Saturday, May 12, 2012

May 12 - This day in Petty history

1974 - Starting second on May 11th, Richard Petty leads the final 106 laps and wins his 158th career race in the Music City 420 at Nashville Fairgrounds Speedway...on May 12th.

The race began on Saturday, May 11, and pole sitter Cale Yarborough and Bobby Allison swapped the lead for about the first 100 laps. Evening rains then began to fall. Because at least half the laps hadn't been run, the race wasn't declared officially complete. As a result, the rest of the race was postponed to Sunday, and the King led about one-third of the remaining laps.

Russ Thompson (known as Calhoun98 in some web circles) knows just about everything that can be known about racing at Nashville. He has been kind enough to share some photos, magazine/program covers, front pages of National Speed Sport News, and several answers to my questions during this 200 Wins blog series. Russ posted the following ten-minute YouTube video from practice, the race, and the finish of the 1974 Nashville race (no audio).



The King stalks pole-winner and dominant lap-leader Yarborough...

After Cale lost an engine and fell out of the race, Richard went to the front and stayed there. Winner!

In victory lane, the King was swamped by John Jay Hooker and (presumably) his family. At the time, Hooker was the head of STP Corporation. He has also been a perennial candidate for various Tennessee political offices - and a perennial loser in those contests as well.

Courtesy of Jerry Bushmire
TMC
Edited: May 10, 2014

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