Friday, July 6, 2012

July 6 - This day in Petty history

1969 - Starting third behind fellow Ford drivers David Pearson and LeeRoy Yarbrough, Richard Petty leads exactly half the 300 laps, and wins the Mason-Dixon 300 at Dover Downs International Speedway to earn his 96th career NASCAR Grand National victory.

The race was the inaugural NASCAR Grand National race at Dover. I'm not sure who the knucklehead(s) was/were at NASCAR or Dover who decided it was a good idea to hold the race two days after the Firecracker 400 at Daytona - almost 1,000 miles away.

But as Schaefer Hall of Fame co-founder Philly always says - "champions play hurt". So champs like Petty, Pearson, LeeRoy, Wendell Scott, and a host of independents loaded their cars after racing near the beach, and they made the long, hard drive to race in Delaware's first major sporting event.

When the green flag fell on that first race, the field raced down the frontstretch that became today's backstretch. They raced by the plate glass windows of the adjoining casino.

Source: DelawareToday.com
Petty's victory was one of 10 in his single season racing a Ford Torino. David Pearson won the NASCAR Grand National championship in 1969 with 11 wins in 51 races. The King ended the year with 10 wins in 50 races and a second-place points finish. All in all - a pretty good season considering the team's change from Plymouths to Fords.

Photo courtesy of Richard Guido
Photo courtesy of Ray Lamm

Article courtesy of Jerry Bushmire
TMC

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