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The 1962 Volunteer 500 was a NASCAR Grand National Series (now Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series) event that was held on April 29, 1962, at Bristol International Speedway in Bristol, Tennessee.

1962 Volunteer 500
Race details[1]
Race 17 of 53 in the 1962 NASCAR Grand National Series season
Layout of Bristol Motor Speedway
Layout of Bristol Motor Speedway
Date April 29, 1962 (1962-April-29)
Official name Volunteer 500
Location Bristol International Speedway, Bristol, Tennessee
Course Permanent racing facility
0.533 mi (0.857 km)
Distance 500 laps, 266.5 mi (428.8 km)
Weather Warm with temperatures of 79 °F (26 °C); wind speeds of 14 miles per hour (23 km/h)
Average speed 73.397 miles per hour (118.121 km/h)
Attendance 17,000[2]
Pole position
Driver Banjo Matthews
Time 22.120 seconds
Most laps led
Driver Bobby Johns Shorty Johns
Laps 430
No. 72 Bobby Johns Shorty Johns
Television in the United States
Network untelevised
Announcers none

The transition to purpose-built racecars began in the early 1960s and occurred gradually over that decade. Changes made to the sport by the late 1960s brought an end to the "strictly stock" vehicles of the 1950s.

Race reportEdit

This 500-lap event lasted for a duration of three hours and 24 minutes. Thirty-six drivers managed to qualify for this racing event; with Fireball Roberts earning a pole position start due to his qualifying speed of 81.374 miles per hour (130.959 km/h). Bobby Johns would beat out the likes of Richard Petty and Fireball Roberts by six laps; a dominating performance made possible by running the high line when nobody else wanted to run up high so he didn't get held up nearly as much as everyone else.[2] This was the only time in Herman Beam's career that he got a top ten in a race with more than thirty cars starting. Granted, only eleven actually finished.[2]

Johns would later credit his win in this event to having a sense of consistency; rather than accelerating the car to full throttle all the time.[3]

Larry Frank was the last-place finisher of this event due to his car overheating on lap 29.[2] George Green would become the final driver to finish the event while David Pearson's faulty lug bolts would prevent him from acquiring a "top five" finish.[2] Most of the vehicles in this race were Pontiac or Chevrolet.[2] All of the drivers were born in the United States of America; no foreigners attempted to qualify for this racing event.[2] Johnny Allen relieved Jack Smith in the #47 and received the checkered flag.[2]

While there are only four cautions to this race, an incredibly long duration of 37 laps were spent under the caution flag due to the various accidents and incidents that happened during the race.[2] Gene Blackburn would retire from NASCAR Cup Series racing after this event.[4]

Individual earnings for each driver ranged from the winner's share of $4,405 ($36,485 when adjusted for inflation) to the meager earnings of $100 ($828 when adjusted for inflation) that was given to several low-ranked drivers. NASCAR only authorized a total sum of $17,865 to the qualifying drivers of this event ($147,971 when adjusted for inflation).[5]

At least eight notable crew chiefs were in attendance for this race; including Bud Moore, Herman Beam, Glen Wood, Ratus Walters and Shorty Johns.[6]


Grid No. Driver Manufacturer Speed[7] Qualifying time[7] Owner
1 22 Fireball Roberts '62 Pontiac 81.374 22.120 Banjo Matthews
2 28 Fred Lorenzen '62 Ford 80.789 22.280 Holman-Moody
3 21 Marvin Panch '62 Ford 80.645 22.320 Wood Brothers
4 29 Nelson Stacy '62 Ford 80.609 22.330 Holman-Moody
5 27 Junior Johnson '62 Pontiac 80.285 22.420 Rex Lovette
6 72 Bobby Johns '62 Pontiac 80.178 22.450 Shorty Johns
7 54 Jimmy Pardue '62 Pontiac 80.000 22.500 Jimmy Pardue
8 8 Joe Weatherly '62 Pontiac 79.787 22.560 Bud Moore
9 4 Rex White '62 Chevrolet 79.787 22.560 Rex White
10 47 Jack Smith '62 Pontiac 79.751 22.570 Jack Smith

Major wrecksEdit

The first major wreck of the race occurred when Nelson Stacy, on his 302nd lap, skidded into the second-turn guardrail after the '62 Ford had blown a tire. It bounced back on the track in time to be hit by Maurice Petty's '62 Plymouth.[2] Stacy was shaken up, got a few minor bruises, and was sent to the hospital for observation. He was released before the race ended.

