Racing History Minute - March 19, 1967

Tim Leeming
03/19/14 09:53:20AM
3,110 posts

On this date, in 1967, the boys were running a 250 mile/500 lap race known as "The Southeastern 500" at Bristol International Speedway. It was a much different Bristol than the track today but it did draw 23,000 fans (about capacity then) to see 36 drivers battle it out for the distance. Coming into this seventh race of the season, James Hylton was leading the points.

Darel Dieringer would qualify the Junior Johnson Ford on the pole with Fred Lorenzen in the Holman-Moody Ford to his outside. Richard Petty would qualify his Petty Enterprises Plymouth third but would crash out on lap 6, while leading, to be credited with 34th finishing position. The Bondy Long Ford driver by Dick Hutcherson would start fourth and G.C. Spencer in his independent Plymouth would start fifth. The pole winning speed was 87.124.

Dieringer led the first two laps before Petty took over to lead four laps before crashing. Dick Hutcherson moved out front on lap 7 and he was able to fend off challengers through lap 54 when Jim Paschal was able to force his way to the lead where he stayed until lap 113 in his Friedkin Plymouth. "Hutch" went back in front for 10 laps and then David Pearson took his Cotton Owens Dodge to the front. Pearson would lead until lap 189 before giving up the lead to Dieringer. For the next 296 laps, the duel was between Dick Hutcherson, Darel Dieringer and Cale Yarborough as they swapped the lead back and forth throughout that span.

With only 18 laps remaining (9 miles) Dick Hutcherson had a one lap lead on Cale Yarborough and a two lap lead on third place David Pearson, when Hutch blew an engine in the Bondy Long Ford and crashed. When green flag racing resumed, Cale had a one lap lead over second place David Pearson and was pulling away slightly in the Wood Brothers Ford when he ran over debris and popped a tire. With the Ford running on the inner liner Cale struggled to keep the lead. Pearson was running the Owens Dodge as fast as he could negotiate traffic in an effort to catch Yarborough. With 10 to go, Pearson could see the back bumper on the number 21 getting closer and closer, although he was unaware of the tire problem on the Yarborough mount. With six to go, Pearson caught Yarborough and passed him to take the lead. Pearson would take the checkered flag 7 seconds ahead of Yarborough.

After the race Pearson said "I thought I was running second behind Hutcherson. My crew had me second and Cale third. I went after him just in case. When I passed him so easy I knew he had some kind of trouble". Cale Yarborough, who at that time had only one Grand National victory in the books, sat on a stack of tires with a towel around his neck and a cold drink in his had. Cale told the questioning reporter "There wouldn't have been any question about it if my right front tire hadn't gone flat. David could never have passed me". The reporter noted the total dejection in the voice of Yarborough.

David average 75.937 mph for the win. Points leader, James Hylton, had problems for the second consecutive race as he parked his Dodge on lap 390 after the battery went dead. He was credited with 14th finishing position.

Finishing order:

1. David Pearson, Cotton Owens Dodge, $5,290.00

2. Cale Yarborough, Wood Brothers Ford, $3,050.00 (7 seconds back)

3. Darel Dieringer, Junior Johnson Ford, $2,700.00 (3 laps down)

4. Neil Castles, Emory Gilliam Plymouth, $1,400.00 (15 laps down)

5. Dick Hutcherson, Bondy Long Ford, $1,125.00 (18 laps down)

6. Elmo Langley

7. Donnie Allison

8. Bill Seifert

9. Wendell Scott

10. Max Ledbetter

11. Bob Pickell

12. Jimmy Helms

13. Friday Hassler

14. James Hylton

15. Fred Lorenzen


17. Jim Paschal

18. Henley Gray

19. Bobby Allison

20. Clyde Lynn

21. Buck Baker

22. Paul Goldsmith

23. Earl Brooks

24. LeeRoy Yarbrough

25. G. C. Spencer

26. Jack Harden

27. J. T. Putney

28. Wayne Smith

29. John Sears

30. Jack Ingram

31. Roy Tyner

32.Roy Mayne

33. Jim Hunter

34. Richard Petty

35. Larry Manning

36. Joe Ed Nubert

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

updated by @tim-leeming: 12/05/16 04:00:58PM
TMC Chase
03/19/14 10:11:28AM
3,829 posts

Famed Baltimore Colts QB Johnny Unitas was the grand marshal for the race.

Preview report fromNews & Courier of Charleston.

Race report from News & Courier.

Schaefer: It's not just for racing anymore.
TMC Chase
03/19/14 10:24:27AM
3,829 posts

Almost 2 years ago, Dennis Garrett [ posted this photo sequence] of how the King's day ended early.

On 4th lap Joe Edd Neubert #86 blew an engine and spun as Richard Petty narrowly missed him. But just 2 laps later, Petty crashed anyway. Possibly the result of a cut tire from the near-miss with Neubert and/or brush with guardrail?

Schaefer: It's not just for racing anymore.

updated by @tmc-chase: 03/16/17 11:16:22AM
Dave Fulton
03/19/14 02:24:12PM
9,017 posts

I was at this 1967 race and it was my first visit to Bristol - a real adventure trip.

