Wednesday, March 7, 2012

March 7 - This day in Petty history

1971 - Richard Petty wins the Richmond 500 in Virginia to bank his 121st career victory.

As explained in the accompanying article, the King was banned from qualifying but was allowed to start dead-last in the race. Starting from the 30th spot, the 43 quickly came through the field, led 348 of 500 laps, and won by 2 laps over Bobby Isaac.

Isaac's car owner, Nord Krauskopf, and crew chief, Harry Hyde, were livid about how NASCAR and track promoter Paul Sawyer handled rules infractions on the 43. With Hyde's fiery personality, visions of Yosemite Sam muttering indecipherable obscenities come to mind.

Apparently Nord and Harry conveniently forgot their #71 car also had problems. Interestingly, they were allowed to keep their 3rd place qualifying spot whereas Petty had to start from the rear of the field - and still spanked them by 2 laps.

According to Greg Fielden's Forty Years of Stock Car Racing - Volume 3:
After the race, Norm Krauskopf ... threatened to quit the NASCAR circuit. "I don't want to do anything bad for racing," said Krauskopf, "but it's become an intolerable situation. I've advised promoters Ned Jarrett (Hickory) and Larry Carrier (Bristol) by wire that our entries for their events have been withdrawn."~ p. 330
For the record, Petty won Hickory and finished second to Pearson at Bristol. Isaac's team apparently realized no one cared they were gone because the team returned following the Bristol race.

Article courtesy of Jerry Bushmire
Edited March 7, 2015

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