Heavy rains pounded Richmond's dirt surface before the teams arrived. Qualifying was scrapped because of the track's poor condition, and the drivers drew for starting position instead. Long-time independent driver Earl Brooks drew P1, and Petty drew the second starting spot. Three more independents - Soapy Castles, Jabe Thomas and Elmo Langley - drew for the remainder of the top 5.
The race began under a green-yellow condition where the lap count began as the cars circled to help compact the clay. (The last time I recall this happening was the start of the 1979 Daytona 500. Someone please correct me if I'm wrong.) From his top starting spot, Brooks paced the field for the first 24 laps.
When the field finally got a legitimate green flap, the King got by Brooks to lead a single lap. On the next lap, Paul Goldsmith - who started 12th - somehow managed to bully his way by everyone to take the top stop and then stay there for 64 laps.
For about the next 40 laps, Petty, Sam McQuagg, Dick Hutcherson and Bobby Allison took turns leading. On lap 131, however, things turn a turn for the worse for Allison. His Chevelle broke a tie rod as he came off turn 4. Perhaps as a foreshadowing of his legendary wreck at Talladega 20 years later, Allison then began to flip. The car jumped a guard rail, tore through chain link fencing and came to rest by the scorers' pad which was positioned on the outside of the track by the starter's stand - a pad on which Allison's wife Judy was seated. Fortunately, Bobby, Judy and the other scorers were not injured.
|Source: Richmond Times-Dispatch|
|Article courtesy of Jerry Bushmire|
|Source: Free Lance Star via Google News Archive|
Edited September 10, 2014