March 9, 1969: Confusion in Carolina 500

TMC Chase
@tmc-chase
4 years ago
4,007 posts

I post this in begrudging acknowledgment of the greatness of David Pearson - and because *grimace* long-time Pearson fan Scott Baker has freely and openly shared many cool photos.

-- Inhale, exhale. OK let's begin --

The 1969 NASCAR GN season began in mid-November at Middle Georgia Raceway. The King won the race in his next to last race in a Plymouth. Bobby Allison won an early December race in Montgomery, Alabama before the teams took a holiday break. When the calendar turned to match the season, the teams headed for Riverside where King RIchard won in his debut in a Ford. Lee Roy Yarbrough then was the King of Speedweeks as he began his magical season with Junior Johnson with a win in the Daytona 500. The GN circuit then began its grind 2 weeks later at North Carolina Motor Speedway with the running of the Carolina 500 in Rockingham.

The Silver Fox - still dark-headed at the time - put his Holman Moody Ford on the pole in Wednesday's qualifying session. Perhaps as motivation for a bit of extra speed, he taped to his dash a picture of his getting a couple of smooches in victory lane during one of Daytona's twin qualifying races. (I want to pause here to say Pearson's only Daytona 500 win in 1976 was the result of a simple, minor mistake by the King - not because he truly earned it.)

Qualifying report from Spartanburg Herald.

Second round qualifying was rained out on Thursday - stretching an already long-week in Rockingham even longer.

The rain didn't rattle the big dawgs. As a matter of fact, it gave Bobby Isaac and Pearson a time to take a jab at one another.

Race day was a bit overcast - but the cars were pushed to the grid & the drivers belted in.

Pre-race pic from OurHamlet.orgwith Miss Falstaff headed for turn 1 as the Falstaff billboard stands vigilant in turn 4.

And they're off! Pearson and Isaac led the field to the green. Donnie Allison and Charlie Glotzbach in in Cotton Owens' Dodge tried to stay with the front row at the jump.

The King started 5th but didn't have the best outing in Rockingham's final race on the low banks. I'm sure he just decided to give the field a break after his long, lazy spin. Following the race, he quipped "Well, look at it this way. We've got the the car handling great on the straightaways. Now all we have to do is get it to handle through the corners. At least we're half way there." - pic shared byDave Fulton

On race day, the blue and gold 17 was the class of the field. "Class of the field", however, didn't mean a win came easy. With the two-factor yet manual scoring system, NASCAR and the teams became confused about who was in front of whom and who was on the lead lap. Mario Rossi, Bobby Allison's car owner and crew chief INSISTED Allison was in front of Pearson as the race neared its end. NASCAR officials shrugged their collective shoulders, chomped on a toothpick I'm sure, said Nope, and soldiered on.

Petty wasn't the only driver to have an up-close encounter with the guardrail. Pearson went to the high side himself and popped the Armco TWICE. It was during those skirmishes that Rossi believed Allison gained ground on Pearson.

Earlier in the race, the challenges of the existing scoring system were revealed. NASCAR officials couldn't figure out who the leader was. It took TWENTY-TWO laps of yellow before the pace car finally picked up Cale Yarborough as the leader. That set crew chiefs along pit road to gnashing their teeth and rending their garments as NO ONE believed the Wood Brothers' Mercury with Cale aboard was the leader.

When the checkers finally fell, Pearson was flagged the winner with Bobby Allison scored in second - the only other car on the lead lap. Cale came home 3rd with Paul Goldsmith 4th and Petty in 5th after giving the field - ahem - a day off from his normal domination of 1960s races.

Race report from Spartanburg Herald

Though Pearson took home the trophy to his home a few miles down the road to Spartanburg, Allison and Rossi sulked their way out of the track. A day later, they remained convinced the #22 Coke Machine had won the race. Even Dick Hutcherson (Pearson's crew chief) wasn't entirely convinced the 17 had gone the full distance, but he wasn't about to surrender the official win. - Spartanburg Herald

Fin Driver Sponsor / Owner Car
1 David Pearson Holman-Moody '69 Ford
2 Bobby Allison Mario Rossi '69 Dodge
3 Cale Yarborough 60 Minute Cleaners (Wood Brothers) '69 Ford
4 Paul Goldsmith Nichels Engineering (Ray Nichels) '69 Dodge
5 Richard Petty Petty Enterprises '69 Ford
6 Donnie Allison Banjo Matthews '69 Ford
7 Bobby Isaac K & K Insurance (Nord Krauskopf) '69 Dodge
8 John Sears L.G. DeWitt '67 Ford
9 James Hylton Hylton Engineering (James Hylton) '67 Dodge
10 Hoss Ellington Ellington Insulation Co. (Hoss Ellington) '67 Mercury
11 Friday Hassler Friday Hassler '69 Chevrolet
12 Dick Brooks Dick Brooks '69 Plymouth
13 Bill Champion Bill Champion '68 Ford
14 Jabe Thomas Don Robertson '69 Plymouth
15 Dick Poling Mack Sellers '67 Chevrolet
16 Ed Negre Ed Negre '67 Ford
17 Ben Arnold Don Culpepper '68 Ford
18 E.J. Trivette E.C. Reid '69 Chevrolet
19 Buddy Arrington Buddy Arrington '69 Dodge
20 Wendell Scott Wendell Scott '68 Ford
21 Earl Brooks Earl Brooks '67 Ford
22 Elmo Langley Woodfield Ford & Mercury (Elmo Langley) '68 Ford
23 LeeRoy Yarbrough Junior Johnson '69 Ford
24 Roy Tyner Roy Tyner '69 Pontiac
25 Richard Brickhouse Dub Clewis '67 Plymouth
26 Charlie Glotzbach Cotton Owens '69 Dodge
27 Dick Johnson Dick Johnson '68 Ford
28 G.C. Spencer G.C. Spencer '67 Plymouth
29 J.D. McDuffie J.D. McDuffie '67 Buick
30 Henley Gray Harry Melton '68 Ford
31 Neil Castles Neil Castles '68 Plymouth
32 Cecil Gordon Bill Seifert '68 Ford
33 Frank Warren E.C. Reid '67 Chevrolet
34 James Sears Paul Dean Holt '67 Ford
35 Dub Simpson Neil Castles '67 Plymouth
36 Bill Seifert Bill Seifert '68 Ford
37 Dave Marcis Milt Lunda '69 Dodge
38 Buddy Baker Ray Fox Dodge
39 Wayne Smith Archie Smith '69 Chevrolet
40 Bobby Johns Shorty Johns '67 Chevrolet
41 Sonny Hutchins Junie Donlavey '67 Ford
42 Don Tarr Don Tarr '67 Chevrolet
43 John Kennedy John Kennedy '67 Dodge
44 Walson Gardner Walson Gardner '67 Ford



