Tuesday, June 19, 2012

June 19 - This day in Petty history

1969 - Starting third, Richard Petty banks his 95th career NASCAR Grand National victory by winning the Kingsport 250 at Kingsport Speedway in east Tennessee. The race was the inaugural Grand National event at the .4 mile, paved track.

Source: Kingsport Post via Google News Archive
Kingsport opened in 1964 and was extensively reworked after five years of operation. The management team's efforts were rewarded with NASCAR sanctioning beginning in 1969. The track got the opportunity to rehearse for the June 19th Grand National event with a NASCAR Grand Touring race on April 13, 1969.

Source: Kingsport Post via Google News Archive
Bobby Isaac and Dave Marcis started in the front row in a pair of Dodges. Petty, David Pearson, and James Hylton rounded out the top 5 qualifiers.

When the green flag dropped, Isaac began his domination of the race. He led 187 of the race's first 210 laps. But with about 40 laps to go and a 2-lap lead over the field, Isaac lost an engine in his Dodge. Racing a Ford, Petty capitalized on Isaac's misfortunes. The King took over from there, led the remaining laps and won the race.

Kingsport hosted three races from 1969 through 1971. Petty repeated his win at the track in 1970, and Isaac finally got his Kingsport trophy in the track's final GN race. With the arrival of R.J. Reynold's Winston cigarettes brand as the new title sponsor for NASCAR's top series, Kingsport was one of many tracks culled from the schedule as the Winston Cup Series ran only about 30 races beginning in 1972.

Though the last GN race was held at the track in 1971, Kingsport Speedway (web | Twitter) continues to host races today under a NASCAR sanctioning agreement.

Article courtesy of Jerry Bushmire

Edited June 19, 2014

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