Got Your Number: The History of the No. 34 and Jim Roper

By Ben White

A variety of car numbers have become established winners since NASCAR’s first-ever Strictly Stock race was held on June 19, 1949 at the 3/4-mile Charlotte Speedway once located just off Wilkerson Boulevard.

The No. 34 was the first to win in NASCAR’s premier series. That day, Jim Roper wheeled a solid black 1949 Lincoln he drove 2,000 miles all the way from Halstead, Kansas. The second-place finisher was declared the winner when Glenn Dunaway’s 1947 Ford was deemed illegal for using leaf springs.

Ironically, the No. 34 has only won four times in Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series competition. Roper’s Charlotte win was followed by Wendell Scott at Jacksonville, Fla. in December of 1963. Then it happened again 50 years later with David Ragan winning at Talladega in May of 2013 for Front Row Motorsports. Chris Beuscher scored his lone Cup series at Pocono Raceway in August of 2016 when heavy fog brought the race to an early end.

Nine years before his death in June of 2000, Roper told of how he discovered NASCAR first would be run through Zack Moseley’s popular syndication cartoon strip.

“That strip always advertised the airshows and it was pretty popular at the time, and I always read it,” Roper said in American Racing Classics in 1991. “That fellow (Moseley) had the race mentioned in it and we decided to give it a try.”