Saturday, September 24, 2011

September 24 - This day in Petty history - part 2

1972 - In a battle with Bobby Allison who led over 80 percent of the race, Richard wins his 147th Grand National race and his twelfth at Martinsville in the Old Dominion 500.

Visit this Flickr set for a great collection of Petty-related color photos from the race.

Article and photo courtesy of Jerry Bushmire
Edited September 20, 2014

1 comment:

  1. One of my fondest memories at Martinsville is of the 1972 Old Dominion 500 when Richard Petty somehow kept his PLYMOUTH (that's right, Legend... it was still a Plymouth) off that curb enroute to winning the race. Bobby Allison was driving the Richard Howard-owned, Junior Johnson-prepared #12 Coke Machine Chevy Monte Carlo that day and led 432 of the 500 laps. My friends and I watched in amazement, however, as the "King," who led 64 laps that day, kept his nose just to the inside of the left rear wheel of Bobby's car for what seemed like a million laps, hugging that Martinsville curb, but never touching it. Sitting in our favorite seats in turn 1, we could see what Richard was doing in the closing stages. He kept tapping Bobby's car in the left rear wheelwell, until near the end, Bobby's left rear tire was cut down and Richard drove to the win with Bobby second, the only two cars on the lead lap. It was one of the greatest displays of side by side racing I have ever had the privilege to watch in person. Much of it is actually documented in the Jeff Bridges film Last American Hero, later retitled Hard Charger, a loose retelling of the Junior Johnson story. Twentieth-Century Fox had a cameraman just to our right in the grass where the Martinsville stands then ended before turn two and he got great shots of Petty and Allison side by side during one of their famous feud years. Appropriately, David Pearson in the Wood Brothers Mercury from nearby Stuart finished third, two laps down, and led the other 4 laps not led by Petty and Allison.