--
Schaefer: It's not just for racing anymore.

updated by @tmc-chase: 03/08/17 12:41:01PM
Dave Fulton
@dave-fulton
4 years ago
9,126 posts

I was at this event but have absolutely no recollection of the race. I see that our local Richmond driver, Sonny Hutchins, who raced modifieds for Junie Donlavey, made one of his eight 1969 GN starts for Junie in this race.

Everyone in my Richmond racing group displayed a huge grimace when David left the Cotton Owens Dodge for Holman-Moody.




--
"Any Day is Good for Stock Car Racing"
Alex FL Racing Fan
@alex-fl-racing-fan
4 years ago
221 posts

"(I want to pause here to say Pearson's only Daytona 500 win in 1976 was the result of a simple, minor mistake by the King - not because he truly earned it.)"

Just be aware that when you make statements like this, you lose all credibility because this argument can be used all over the place in racing history. How about the day John Sears had a flat tire after lapping the field at Langley? I guess that means the driver (Richard Petty) who won that race didn't earn it?

TMC Chase
@tmc-chase
4 years ago
4,007 posts

Wait - Alex, are you actually Scott Baker posting under a 2nd name here? Ha.

THIS is what I want to see here - passion!

But for the record, Petty's wins weren't just earned - they were DESTINED. ;-)




--
Schaefer: It's not just for racing anymore.
Alex FL Racing Fan
@alex-fl-racing-fan
4 years ago
221 posts

Well good.

I responded as I did to leave you room to determine if you were serious or tongue-in-cheek. Racing is the one sport that has it's own checks and balances that arise from physical uncertainties. Junior Johnson and his 150+ DNF's can attest to that!

But wouldn't it have been awesome if Big John did get that elusive win? He certainly had the talent.

TMC Chase
@tmc-chase
4 years ago
4,007 posts

As a Pearson fan, Baker told me he is sure I meant to type that Petty made a "simple minded' mistake. I thought we were gonna have to rumble. LOL




--
Schaefer: It's not just for racing anymore.
Dave Fulton
@dave-fulton
4 years ago
9,126 posts

Guessing that Scott Baker purchased this issue of Sports Illustrated while TMC Chase walked right past the airport news stand looking the other way, lol!




--
"Any Day is Good for Stock Car Racing"
bill mcpeek
@bill-mcpeek
4 years ago
820 posts

Not sure it s so monumental to lose to David, Bobby and Cale but don't think Mr. Goldsmith finished ahead of the "King" to many times mistake or not. lol....

TMC Chase
@tmc-chase
4 years ago
4,007 posts

In 87 GN races featuring both Petty and Goldsmith, King finished ahead of Paul 55 times. Goldsmith got the upper hand 32 times.




--
Schaefer: It's not just for racing anymore.
Dave Fulton
@dave-fulton
4 years ago
9,126 posts

Paul won the first superspeedway race I attended - at Rockingham in March 1966 - the first, last, and only Peach Blossom 500. Of course, Richard sat out with his hand injury from touch football.




--
"Any Day is Good for Stock Car Racing"
Dave Fulton
@dave-fulton
4 years ago
9,126 posts

Yesterday's Amtrak crash in North Carolina north of Rocky Mount and south of Roanoke Rapids was on the old Seaboard track that used to carry the famed "Race Train" from Washington to Rockingham and which I rode several times from Richmond.




--
"Any Day is Good for Stock Car Racing"
GaPettyFan
@gapettyfan
4 years ago
4 posts

Ah TMC and his fight starter-Petty Pride!

Scott Baker
@scott-baker
4 years ago
69 posts

Dave: Wish I had it!

Scott Baker
@scott-baker
4 years ago
69 posts

Petty hurt his finger when he was punched in the nose :)

bill mcpeek
@bill-mcpeek
4 years ago
820 posts

lol, good one Scott. A bit "picky" but you boogered him with that one. thanks...

TMC Chase
@tmc-chase
2 years ago
4,007 posts

Bump




--
Schaefer: It's not just for racing anymore.