1980 Winston-Western 500 (311.78) miles at Riverside Raceway

Tim Leeming
@tim-leeming
01/22/14 09:34:23AM
3,110 posts

Race number one for the 1980 season would start on a misty, cloudy, lousy afternoon on January 13, 1980, and conclude on a bright and sunny afternoon six days later. The race was started in a mist because track officials and NASCAR wanted to get the race in the books for the teams could get ready for Daytona.

Darrell Waltrip qualified the DiGard Chevrolet on the pole with Cale Yarborough in the Junior Johnson Chevrolet to start to his outside. Richard Petty would start his Chevrolet in third, Bobby Allison in the Bud Moore Ford fourth and Dale Earnhardt in the Rod Osterlund Chevy fifth. (Dave Fulton was, I think, a part of the sponsor team for Earnhardt then). Dan Gurney, who had won the Riverside event five times but had not driven in NASCAR since his 1970 run at Riverside in a Petty Enterprises Superbird, would start 7th in another Osterlund Chevrolet. Gurney, however, would experience transmission failure on lap 79 and was done for the day.

The race lasted only 26 laps on the 13th, with D. W. leading all 26 of those laps. When the green fell the following Saturday, Waltrip continued in the lead until lap 35 when a fast Cale Yarborough forced his way into the lead. Cale was leading on lap 45 when Waltrip had a tire go down on the DiGard entry and slipped into the pits using the "back door" which resulted in a 30 second penalty added to the stop to change all four tires and gas up the ride. Waltrip returned to the track more than one lap down.

The returning 22,000 spectators watched as Waltrip made a dedicated run to regain the lost lap but without the assistance of Lake Speed's spin to bring out caution number two, it is not likely that lap would have been regained. Earnhardt mounted a strong run to battle Waltrip for the win in the waning laps and had a really good shot at taking the win until Dale got the Chevy off the track briefly and lost time to Waltrip.

From Victory Lane Waltrip said "We sure did need that last caution. I would never have been able to catch up without it".

Special mention is made that Richard Childress managed a sixth place finish as one of his "best efforts in the NASCAR big league". Childress was on the lead lap in his independent entry.

Finishing order:

1. Darrell Waltrip, DiGard Chevrolet, winning $24,700.00

2. Dale Earnhardt, Osterlund Chevrolet, winning $19,400.00 (2.97 seconds back)

3. Richard Petty, Petty Enterprises Chevrolet, winning $15,100.00

4. Joe Milligan, L. G. DeWitt Chevrolet, winning $10,200.00

5. Bill Schmitt, Schmitt Oldsmobile, winning $7,455.00

6. Richard Childress

7. Terry Labonte

8. Bill Whittington

9. Don Whittington

10. Ronnie Thomas

11. James Hylton

12. Harry Gant

13. Roy Smith

14.Buddy Arrington

15. J. D. McDuffie

16. Jody Ridley

17. Dave Marcis

18.Bobby Allison

19. Don Puskarish

20.Vince Giamformaggio

21. Jimmy Means

22. Dick Brooks

23. Cale Yarborough

24. Jim Robinson

25. Chuck Wahl

26. Hershel McGriff

27. Steve Pfeifer

28.Dan Gurney

29. Lake Speed

30. Randy Ogden

31. John Bornerman

32. Dick May

33. Benny Parsons

34. Neil Bonnett

35. Rick McCray

36. Chuck Bown

37.Bill Osborne

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


updated by @tim-leeming: 12/05/16 04:00:58PM
Dave Fulton
@dave-fulton
01/22/14 01:06:21PM
9,039 posts

I wish Wrangler and I had been part of the Earnhardt / Osterlund effort at the beginning of 1980 as Tim speculated above, but our first time on the car was the final race of 1980 in November at Ontario when Dale clinched his first Winston Cup Championship in the first outing of the "Wrangler Jeans Machine" as seen in the photo below by an unknown photographer.




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"Any Day is Good for Stock Car Racing"
TMC Chase
@tmc-chase
01/22/14 01:12:03PM
3,870 posts

Race program fromMotor Racing Programme Covers. The 43 made the cover. The image was from the 1979 summer Riverside race when the STP decal was returned to the hood. The team ran the 1979 WW500 without STP on the hood.