At the time I was an 18 year old First Year Man (freshman) at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville. Underclassmen were not allowed to have automobiles, but I couldn't have afforded one and college on my scholarship at the same time anyway. However, I really wanted to see this race and a plan was developed.

Living in my dorm was Art Rouse, who I found out was from Chesterfield County just outside Richmond. He had come to the University from Manchester High School, later to graduate Cup star, Denny Hamlin. Art had never seen a race, but I convinced him he just had to see one.

Art & I caught a Friday night Trailways bus from Charlottesville to Richmond. On Saturday morning Art, my buddy Frank, a freshman at University of Richmond, and I set out on a long haul from Richmond to Roanoke, Virginia. We'd spent Saturday night at my UVA roommate, Jay Sigmon's house. We were traveling in Art's dad's new Dodge Coronet 383.

My Roanoke roommate's family owned insurance and lumber businesses and had a home about ten times the size of those in my Richmond neighborhood. We got the grand Roanoke Saturday late night tour from Jay, including Papa Joe's, the world famous topless bar torn down just last year and the Texas Tavern, known locally in the Star City as the "Ptomaine" Tavern.

We left before dawn Sunday morning, driving from Roanoke to Bristol. There was no Interstate 81 going down, but rather old hilly and curvy U.S. 11, often two lanes only. It was a gray, dreary, cold mountain morning and we were afraid of being rained out.

We didn't have radio stations in Richmond or Charlottesville like they did between Roanoke and Bristol in 1967. We could only find hellfire preaching and the "Funeral Home of the Air" where the announcer read the local obituaries sponsored by the local funeral home.

I remember having to climb a big ramp from the parking area to the top of the Bristol grandstand seating. It was going up that ramp that the bottom fell out of our huge styrofoam cooler resulting in many cans of refreshment rolling down the asphalt ramp.

The place really looked beautiful to Frank and me after going to the dirt races at the half-mile fairgrounds track in Richmond. Bristol featured still new looking white concrete seating compared to splintered bleacher seats in Richmond.

It was a real thrill when Baltimore Col;ts' quarterback Johnny Unitas rode at the head of the parade laps throwing tiny footballs iinto the stands.

We were avid fans of the independent Chevys and Plymouths/Dodges, as well as the factory Chrysler products. We detested the factory Fords.

I shot 8mm color film at this race and had my camera pointed right at the #43 between turns 3 & 4 when calamity struck early. My GN hero, J.T. Putney in the #19 Chevy had early engine problems. The highlight of the race for Frank and me was when small puffs of smoke began emanating from the exhaust dumps of the white #28 Ford. I then pointed my camera at the Fearless Freddie Lorenzen factory Ford mount hoping to capture on film the coming explosion. It never happened. The car shortly went behind pit wall before it blew and never returned. You could hear a roar from the crowd over the cars on the track.

I really don't remember anything else about this race. It took a long time to get out of the parking lot that night and it was a very long drive back to Richmond from Bristol to return the car to Art's parents. We didn't return to classes in Charlottesville until Tuesday morning.

Thanks for the memories, Tim. This was a real road trip for me. I've posted these before, but below are the remnants of a couple of photos I took in the Bristol infield with my Brownie box camera after the March 19, 1967 Southeastern 500:

Flemington, Nwe Jersey's Bob Pickell made one of just a handful of GN starts for the Cozze Brothers in the #80 1966 Chevy Impala.

Tennessean G.C. Spencer always had sharp looking cars and his #49 Bristol Plymouth was no exception.

My GN hero, J.T. Putney lost the engine in his #19 Chevelle.

The Ray Nichels factory Plymouth #99 driven by Paul Goldsmith.

Wendell Scott's team truck waits in infield traffic to make the steep crossing over turn 2 to exit the Bristol infield.

"Any Day is Good for Stock Car Racing"

updated by @dave-fulton: 03/18/17 01:44:07PM
Dave Fulton
03/19/14 03:24:36PM
9,017 posts

Bristol announcer Barney Hall introduces 1967 Southeastern 500 Grand Marshal, Johnny Unitas of the Baltimore Colts. Photo in the Barney Hall book Tales from the Trackside as furnished by Motorsports Images & Archives.

Back in the days when athletes were still looked up to as heroes, even when they played for the "other team." Our drivers today ought to watch a couple of these brief clips of football's biggest star taking time to sign autographas for kids.

"Any Day is Good for Stock Car Racing"
Dave Fulton
03/18/17 01:38:02PM
9,017 posts

And I still prefer Bristol asphalt to Bristol concrete - daytime - night time - ANY time! And it wouldn't hurt my feelings to bring back the original banking, too.


"Any Day is Good for Stock Car Racing"

updated by @dave-fulton: 03/18/17 02:05:28PM
Dave Fulton
03/18/17 01:48:57PM
9,017 posts

And speaking of Johnny Unitas - Number 19 - at Bristol on March 19

"Any Day is Good for Stock Car Racing"