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The 1964 World 600, the fifth running of the event, was a NASCAR Grand National Series event that took place on May 24, 1964, at Charlotte Motor Speedway in Concord, North Carolina.

1964 World 600
Race details[1][2][3]
Race 25 of 62 in the 1964 NASCAR Grand National Series season
The crash that hospitalized Fireball Roberts before he died of pneumonia 6 weeks later.
The crash that hospitalized Fireball Roberts before he died of pneumonia 6 weeks later.
Date May 24, 1964 (1964-May-24)
Official name World 600
Location Charlotte Motor Speedway, Concord, North Carolina
Course Permanent racing facility
1.500 mi (2.414 km)
Distance 400 laps, 600 mi (965.5 km)
Weather Temperatures between 64.9 °F (18.3 °C) and 82.0 °F (27.8 °C); wind speeds of 10.10 miles per hour (16.25 km/h)
Average speed 125.772 miles per hour (202.410 km/h)
Attendance 66,311
Pole position
Driver Burton-Robinson
Time 149.64 seconds
Most laps led
Driver Jim Paschal Petty Enterprises
Laps 126
No. 41 Jim Paschal Petty Enterprises
Television in the United States
Network CBS (through local affiliate WBTV)
Announcers local reporters

There was a 30-mile consolation race the day before this to determine the final 14 starters.

Bobby Keck finished 14th in that race (in a 1963 Ford) but he was unable to start the 600 and his car was withdrawn, with Pete Stewart taking the last starting position as the first alternate starter. Major Melton finished 16th in that race driving a 1963 Dodge and was the second alternate.


Charlotte Motor Speedway is a motorsports complex located in Concord, North Carolina, 13 miles from Charlotte, North Carolina. The complex features a 1.5 miles (2.4 km) quad oval track that hosts NASCAR racing including the prestigious Coca-Cola 600 on Memorial Day weekend and the Sprint All-Star Race, as well as the Bank of America 500. The speedway was built in 1959 by Bruton Smith and Curtis Turner and is considered the home track for NASCAR with many race teams located in the Charlotte area. The track is owned and operated by Speedway Motorsports Inc. (SMI) with Marcus G. Smith (son of Bruton Smith) as track president.

Race reportEdit

The race covered four hundred laps of the paved oval track spanning 1.500 miles (2.414 km). It took four hours, forty-six minutes, and fourteen seconds.[2][3] Seven cautions slowed the race for 48 laps.[2] The race averaged 125.772 miles per hour (202.410 km/h) and 144.346 miles per hour (232.302 km/h) was the pole position speed.[2][3] The attendance was 66,311.[2][3] Notable crew chiefs for this race included Bud Moore, Herman Beam, Ralph Gray, Glen Wood, Banjo Matthews and Dale Inman.[4]

Miss Linda Vaughn was selected to be Pontiac's representative at this event; she was an adolescent during that time.[5]

Jim Paschal defeated Richard Petty by more than four laps.[2] Other notable drivers included: Ralph Earnhardt, Roy Tyner, Fireball Roberts, Elmo Langley, and Buddy Baker.[2][3] The top two finishers were teammates at Petty Enterprises (now Richard Petty Motorsports).[2][3] Jim Paschal would receive $24,785 ($200,221 when adjusted for inflation) in prize money after becoming the only driver to finish all 400 laps of the race.[2][3] Pete Stewart was rewarded with $600 ($4,847 when adjusted for inflation) for finishing only one lap; resulting in a last place finish.[2][3] Billy Wade started in pole position while the winner started in 12th place.[2][3]


Grid[2] No. Driver Manufacturer
1 54 Jimmy Pardue '64 Plymouth
2 28 Fred Lorenzen '64 Ford
3 26 Bobby Isaac '64 Dodge
4 25 Paul Goldsmith '64 Plymouth
5 43 Richard Petty '64 Plymouth
6 21 Marvin Panch '64 Ford
7 16 Darel Dieringer '64 Mercury
8 11 Ned Jarrett '64 Ford
9 27 Junior Johnson '64 Ford
10 6 David Pearson '64 Dodge
11 22 Fireball Roberts '64 Ford
12 41 Jim Paschal '64 Plymouth
13 4 Rex White '64 Mercury
14 1 Billy Wade '64 Mercury
15 03 LeeRoy Yarbrough '64 Dodge
16 5 Larry Thomas '64 Dodge
17 3 Buck Baker '64 Dodge
18 19 Cale Yarborough '64 Ford
19 2 Ken Rush '63 Pontiac
20 95 Ken Spikes '64 Plymouth

Death of Fireball RobertsEdit

Fireball Roberts was involved in a crash while trying to avoid Junior Johnson and Ned Jarrett's crash on lap 7.[2][3][6] Roberts was sent to Charlotte hospital.[6] While he was not seriously injured by the crash itself, Roberts was trapped when his ankle became pinned under the dashboard and caught by either the clutch or brake pedal.[6] The death would have occurred at the speedway if Jarrett hadn't pulled Roberts out.[6] He died on July 2 of that year; leaving behind a wife (Doris Roberts) and a young daughter (Pamela Jane Roberts Trivette).[6] Roberts told Jarrett "My God, Ned, help me! I'm on fire!" after being caught on fire because of the crash.[7]

