Thursday, February 23, 2012

February 23 - This day in Petty history - part 2

1975 - Starting from the pole, Richard Petty leads 444 laps, finishes six laps ahead of the second place finisher, and wins his 165th career race in the Richmond 500. The race start is delayed 2 hours because of persistent rain.

The race was somewhat of a routine one for the 43 team - a rarity in the 'modern era' of NASCAR. In the races of the 1960s, it was common for the Petty team to roll into town, win the pole, lead every lap, win the race, grab the loot, kiss the girls, and move on to the next one. But when the number of races was reduced as part of the Winston Cup Series re-branding in 1971, the competition increased. So it was unusual for a race like Richmond to unfold.

After NASCAR enjoyed a full field for the Daytona 500 a week earlier, the brass must have been puzzled when only 22 cars qualified for the Richmond race. Only three of the top 10 finishers from the Daytona 500 - Petty, 500 winner Benny Parsons, and Dave Marcis - went to Richmond to race. The story in 1975 was similar to what has happened the last couple of years: lack of sufficient sponsorship funding.

Article courtesy of Jerry Bushmire

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