Tuesday, July 24, 2012

July 24 - This day in Petty history - part 2

1971 - Richard Petty puts on a dominating performance at Nashville Fairgrounds Speedway to earn his 133rd career NASCAR Winston Cup victory. He wins the pole with a track record, leads 400 of 420 laps, and cruises to a 4-lap win over James Hylton in the Nashville 420.

Bobby Allison qualified second and took the lead from Petty on lap 2. He led the next 20 laps but then broke a suspension part, was done for the night, and finished 27th out of 30 cars. Allison raced types of multiple cars in 1971 owned by himself and later Holman-Moody with sponsorship from Coca-Cola. Most of the cars were painted with the recognizable colors of Coke: red, white and gold. For the Nashville race, however, he raced a Dodge Charger painted purple and yellow - colors normally used by part-time racer and full-time country music star Marty Robbins.

Robbins frequently raced Dodges built by Cotton Owens. He apparently chose to work with Allison to build him a car as well, and the two may have shared the car as the season progressed.

Allison raced the same car to a win on the road course at Riverside about a month earlier and to a second win a few days later in the only Cup race at Meyer Speedway in Houston, TX. The Dodge was parked for a few weeks as Bobby returned to Holman-Moody's FoMoCo cars for the Firecracker 400 and the series' Northern Tour races. With Holman-Moody sitting out the Nashville race, Allison brought back the Charger - including the front fender battle scars that may have been earned from racing at Riverside and Meyer.

It's also likely the Charger Bobby built with Marty's colors was the same one used for the art work photo session for Robbins' 1971 album, Today.

Russ 'Calhoun98' Thompson captured some neat video from the race - including a view of the iconic Skyliner roller coaster seen behind turn 4. The white, wooden coaster was a staple for years at the neighboring Fair Park low-budget theme park. My mother and siblings enjoyed several days there before the opening of Opryland.

Don't bang your computer's speakers, however, as the clip doesn't have any audio with it.

Source: The Tennessean, July 25, 1971
Photos and article courtesy of Jerry Bushmire
Edited July 24, 2014

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