Wednesday, March 21, 2012

March 21 - This day in Petty history

1971 - Richard Petty leads 161 laps and wins the Hickory 276 at Hickory Speedway in North Carolina to earn career victory 123. The win is Petty's 3rd win in a row in 1971 - and 4th out of seven races run to that point of the season.

Reigning champion, Bobby Isaac, and his team skipped the race out of protest. Isaac and crew chief Harry Hyde claimed Petty got preferential treatment by NASCAR officials during pre-race inspections. Isaac's team also skipped the following week's race at Bristol; however, I can't seem to find any article referring to Isaac's and Hyde's whining continuance. Apparently they got the message that no one cared (or NASCAR delivered a message to shut and race) because the team returned two weeks later at Atlanta.

Perhaps the most unique - yet respectful - trivia item about this race is described in the article. Because of a scheduled funeral, a caution flag turned into a temporary red flag situation so the funeral procession wouldn't be interrupted by all the race noise. Clearly a respectful action by the teams and NASCAR - but I'm not sure we'd see something like happen again today.

Article courtesy of Jerry Bushmire

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