Before the fatal accident, Roberts was going to announce his retirement from the NASCAR Cup Series after the race to work as a spokesperson for a beer company.[7] Fireball, as he was known to his racing fans and to his fellow drivers, was the first superstar of the superspeedway era.[7]

Doctors ultimately blamed his death on pneumonia and he spent the last 39 days of his life at Charlotte Memorial Hospital (now Carolinas Medical Center) in extremely critical condition.[7] The entire week from April 29 through May 1, 1964, ultimately became one of the darkest weeks in motorsports history as Eddie Sachs and Dave MacDonald were both killed in that year's Indianapolis 500. Actual home video footage of the accident was being recorded as the race occurred. The race was being televised by local CBS affiliate WBTV. Roberts' body was eventually delivered to his burial crypt in Daytona Beach, Florida.[7] One of the quotes that came in an earlier race sometime prior to his death was "I fear fire the most!"

A couple of inventions that would come as a result of Roberts' death would be the fire suit and a specialized fuel cell for racing, preventing drivers from racing in a T-shirt and jeans.[8] These inventions would first see usage at the 1964 Firecracker 400; just two days after Roberts' death.

Finishing orderEdit


Section reference: [2]

  • Start of race: Jimmy Pardue has the pole position to begin the event
  • Lap 3: Bud Harless didn't race for long before his vehicle's engine couldn't handle the pressure anymore
  • Lap 5: Ralph Earnhardt ruined his engine
  • Lap 6: Buddy Baker managed to overheat his vehicle
  • Lap 7: Ned Jarrett, Junior Johnson, and Fireball Roberts were jointly involved in a terminal crash
  • Lap 11: Mark Hurley managed to bust his vehicle's transmission
  • Lap 28: The ignition on Ken Rush's vehicle stopped working
  • Lap 34: Bobby Isaac took over the lead from Jimmy Pardue
  • Lap 44: Paul Goldsmith took over the lead from Bobby Isaac
  • Lap 50: Roy Mayne's vehicle had an oil leak
  • Lap 52: Marvin Panch had a terminal crash
  • Lap 60: LeeRoy Yarbrough took over the lead from Paul Goldsmith
  • Lap 67: Paul Goldsmith took over the lead from LeeRoy Yarbrough
  • Lap 70: Jimmy Pardue took over the lead from Paul Goldsmith
  • Lap 80: Paul Goldsmith took over the lead from Jimmy Pardue
  • Lap 117: Cale Yarborough had a terminal crash
  • Lap 122: LeeRoy Yarbrough took over the lead from Paul Goldsmith
  • Lap 123: David Pearson took over the lead from LeeRoy Yarbrough
  • Lap 124: Buck Baker took over the lead from David Pearson
  • Lap 137: Stick Elliott managed to blow his vehicle's engine
  • Lap 148: Paul Goldsmith took over the lead from Buck Baker
  • Lap 169: The engine mount on Bobby Isaac's vehicle was giving him problems
  • Lap 189: Fred Lorenzen took over the lead from Paul Goldsmith
  • Lap 195: Jimmy Pardue managed to blow his vehicle's engine
  • Lap 199: The axle on Larry Thomas' vehicle forced him out of the race
  • Lap 217: Ken Spikes' was disqualified from the race by virtue of a black flag
  • Lap 223: Paul Goldsmith took over the lead from Fred Lorenzen
  • Lap 231: Problems with the vehicle's clutch forced Bill McMahan to leave the race prematurely
  • Lap 238: Buck Baker managed to blow his vehicle's engine
  • Lap 253: Paul Goldsmith managed to blow his vehicle's engine
  • Lap 254: Fred Lorenzen took over the lead from Paul Goldsmith
  • Lap 255: The rear end came loose off of Bunkie Blackburn's vehicle
  • Lap 275: Jim Paschal took over the lead from Fred Lorenzen
  • Lap 344: Darel Dieringer managed to blow his vehicle's engine
  • Finish: Jim Paschal was officially declared the winner of the event


  1. ^ "Concord, North Carolina Weather for May 24, 1964". The Old Farmers' Almanac. Retrieved 2012-03-23.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o "1964 World 600 racing information". Racing Reference. Archived from the original on 2012-10-20. Retrieved 2012-03-23. Cite uses deprecated parameter |dead-url= (help)
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j "1964 World 600". Ultimate Racing History. Retrieved 2012-03-23.
  4. ^ "1964 World 600 crew chief information". Racing Reference. Retrieved 2017-06-17.
  5. ^ "Miss Cadillac 1964". Bleacher Report. Archived from the original on 2013-06-20. Retrieved 2013-06-17. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)
  6. ^ a b c d e " - General Information about the 1964 World 600 and Fireball Roberts' death". NASCAR. Retrieved 2012-03-23.
  7. ^ a b c d e "Fireball Roberts Information". Retrieved 2012-03-23.
  8. ^ " - TECHNOLOGY COUNTDOWN: FIRE SUIT, FUEL CELL". NASCAR. Archived from the original on 2013-06-20. Retrieved 2012-06-17. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)
Preceded by
1964 South Boston Speedway
NASCAR Grand National Races
Succeeded by
1964 Pickens 200
Preceded by
World 600 races
Succeeded by