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