Tuesday, April 10, 2012

April 10 - This day in Petty history

1960 - Starting fourth, Richard Petty wins his second career Grand National race in the Virgina 500 at Martinsville Speedway. The win is Richard's first of what would eventually grow to 15 victories over the span of his career. Richard's dad and Petty Enterprises teammate, Lee Petty, started third and finished sixth.

Source: Motor Racing Programme Covers
Future Petty Enterprises teammate, Buddy Baker, made his first Martinsville start in the race. Though he would eventually win with Ranier Racing at Martinsville in 1979, he had a tough go in his first outing. He did a 180-degree spin in turn one and looked eye-to-eye into oncoming traffic including his father Buck Baker.

A week earlier, little known John Rostek won the Copper Cup 100 at the Arizona State Fairgrounds in Phoenix (a track that preceded the current Phoenix Raceway). At Martinsville, Rostek learned how quickly one can go from the penthouse to the outhouse. As with Buddy Baker, Rostek looped his car in turn 1 and was nearly plowed by Jimmy Pardue and Tiger Tom Pistone.

Richard led 135 laps; however, fellow NASCAR Hall of Fame member Glen Wood led the most laps with 165 circuits out front. The majority of Wood's laps out front came in the front-half of the race. Fred Lorenzen led almost 100 laps in the middle stages of the race, but he finished 18th after losing an engine with about 50 laps to go.

As the race hit its home stretch, the blue 43 Plymouth went to the point and stayed there. But Wood's teammate, Jimmy Massey in the #21 Ford, kept Petty honest.

Massey pursued Petty lap after lap, but he couldn't muster a pass in the final 100 laps or so. The future King claimed his second career GN win, and Massey settled for second place.

Source: Ocala Star-Banner via Google News Archive
Songwriters Doug and Telisha Williams wrote and recorded a song titled Massey's Run. The lyrics were written from the perspective of Massey and his second-place finish to Petty. [Click here] for my blog post about their song and Massey.

Edited April 10, 2015

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