Dave Marcis displayed a special message on his car in the January 1980 race. Unfortunately another full YEAR passed before the remaining American hostages held in Iran were released.

Craig Bontragerhas a pic of Dave's car with the message visible on the rear quarter panel.

Race report following the postponement because of rain. From Spartanburg Herald.

Race report of Waltrip's win from the Herald.

Gurney's return after a 10 year layoff was featured on the cover of the April 1980 issue of Stock Car Racing vs. Waltrip's win.




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Schaefer: It's not just for racing anymore.
Dave Fulton
@dave-fulton
01/22/14 01:16:23PM
9,039 posts

In June 1981, Darrell Waltrip and Dale Earnhardt again fisished 1-2 at Riverside - this time with help from driver Richard Childress, running hand-me-down Junior Johnson equipment.

With Earnhardt holding a commanding lead over DW with several laps to go, Waltrip's car owner, Junior Johnson paid a visit to the pits of Richard Childress. Next time around, Childress ever so lightly brushed the turn 9 wall, but the feather like "impact" caused the Childress car to stop and not refire, bringing out the final caution that allowed Waltrip to close behind Earnhardt and then pass him for the win.

That fake crash stuff was being orchestrated in NASCAR by such experts as Junior Johnson long before Michael Waltrip, Clint Bowyer and Ty Norris did it at Richmond with all of NASCAR Nation watching.




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"Any Day is Good for Stock Car Racing"
TMC Chase
@tmc-chase
01/22/14 01:39:20PM
3,870 posts

Dr. David Hill won the Stock Car Products 300 support race the day before the originally scheduled date for the Cup event. Sadly, the race may be better remembered for the death of driver Tim Williamson. The 1980 season really got off to very sad beginning with Williamson's death in January followed by Ricky Knotts' death at Daytona about a month later.

FromDaytona Beach Morning Journal




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Schaefer: It's not just for racing anymore.
Dave Fulton
@dave-fulton
01/22/14 02:45:22PM
9,039 posts

I don't know what year the incident below occurred, but last week Larry Woody wrote a very nice piece about Benny Parsons on the 7th anniversary of his death. Member, Cody Dinsmore should enjoy the recounting of a Riverside "incident" in Larry's piece:

I liked Bennys sense of humor. One Sunday morning I was flying down the San Bernardino Freeway on my way to Riverside Raceway, when up ahead I saw a car sitting on the shoulder, hood up, steam boiling out. Standing beside it was Benny and some lanky red-headed kid. I pulled over and they hopped in. Benny introduced me to Bill Elliott, from Georgia, who plans to race some day and is traveling with me.

Added Benny: Its a bad sign when your rental car blows on the way to the track.

Here's a link to the entire piece, titled "Requiem for a Nice Guy Named Benny Parsons."

http://www.racintoday.com/archives/44675




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"Any Day is Good for Stock Car Racing"
Scott Baker
@scott-baker
01/22/14 09:20:38PM
69 posts

As Tim stated in his article, the weather for the scheduled weekend was not cooperating, yet the rescheduled race day weather was perfect. What limited me from taking very many actual race day photos (outside of budget constraints) was purchasing seats that had a perfect view of a couple of loud speakers directly in my line of site for the apex of turn 6. But anyway, here we go:

The Front Row:

THE Dan Gurney:

I can I.D. Buddy Arrington, John Borneman, and Terry Labonte:

James Hylton (No. 8 due to Gurney entered in the No. 48), Jim Robinson

Dave Marcis, Dale Earnhardt, Neil Bonnett:

And Race Day the following week:

A tradition in turn 6 every time Dan Gurney raced at Riverside:

The Esses after the green dropped for the restart:

Race Action:

This didn't happen vety often:

When Dan Gurney had trouble he pulled off the track in front of Turn 6, the largest section of grandstands at the track:

Gurney, the hometown favorite, acknowledges the massive roar from the Turn 6 crowd:

And then signs a few autographs:

A late stage battle between Darrell Waltrip and Dale Earnhardt (Note the nose on Waltrip's car):

Tim Leeming
@tim-leeming
01/23/14 09:28:24AM
3,110 posts

Scott, those photos are fantastic! Quite a record of history there. You are a great photographer, loudspeakers notwithstanding.

