Thursday, March 8, 2012

March 8 - This day in Petty history

1970 - Driving the sleek blue Plymouth Superbird, Richard Petty wins the Carolina 500 at North Carolina Motor Speedway in Rockingham, NC and banks career victory number 102. Teammate Pete Hamilton - who drove a Petty Superbird to victory in the Daytona 500 two weeks earlier - finishes 5th.

The top starters were set during the first round of qualifying held on Thursday, March 5th. The final session when the best of the rest thrashed to make the field was on Saturday. The session took on an eerie tone when the track was darkened by a full solar eclipse.

Source: Charleston News & Courier
Earl Brooks' made the field in the 40th and final starting spot with a qualifying speed fifteen MPH off Bobby Allison's pole-winning effort. But he did so by running under near darkness!

Source: Spartanburg Herald via Google News Archive
Bobby Allison and Charlie Glotzbach started on the front row, and Bobby Isaac in the red #71 K&K Dodge Daytona was flanked by Buddy Baker in Cotton Owens' Dodge on the second one. Dick Brooks started 5th, and Cale Yarborough was beside him in the Wood Brothers' Mercury. The Petty team cars started on the 4th row with Pete Hamilton to the inside in 7th and Petty to his outside in 8th.

Many days, its better to be lucky than good. On March 8, 1970, Petty was both. He led a sizable number of laps, but he spun twice and yet won by 3 laps over second-place Cale Yarborough.

William Horrell, fellow member at recalls:
Yes, the first race was the '70 Carolina 500. I was 15 at the time and went with a neighbor whom I worked with on his dirt car. I did not take pictures back then. I wish to high heaven now that I did. I remember that Richard was ''the man'' in my book. I was glad that a Petty car had just won Daytona, but at the time I was not thrilled with it being Pete Hamilton. I told everyone that Richard was going to win for me at my first race. He did, and I was hard to live with for a few days after. I sort of remember actually thinking that my being there was actually some kind of influential good karma ... I had it bad!
Source: Motor Racing Programme Covers
Source: Spartanburg Herald via Google News Archive

Source: Daytona Beach Morning Journal via Google News Archive
Source: Sumter Daily Item via Google News Archive

Edited March 8, 2015

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