Monday, July 9, 2012

July 9 - This day in Petty history - part 2

1968 - Starting second, Richard Petty leads a dominating 187 of 200 laps and wins the Maine 300 at Oxford Plains Speedway in Maine.

The win was Petty's 83rd career NASCAR Grand National victory. The 1968 event was the third and final GN race at Oxford Plains. Bobby Allison won the first two races in 1966 and 1967.

Though the track only hosted three Grand National wins, the 3/8-mile, paved oval continues operating today with a regular schedule of late models and other local series.

Article courtesy of Jerry Bushmire
The above article was written by Bob Latford. He is better known for having created the points system used by NASCAR for Winston Cup, Busch / Nationwide, and Craftsman / Camping World truck series from 1975 through 2003.

The desire of Latford's system was to reward consistency and build late-season drama as the drivers chased the Winston Cup. Prior to the adoption of Latford's points system, NASCAR used multiple systems from its first season in 1949 through 1974. The variety of systems rewarded such metrics as dollars won, laps completed, races started, etc.

In 2003, Matt Kenseth won the final Winston Cup championship under Latford's system. A hybrid of it continued with Winston Cup - but with modifications as the "Chase for the Cup", 10-race "playoff" was introduced and used from 2004 through 2010. The system was scrapped completely beginning in 2011 in favor of a completely new points system.

Tradition has it that Latford created the points system on a cocktail napkin at the Boot Hill Saloon in Daytona Beach, FL. Whether its fact or 'urban legend' is unknown. But as with many points of racing history, all involved never let facts get in the way of a good story.


1 comment:

  1. I have heard the tale of the creation of that NASCAR Points System many times.... directly from the three men involved - the late Bob Latford, the late Joe Whitlock and Phil Holmer.

    All three told the same creation story as having occurred at the Boot Hill Saloon (which at the time was owned by Holmer) on the cocktail napkin.

    Most will remember Holmer better as the NASCAR Goodyear tire at track presence under Leo Mehl, but before that he headed NASCAR PR in Daytona while Whitlock had the Daytona Speedway PR job. Latford was a Daytona native who held many racing pr jobs over the years.

    It was primarily Latford's plan, but the three worked it out together in the Boot Hill Saloon before it was presented to Bill France, Sr.