A Racing History Minute - April 17, 1977

Tim Leeming
@tim-leeming
04/17/13 09:19:16AM
3,110 posts

Today our History Minute will take us back to the .533 mile asphalt track situated in the foothills between Tennessee and Virginia. I can't recall the actual degree of banking in 1977 but I know this was before the concrete and before the now gradual banking or whatever they wish to call it now.

It was a pleasantly warm day in Bristol, only reaching the mid seventies that afternoon, but a young man from Timmonsville, SC was as hot as a firecracker in the Fourth of July heat of Key West, Florida. Cale started his Junior Johnson Chevrolet on the pole and led 495 of the 500 laps, losing the lead only when he pitted. Cale said after the race that he didn't know if he could finish the event because he was suffering with the flu. Obviously, the best medicine for flu treatment was leading the race, a fact medical science still has not acknowledged!

Second place finisher, Dick Brooks, was seven laps behind Cale at the finish and Dick opined that the only way he could have won was to have someone in the pits shooting out Cale's tires. Some 30,000 fans watched Cale decimate the field that afternoon as several drivers required relief. Ed Negre took over the Matador for Bobby Allison and drove it home sixth. Elmo Langley took over for Richard Childress and Rick Newsome moved in the seat for Janet Guthrie. J.D. McDuffie simply pulled out of the race due to driver fatigue.

Tighe Scott, a modified driver driving for owner Walter Ballard, brought out one of two caution flags when he hooked James Hylton and crashed. Ballard was furious with Hylton stating "that is the third time he has taken us out". Just another example of tempers at Bristol it would seem. There were only two caution flags for 9 laps which allowed Cale to average 100.989 mph for the race.

Noteworthy here is that Cale's win was the 150th consecutive win for Goodyear tires in that event. Of course,these days that means nothing as Goodyear is the sole supplier for racing tires for NASCAR in the "Premier" divison, but back in the day, there was competition, first with Firestone, very prominent in the sixties and later Hoosier tires. I clearly remember Firestone supplying tires to The King in the sixties for some events.

Top Five finishers were:

1. Cale Yarborough, Chevrolet, winning $23,300.00

2. Dick Brooks, Ford, winning $7,750.00 (7 laps down)

3. Richard Petty, Dodge, winning $6,100.00 (9 laps down)

4. Neil Bonnett, Dodge, winning $4,200.00 (10 laps down)

5. Benny Parson, Chevrolet, winning $3,950.00 (12 laps down)

Bobby Allison, James Hylton, Richard Childress, Jimmy Means and Ricky Rudd rounded out the top ten. Other finishers of note are Janet Guthrie in 11th, Frank Warren 13th, Buddy Arrington 14th, Elmo Langley 16th, Cecil Gordon 17th, Darrell Waltrip 19th, J.D. McDuffie 20th, Dave Marcis 21st, D.K. Ulrich 26th, Buddy Baker 29th. Only 30 cars started the race. Oh, by the way, Bobby Allison's Matador started second to Cale that day. I remember Bobby actually singing a song on an album I have/had entitled "Watch Out For The Matador".

Honor the past, embrace the present, dream for the future.


updated by @tim-leeming: 12/05/16 04:00:58PM
Dave Fulton
@dave-fulton
04/17/13 01:09:57PM
9,039 posts

Thanks, as always, Tim, for refreshing our memories and taking us back to some of the "glory" days. Junior's cars were awesome at Bristol for quite a period of time with several drivers.

Tighe Scott was another of those drivers I loved to hear the announcers get to in driver introductions. His hometown of Pen Argyle, Pennsylvania was custom made to roll off the tongues of the southern P.A. and radio announcers in a sweet cadence of multiple syllables. Always wondered if Tighe wore argyle socks. Any of you folks who were at the track then know?




--
"Any Day is Good for Stock Car Racing"
TMC Chase
@tmc-chase
04/17/13 04:59:46PM
3,871 posts

You'll find Bobby's - whew - singing? of Watch Out For The Matador as track 9 on the playlist of songs posted on my page.




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Schaefer: It's not just for racing anymore.
TMC Chase
@tmc-chase
04/17/13 05:43:09PM
3,871 posts

The race featured a couple of good story lines that would likely have had folks all abuzz if Twitter were around back then.

One, David Pearson was scheduled to make his first return to Bristol since 1971 to relief drive for Benny Parsons. The two of them managed to get BP a 5th place finish - pretty remarkable considering Cale ran off and hid from everyone and the drivers made the seat swap on a short track.

Source: Kingsport Daily News

Two, Janet Guthrie made her first start at Bristol. She qualified a respectable (though disappointing to her) 21st, and she finished 11th.

Source: Wilmington Morning Star




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Schaefer: It's not just for racing anymore.

updated by @tmc-chase: 04/16/17 09:21:43PM
Devin
@devin
04/17/13 08:17:19PM
606 posts

Awesome!

TMC Chase
@tmc-chase
04/17/14 10:17:37AM
3,871 posts

Today is another anniversary of the April 17, 1977 Southeastern 500 race at Bristol. I'll revive Tim Leeming's post from a year ago with a few more photos.

Pre-race starting line-up

Cale in victory lane with MIss Winston Patty Huffman (partially obscured by the Getty watermark)

Shoeless Cale celebrating the win with Miss Sun-Drop

Race report fromSpartanburg Herald




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Schaefer: It's not just for racing anymore.
Tim Leeming
@tim-leeming
04/17/14 11:38:16AM
3,110 posts

Great additions Chase.

TMC Chase
@tmc-chase
04/17/16 01:33:44PM
3,871 posts




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Schaefer: It's not just for racing anymore.
TMC Chase
@tmc-chase
04/17/17 03:08:51PM
3,871 posts

Bump




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Schaefer: It's not just for racing anymore.