A couple of NASCAR's national Late Model Sportsman regulars made the trek to Nashville in June 1973 to go toe-to-toe with the Fairground Speedways' local hotshoes in the Uniroyal Tire 100.
Dave Marcis won the pole and was flanked by Newport TN's L.D. Ottinger. Jack Ingram arrived in Nashville with a helmet but not a car. (More on that below.). He arranged a deal to drive the backup car for the Ellis Cook-funded team (a Nashville beer distributor). The primary car was piloted by ... Darrell Waltrip.
Alabama's Alton Jones later claimed the track's late model championship in 1976. But three years earlier, he was quick as well and qualified fourth for the 100. Waltrip lined up 8th and 9th. With Ingram piloting a borrowed car, the team made an impromptu number change from 48 to 11 with duct tape and magic marker.
Thanks for Russ Thompson for use of the following two photos.
I am excerpting most of the race report from stories published in The Tennessean.
Darrell Waltrip won the Uniroyal 100 sectional championship Sportsman race at Fairground Speedways last night but not before quite a battle with Alton Jones, L.D. Ottinger and Dave Marcis, and it was his race until Jones and Jerry Lawley, a couple of Alabamans, closed.
Jones finally eased past Waltrip on the 73rd lap. Waltrip remained close and at times tried to pass, but Jones had too much power. On the 82nd lap, the two touched while going three abreast through the fourth turn. Jones lost control for a moment and caught the wall. Waltrip moved in front. Jones slipped to third, but he quickly moved back to second.
A caution flag on the 96th lap gave Jones a new lease on life. However, he wasn't able to pass Waltrip. He finished about one and one-half car lengths back.
James Ham narrowly escaped serious injury early in the race. He was coming out of the third turn when he was tapped from behind. His car skidded and the rear end slammed into the outside retaining wall, rupturing his fuel cell. A fire began in the spilled gasoline at the point of impact. Ham's car continued skidding down the track toward the inside retaining wall. Ham saw the trail of flames coming his way and began unbuckling his safety belts with the car still skidding. He crawled out the opposite side window just as flames completely engulfed his vehicle. He was unhurt.
Dave Marcis finished third, and Freddie Fryar was fourth.
A couple of the early front runners ran into mechanical trouble along the way. L. D. Ottinger had engine trouble. Jerry Lawley had moved up from his 23rd starting position to third before he had to retire.
Following Saturday night's Uniroyal 100, Marcis filed protests against the cars driven by winner Darrell Waltrip and Jones, who finished the race only a car length and a half back in second place. The owner of the Jones car declined inspection. So NASCAR inspector Joe Carver ruled Jones would have to give up his second place finish, all money won and the national championship points he would have won. His name will not appear in the official list of participants in the race.
Waltrip's 64 Chevelle passed the inspection. His win will stand. Marcis, who had finished third, now moves into second place.
The protest action erases a masterful job of driving by Jones, who was bumped by Waltrip when the two came around the fourth turn running three abreast with a lapped car. Jones was leading at the time on the 82nd lap, and Waltrip moved ahead. Jones bounced off the outside wall, righted his car, passed Jimmy Means, who had moved into second place, and gave chase. But Waltrip now was too far away.
Means, who ran out of gas with only four laps left, had to settle for a fifth place finish. James Climer, Flookie Buford, Jack Ingram, Doyle Belcher and Jack Hooper round out the top ten finishers.
Jones wasn't so upset with Marcis' protest as he was with the way Waltrip raced him. A few days after the race, Jones and his car owner were interviewed by the Tennessean.
Jones’ car owner Lewis Carden called Speedways promoter Bill Donoho Tuesday and told him he knew the car wouldn't check out. “I know the car didn't weigh enough for our engine, and I didn’t want Alton to get in serious trouble. So I just forfeited our purse rather than be checked,” said Carden. “You can bet we will be legal this week, and I hope they make us prove it.”
“I’ll be back Saturday and every Saturday thereafter until I beat Waltrip,” said Jones. “I was mad as hell last week because Darrell ran over me. I didn't know my car was illegal at the time we raced. I didn't find out until after we left the track." Regarding the incident between Jones and Waltrip, Jones said, "If he had only come over and said he was sorry I would have forgotten about it. But, he didn’t even have the courtesy to do that. I guess when you own the track you can get away with anything. I think he hit me on purpose because he can't stand to get beat.”
Now back to Ingram and the reason for his borrowed ride...
Jack Ingram officially was racing in two spots hundreds of miles apart Saturday night. The DieHard 200 was an LMS race at Greenville-Pickens scheduled for Saturday June 9. The race was started with Ingram in it. But it was then postponed by rain after 70+ laps with Sam Ard leading. The remainder was rescheduled for June 16, the same night as Nashville's Uniroyal 100.
Because the driver starting the race gets the points, Ingram saw an opportunity. He hired Butch Lindley to finish up the Greenville race for him in his 11 Chevelle. He then flew to Nashville to drive DW’s backup and earned two races’ worth of points in the same night! He needed them and (by the rules earned them) because he was in tight points battle with Sam Ard.
Schaefer: It's not just for racing anymore.
updated by @tmc-chase: 06/16/17 01:09:09PM