1971 - Petty cars dominate the American 500 at Rockingham. Buddy Baker, in #11 Petty Enterprises Dodge leads 209 laps but finishes second to teammate Richard Petty. King Richard leads 189 laps, wins the race and collects his 138th career victory.
Baker claimed Petty passed him illegally under a caution flag. Petty asserted he didn't, and NASCAR agreed.
Also, David Pearson raced the #99 STP Plymouth for Ray Nichels. Pearson substituted for the team's regular driver, Fred Lorenzen. Fast Freddy skipped the race based on his doctor's advice in response to serious headaches he had been experiencing. In recent years, I learned Pearson raced an STP Pontiac for Nichels in the 1971 season-ending Texas 500 at Texas World Speedway. But research for this blog entry surfaced the trivia of Pearson driving an STP Plymouth before Richard Petty.
After the race was over, Petty collapsed on the ground from exhaustion.
After a few minutes, he sat up and was able to move around to the front of the winning 43. Note the Professional Drivers Association (PDA) patch still being worn on his left shoulder.
After regaining some strength, the King followed through with the interviews...
...and the awarding of the trophy...
...and of course, the kisses for the winner!