Racing History Minute - October 8, 1972

Tim Leeming
@tim-leeming
5 years ago
3,119 posts

The National 500 at Charlotte Motor Speedway ended in thrilling fashion after what had appeared to be a ho-hum finish with Bobby Allison holding a 15 second lead over Richard Petty when Petty's tire blew coming down the backstraight, putting the red and blue Dodge into a spin ending on the inside retaining wall. Then, as they say, the race was on when the green waved again. But let's go back for qualifying.

David Pearson put the Wood Brothers Mercury on the pole, a very familiar position for Pearson and the number 21 at Charlotte. Buddy Baker, in the K&K Insurance Dodge would roll off second. A.J. Foyt, just one of a number of USAC drivers entered, would start a second Wood Brothers entry third. Bobby Allison in the Richard Howard Chevrolet would go off fourth and Bobby Isaac in a Banjo Matthews Chevy started fifth. Sixth place starter WAS to have been Fred Lorenzen but the night before the race, Hoss Ellington, the car owner, walked into his motel room to find a handwritten not from Freddie advising him that he (Freddie) was leaving and was, in fact, gone, disappeared. In a last minute rush to find a driver, Hoss called on Cale Yarborough who accepted the ride and would start the race in sixth. There are no details available as to what the note from Freddie expressed.

While having mentioned the USAC drivers entered along with A.J. Foyt, Bobby Unser, Gordon Johncock Butch Hartman and Roger McCluskey competed that October afternoon.

Pearson would lead the first three laps, but the heavy footed charger, Buddy Baker, would take over on lap 4. Baker and Pearson swapped the lead back and forth for several laps before Bobby Isaac slipped into the lead. Literally, from lap 10, Baker, Pearson and Isaac ran door-to-door and bumper to bumper, sometimes trading the lead two or three times a lap, and those three were dominating the front positions. Hanging just car lengths back was Bobby Allison who finally pushed his way into the lead the first time on lap 97.

While Charlotte Motor Speedway was known for competitive events, this 500 miler was a barnburner. After lap 97, the lead was up for grabs every lap between Baker, Allison, Petty, Isaac, Pearson and A. J. Foyt. Side-by-side racing was the norm and was seen almost every lap, if not for the lead, for most other positions through the field.

After the Petty blown tire with 16 laps to go, the green flew with 10 laps to go. The crowd of 73,000 were on their collective feet cheering their favorite as Allison and Baker fought it out for the win. The lead changed between those two on every lap until, with four to go, Allison moved out front and stayed there to win by less than a car length. Baker tried to move on Allison coming off turn four for the checkers, but Cecel Gordon, running 29 laps down, was in the lane Buddy needed. That sealed the Allison win.

After the race, Buddy said Bobby "tapped him" to make the pass. Buddy went on to say "I'm not going to talk about it, but I can pretty well understand why Bobby and Richard got into it at Martinsville and Wilkesboro". Allison stated that he never touched Baker. "The only person I tapped was Pearson earlier in the race. I passed Baker clean".

Top five finishers were:

1. Bobby Allison, Richard Howard Chevrolet, winning $21,450.00

2. Buddy Baker, K&K Insurance Dodge, winning $12,400.00 (less than a car length)

3. David Pearson, Wood Brothers Mercury, winning $6815.00 (2 laps down)

4.A. J. Foyt, Wood Brothers Mercury, winning $4,090.00 (2 laps down)

5. Butch Hartman, Junie Donlevey Ford, winning $3,570.00 (5 laps down)

Sixth through tenth were Darrell Waltrip, James Hylton, Buddy Arrington, Joe Frasson and Richard Petty. Although Petty was out of the race at the end, he left the track with the points lead over Allison. The lead was 127.9 points with two races left in the season.

Ron Keselowski (Uncle to Brad) was 11th, Neil Castles 15th, John Sears 16th, Cecil Gordon 17th, with Bill Champion 18th.Frank Warren was 21st, Donnie Allison 25th, Dave Marcis 26th,Bobby Isaac 28th, and Pete Hamilton 22nd.

Finishing 33rd was Jim Vandiver, with Coo Coo Marlin 34th, Elmo Langley 35th, G.C. Spencer 36th, Jabe Thomas 37th, Benny Parsons 38th, Cale Yarborough 39th.

USAC drivers finished 4th with A.J. Foyt, 5th with Butch Hartman, 27th with Roger McCluskey, 42nd with Gordon Johncock, and 43rd with Bobby Unser. Oh, and as for the Chevrolet Cale took over after Lorenzen bailed, he was running a competitve race when a mishap on pit road on lap 82 sidelined the Chevrolet.

