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1966 Buddy Shuman 250

The 1966 Buddy Shuman 250 was a NASCAR Grand National Series (now Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series) event that was held on September 9, 1966, at Hickory Motor Speedway in Hickory, North Carolina.

1966 Buddy Shuman 250
Race details[1]
Race 43 of 49 in the 1966 NASCAR Grand National Series season
Date September 9, 1966; 51 years ago (1966-09-09)
Official name Buddy Shuman 250
Location Hickory Speedway, Hickory, North Carolina
Course Permanent racing facility
0.400 mi (0.644 km)
Distance 250 laps, 100 mi (150 km)
Weather Very hot with temperatures approaching 82 °F (28 °C); wind speeds up to 7 miles per hour (11 km/h)
Average speed 76.923 miles per hour (123.796 km/h)
Attendance 10,000[2]
Pole position
Driver Petty Enterprises
Most laps led
Driver David Pearson Cotton Owens
Laps 195
No. 6 David Pearson Cotton Owens
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; most of the cars were trailered to events or hauled in by trucks.



Hickory Motor Speedway is a short track located in Hickory, North Carolina. It is one of stock car racing's most storied venues, and is often referred to as the "World's Most Famous Short Track" and the "Birthplace of the NASCAR Stars".

The track first opened in 1951 as a 12-mile (0.80 km) dirt track. Gwyn Staley won the first race at the speedway and later became the first track champion. Drivers such as Junior Johnson, Ned Jarrett, and Ralph Earnhardt also became track champions in the 1950s, with Earnhardt winning five of them.

In 1953, NASCAR's Grand National Series (later the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series) visited the track for the first time. Tim Flock won the first race at the speedway, which became a regular part of the Grand National schedule. After winning his track championship in 1952, Junior Johnson became the most successful Grand National driver at Hickory, winning there seven times.

The track has been re-configured three times in its history. The track became a 0.4-mile (644 meters) dirt track in 1955, which was paved for the first time during the 1967 season.


From 1949 to 1972, Richard and Lee Petty were the most dominant drivers on any circuit in NASCAR. David Pearson was easily the third most dominant NASCAR driver. Buck Baker and Rex White were considered to be the middle-of-the road competitors in NASCAR from 1949 to 1972. Fonty and Tim Flock along with Herb Thomas, Joe Weatherly, Ned Jarrett and Bobby Isaac were considered to be below-average performers during the early years of NASCAR.

David Pearson managed to defeat Richard Petty by at least one lap; clinching his first NASCAR championship in the process. This would also be the last race until the 1981 Riverside opener that Richard Petty ran a number other than 43.[2][3]

There were 21 competitors in this race; all of them were American-born males.[2][3] 250 laps were finished on a dirt oval track in one hour and twenty five minutes.[2] Petty would qualify for the pole position with a top speed of 76.923 miles per hour (123.796 km/h) while the average speed of the race would only be 70.533 miles per hour (113.512 km/h).[2][3] Darel Dieringer would finish in last place due to an overheating engine on lap 3 out of 250.[2][3] The entire purse of the race would be a paltry $4,640 ($34,997.50 when adjusted for inflation).[3] Pearson would receive $1,000 of it ($7,542.56 when adjusted for inflation) while Dieringer would collect a meager $100 ($754.26 when adjusted for inflation) along with seven other low-ranked finishers.[2]

Other notable names to make their appearance include Junior Johnson, African-American race car driver Wendell Scott, perennial underdog J.D. McDuffie, and future pace car driver Elmo Langley.[2][3] A crash would take Junior Johnson out of the race on lap 212.[2][3] Three changes for first place were made along with five caution flags for a distance of 14 laps.[2][3]


Grid[2] No. Driver Manufacturer
1 42 Richard Petty '66 Plymouth
2 6 David Pearson '65 Dodge
3 1 Paul Lewis '65 Plymouth
4 64 Elmo Langley '64 Ford
5 2 Bobby Allison '65 Chevrolet
6 4 John Sears '64 Ford
7 92 Hank Thomas '64 Ford
8 26 Junior Johnson '66 Ford
9 48 James Hylton '65 Dodge
10 87 Buck Baker '66 Oldsmobile

Finishing orderEdit

Section reference: [2]

  1. David Pearson
  2. Richard Petty
  3. Paul Lewis
  4. James Hylton
  5. Hank Thomas
  6. Wendell Scott
  7. Bobby Allison
  8. Clyde Lynn
  9. John Sears
  10. Bill Seifert
  11. Junior Johnson*
  12. Elmo Langley
  13. Henley Gray
  14. J.T. Putney
  15. J.D. McDuffie
  16. Paul Dean Holt*
  17. Buddy Baker*
  18. Buck Baker*
  19. Neil Castles*
  20. Tom Pistone*
  21. Darel Dieringer*

* Driver failed to finish race


Section reference: [2]

  • Start of race: David Pearson started the race with the pole position
  • Lap 3: Darel Dieringer's vehicle overheated, causing him to exit the race
  • Lap 14: Tom Pistone's vehicle overheated, making him withdraw from the event
  • Lap 16: Junior Johnson takes over the lead from David Pearson
  • Lap 20: Neil Castles's engine became problematic, ending his day on the track prematurely
  • Lap 67: Buddy Baker's vehicle caught on fire, causing him to exit the rave early
  • Lap 71: David Pearson takes over the lead from Junior Johnson
  • Lap 212: Junior Johnson had a terminal crash, forcing him to withdraw from the race
  • Finish: David Pearson was officially declared the winner of the event


  1. ^ Weather information for the 1966 Buddy Shuman 250 at The Old Farmers' Almanac
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m 1966 Buddy Shuman 250 at Racing Reference
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h 1966 Buddy Shuman 250 at Fantasy Racing Cheat Sheet
Preceded by
1966 Southern 500
NASCAR Grand National Series season
Succeeded by
1966 Capital City 300