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The 1968 Hickory 250 was a NASCAR Grand National Series (now Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series) event that was held on April 7, 1968, at Hickory Speedway in Hickory, North Carolina.

1968 Hickory 250
Race details[1][2]
Race 8 of 49 in the 1968 NASCAR Grand National Series season
Date April 7, 1968; 51 years ago (1968-04-07)
Official name Hickory 250
Location Hickory Speedway, Hickory, North Carolina
Course Permanent racing facility
0.400 mi (0.644 km)
Distance 250 laps, 100 mi (160 km)
Weather Chilly with temperatures of 66.9 °F (19.4 °C); wind speeds of 7.00 miles per hour (11.27 km/h)
Average speed 79.435 miles per hour (127.838 km/h)
Pole position
Driver Holman Moody
Most laps led
Driver Bobby Isaac Nord Krauskopf
Laps 116
Winner
No. 71 Richard Petty Petty Enterprises

Contents

BackgroundEdit

Hickory Motor Speedway 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. In 1970, the Hickory track was shortened to a length of 0.363 miles (584 meters).

SummaryEdit

The "250" portion of the event's name referred to the number of laps that were scheduled to be performed that day; the race lasted only 100 miles or 160 kilometres overall.[1] It took one hour, fifteen minutes, and thirty-two seconds for the race to reach its conclusion; Richard Petty defeated David Pearson by 0.5 laps in front of ten thousand people; helping Petty to win his third Hickory Cup race in a row.[1][2] Two cautions were waved for nineteen laps.[1][2][3]

Total winnings for the race were $4,940 ($35,592 when adjusted for inflation); with the winner receiving $1,200 ($8,646 when adjusted for inflation). Most of the vehicles that raced in this event had the Ford Motor Company as their manufacturer.[1] Notable speeds in this race were: 79.435 miles per hour (127.838 km/h) as the average speed achieved by David Pearson[2][4] and 86.795 miles per hour (139.683 km/h) as the pole position speed.[1]

Notable crew chiefs for the race were Harry Hyde, Dale Inman, Frankie Scott, Jake Elder, Tom Vandiver, and Ray Hicks.[5]

For the race, the temperatures reached a maximum of 66.9 °F or 19.4 °C with wind speeds reaching 7.00 miles per hour or 11.27 kilometres per hour, providing a relatively cool climate for the drivers and for the fans.[6] Precipitation was relatively absent during the day of the race, although rain and/or melted snow was reported at the nearest airport on that day.[6] For people who were driving to the race track that day, visibility on the road was a vivid 9.1 miles or 14.6 kilometres.[6]

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.

QualifyingEdit

Grid[1] No. Driver Manufacturer Owner
1 17 David Pearson '68 Ford Holman-Moody
2 0 Jack Ingram '66 Chevrolet Tommy Ingram
3 71 Bobby Isaac '67 Dodge Nord Krauskopf
4 43 Richard Petty '67 Plymouth Petty Enterprises
5 49 G.C. Spencer '67 Plymouth G.C. Spencer
6 39 Friday Hassler '67 Chevrolet Red Sharp
7 48 James Hylton '67 Dodge James Hylton
8 64 Elmo Langley '66 Ford Elmo Langley / Henry Woodfield
9 06 Neil Castles '67 Plymouth Neil Castles
10 4 John Sears '66 Ford L.G. DeWitt

Finishing orderEdit

Section reference: [1]

* Driver failed to finish race
† signifies that the driver is known to be deceased

TimelineEdit

Section reference: [1]

  • Start of race: David Pearson takes over the lead from Richard Petty
  • Lap 5: Jim Vandiver developed terminal problems with his driveshaft, forcing him off the track
  • Lap 9: Bobby Isaac takes over the lead from David Pearson
  • Lap 31: The coils on Bill Vanderhoff's vehicle became problematic, ending his weekend on the track
  • Lap 99: Bob Cooper's vehicle overheated; ending his day on the track
  • Lap 115: Buck Baker's engine developed problems, causing him to withdraw from the event
  • Lap 122: Neil Castles' engine became problematic, forcing him to exit the race
  • Lap 125: Richard Petty takes over the lead from Bobby Isaac
  • Lap 136: David Pearson takes over the lead from Richard Petty
  • Lap 187: Richard Petty takes over the lead from David Pearson
  • Lap 222: The differential on G.C. Spencer's vehicle stopped working properly, forcing him to leave the race
  • Lap 244: James Hylton's engine became problematic; forcing him to exit the race
  • Finish: Richard Petty was officially declared the winner of the event

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i "1968 Hickory 250 information". Racing Reference. Retrieved 2010-12-05.
  2. ^ a b c d "1968 Hickory 250 information (third reference)". Ultimate Racing History. Retrieved 2011-02-02.
  3. ^ "1968 Hickory 250 race winner information". Everything Stock Car. Retrieved 2011-02-03.
  4. ^ "1968 Hickory 250 information (pole position speed achiever)". Jacobs USA. Retrieved 2010-12-05.
  5. ^ "1968 Hickory 250 crew chiefs information". Racing Reference. Retrieved 2018-08-31.
  6. ^ a b c "1968 Hickory 250 weather information". The Old Farmers' Almanac. Retrieved 2011-02-04.
Preceded by
1968 Atlanta 500
NASCAR Grand National Season
1968
Succeeded by
1968 Greenville 200
Preceded by
1968 untitled race at Montgomery Speedway
Richard Petty's Career Wins
1960-1984
Succeeded by
1968 Greenville 200