October 30, 1966 - Fast Freddy takes The Rock & Paul Lewis gets a shot

TMC Chase
@tmc-chase
7 years ago
4,049 posts

The 1966 Grand National season came to a close at Rockingham with the running of the 2nd annual American 500. This was the first of only two times the season closed at Rockingham the other being in 1973.

David Pearson had locked-up the seasons championship over James Hylton. Richard Petty finished third. He and everyone else were waaaay behind Pearson and Hylton.

John Sears helped promote the race by advertising it on his car. From Dennis Andrews collection.

Two drivers who certainly made their mark on the Grand National circuit and would be elected to the NASCAR Hall of Fame when formed decades later made their final career start at Rockingham: Junior Johnson making his first major GN start in a year (from Ray Lamm collection)

and two-time GN champion Ned Jarrett (from Harvey Tollison collection).

Source: Motor Racing Programme Covers

Petty Enterprises regrouped nicely in 1966 after Richard Petty had to sit on the sidelines for much of 1965 because of the Chrysler boycott. In 1966, PE fielded a second car occasionally though not as frequently as was done in the early 1960s. Marvin Panch who had lost his ride earlier in 1966 because of another manufacturer boycott this one by Ford picked up a ride with the Pettys at Charlotte for the World 600. In his first outing, he won the race with a relief-driving assist by Richard. The team hired him again to run 4 superspeedway races near the end of the season Atlanta, Darlington, Charlotte and Rockingham.

Because of a prior commitment to test brakes at Daytona International Speedway, Panch was unable to race at Rockingham. So on Thursday of race week, the team hired East Tennessee's PAUL LEWIS to pilot the #42 Petty Plymouth. It was his one and only start for Petty Enterprises. From Paul Lewis collection.

With Lewis moving to the Petty ride, Buddy Arrington then parked his own #67 Dodge and stepped into Lewis #1 Plymouth. When the day was over, Buddy had the best finish between himself and the 2 Petty entries.

Race week notes from News And Courier

Fast Freddy Lorenzen in the Holman & Moody Ford nabbed the pole on Wednesday of race week, and King Richard timed his Petty blue Plymouth on the front row with him. Source: News and Courier

Lee Roy Yarbrough discusses some pre-race strategy. Paul Lewis' 42 can be seen in the background.

The Golden Boy and The King went toe-to-toe from the jump. They traded the lead back and forth for over 60% of the race. From Harvey Tollison collection.

From Harvey Tollison collection

Not only did Junior Johnson make his final career start, but he also entered a #26 Holly Farms Ford for USAC regular Gordon Johncock. The car timed fast as Johncock qualified 3rd, he lost an engine and finished 27th. From Harvey Tollison collection.

Early in the race, the championship contenders Pearson and Hylton raced nose-to-tail with upstart Bobby Allison in his #2 Chevelle close behind. Pearson closed out his championship season with a 7th at Rockingham. Hylton finished 10th. Allison lost an engine early and finished 41st. FromĀ  Harvey Tollison collection.

Curtis Turner had an uneventful weekend at the Rock in Smokey Yunick's Chevrolet. He qualified 10th but lost an engine, collected Dick Hutcherson as he dumped oil, and finished 34th.

After many laps up front, the Mopar hemi failed on the 43. Petty was done at lap 320 after having led 180 laps. Unfortunately, Maurice Pettys engine soured in Lewis 42 as well, and he exited the race just prior to Richard. Petty was credited with a 28 th place finish with Paul Lewis right behind in 29 th .

With 43 out of the race, Lorenzen continued on unchallenged. He led the final 220 laps and 320 overall. His Ford simply smoked the field, and he won by 4 laps over second place finisher Don White and third place Jarrett in his final event. From Harvey Tollison collection.

The winner was happy - though car owners from throughout the top 5 were not. Protests were slung from right to left over Lorenzen's car - as well as against the 2nd thru 5th place finishers. In the end, however, NASCAR said all was fine and Freddy's win stood.

From Harvey Tollison collection.

Ned had a great day in his final race by knocking down a 3rd place finish. Yet he had to bear a bit of embarrassment as he accidentally set off his fire extinguisher as he tried to loosen his belts. Many thought he was on fire - instead he likely just had a flushed face by the DOH! moment.

