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The 1965 Atlanta 500 was a NASCAR Grand National Series (now Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series) event that was held on April 11, 1965, at Atlanta International Raceway in Hampton, Georgia.

1965 Atlanta 500
Race details[1]
Race 9 of 55 in the 1965 NASCAR Grand National Series season
Layout of Atlanta International Raceway, used until 1996
Layout of Atlanta International Raceway, used until 1996
Date April 11, 1965 (1965-April-11)
Official name Atlanta 500
Location Atlanta International Raceway, Hampton, Georgia
Course Permanent racing facility
1.500 mi (2.400 km)
Distance 334 laps, 501.0 mi (804 km)
Weather Warm with temperatures up to 80.1 °F (26.7 °C); wind speeds up to 13 miles per hour (21 km/h)
Average speed 129.410 miles per hour (208.265 km/h)
Attendance 50,700[2]
Pole position
Driver Wood Brothers
Time 150.547 seconds
Most laps led
Driver Marvin Panch Wood Brothers
Laps 241
No. 24 Marvin Panch Wood Brothers
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.


Atlanta International Raceway (now Atlanta Motor Speedway) is one of ten current intermediate tracks to hold NASCAR races; the others are Charlotte Motor Speedway, Chicagoland Speedway, Darlington Raceway, Homestead Miami Speedway, Kansas Speedway, Kentucky Speedway, Las Vegas Motor Speedway, New Hampshire Motor Speedway, and Texas Motor Speedway.[3] However, at the time, only Charlotte and Darlington were built.

The layout at Atlanta International Speedway at the time was a four-turn traditional oval track that is 1.54 miles (2.48 km) long.[4] The track's turns are banked at twenty-four degrees, while the front stretch, the location of the finish line, and the back stretch are banked at five.[4]


There were 44 American-born male drivers on the grid - without any foreigners or minorities trying to compete in the event.[2] This race was the sixth Atlanta 500 to ever take place in the NASCAR Cup Series. However, the racing series would ultimately come to an end in 2011 to make room for a race at Kentucky Speedway.[5] While the previous year's race was televised on CBS, this race was completely unbroadcasted on television.

Jim Conway would be the race's last-place finisher due to a clutch issue on lap 1 out of the regulation period of 334 laps.[2] Marvin Panch managed to defeat Bobby Johns by two seconds in front of a screaming crowd of 50,700 people in his 1965 Ford Galaxie vehicle.[2] There were eight lead changes in addition to five caution flags waved for 26 laps; making this race last almost four hours in length.[2] The average speed of the race was 129.410 miles per hour (208.265 km/h) while Panch earned the pole position with a qualifying speed of 145.581 miles per hour (234.290 km/h).[2][6] Other drivers in the top ten were: Ned Jarrett, Dick Hutcherson, Buddy Baker, Tiny Lund, Bobby Allison, Larry Hess, Paul Lewis, and Bub Strickler.[2][6]

Vehicles manufactured by the Ford Motor Company practically had the monopoly on this racing event.[2][6] Jim Conway would make his introduction into the NASCAR Cup Series in this race while Danny Byrd would leave the series after this race.[7]


Grid No. Driver Manufacturer Qualifying time[8] Speed[8] Owner
1 21 Marvin Panch '65 Ford 150.547 145.581 Wood Brothers
2 16 Darel Dieringer '64 Mercury 150.556 145.572 Bud Moore
3 15 Earl Balmer '64 Mercury 150.699 145.434 Bud Moore
4 11 Ned Jarrett '65 Ford 152.332 143.875 Bondy Long
5 29 Dick Hutcherson '65 Ford 152.403 143.808 Holman-Moody Racing
6 41 A.J. Foyt '65 Ford 152.505 143.712 Wood Brothers
7 7 Bobby Johns '65 Ford 152.688 143.540 Holman-Moody Racing
8 76 Larry Frank '64 Ford 154.057 142.264 Larry Frank
9 26 Junior Johnson '65 Ford 154.087 142.236 Junior Johnson
10 24 Sam McQuagg '65 Ford 155.468 140.973 Betty Lilly


