Wichita, Kansas in 1947 in a track roadster. He also raced on the International Motor Contest Association (IMCA) circuit in Kansas, Iowa, Nebraska, Oklahoma, and Missouri. He was nicknamed "Alfalfa Jim" after he drove through a wooden fence into an alfalfa field, turned around, and finished the race with a car full of alfalfa.

NASCAR career
Roper reportedly heard about the first race at a three-quarter mile dirt track in Charlotte, NC by reading a note about it in Zack Mosley's 'Smilin' Jack' comic strip in his local newspaper. Roper convinced local car dealer Millard Clothier to drive two of Clothier's Lincoln cars to Charlotte to compete on June 19, 1949. Roper finished in second to winner Glenn Dunnaway, completing 197 of 200 laps. Chief NASCAR inspector Al Crisler disqualified Dunnaway's car because car owner Hubert Westmoreland had shored up the chassis by spreading the rear springs, a favorite bootlegger trick to improve traction and handling. Roper was credited with the win in NASCAR's first Strictly Stock (now NEXTEL Cup) race. Westmoreland sued NASCAR, and the judge threw out the case. NASCAR tore down Roper's motor after the race, so he had to get a replacement motor to drive back to Kansas.
He used the same car to finish fifteenth in NASCAR's third race in his only other NASCAR start. He finished sixteenth in the 1949 final points standings.

Injury and end of racing career
He continued racing in other types of races until he broke a vertebra in a sprint car accident in 1955. He decided to retire after his injuries healed. He later became a professional flagman, and built racecars. He later moved to Texas to become a horse trainer. He died on June 23, 2000 from heart and liver complications related to cancer.

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