Monday, November 4, 2013

November 4, 1962 - Paschal Banks Birmingham

November 4, 1962: Plymouths from Petty Enterprises take top honors in the Birmingham 200 - a 200-lap, 100-mile race on the half-mile, paved fairgrounds speedway in Alabama. Jim Paschal won, and Richard Petty finished second.

Driving #41, Paschal won the pole and dominated the race. He led 192 of the 200 laps and lapped the field en route to the win. Sixth-place starter Petty in his familiar #43 led the remaining 8 laps leaving nothing for the rest of the 21-car field. Maurice Petty - Richard's brother, Petty Enterprises engine builder, and soon-to-be-inducted NASCAR Hall of Famer - started ninth in a third #42 Petty Plymouth but finished 14th after spinning and getting clobbered by Ned Jarrett.

Source: Wilmington Morning Star via Google News Archive
The 1962 Birmingham race was actually the first race of the 1963 Grand National season. The pattern first began with the 1955 season and was repeated several times from the mid-1950s through the late 1960s. Brandon Reed wrote a nice column about NASCAR's approach to its season opener for Petty cars generally fared well in those season openers:
  • 1955 - Lee Petty wins at Tri-City Speedway in High Point, NC in November 1954.
  • 1959 - Bob Welborn wins at Champion Speedway in Fayetteville, NC in November 1958 driving a Chevy for Julian Petty.
  • 1963 - Jim Paschal wins in Birmingham in November 1962.
  • 1966 - Richard Petty wins in Augusta, GA in November 1965.
  • 1967 - Richard Petty wins again in Augusta, GA in November 1966.
  • 1969 - Richard Petty wins in Macon, GA in November 196.

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