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The 1969 Georgia 500 was a NASCAR Grand National Series (now Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series) event that was held on November 17, 1968, at Middle Georgia Raceway in Byron, Georgia. It is not to be confused with another running of the 1969 Georgia 500 which actually took place in 1969.

1969 Georgia 500
Race details[1]
Race 1 of 54 in the 1969 NASCAR Grand National Series season
Date November 17, 1968; 50 years ago (1968-11-17)
Official name Georgia 500
Location Middle Georgia Raceway, Byron, Georgia
Course Permanent racing facility
0.548 mi (0.882 km)
Distance 500 laps, 227 mi (441 km)
Weather Temperatures reaching of 73.9 °F (23.3 °C); wind speeds of 14 miles per hour (23 km/h)
Average speed 81.079 miles per hour (130.484 km/h)
Attendance 6,000[2]
Pole position
Driver Holman Moody
Most laps led
Driver Richard Petty Petty Enterprises
Laps 362
Winner
No. 43 Richard Petty Petty Enterprises
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.

Contents

SummaryEdit

Thirty drivers qualified for this 500-lap racing event that took three hours and eight minutes to complete. Most of the field was driving vehicles made by Ford.[2] J.D. McDuffie ended up becoming the last-place finisher due to a problem with his engine on lap 20. Ed Negre was the lowest finishing driver to complete the race regardless of being 206 laps behind the drivers on the lead lap. Six thousand excited NASCAR fans were eager to see Richard Petty defeat David Pearson by a margin of five seconds.[2]

J.D. McDuffie's vehicle developed engine problems on lap 20. Jabe Thomas's vehicle developed similar issues on lap 26. An oil leak took Bill Champion out of the race on lap 81 while Don Tomberlin's engine stopped working normally on lap 90. The rear end of Don Tarr's vehicle became dangerously loose on lap 94. Driveshaft problems relegated Darel Dieringer to the sidelines on lap 119. E.J. Trivette managed to overheat his vehicle on lap 140. Ervin Pruitt no longer had a safe rear end for his vehicle on lap 162. Earl Brooks inflicted terminal damage on his vehicle on lap 189. G.C. Spencer lost the rear end of his vehicle on lap 210. Wayne Smith managed to blow his vehicle's engine on lap 222.[2]

Bobby Allison's vehicle no longer had a rear end on lap 252; forcing his exit from the race. Engine problems forced Bobby Isaac out of the race on lap 315 while a terminal crash took LeeRoy Yarbrough out of the race on lap 316. Friday Hassler's engine problems were unfortunate enough to kick him out of the race on lap 476 with a "fortunate" sixth-place finish.[2]

From the halfway point (lap 251) to the end of the event, Petty and Pearson didn't allow the lead to escape their collective grasps. David Pearson, Bobby Isaac, and Bobby Allison all dominated the opening 100 laps of this racing event. The average racing speed was 85.121 miles per hour (136.989 km/h); which was overshadowed by David Pearson's solo qualifying speed of 95.472 miles per hour (153.647 km/h).[2] Thankfully, this would be the final time that NASCAR followed the old tradition of starting the season in November.[2]

Notable crew chiefs for the race were Harry Hyde, Dale Inman, Mario Rossi, Dick Hutcherson, and John Hill.[3] Individual driver earnings from this racing event ranged from the winner's share of $3,500 ($25,217 when considering inflation) to the lowest possible earnings of $150 ($1,081 when considering inflation).[2]

Organizers were authorized to hand over a grand total of $16,935 for all the qualifying drivers ($122,013 when considering inflation).[4]