Section reference: [2]

  • Start of race: Darel Dieringer officially began the race with the pole position
  • Lap 1: Jim Conway managed to lose control over his vehicle's clutch
  • Lap 2: Vehicle handling issues managed to take Bud Harless out of the race
  • Lap 5: Cotton Wallace had to leave the race because his tires were rubbing with his vehicle; Robert Vaughn experienced oil pressure issues
  • Lap 12: Sway bar issues managed to take Ned Setzer out of the race
  • Lap 13: Buddy Arrington managed to lose control over his vehicle's clutch
  • Lap 24: Tim Pistone managed to blow his vehicle's engine
  • Lap 26: The head gasket came off Reb Wickersham's vehicle; forcing him out of the race
  • Lap 29: Oil pressure issues caused Wendell Scott to abandon the race
  • Lap 41: Earl Balmer took over the lead from Darel Dieringer
  • Lap 47: Fred Lorenzen took over the lead from Earl Balmer
  • Lap 71: Marvin Panch took over the lead from Fred Lorenzen
  • Lap 104: Bobby Johns took over the lead from Marvin Panch
  • Lap 108: Marvin Panch took over the lead from Bobby Johns
  • Lap 110: Junior Johnson managed to overheat his vehicle, the cause was racing at excessively high speeds
  • Lap 112: E.J. Trivette had engine problems which forced him out of the race in an untimely manner
  • Lap 132: Darel Dieringer had a terminal crash
  • Lap 136: Larry Frank managed to ruin his vehicle's engine
  • Lap 142: Bill Morton managed to overheat his racing vehicle
  • Lap 170: Oil pressure issues managed to eliminate Neil Castles out of the race
  • Lap 178: Fred Lorenzen took over the lead from Marvin Panch
  • Lap 185: Earl Balmer's engine started acting in an unusual manner
  • Lap 189: Marvin Panch took over the lead from Fred Lorenzen
  • Lap 190: J.T. Putney had a terminal crash
  • Lap 193: Cale Yarborough had a terminal crash
  • Lap 214: T.C. Hunt managed to do something that made his engine stop working properly
  • Lap 223: Sam McQuagg managed to overheat his vehicle due to racing at high speeds
  • Lap 250: Fred Lorenzen had a terminal crash
  • Lap 298: Johnny Rutherford managed to blow his engine; forcing him to exit the race for safety reasons
  • Lap 299: G.C. Spencer managed to overheat his vehicle while racing at high speeds
  • Lap 309: Bub Strickler had a terminal crash; forcing him to leave the race prematurely
  • Finish: Marvin Panch was officially declared the winner of the event


  1. ^ "1965 Atlanta 500 weather information". The Old Farmers' Almanac. Retrieved 2 August 2012.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i "1965 Atlanta 500 racing information". Racing Reference. Retrieved 19 February 2012.
  3. ^ "NASCAR Race Tracks". NASCAR. Archived from the original on June 3, 2011. Retrieved September 2, 2011. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)
  4. ^ a b "NASCAR Tracks—The Atlanta Motor Speedway". Atlanta Motor Speedway. Archived from the original on 2011-07-21. Retrieved September 2, 2011. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)
  5. ^ "Atlanta Motor Speedway Announces Schedule For 2011 NASCAR Season". Archived from the original on 24 February 2012. Retrieved 6 August 2010. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)
  6. ^ a b c "1965 Atlanta 500 racing information". Fantasy Racing Cheat Sheet. Archived from the original on 20 February 2012. Retrieved 19 February 2012. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)
  7. ^ "Introductions to and departures from NASCAR". Race Database. Retrieved 22 March 2012.
  8. ^ a b "1965 Atlanta 500 qualifying information". Racing Reference. Retrieved 13 April 2017.
Preceded by
1965 untitled race at Orange Speedway
NASCAR Grand National races
Succeeded by
1965 Greenville 200
Preceded by
Atlanta 500 races
Succeeded by