PERSONAL NOTE ON THIS RACE. Several of my friends and I watched this race from the depression in turns three and four where you could park at a certain level and have a very good view of more than half of the back straight, and all of turns three and four with no obstructions. It was an incredibly exciting race for the most part and we enjoyed it.

Long after the race, after we had spent our time in the pits with Richard Petty and other drivers who would hang around the pit wall back in those days, we went out over the back stretch gate as you enter turn four. As the traffic moved along slowly, I looked in the mirror and right behind me was Cecil Gordon, all alone, driving his flat bed tow truck with his number 24 Mercury on the back. I put my Plymouth in park and told David to drive and I got out and went and climbed on the running board of Cecil's tow truck. He and I talked for more than 30 minutes as the traffic inched along the dirt road behind the track. I don't recall the topic of conversation but I NEVER passed up an opportunity to talk with any race driver. I'm still about as bad today.

Two years ago, at Stocks for Tots at the NASCAR Institute, I was sitting next to Cecil signing autographs and mentioned that day in Charlotte. He gave me a hearty laugh and said he remembered that event. He said he had just finished a pretty good race (8th place) and he was feeling good. He said having a fan hang onto his running board and talk in all that traffic just topped off a pretty good day for him. Whether he truly remembered that or not, I can't be sure. But I am sure that Cecil Gordon was a true journeyman race drive and a fine gentleman. He and I encountered each other often during his career because he was always working on his car and was easily approached. What a truly class act Cecil was.

As he and I were signing autographs and talking, he mentioned to me that he rarely did something like that as he was a little "shy". While I did not remember that about him, I did notice he was a little more quiet that most of the folks there. But about 20 minutes into the event, he was very touched when a fan showed up with an old "hero card" which was that Mercury in which he finished 8th at Charlotte. He held the card and looked at it long and hard. He asked the guy where he had found that and the guy told Cecil that he actually got the card at Charlotte that day but Cecil was too young to know to ask for it to be autographed. I think you could feel the vibes from Cecil as he could hardly accept that a fan had kept his hero card for 39 years waiting for an autograph. That was the humble and kind Cecil Gordon. We need more like him in today's racing. Rest in Peace Cecil. You are missed.

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


updated by @tim-leeming: 12/05/16 04:00:58PM
TMC Chase
@tmc-chase
5 years ago
3,980 posts

Ha! Funny you mention that depression in turn 3 and 4 part of the infield. In 92 and 93, I tent camped with a friend with a friend of mine in that area. We were there with his sons' quarter midget club from Atlanta. Can't remember which of the 2 years it rained - but it rained at night. My tent was on a spot of grass just high enough to have the water drain away. My friend and his sons staked their tent where the water drained TOWARDS them. They rolled out the next morning - a crisp fall morning - with everything soaked. At least ONE of us had a good laugh about it.

Morgan Shepherd's motorhome with Wood Bros / CITGO decals was parked near us. I spotted him on top of it watching practice wearing just a pair of gym shorts. We called up to him, and he was great to come down and have his photo made with all the kids.




--
Schaefer: It's not just for racing anymore.
TMC Chase
@tmc-chase
5 years ago
3,980 posts

Story and photo of Pearson's pole winning effort.

Source: News And Courier

Race program

From Harlow Reynolds collection - A.J. Foyt and Pearson racing in twin Wood Brothers Mercurys.

Race report from Spartanburg Herald




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Schaefer: It's not just for racing anymore.

updated by @tmc-chase: 10/08/18 11:06:52AM
TMC Chase
@tmc-chase
5 years ago
3,980 posts

And another photo of the Wood Brothers' cars sitting on pit road. Hoss Ellington's 28 car for Cale is in background.




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Schaefer: It's not just for racing anymore.
TMC Chase
@tmc-chase
5 years ago
3,980 posts

I believe the race was featured in the February 1973 issue of Stock Car Racing magazine. If anyone has that issue, perhaps they could scan and share the article and any photos from it.




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Schaefer: It's not just for racing anymore.
Dave Fulton
@dave-fulton
5 years ago
9,124 posts

CMS aerial of 1960 World 600 from CMS published in Concord Tribune

Over the years all of the depressed area was filled under a contract between CMS and BFI to use it as a landfill.

Then, in October 2010, race fans got quite a thrill when a huge sink hole opened over the landfill betweens turn 3-4:

WSOC-TV




--
"Any Day is Good for Stock Car Racing"
Tim Leeming
@tim-leeming
5 years ago
3,119 posts

If you could blow up that picture from 1960, the guy standing closest to the fence in turn four would be yours truly. I never sat down during that event. Back in those days, I didn't even have to run for the bathroom every hour as I do today!

