Monday, July 23, 2012

July 23 - This day in Petty history

1967 - Richard Petty wins the pole, leads 225 of 500 laps, and scores the race win in the Volunteer 500 at Bristol International Raceway in Tennessee.

The King's win was his first of only three career victories at Bristol - and his 64th career NASCAR Grand National win. (His second and third Bristol victories were in March 1975 and November 1975).

Source: Motor Racing Programme Covers
Photo courtesy of Ray Lamm
According to Greg Fielden's book, Forty Years of Stock Car Racing: Volume 3, Petty's victory wasn't as easy as it may have appeared:
... Petty overcame a series of misfortunes, but staged a miraculous comeback and won the Volunteer 500... On lap 56, Petty's Plymouth came down pit road with a cut tire. The Petty crew changed all four tires and sent their driver back on the track - two laps behind.

...[After David Pearson and Dick Hutcherson led but then had problems] Petty, lapping the half-mile paved track at an alarming rate, forged back into the lead... Petty led for just two laps when he came into the pits for routine service. During the pit stop, his crew left the gas cap dangling by the chain. Petty was held at the end of pit road. By the time Petty's crew had trotted down pit road to secure the cap, he had lost another lap.

It was just another minor hindrance to Petty - who had scampered back into the lead lap by the 256th circuit. By that time, only Hutcherson was left in the lead lap and Petty had little trouble disposing his Ford rival.

"I think we've got an edge on some of the other teams," said Maurice Petty. "But we haven't got any real secret. The difference is between the seat and the steering wheel. We have the best driver." ~ pp. 143-144
Petty's win was featured in the January 1968 issue of Stock Car Racing magazine.

Articles courtesy of Jerry Bushmire

1 comment:

  1. I was at this race, but have the trip all mixed up with my trip to the March 1967 Bristol Southeastern 500 when Richard was crashed out by a spinning car in the opening laps.