- Could additional team sponsors be signed to shore up many teams who struggled in 1975?
- Would fan attendance increase if the number of quality, sponsored cars participated?
- Richard Petty captured the Cup title in 1975 with 13 wins in 30 races - his second consecutive, fourth in five years, and sixth overall. Could he keep the mojo rolling?
- After a season of once again racing for his own team, how would Bobby Allison fare with Roger Penske's CAM2 team?
- With Holly Farms Chicken returning as a sponsor for the second year, how would Cale Yarborough fare with Junior Johnson's team as they pursued a full schedule?
- In their fifth season together, what kind of results would David Pearson and the Wood Brothers have as they ran a limited schedule of about two-thirds of the races?
|Source: Motor Racing Programme Covers|
Interestingly, NASCAR and Riverside scheduled the race on the same day as Super Bowl X. No one would book such an event in this day and age. Though still a spectacle in the mid 1970s, the Super Bowl wasn't nearly on the level that it is today making such dual scheduling feasible. As fans watched the non-televised Riverside race from the stands, greater America watched the Pittsburgh Steelers defeat the Dallas Cowboys on TV from Miami.
Allison qualified Roger Penske's car on the pole. Though the team would race a Mercury the rest of the season, Allison raced his trusty AMC Matador with Penske's CAM2 sponsorship colors. Pearson joined Allison on the front row. Benny Parsons, Buddy Baker, and Dave Marcis rounded out the top five starters. Petty's Dodge developed engine issues during practice and returned to notch his starting spot on the second day of qualifying.
|Courtesy of Daniel Mensinger|
At the drop of the green, Allison set sail and led the first 18 laps before yielding to Dave Marcis for a lap as Allison hit pit road. As Allison made his stop, the Matador's engine failed. NASCAR did not have a rule prohibiting engine changes in that era. So the Penske crew spent the next hour thrashing to install a new engine in Allison's #2.
Allison re-entered the race but remarkably blew another engine with two laps to go in the race. Somehow, however, he still managed to eke out a 15th place finish.
The King, Richard Petty, roared through the field from his 27th place starting spot to take the lead on lap 20. After leading a few laps, Parsons assumed the top spot followed by a rotation of drivers over the next few laps. The lead changed hands over the next 60 or so laps between Parsons, Marcis, Yarborough, Pearson, and Petty. The valves in Petty's STP Dodge Charger, however, once again began failing. He pulled behind the wall on lap 83 with a DNF to open his pursuit of a third consecutive title.
With Allison and Petty on the sidelines or on the trailer, Pearson broke the logjam of multiple leaders when he seized the lead and paced the field for 74 of the next 77 laps. He surrendered the lead briefly as he made a scheduled stop on lap 159 allowing Yarborough to retake the lead for a lap.
As Cale made his stop a lap later, Pearson returned to the lead and did not surrender it again for the remaining 32 laps. Pearson captured his 88th career Cup win, his second road course win, and his first at Riverside. The Wood Brothers also enjoyed their their fifth Riverside win with Dan Gurney having won the others in 1964-1966 and 1968.