Tuesday, August 2, 2011

August 2 - This day in Petty history - part 2

1970 - Richard wins his 111th career race in the Dixie 500 at Atlanta driving the famed Plymouth Superbird. Teammate Pete Hamilton finishes 6th in a second #40 Petty Superbird - even after bending his Bird's beak earlier in the race.

Think about this for a moment. A NASCAR race in Atlanta. In August. Wonder what Einstein thought that was a good idea. Probably the same person or team who slotted Talladega for many years in late July. Not surprisingly, several drivers suffered heat exhaustion during the race - and crews handled ultra hot tires during pit stops using their bare hands.

Through much of the 1960s, Fast Freddy Lorenzen drove the white #28 Holman-Moody Ford. Lorenzen unexpectedly retired from racing in the late 1960s. He dabbled around the sport in other ways, but he had decided his driving days were over. He made a comeback of sorts in 1970 by running a limited schedule. He was in car #28; however, he began racing the winged Dodge Daytona for car owner Ray Fox rather than the H-M Fords.

Lorenzen showed everyone he still knew how to hustle a car around a speedway by winning the pole for the Dixie 500 in Fox's Dodge. (Pic below is from the car as it raced at Talladega three weeks later.)

Buddy Baker lined up alongside Lorenzen in another winged Daytona - one fielded by Cotton Owens. Eventual 1970 GN champion Bobby Isaac made it three Mopars in a row with his third place qualifying run. FoMoCo finally got on the board with Cale Yarborough putting the Wood Brothers' Mercury in fourth and David Pearson timing fifth in Holman-Moody's Ford. Petty qualified sixth in his Superbird.

Baker, Pearson, and Lee Roy Yarbrough lead a sprinkling of laps during the day. But the race belonged to Petty. He led sizable chunks of laps during the race - including the final 148 to take the checkers.

Article courtesy of Jerry Bushmire
Petty's romp at AIR was also featured in the November 1970 issue of Stock Car Racing magazine.


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