1970 "THE HARD CHARGERS"
(Running the Stock Car Circuit)
Originally shown on the Alcoa Hour.....It's funny that 40 years ago, racing teams were having problems making ends meet, and now today, the same thing has come back full bore. This video is well worth looking at.
Vintage NASCAR racing fans everywhere will love this first DVD ever made showing the tremendously popular winged Dodge Daytonas and Plymouth Superbirds racing during the 1970 Grand National season! "The Hard Chargers" is a long-lost documentary made for television which follows the season-long exploits of three popular NASCAR drivers, Pete Hamilton and his #40 Petty Enterprises Plymouth Superbird, Richard Petty in the famous #43 Plymouth Superbird and Cale Yarborough and his #21 Wood Brothers Mercury Cyclone Spoiler! The film is a look at NASCAR racing in 1970, with behind-the-scenes footage throughout of the three drivers, their crews and what happened to them during the '70 season. Now for the first time ever, Rare Sportsfilms, Inc. has taken this rare COLOR film out of "mothballs" and has restored it back to its original beauty, now making it available on DVD!
The film opens showing Pete Hamilton and his #40 Plymouth Superbird winning the spring Talladega race! In victory Lane, you'll hear the post-race interview and see Pete posing for the press with the Unocal Racestoppers and Linda Vaughn. Later, you'll see Pete at the Petty shop and garage and get a unique look at the Petty operation, including work being done by Richard's cousin Dale Inman and brother Maurice. Pete and Richard both comment during the film about racing topics, etc. Richard talks about working for his father Lee during his early racing days as well as his worst wreck up to that time (1970 Rebel 400 at Darlington) while the frightening crash is shown in slow-motion! This segment ends with a shiny new Superbird shown being loaded into the hauler at the shop for the trip to Darlington for the annual Southern 500. At this point, the film takes you with Petty and young son Kyle to the North Carolina State Fair where Richard has his car on display. Richard and Kyle are shown having fun at the fair and watching the Hell-Drivers Thrill Show!
At Darlington the film attempts to show the color and tradition of race fans gathering in the infield for the revelry and race festivities. Great shots of the old Raceway, with cars shown being hauled in (J.D. McDuffie, Butch Hirst, Ben Arnold, Bobby Allison, Buddy Baker and the #21 Cyclone of Cale Yarborough. In contrast to the factory-funded teams are the "independents", and in a modest motel room, Jabe Thomas and others are interviewed about their struggles to race in NASCAR. As prep work goes on in the Darlington garages, Cale Yarborough arrives by car from his home in nearby Timmonsville. From this point on, the film is a behind-the-scenes look at the Wood Brothers team, the #21 Mercury Cyclone Spoiler, and driver Yarborough. You'll see the start of the '70 Southern 500 with Buddy Baker on the pole in his #6 Dodge Daytona and David Pearson outside front row. Good shots of great racing action here, including both Baker and Yarborough in the pits. With less than 40 laps to go, Cale crashes out of the race. Cale explains what happened to his crew while his wreck is shown in replay. He then walks to his car and drives home, listening to the finish of the race on his car radio! A section of the film focuses on the other business interests of Cale Yarborough Enterprises. You're with Cale as he talks with his business attorneys, jokes with friends, talks about racing and takes a stroll on his farm with his hunting dogs. You see an interview with Sumter Speedway promoter Dargan Watts and the running of a race at the famed 1/4-mile dirt Sumter Speedway with Gene Stokes conducting the drivers meeting and doing the flagging. Yarborough comments that this is where the fun is and the drivers are racing for peanuts. You're with him as he records a commercial for his new modular homes dealerships and lends his support to the Republican candidate for South Carolina governor.
The cameras take you to Rockingham for the American 500. Listen in as Cale discusses his future with the Wood Brothers team if Ford leaves NASCAR for 1971. Again, great racing action on the track shows both Petty and Hamilton spinning out, with Cale and the Wood Brothers Cyclone winning the race!
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