Monday, April 23, 2012

April 23 - This day in Petty history - part 2

1967 - Starting second, Richard Petty leads 118 laps and passes Cale Yarborough with about 20 laps to go to win his 53rd career race in the Virginia 500 at Martinsville. The victory puts the King one behind the all-time career wins leader, father Lee Petty.

Source: Motor Racing Programme Covers
Yarborough led about half the race, but slapped the wall after John Sears blew an engine. In Greg Fielden's book Forty Years of Stock Car Racing: Volume 3, he writes:
[Yarborough] was holding a 4.5-second cushion over Petty when John Sears blew his engine on lap 473. Yarborough, running close behind Sears, slipped in the oil and slapped the concrete wall. The caution came out, but nether Petty nor Yarborough pitted - each placing track position as their main priority. When the green came out, Petty passed Yarborough easily and got to the finish line by 9 seconds..."Those last 20 laps was the only time I had an advantage all day," remarked Petty. "It looked to me like the fender was on his tire. I knew I could get him in the last laps because I could smell the rubber burning." ~p. 128
The race was featured in Stock Car Racing magazine a few months later in the September 1967 issue.

Photo and articles courtesy of Jerry Bushmire

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