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The 1966 Nashville 400 was a NASCAR Grand National Series (now Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series) event that was held on July 30, 1966, at Nashville Speedway in Nashville, Tennessee.

1966 Nashville 400
Race details[1][2]
Race 36 of 49 in the 1966 NASCAR Grand National Series season
Date July 30, 1966 (1966-July-30)
Official name Nashville 400
Location Fairgrounds Speedway, Nashville, Tennessee
Course Permanent racing facility
0.500 mi (0.804 km)
Distance 400 laps, 200.0 mi (321.8 km)
Weather Very hot with temperatures of 87.1 °F (30.6 °C); wind speeds of 14 miles per hour (23 km/h)
Average speed 71.770 miles per hour (115.503 km/h)
Attendance 15,161[3]
Pole position
Driver Petty Enterprises
Most laps led
Driver Richard Petty Petty Enterprises
Laps 400
Winner
No. 43 Richard Petty Petty Enterprises
Television in the United States
Network untelevised
Announcers none

Out of Henley Gray's five career finishes in the top five and 60 finishes in the top ten, two of them came at Nashville Speedway.

Contents

BackgroundEdit

Nashville Speedway was converted to a half-mile paved oval in 1957, when it began to be a NASCAR series track.[citation needed]

SummaryEdit

It took two hours and forty-seven minutes to complete 400 laps on a paved track spanning 0.500 miles (0.805 km).[3] Out of all of Richard Petty's 200 victories in Grand National/Winston Cup competition, arguably none were as dominant as this one. Richard Petty won the pole and led all 400 laps of the Nashville 400. While Petty had Jim Paschal to contend with right to the end during the 1964 NASCAR Grand National Series season, this event saw King Richard lap the field five times over.[2][3] Buck Baker's finish in his Oldsmobile would be considered great since he qualified outside of the top ten.[2][3] 15,161 spectators watched this race with four cautions being handed out by NASCAR for 41 laps.[3]

Petty qualified for the pole position at a speed of 82.493 miles per hour (132.760 km/h) and also averaged 71.770 miles per hour (115.503 km/h) during the actual race.[2][3]

The most notable crew chiefs that were involved in the event were Herman Beam, Bob Cooper, Clair Jackson, Frankie Scott, Dale Inman and Bud Hartje.[4]

The racing grid was made up of 27 Americans and one Canadian (Don Biederman who finished the race in 19th place).[3] Darel Dieringer received the last place finish for crashing his car at the beginning of the race. Jack Lawrence would crash his vehicle on lap 2 while Blackie Watt's vehicle suffered from a problematic radiator on lap 21. Doug Cooper managed to blow his vehicle's engine on lap 49. J.D. McDuffie managed to overheat his vehicle on lap 54. Paul Lewis blew his vehicle's engine on lap 100 while Roy Tyner's vehicle had an oil leak on lap 141. J.T. Putney's engine would stop working altogether on lap 171. An oil leak would relegate Don Biederman to the sidelines on lap 214. Wayne Smith's engine stopped working on lap 220 while a loose frame took Elmo Langley out of the race on lap 250.[2][3]

Driveshaft problems took Friday Hassler out of the race on lap 256. A problem with the vehicle's differential took Buddy Arrington out of the race on lap 262. An oil leak forced Joel Davis out of the race on lap 268 while a troublesome differential on G.C. Spencer's vehicle took him out of the race on lap 287. A faulty engine took Stick Elliott out of the race on lap 308. Meanwhile, the throttle on James Hylton's vehicle stopped working; causing Hylton to exit the race prematurely on lap 352.[2][3]

Coo Coo Marlin was considered to be popular with the local racing supporters on the weekends when the NASCAR toured Nashville. He was considered the odds-on favorite to win the race even when he drove a one-year-old vehicle to the track. Unfortunately, he was only the 27th best driver to compete at Nashville Fairgrounds; with an average start of 11th place and an average finish of 13th place.[5]

Marty Robbins participated in this race and was announced as "Columbia Records' recording star". He finished 25th due to an oil leak problem on lap 48.[3] Marty Robbins' Cup debut marked the only time he ran in the series on a short track. The county singer fittingly hit the track here at Nashville but all the rest of his Cup starts would be on superspeedway ovals.

QualifyingEdit

Grid[3] No. Driver Manufacturer Owner
1 42 Richard Petty '66 Plymouth Petty Enterprises
2 2 Bobby Allison '65 Chevrolet Donald Brackins
3 49 G. C. Spencer '65 Plymouth G.C. Spencer
4 1 Paul Lewis '65 Plymouth Paul Lewis
5 02 Doug Cooper '65 Plymouth Bob Cooper
6 64 Elmo Langley '64 Ford Elmo Langley / Henry Woodfield
7 39 Friday Hassler '66 Chevrolet J.H. Crawford
8 97 Coo Coo Marlin '66 Ford Henley Gray
9 48 James Hylton '65 Ford Bud Hartje
10 24 Darel Dieringer '66 Ford Betty Lilly
11 19 J.T. Putney '66 Chevrolet J.T. Putney
12 06 Jack Lawrence '64 Mercury John McCarthy
13 87 Buck Baker '66 Oldsmobile Buck Baker
14 4 John Sears '64 Ford L.G. DeWitt
15 18 Stick Elliott '66 Chevrolet Toy Bolton
16 34 Wendell Scott '65 Ford Wendell Scott
17 53 Marty Robbins '64 Ford David Warren
18 88 Neil Castles '66 Chevrolet Buck Baker
19 74 Henley Gray '66 Ford Gene Black
20 20 Clyde Lynn '64 Ford Clyde Lynn

Top ten finishersEdit

Pos[3] Grid No. Driver Manufacturer Laps Winnings Laps led Time/Status
1 1 43 Richard Petty Plymouth 400 $2,750 400 2:47:11
2 13 87 Buck Baker Oldsmobile 395 $1,400 0 +5 laps
3 2 2 Bobby Allison Chevrolet 394 $850 0 +6 laps
4 19 74 Henley Gray Ford 383 $500 0 +17 laps
5 14 4 John Sears Ford 383 $475 0 +17 laps
6 18 88 Neil Castles Chevrolet 378 $450 0 +22 laps
7 20 20 Clyde Lynn Ford 378 $425 0 +22 laps
8 8 97 Coo Coo Marlin Ford 375 $375 0 +25 laps
9 16 34 Wendell Scott Ford 375 $325 0 +25 laps
10 9 48 James Hylton Ford 352 $300 0 Throttle problems

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "1966 Nashville 400 weather information". The Old Farmers' Almanac. Retrieved 2012-11-26.
  2. ^ a b c d e f "1966 Nashville 400 racing results". Fantasy Racing Cheat Sheet. Retrieved 2011-08-10.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l "1966 Nashville 400 racing results". Racing Reference. Retrieved 2011-03-02.
  4. ^ "1966 Nashville 400 crew chief information". Racing Reference. Retrieved 2017-07-02.
  5. ^ "Coo Coo Marlin's Popularity at Nashville vs His Actual Performance at Nashville". Driver Averages. Retrieved 2015-03-13.
Preceded by
1966 Smoky Mountain 200
NASCAR Grand National Series season
1966
Succeeded by
1966 Dixie 400