TMC Chase
@tmc-chase
5 years ago
3,980 posts

Here is the shot of Morgan with the quarter midget club kids. I'd forgotten that I'd uploaded it here at RacersReunion.




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Schaefer: It's not just for racing anymore.

updated by @tmc-chase: 10/08/18 11:09:12AM
TMC Chase
@tmc-chase
5 years ago
3,980 posts

And here is the quarter midget I sponsored back in 92 as we camped down near turn 4. Actually, my support was enough for my friend to buy a couple of tires for it. But hey, "we" had the best looking car at the track that weekend.




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Schaefer: It's not just for racing anymore.

updated by @tmc-chase: 10/08/18 11:09:31AM
Dave Fulton
@dave-fulton
5 years ago
9,124 posts

I'm impressed... you even had your own near Petty blue portapotty!




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"Any Day is Good for Stock Car Racing"
Dennis Andrews
@dennis-andrews
5 years ago
829 posts

Pearson's advice on getting a good qualifying lap at Charlotte, "Pull that jock strap tight and don't lift".

TMC Chase
@tmc-chase
5 years ago
3,980 posts

Never let it be said that we do anything less than low ... I mean, first class.




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Schaefer: It's not just for racing anymore.
TMC Chase
@tmc-chase
4 years ago
3,980 posts

Pole-winner Pearson with Leonard Wood. -Spartanburg Herald

From Tim's post a year ago today:


Sixth place starter WAS to have been Fred Lorenzen but the night before the race, Hoss Ellington, the car owner, walked into his motel room to find a handwritten not from Freddie advising him that he (Freddie) was leaving and was, in fact, gone, disappeared. In a last minute rush to find a driver, Hoss called on Cale Yarborough who accepted the ride and would start the race in sixth. There are no details available as to what the note from Freddie expressed.


Though we don't know exactly what was in that note, we know a year later the consensus was Lorenzen said Hoss' 28 car wasn't competitive.

http://stockcar.racersreunion.com/forum/topics/october-7-1973-cale-...

Charlotte was the 2nd race in a row Lorenzen failed to show. He skipped out on Wilkesboro as well, and John Sears was tapped to replace him. In retrospect, I'm left to wonder if it was Lorenzen who had become un-competitive vs. Hoss' car. -Spartanburg Herald




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Schaefer: It's not just for racing anymore.

updated by @tmc-chase: 10/08/18 11:10:14AM
Dave Fulton
@dave-fulton
4 years ago
9,124 posts

On October 8, 1988, the late Bobby Hamilton made his NASCAR major series debut with a 14th place finish in Charlotte Motor Speedway's All Pro Auto Parts 300 Busch Series race won by the late Rob Moroso.

1988 All Pro 300

NASCAR Busch Grand National Series race number 28 of 30
Saturday, October 8, 1988 at Charlotte Motor Speedway, Concord, NC
200 laps on a 1.500 mile paved track (300.0 miles)

