Monday, April 23, 2012

April 23 - This day in Petty history - part 3

1972 - Starting third, Richard Petty wins the Gwyn Staley 400 at North Wilkesboro Speedway to notch his 143rd career win.

Source: Motor Racing Programme Covers
Unlike many of Richard's victories where he ran off and hid from the rest of the field, he paced himself a bit more to get this win. Though he did lead 84 laps, most of the race was dominated by the two front row starting Bobbys: Bobby Isaac and Bobby Allison.

In his book Forty Years of Stock Car Racing: Volume 4, Greg Fielden writes:
Petty edged past Bobby Isaac with 25 laps to go and went on to beat runner-up Bobby Allison by 2 seconds. Petty said he was comfortable running most of the race behind the foot-stomping Allison-Isaac duel. "That was a real wing-doolie of a battle." declared Petty afterwards. "Those cats were really racing - for all 400 laps. I had a ring-side seat for about 200 of 'em. I wanted to stay behind them because I figured they were likely to crash. On the last pit stop, we put on gumballs (soft-compound tires) and that probably made the difference.


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