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1968 Western North Carolina 500

The 1968 Western North Carolina 500 was a NASCAR Grand National Series (now Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series) event that was held on August 18, 1968, at Asheville-Weaverville Speedway in Weaverville, North Carolina.

1968 Western North Carolina 500
Race details[1][2]
Race 36 of 49 in the 1968 NASCAR Grand National Series season
Date August 18, 1968; 49 years ago (1968-08-18)
Official name Western North Carolina 500
Location Asheville-Weaverville Speedway, Weaverville, North Carolina
Course Permanent racing facility
0.500 mi (0.804 km)
Distance 500 laps, 250 mi (402 km)
Weather Very hot with temperatures approaching 87.1 °F (30.6 °C); wind speeds up to 10.1 miles per hour (16.3 km/h)
Average speed 73.686 miles per hour (118.586 km/h)
Pole position
Driver Mario Rossi
Most laps led
Driver David Pearson Holman-Moody
Laps 456
No. 17 David Pearson Holman-Moody
Television in the United States
Network untelevised
Announcers none

Ervin Pruitt would score his best career finish at this event.



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.

Five hundred laps took place on a paved oval track spanning 0.500 miles (0.805 km). The race took three hours and twenty-three minutes to finish.[2] Seven cautions were handed out by NASCAR for ninety laps.[2] David Pearson (with a Holman-Moody owned vehicle) defeated Bobby Isaac (in his Nord Krauskopf-owned vehicle) by more than three laps.[2] Notable speeds were: 73.686 miles per hour (118.586 km/h) for the average speed and 88.409 miles per hour (142.280 km/h) for the pole position speed (accomplished by Darel Dieringer using a vehicle owned by Mr. Mario Rossi).[2] Ten thousand and five hundred stock car racing fans attended this live event.[2] Out of twenty-nine American drivers, only nine of them finished the race in a timely manner.[2] Notable names included: J.D. McDuffie, Richard Petty, Elmo Langley, Roy Tyner, and Wendell Scott.[2]

The vehicle used by the winner was a 1968 Ford Torino machine homologated for use by the general public but modified to increase both speed and safety. A prize amount of $2,150 ($15,130.24 when adjusted for inflation) was given out to the winner of the race while last place paid out $150 ($1,055.60 when adjusted for inflation) for only fifteen laps of work by driver G.C. Spencer.[2] When all the winnings for this racing event are consolidated together, the total prize purse was $13,485 ($94,898.27 when adjusted for inflation).[3]

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.


Grid[2] No. Driver Manufacturer
1 22 Darel Deringer '68 Plymouth
2 17 David Pearson '68 Ford
3 43 Richard Petty '68 Plymouth
4 99 Paul Goldsmith '68 Dodge
5 71 Bobby Isaac '67 Dodge
6 1 Pete Hamilton '68 Dodge
7 48 James Hylton '68 Dodge
8 4 John Sears '67 Ford
9 49 G.C. Spencer '67 Plymouth
10 08 Bob Burcham '66 Chevrolet
11 2 Bobby Allison '66 Chevrolet
12 64 Elmo Langley '66 Ford
13 76 Tiny Lund '66 Ford
14 28 Earl Brooks '66 Ford
15 57 Ervin Pruitt '67 Dodge

Finishing orderEdit

Section reference: [2]

  1. David Pearson (No. 17)
  2. Bobby Isaac (No. 71)
  3. Neil Castles (No. 06)
  4. Roy Tyner (No. 9)
  5. Bill Seifert (No. 45)
  6. Jabe Thomas (No. 25)
  7. Ervin Pruett (No. 57)
  8. Walson Gardener (No. 93)
  9. Wendell Scott (No. 34)
  10. Pete Hamilton* (No. 1)
  11. Paul Dean Holt* (No. 01)
  12. Bobby Allison* (No. 2)
  13. Eddie Yarboro* (No. 50)
  14. George England* (No. 88)
  15. Ed Negre* (No. 8)
  16. Elmo Langley* (No. 64)
  17. Paul Goldsmith* (No. 99)
  18. James Hylton* (No. 48)
  19. Bob Burcham* (No. 08)
  20. Earl Brooks* (No. 28)
  21. Clyde Lynn* (No. 20)
  22. Darel Dieringer* (No. 22)
  23. Tiny Lund* (No. 76)
  24. Stan Meserve* (No. 51)
  25. J.D. McDuffie* (No. 70)
  26. Richard Petty* (No. 43)
  27. Wayne Smith* (No. 38)
  28. John Sears* (No. 4)
  29. G.C. Spencer* (No. 49)

* Driver failed to finish race


Section reference: [2]

  • Start of race: Darel Dieringer began the event with the pole position
  • Lap 3: David Pearson took over the lead from Darel Dieringer
  • Lap 14: Engine issues forced G.C. Spencer out of the race
  • Lap 33: John Sears had problems with his vehicle's engine, forcing him to exit the race
  • Lap 35: Wayne Smith's driveshaft stopped working properly
  • Lap 40: Paul Goldsmith took over the lead from David Pearson
  • Lap 52: A frame came off Richard Petty's vehicle, forcing his exit for safety reasons
  • Lap 56: J.D. McDuffie's engine stopped working properly
  • Lap 64: David Pearson took over the lead from Paul Goldsmith
  • Lap 91: Stan Meserve managed to overheat his vehicle
  • Lap 93: Vibration issues ended up giving Tiny Lund some "bad vibrations," forcing his exit from the track
  • Lap 119: Engine issues forced Darel Dieringer out of the event
  • Lap 129: Paul Goldsmith took over the lead from David Pearson
  • Lap 132: Engine issues forced Clyde Lynn to leave the event sooner than he planned to
  • Lap 136: Earl Brooks had a terminal crash, forcing himself to retire from the race
  • Lap 146: David Pearson took over the lead from Paul Goldsmith
  • Lap 148: Bobby Isaac took over the lead from David Pearson
  • Lap 149: David Pearson took over the lead from Bobby Isaac
  • Finish: David Pearson was officially declared the winner of the event


  1. ^ "1968 Western Carolina 500 weather information". The Old Farmers' Almanac. Retrieved 2012-08-02. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l "1968 Western Carolina 500 information". Racing Reference. Retrieved 2011-01-17. 
  3. ^ "1968 Western Carolina 500 information (prize winnings)". Fantasy Racing Cheat Sheet. Retrieved 2012-09-15. 
Preceded by
1968 Myers Brothers 250
NASCAR Grand National Season
Succeeded by
1968 untitled race at South Boston Speedway