Race report from Charleston's News And Courier

Fin Driver Sponsor / Owner Car
1 Fred Lorenzen Holman-Moody '66 Ford
2 Don White Nichels Engineering (Ray Nichels) '66 Dodge
3 Ned Jarrett Abingdon Motor Co. (Bondy Long) '66 Ford
4 Cale Yarborough Wood Brothers '66 Ford
5 Junior Johnson Junior Johnson '66 Ford
6 Buddy Baker Ray Fox '65 Dodge
7 David Pearson Cotton Owens '66 Dodge
8 Jim Paschal Friedkin Enterprises (Tom Friedkin) '65 Plymouth
9 Donnie Allison Robert Harper '65 Chevrolet
10 James Hylton Econo Wash (Bud Hartje) '65 Dodge
11 J.T. Putney J.T. Putney '66 Chevrolet
12 G.C. Spencer G.C. Spencer '65 Plymouth
13 Darel Dieringer Junior Johnson '66 Ford
14 Buddy Arrington Paul Lewis '65 Plymouth
15 Jack Bowsher Jack Bowsher '66 Ford
16 Frank Warren Harold Rhodes '64 Chevrolet
17 Buck Baker Buck Baker '66 Oldsmobile
18 Henley Gray Henley Gray '66 Ford
19 Elmo Langley Elmo Langley / Henry Woodfield '64 Ford
20 Roy Mayne Tom Hunter '66 Chevrolet
21 Larry Hess Larry Hess '64 Ford
22 Don Biederman Ron Stotten '64 Chevrolet
23 Friday Hassler Red Sharp '66 Chevrolet
24 Wayne Smith Archie Smith '66 Chevrolet
25 Clyde Lynn Bill Seifert '64 Ford
26 J.D. McDuffie J.D. McDuffie '64 Ford
27 Gordon Johncock Junior Johnson '66 Ford
28 Richard Petty Petty Enterprises '66 Plymouth
29 Paul Lewis Petty Enterprises '66 Plymouth
30 Bobby Isaac Cotton Owens '65 Dodge
31 Sam McQuagg Nichels Engineering (Ray Nichels) '66 Dodge
32 Earl Balmer K & K Insurance (Nord Krauskopf) '65 Dodge
33 Dick Hutcherson Holman-Moody '66 Ford
34 Curtis Turner Smokey Yunick '66 Chevrolet
35 Wendell Scott Tom Pistone '64 Ford
36 John Sears L.G. DeWitt '64 Ford
37 Paul Goldsmith Nichels Engineering (Ray Nichels) '66 Plymouth
38 Bobby Johns Shorty Johns '66 Chevrolet
39 LeeRoy Yarbrough Jon Thorne '66 Dodge
40 Neil Castles Buck Baker '64 Dodge
41 Bobby Allison Delk Pest Control (J.D. Bracken) '65 Chevrolet
42 Don Tilley George Elliott '64 Ford
43 Tommy Bostick Crawford Brothers '65 Chevrolet
44 Tiny Lund Lyle Stelter '64 Ford



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Schaefer: It's not just for racing anymore.

updated by @tmc-chase: 11/25/20 12:15:33PM
Dave Fulton
@dave-fulton
7 years ago
9,134 posts

My buddy, Frank and I again took the special race train from Richmond down to Rockingham for this race just as we did for the March 1966 Peach Blossom 500. In fact, the brochure for this event has the same slogan that was on our ticket brochure for March - "The Superscenic Superspeedway Where The Fan Always Is First" - a mouthful of a promotional slogan that disappeared at some point from the Rockingham lexicon.

My only memory of this race is of Ned's fire extinguisher going off. Being big Chevy and Chrysler fans, we thought that was just wonderful, but in retrospect it was a lousy way for Ned to end a stellar career. I recall Stock Car Racing Magazine featuring a Ned fire extinguisher photo in its race coverage.

One other note - it's no small wonder that the car of "Big John" Sears was promoting the Rockingham track. Sears' car owner (pre-Benny Parsons) was L.G. DeWitt, a majot investor and later majority owner of NCMS.




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"Any Day is Good for Stock Car Racing"
TMC Chase
@tmc-chase
7 years ago
4,049 posts

Should be March 1967 SCR if anyone still has it and could share pics and article.




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Schaefer: It's not just for racing anymore.
Dave Fulton
@dave-fulton
7 years ago
9,134 posts

It just occurred to me that the sizable gentleman standing with Ned Jarrett in the SouthernMotoRacing photo posted by Harvey Tollison is none other than J. Elsie Webb, attorney and one-time head honcho of North Carolina Motor Speedway at Rockingham.

TMC-Chase sometime back posted a 1965 NASCAR Newsletter that has a story featuring the Rockingham track's forthcoming Fall 1965 debut. Here is a cropped photo from that issue of Webb with Richard Petty:




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"Any Day is Good for Stock Car Racing"
Dave Fulton
@dave-fulton
7 years ago
9,134 posts




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"Any Day is Good for Stock Car Racing"
TMC Chase
@tmc-chase
7 years ago
4,049 posts

Oh yeah! Back in August 2012 in this post:

http://racersreunion.com/community/forum/stock-car-racing-history/17025/rockingham-rookies

Good memory Dave! Again!




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Schaefer: It's not just for racing anymore.

updated by @tmc-chase: 10/30/17 09:22:41AM
Dave Fulton
@dave-fulton
7 years ago
9,134 posts

Remember Rockingham's re-banking, lol?! J. Elsie Webb was also involved in that:




--
"Any Day is Good for Stock Car Racing"
Dave Fulton
@dave-fulton
7 years ago
9,134 posts

So, Tim Leeming, his Uncle Bobby and all those other rabid fans wanting to watch the race from the infield were responsible for the redesign of NCMS in 1969!




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"Any Day is Good for Stock Car Racing"
TMC Chase
@tmc-chase
7 years ago
4,049 posts

Ned Jarrett (11) on the high side racing USAC regular Jack Bowsher (33). The race was the 2nd of 4 career GN starts for Bowsher. From Richard Guido collection.




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Schaefer: It's not just for racing anymore.
TMC Chase
@tmc-chase
3 years ago
4,049 posts

Bumpingham




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Schaefer: It's not just for racing anymore.
TMC Chase
@tmc-chase
one month ago
4,049 posts

1966 Rockingham A500 Petty Paul Lewis.png




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Schaefer: It's not just for racing anymore.