This date we go to the Atlantic Rural Fairgrounds in Richmond, VA, for the "Richmond 250". This race consisted of 250 laps on the half mile dirt track that has quite the history in NASCAR records and folklore. One interesting fact about the track was Junior Johnson's woeful record there. He had been running the track since 1955, a full ten years, and although he had led many laps in several races, he always came up short. It was as though Junior was jinxed by the Richmond dirt.
For this race, Junior would put his 1965 Ford on the pole with a qualifying speed of 67.847 mph. Doug Cooper, in an independent Ford would start second, Dick Hutcherson in a Holman-Moody factory Ford started third, G.C. Spencer in his independent Ford fourth, and Ned Jarrett in the Bondy Long Factory Ford fifth. The designation of "factory" and "independent" is used here to point out that Ford Motor Company had the season to themselves after successfully lobbying NASCAR to outlaw the Chrysler Corporation "Hemi" engine. There were Mopars entered in the race but all were the 426 Wedge engine from Chrysler which were not as powerful as the "Hemi" and therefore easier for Ford to beat. Even so, there were only three factory Fords entered, Johnson, Jarrett, and Hutcherson.
Junior Johnson led the first 55 laps before Hutcherson took over in his Ford. When pit stops began around lap 70, second place starter DougYates got a chance to put his independent Plymouth into first place. Yates would lead until lap 86 when Johnson went back out front. Ned Jarrett slipped his number 11 Ford out front on lap 97 and would stay there until lap 140 when his Ford began to slow. Finally, on lap 184 the differential in Ned's car locked up and that was it for the hopes of the Camden, SC driver.
With Ned behind the wall, and Dick Hutcherson having been taken out in a crash on lap 95 when he was dueling with Tiny Lund and went low into turn one side by side when Hutch slipped on the loose dirt and slid into the outside guard rail. The Ford flipped and slid on the roof to a stop. Hutcherson was ok and watched the remainder of the race from the infield.
Twenty-two cars started the event but the racing was mostly between the three factory Fords. The only car to finish on the lead lap with Johnson was Buck Baker who was driving a 426 wedge engine Dodge. Third place, J.T. Putney, driving the Herman Beam Chevrolet, finished third, 8 laps off the pace. If you are not familiar with Herman Beam, he drove himself for a number of years, always running several miles an hour slower that competitors and always staying out of the way, keeping the car clean and making money that way to keep racing. He got out of driving full time in 1963 and Cale Yarborough drove for him for a few races. This race it was J.T. Putney.
Of the 22 cars starting the race, only 10 finished, with Johnson averaging 61.416 mph before a crowd of 12,000. Johnson was 18 seconds ahead of second place, Buck Baker, but 104 laps ahead of 13th place finisher, Elmo Langley.
1 Junior Johnson, Johnson Ford, $2,200.00
2 Buck Baker, Baker Dodge, $1,275.00 (18 seconds back)
3 J. T. Putney, Herman Beam Chevrolet, $900.00 (8 laps down)
4 Curtis Crider, Crider Mercury, $600.00 (12 laps down)
5 Bob Derrington, Derrington Ford, $450.00 (13 laps down)
6 Gene Hobby ****Huge RacersReunion supporter****
7 Doug Cooper
8 Neil Castles
9 Doug Yates
10 G. C. Spencer
11 Ned Jarrett
12 Doug Moore
13 Elmo Langley
14 Tiny Lund
15 Cale Yarborough
16 Dick Hutcherson
17 Bub Strickler
18 Larry Manning
19 Sonny Hutchins
20 Wendell Scott
21 Bob Cooper
22 Danny Byrd (Made 1 lap and parked for "handling". Start and park???)
Honor the past, embrace the present, dream for the future
updated by @tim-leeming: 12/05/16 04:00:58PM