The second major wreck occurred when cars driven by Ned Jarrett and George Green collided on the fourth turn. Nobody was hurt. Both cars were badly damaged and hauled off the track by the wreckers. They were quickly repaired, however, and they got back into the race and were running at the finish.[2]

Top twenty finishersEdit

Pos[2] No. Driver Manufacturer Laps Laps led Time/Status
1 72 Bobby Johns Pontiac 500 430 3:24:22
2 22 Fireball Roberts Pontiac 494 61 +6 laps
3 47 Jack Smith Pontiac 492 0 +8 laps
4 11 Ned Jarrett Chevrolet 475 0 +25 laps
5 60 Tom Cox Plymouth 470 0 +30 laps
6 19 Herman Beam Ford 469 0 +31 laps
7 6 David Pearson Pontiac 461 0 Missing lug bolts
8 34 Wendell Scott Chevrolet 460 0 +40 laps
9 61 Bill Morton Ford 459 0 +41 laps
10 62 Curtis Crider Mercury 447 0 +53 laps
11 8 Joe Weatherly Pontiac 444 0 Missing rear end
12 86 Buddy Baker Chrysler 430 0 Engine problems
13 54 Jimmy Pardue Pontiac 419 0 +81 laps
14 1 George Green Chevrolet 417 0 +83 laps
15 17 Fred Harb Ford 370 0 Head gasket problems
16 43 Richard Petty Plymouth 368 9 Engine problems
17 26 Bunkie Blackburn Pontiac 359 0 Missing rear end
18 29 Nelson Stacy Ford 302 0 Terminal vehicle damage
19 41 Maurice Petty Plymouth 297 0 Terminal vehicle damage
20 64 Gene Blackburn Chevrolet 274 0 Axle problems


Section reference: [2]

  • Start of race: Fireball Roberts starts the race with the pole position
  • Lap 29: Larry Frank managed to overheat his vehicle
  • Lap 60: Larry Thomas managed to blow his vehicle's engine
  • Lap 61: Fred Lorenzen managed to blow his vehicle's engine
  • Lap 62: Bobby Johns takes over the lead from Fireball Roberts
  • Lap 68: Ralph Earnhardt managed to overheat his vehicle
  • Lap 81: Oil pressure issues forced Stick Elliott out of the race
  • Lap 160: Richard Petty takes over the lead from Bobby Johns
  • Lap 161: G.C. Spencer managed to blow his vehicle's engine
  • Lap 163: Bobby Johns takes over the lead from Richard Petty
  • Lap 191: The oil line started acting strangely on Darel Dieringer's vehicle
  • Lap 223: Joe Lee Johnson managed to blow his vehicle's engine
  • Lap 225: Johnny Allen managed to blow his vehicle's engine
  • Lap 297: Maurice Petty had a terminal crash, forcing him to exit the event
  • Lap 302: Nelson Stacy had a terminal crash, forcing him to exit the event
  • Lap 321: Richard Petty takes over the lead from Bobby Johns
  • Lap 327: Bobby Johns takes over the lead from Richard Petty
  • Lap 359: Bunkie Blackburn noticed that the rear end of his vehicle was missing
  • Lap 368: Richard Petty managed to blow his vehicle's engine
  • Lap 370: Fred Harb noticed that the head gasket of his vehicle was loose
  • Lap 430: Buck Baker's engine would stop working properly, causing him not to finish the race
  • Lap 444: The rear end of Joe Weatherly's vehicle came off, forcing him to exit the race
  • Lap 461: Problems with his lug bolts forced David Pearson to exit the race prematurely
  • Finish: Bobby Johns was officially declared the winner of the event