Friday, August 19, 2016

August 19, 1965 - Sandlapper 200

NASCAR's Grand National drivers arrived in Columbia, SC on August 19, 1965, for the Sandlapper 200. The Thursday night event was a 200-lap affair on Columbia's half-mile dirt surface.

Though many of the drivers raced the track earlier in the season in April's Columbia 200, that race was missing a couple of star drivers. Neither David Pearson nor Richard Petty raced in the event because of the Chrysler boycott against Bill France Sr. and NASCAR. When many of the issues were resolved around mid-season, Petty and Pearson were greenlighted to return to GN racing at most tracks including Columbia.

Dick Hutcherson won the pole for the Sandlapper, and Junior Johnson lined up outside of him on the front row. Ned Jarrett and Tiny Lund nabbed the second row, and career rivals Petty and Pearson started fifth and sixth.

Perry Allen Wood recapped the race in his book Silent Speedways of the Carolinas:
The Mopar boys were back, and the place was jammed with no threat of rain. Many came out to see if Curtis Turner would make his long-awaited return, and he did but to watch. He tried at Spartanburg five days earlier and crashed in time trials.

Ford had the top four spots, but Chrysler was back and hungry. Junior put the yellow Holly Farms 26 out front at the onset and stayed there as the weeding-out process got underway. On lap two, Bob Derrington, Tiger Tom Pistone, and J.T. Putney had a grinding crash at the head of the homestretch for the first caution...

Leader Johnson snapped the throttle linkage and loaded up for 17th. That gave the lead to Hutcherson, who kept that gold and white 29 on the point, only slowed by a couple more cautions...

The career of Sam Smith ended at 108 laps when he bounced Sam Fogle's yellow Ford off a dirt bank, and his Grand National dream evaporated in 13th place. That is about when Cotton made a wedge adjustment to get more traction coming off the turns, and Pearson's Dodge went from OK to great. On lap 116, the Dodge passed [Hutcherson's] gold Ford and except for a few laps during pit stops, Pearson was gone...

It was a Pearson-over-Petty finish this time by about a second with Hutch third on the lead lap... It was an outstanding race, taking Pearson almost and hour and three quarters to gain his 12th career win. ~ p. 64
Source: Spartanburg Herald via Google News Archive
The race was the 9th of 63 times that Petty and Pearson finished in the top two spots.


1 comment:

  1. Pearson was some kind of stout on the mid-60s dirt tracks in those #6 Cotton Owens Dodges.