Sunday, October 9, 2011

October 9 - This day in Petty history

1983 - Richard Petty starts 20th but passes championship contender Darrell Waltrip with 23 laps to go and drives away to win the Miller High Life 500 at Charlotte Motor Speedway for career win #198. About 4 hours after the race ended, however, NASCAR announces the Petty team will be fined $35,000 and 104 Winston Cup points for having an over-sized engine and illegal tires. Whoops.

Tim Richmond won the Busch pole ... for the Miller High Life 500 ... while sponsored by Old Milwaukee. I'm pretty sure those three brews were in my cooler when the Schaefer tradition began at Talladega 9 years later!

Finishing in second place in the race was Darrell Waltrip in Junior Johnson's Chevrolet. Both were livid Petty's win was allowed to stand. What the two of them conveniently forget to remind the press and fans then - and now - is the #11 Pepsi Chevy was loaded on the hauler immediately after the race. As the post-inspection took place on the 43, Waltrip's car was high-tailing it back to Junior's shop in Ronda, NC. Consequently, NASCAR was unable to inspect Waltrip's car, and many to this day suspect the #11 maaaaay not have been within the rules that day either.

Once a NASCAR official spotted the wrong tires on the 43, Maurice Petty confessed to Dick Beaty, NASCAR's chief official, about the over-sized engine and how he got it through inspection.
Maurice said he placed wax in the engine, wedging open valves on the eight cylinders to foil an air-pump test of the cylinders' cubic inch displacement. When the race started, heat quickly melted the wax. The engine then produced increased speed and power from the over-sized cylinders. ~ Greg Fielden, Forty Years of Stock Car Racing - Volume IV, p. 400.
Ticket courtesy of Jerry Bushmire

A couple of victory lane photos ... several hours before NASCAR likely said to Richard "Umm, ya mind coming in here a sec?"

Photo courtesy of Ray Lamm

Got about 45 minutes? If so, you can watch the highlights of the race at YouTube.


Article courtesy of Jerry Bushmire
Richard's tainted win was a 'no-turning-back' race. A week or so after the win, he announced his departure from the family Petty Enterprises team beginning with the 1984 season. He joined a new team financed by Mike Curb and won his final two career races in a non-Petty-owned car. Kyle Petty, who was still rough around the edges as a driver, remained with PE for 1984, but he did not have much success until he too left the team. Maurice Petty fielded an un-sponsored PE team in three races in 1985, but he too drifted out of the limelight shortly thereafter.

TMC
Edited October 8, 2014

1 comment:

  1. I WAS THERE AND STOPPED AT A RESTAURANT ON THE WAY HOME AND OVERHEARD THE NEWS ABOUT POSSIBLE PENALTYS AND WAS VERY SURPRISED.

    ReplyDelete