QualifyingEdit

Grid[2] No. Driver Manufacturer Owner
1 17 David Pearson '68 Ford Holman-Moody Racing
2 71 Bobby Isaac '68 Dodge Nord Krauskopf
3 14 Bobby Allison '68 Plymouth Tom Friedkin
4 22 Darel Dieringer '68 Plymouth Mario Rossi
5 43 Richard Petty '68 Plymouth Petty Enterprises
6 48 James Hylton '68 Dodge James Hylton
7 39 Friday Hassler '66 Chevrolet Red Sharp
8 64 Elmo Langley '66 Ford Elmo Langley / Henry Woodfield
9 49 G.C. Spencer '67 Plymouth G.C. Spencer
10 56 LeeRoy Yarborough '67 Mercury Lyle Stelter
11 10 Bill Champion '66 Ford Bill Champion
12 4 John Sears '66 Ford L.G. DeWitt
13 8 Ed Negre '67 Ford Ed Negre
14 96 Don Tomberlin '66 Ford Roy Buckner
15 34 Wendell Scott '66 Ford Wendell Scott
16 26 Jabe Thomas '67 Ford Don Robertson
17 47 Bill Seifert '68 Ford Bill Seifert
18 80 E.J. Trivette '66 Chevrolet E.C. Reid
19 46 Roy Mayne '66 Chevrolet Tom Hunter
20 76 Ben Arnold '66 Ford Don Culpepper
21 06 Neil Castles '66 Plymouth Neil Castles
22 5 Earl Brooks '67 Ford Don Robertson
23 57 Ervin Pruett '67 Dodge Ervin Pruett
24 0 Don Tarr '66 Chevrolet Don Tarr
25 19 Henley Gray '68 Ford Henley Gray
26 38 Wayne Smith '68 Chevrolet Archie Smith
27 93 Walson Gardner '67 Ford Walson Gardner
28 70 J.D. McDuffie '67 Buick J.D. McDuffie
29 45 Cecil Gordon '68 Ford Bill Seifert
30 9 Roy Tyner '67 Pontiac Roy Tyner

Finishing orderEdit

Section reference: [2]

  1. Richard Petty (No. 43)
  2. David Pearson† (No. 17)
  3. James Hylton (No. 48)
  4. Elmo Langley† (No. 64)
  5. John Sears† (No. 4)
  6. Friday Hassler*† (No. 39)
  7. Neil Castles (No. 06)
  8. Bill Seifert (No. 47)
  9. Henley Gray (No. 19)
  10. Ben Arnold (No. 76)
  11. Cecil Gordon† (No. 45)
  12. Roy Mayne (No. 46)
  13. Wendell Scott† (No. 34)
  14. Walson Gardner (No. 93)
  15. Roy Tyner† (No. 9)
  16. LeeRoy Yarbrough*† (No. 56)
  17. Bobby Isaac*† (No. 71)
  18. Ed Negre (No. 8)
  19. Bobby Allison* (No. 14)
  20. Wayne Smith* (No. 38)
  21. G.C. Spencer*† (No. 49)
  22. Earl Brooks*† (No. 5)
  23. Ervin Pruitt* (No. 57)
  24. E.J. Trivette* (No. 80)
  25. Darel Dieringer*† (No. 22)
  26. Don Tarr* (No. 0)
  27. Don Tomberlin* (No. 96)
  28. Bill Champion*† (No. 10)
  29. Jabe Thomas* (No. 25)
  30. J.D. McDuffie*† (No. 70)

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

TimelineEdit

Section reference: [2]

David Pearson
Bobby Isaac
David Pearson
Bobby Allison
Bobby Isaac
Bobby Allison
Richard Petty
Bobby Allison
Richard Petty
Richard Petty
David Pearson
Richard Petty
1
16
31
46
61
76
91
106
121
136
151
166
181
196
211
226
241
256
271
286
301
316
331
346
361
376
391
406
421
436
451
466
481
496

ReferencesEdit

Preceded by
1968 Peach State 200
NASCAR Grand National Series Season
1968-69
Succeeded by
1969 Alabama 200
Preceded by
none
Georgia 500 races
1969
Succeeded by
November 1969
Preceded by
1968 American 500
Richard Petty's Career Wins
1960-1984
Succeeded by
1969 Motor Trend 500