Fin St # Driver Sponsor / Owner Car Laps Money Status Led Points
1 13 25 Rob Moroso Moroso Performance (Dick Moroso) Oldsmobile 200 54,650 running 12 180
2 2 15 Geoffrey Bodine Levi Garrett (Rick Hendrick) Chevrolet 200 25,300 running 109 170
3 5 81 Bobby Hillin, Jr. Brendle's (Ted Conder) Buick 200 18,905 running 6 165
4 7 52 Ken Schrader Hendrick Team (Ken Schrader) Chevrolet 200 31,450 running 55 160
5 9 17 Darrell Waltrip Exxon Superflo (Darrell Waltrip) Chevrolet 199 11,725 running 0 155
6 27 99 Tommy Ellis J & J Racing (John Jackson) Buick 199 13,550 running 0 150
7 37 5 Jimmy Hensley Advance Auto Parts (Sam Ard) Buick 199 11,050 running 0 146
8 36 47 Billy Standridge Rite-Way Grinding (Billy Standridge) Chevrolet 199 10,600 running 0 142
9 4 66 Rusty Wallace Kodiak (Rusty Wallace) Pontiac 199 10,600 running 11 0
10 12 32 Dale Jarrett Port-A-Lube (Horace Isenhower) Oldsmobile 198 5,000 running 0 134
11 29 6 Tommy Houston Southern Biscuit Flour (Steve Arndt) Buick 198 7,600 running 0 130
12 11 14 Michael Waltrip All-Pro Auto Parts (Ronnie Silver) Oldsmobile 198 3,500 running 0 127
13 21 12 Neil Bonnett Piper Aircraft (Bobby Allison) Buick 198 3,170 running 0 124
14 30 16 Bobby Hamilton Hamilton Racing Chevrolet 198 4,020 running 0 0
15 19 56 Ronald Cooper Speedway Waste Disposal (Lewis Cooper) Buick 198 4,220 running 0 118
16 31 90 Ed Berrier Cox Wood Preserving (Grover Shugart) Buick 197 8,820 running 0 115
17 39 39 Steve Grissom Automatic Curb (Wayne Grissom) Oldsmobile 197 3,620 running 0 112
18 42 1 Ken Bouchard Whitcomb Racing (Bob Whitcomb) Chevrolet 196 5,920 running 0 109
19 26 37 Patty Moise Crisco Butter-Flavored (Patty Moise) Buick 194 2,320 running 0 106
20 41 4 Ben Hess Hess Racing (Ben Hess) Pontiac 194 2,720 running 7 103
21 15 44 Sterling Marlin Piedmont Airlines (Billy Hagan) Oldsmobile 191 2,120 engine 0 100
22 17 21 Larry Pearson Chattanooga Chew (David Pearson) Chevrolet 191 6,370 running 0 97
23 14 9 Bill Elliott Wicassett Mills / Performance Yarns (Bill Elliott) Ford 184 1,920 running 0 94
24 20 2 L.D. Ottinger Detroit Gasket (Ron Parker) Buick 182 3,920 running 0 91
25 33 22 Rick Mast A.G. Dillard (Alan Dillard, Jr.) Buick 179 4,070 crash 0 88
26 10 84 Mike Alexander GM Tech Team (Mike Alexander) Buick 171 4,245 running 0 85
27 24 79 Dave Rezendes K.R. Rezendes (Dave Rezendes) Oldsmobile 168 1,520 running 0 82
28 34 11 Jack Ingram Skoal (Jack Ingram) Chevrolet 160 3,770 engine 0 79
29 25 34 Jimmy Spencer Cicci Racing (Frank Cicci) Buick 140 1,920 running 0 76
30 44 96 Tom Peck Thomas Chevrolet (Mark Thomas) Oldsmobile 132 1,740 engine 0 73
31 40 07 Tommy Sigmon Burke Grading & Paving (Dwight Huffman) Oldsmobile 128 1,820 engine 0 70
32 32 77 Dave Simpson Simpson Racing (Bill Simpson) Buick 114 1,170 crash 0 67
33 3 8 Dale Earnhardt GM Goodwrench (Dale Earnhardt, Inc.) Chevrolet 102 6,300 engine 0 64
34 28 42 Elton Sawyer Chevy Trucks (Bill Lewis) Chevrolet 86 1,730 oil pan 0 61
35 43 24 Joe Thurman Thackston's Garage (Marvin Thackston) Ford 86 1,580 engine 0 58
36 6 06 Mark Martin Carolina Ford Dealers (Bill Davis) Ford 81 1,120 engine 0 55
37 35 30 Kyle Petty Peak Anti-Freeze (Kyle Petty) Ford 78 1,050 engine 0 52
38 1 7 Harry Gant Skoal (Ed Whitaker) Buick 72 6,930 engine 0 49
39 8 75 Brad Teague Food Country USA (Charlie Henderson) Oldsmobile 62 1,660 engine 0 46
40 23 71 Randy LaJoie D & D Competition (Randy LaJoie) Oldsmobile 31 1,000 crash 0 43
41 38 63 Mike Swaim Texas Pete Sauces (Hubert Hensley) Chevrolet 19 1,600 engine 0 40
42 16 97 Morgan Shepherd Valvoline (Morgan Shepherd) Buick 3 1,000 crash 0 37
43 18 88 Bobby Labonte Winner's Circle Auto Parts (Bob Labonte) Buick 3 1,000 crash 0 34
44 22 00 Joe Millikan Thomas Brothers Country Hams (Howard Thomas) Oldsmobile 3 1,000 crash 0 31




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"Any Day is Good for Stock Car Racing"
Blane Moon
@blane-moon
4 years ago
113 posts

To my knowledge, this was the last time the Wood Brothers ran 2 cars in the same event. Harlow, I am sure you can inform us on this.

Dave Fulton
@dave-fulton
4 years ago
9,124 posts

Looking at the records, it appears to me that you're right on the money, Blane.




--
"Any Day is Good for Stock Car Racing"
TMC Chase
@tmc-chase
one week ago
3,980 posts

Humpy Bump




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Schaefer: It's not just for racing anymore.