Monday, April 30, 2012

April 30 - This day in Petty history - part 1

1966 - Starting from the pole, Richard Petty leads 281 of 291 laps, and nabs his ... 43rd ... career Grand National race by romping in the Rebel 400 at Darlington.

Petty dominated the race and finished three laps ahead of second-place Paul Goldsmith. Ford's boycott of the 1966 racing season (following Chrysler's boycott in 1965) certainly affected fans' interest as only 12,000 spectators attended including 5,000 Boy Scouts admitted free.

Source: Motor Racing Programme Covers
Photo courtesy of Ray Lamm
Don Smyle of Smyle Media provided some insight about the photographer of the victory lane picture below:
Tom Kirkland was the original Darlington track photographer starting with construction in 1949 and covered every event at the track until 1967. Tom was the first racing photographer to use a sequence camera to cover racing, an item that had to be smuggled out of communist Germany where it was manufactured at the time. Using this sequence camera, Tom captured the multiple frame accident of Jack Smith leaping the guardrail at Darlington during the 1958 Southern 500. This sequence was featured in Sports Illustrated. Because of this sequence, Tom was hired by Sports Illustrated to cover the 1959 Daytona 500 using his sequence camera. Tom captured the photo inish of the 1959 Daytona 500. Although T. Taylor Warren is credited in the press with providing the images that determined the winner, it was actually Tom's images that were the deciding factor. Tom received a letter from NASCAR that thanks him for his images and indicates they were crucial in deciding the winner of the race. By the next season nearly all the photographers covering racing had a sequence camera.
Credit to Tom Kirkland and courtesy of Smyle Media
Finally, while few fans actually witnessed Petty's 1966 Darlington win, the victory did inspire one fan to become a lifelong collector of Plymouths. The 2008 article was written by Rick Minter - now a senior writer for

Courtesy of Russ Thompson
Above photo and article courtesy of Jerry Bushmire

Edited: April 29, 2014

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