1971 - Starting from the inside of the second row, Richard Petty leads almost half the laps and comfortably wins his 126th career race in the Gwyn Staley 400 at North Wilkesboro Speedway. The King also goes back-to-back as he successfully defends his win in the 1970 spring Wilkesboro race.
The race was run without a single caution - a remarkable feat for the tough ol' .625 flat short-track. Petty led 186 laps - including the final 126 - and finished a full lap ahead of second-place finisher David Pearson and four laps ahead of third-place finisher Dick Brooks who was driving Mario Rossi's #22 Dodge.
Pole-sitter Bobby Isaac led the first half of the race. He may well have dominated until the end except for a piece of metal hitting and breaking his windshield. After losing 2 laps to repair it, he regained his form but then lost an engine about 50 laps from the finish.
Today's fans are well familiar with NASCAR's use of restrictor plates at Daytona and Talladega. Others may even know the use of them began most recently after Bobby Allison's wreck at Talladega in 1987. Still others may know NASCAR used them on the superspeedways in the early 70s. But how many folks knew NASCAR used them in 1971 on short-tracks such as Wilkesboro. Read on...