TMC Chase
@tmc-chase
01/13/16 09:17:11AM
3,870 posts

A couple of pre and post-race articles from the San Bernardino County Sun about Dan Gurney's return to stock car racing.




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Schaefer: It's not just for racing anymore.
TMC Chase
@tmc-chase
01/13/16 09:27:52AM
3,870 posts

The Whittington brothers earned double chicken money with their pair of top 10 finishes. Don drove a back-up car from Darrell Waltrip's DiGard team. D.K. Ulrich provided the car for Bill.

Pretty good day for the two. But as racy as they were, they couldn't outrun the leaders. Coincidentally, they continued to be racy but couldn't outrun the law. Don and Bill were arrested in March 1986 for tax evasion and drug smuggling and sentenced to prison in January 1987.




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Schaefer: It's not just for racing anymore.
TMC Chase
@tmc-chase
01/13/16 09:29:37AM
3,870 posts




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Schaefer: It's not just for racing anymore.
TMC Chase
@tmc-chase
01/13/16 09:55:24AM
3,870 posts

Warner Hodgdon, DiGard, and Ulrich must have liked what they saw from the Whittingtons at Riverside.

Don got another opportunity with the 55 Monte Carlo at Daytona. He raced in the first 125, but he failed to transfer the car to the 500. He was caught up in a big wreck along with Kyle Petty and others after rookie and future owner of Nashville and Bristol speedways, Gary Baker, spun coming out of turn 4. Don did race in the 500 when he took the seat of Roger Hamby's #17.

David Allio photo.

http://www.racingphotoarchives.com/classic/2015/05/14/daytona-international-speedway-1980-whittington-kyle-petty-finney-brooks/

Bill again raced Ulrich's #40 car (a Buick at Daytona vs. the Monte Carlo). He finished poorly in his 125 but still transferred to the 500. I presume Ulrich had enough 1979 owner points to make the field with a provisional start for Bill. The #40 lost an engine in the 500, Bill finished 32nd, and the 500 became his second and final Cup race.




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Schaefer: It's not just for racing anymore.
TMC Chase
@tmc-chase
01/13/16 10:10:37AM
3,870 posts

The car Don raced (and wrecked) in the 125 at Daytona was Waltrip's Riverside-winning Monte Carlo. Waltrip was none too happy when Don said he had a five year contract with DiGard. But sounds like Whittington's contract was contingent on his finding a sponsor for the car.

Who knows the real truth, but everyone soon parted ways. From what I can tell, Don didn't race for DiGard again. And Waltrip left at the end of 1980 to join Junior Johnson's team.

From February 14, 1980 Gadsden Times. (How appropriate to have a broken "bromance" story between Waltrip and Whittington in the Valentines Day newspaper.)




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Schaefer: It's not just for racing anymore.
TMC Chase
@tmc-chase
01/13/16 11:46:44AM
3,870 posts




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Schaefer: It's not just for racing anymore.
Dave Fulton
@dave-fulton
01/13/16 01:31:21PM
9,039 posts

History has repeated itself 36 years later. In 1980, Dave Marcis was telling Iran to release our people and just in the past 24 hours Iran seized American sailors and two vessels. We're damned slow learners.




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"Any Day is Good for Stock Car Racing"
TMC Chase
@tmc-chase
01/14/16 12:14:45AM
3,870 posts

Don Whittington drove Hamby's CAPRICE in the Daytona 500. Though the Caprice was a short-track warrior, I can't believe how much of a brick it must have been in the wind at Daytona. With a couple of laps to go, the engine let go in Neil Bonnett's Mercury. Whittington whoa'd down and pushed Neil back to pit road.




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Schaefer: It's not just for racing anymore.
TMC Chase
@tmc-chase
01/11/17 11:41:40AM
3,870 posts

Bump




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Schaefer: It's not just for racing anymore.