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The 1969 Motor State 500 was a NASCAR Grand National Series (now Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series) event that was held on June 15, 1969, at Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn, Michigan. Highlights from this event were featured on the classic television show Car and Track; hosted by famous race commentator Bud Lindemann.

1969 Motor State 500
Race details[1]
Race 24 of 54 in the 1969 NASCAR Grand National Series season
Layout of Michigan International Speedway
Layout of Michigan International Speedway
Date June 15, 1969 (1969-June-15)
Official name Motor State 500
Location Michigan International Speedway, (Brooklyn, Michigan)
Course Permanent racing facility
2.000 mi (3.218 km)
Distance 250 laps, 500 mi (743 km)
Weather Chilly with temperatures of 63 °F (17 °C); wind speeds of 15 miles per hour (24 km/h)
Average speed 139.254 miles per hour (224.108 km/h)
Attendance 46,238[2]
Pole position
Driver Banjo Matthews
Most laps led
Driver LeeRoy Yarbrough Junior Johnson & Associates
Laps 136
Winner
No. 21 Cale Yarborough Wood Brothers Racing
Television in the United States
Network CBS
Announcers Bud Lindemann

During this era, Michigan International Speedway was a Mercury-dominated track. It was also a track that suited a smooth driver or a driver that could change his driving tactics for Michigan International Speedway.

BackgroundEdit

Michigan International Speedway is a four-turn superspeedway that is 2 miles (3.2 km) long.[3] Groundbreaking took place on September 28, 1967. Over 2.5 million cubic yards (1.9×10^6 m3) of dirt were moved to form the D-shaped oval. The track opened in 1968 with a total capacity of 25,000 seats. The track was originally built and owned by Lawrence H. LoPatin, a Detroit-area land developer who built the speedway at an estimated cost of $4–6 million.[4] Financing was arranged by Thomas W Itin. Its first race took place on Sunday, October 13, 1968, with the running of the USAC 250 mile Championship Car Race won by Ronnie Bucknum.

Race reportEdit

A grand total of 38 American-born drivers competed in this 250-lap racing event.[2] Wayne Gillette ended up becoming the last-place finisher due to troubles with the rear end of the vehicle only after completing a single lap.[2] While LeeRoy Yarbrough would lead the most laps, Cale Yarborough would defeat David Pearson by a distance of five car lengths after more than three and a half hours of racing.[2] Cale Yarborough and LeeRoy Yarbrough got together during the final lap and LeeRoy tried to limp back to the finish line but came up just short.[2]

A faulty vehicular oil line managed to take Buddy Young out of the race on lap 62.[2] Bobby Wawak managed to blow his vehicle's engine on lap 74 while Bobby Allison did the same thing on lap 78.[2] Dick Johnson noticed that his vehicle's clutch was having problems; forcing him to leave the race on lap 80.[2] Between lap 94 and lap 150, five of the competing drivers would notice that their engines stopped working.[2] Some faulty lug bolts would relegate Ben Arnold to the sidelines on lap 155.[2] Bill Seifert, Paul Deal Holt, Dave Marcis and Henley Gray would end up blowing their engines between lap 183 and lap 191.[2] Yarbrough's day would end when his car suddenly crashed on lap 249; but not without picking up a respectable fourth-place finish in the process.[2]

Donnie Allison would become known as the fastest driver in qualifying; he earned his pole position after driving speeds up to 160.135 miles per hour (257.712 km/h) by himself on the track.[2] Earl Brooks would become known for being the lowest-finishing driver to complete the event; he was 85 laps behind the lead lap drivers.[2] The vehicles in this event ranged from 1967 to 1969; most of the vehicles raced here were Fords and Dodges; all built nearby in the assembly plants of Dearborn, Flint and Detroit. The racing grid was forced to slow down a total of seven times for a duration of 35 laps; more than 46,000 people would purchase tickets for the inaugural NASCAR Cup Series race set in the "Irish Hills" of Michigan.[2] LeeRoy Yarbrough and David Pearson both lead a respectable number of green flags and were tough opponents to deal with while under pressure. With the first-place position being exchanged a whopping 35 times throughout the event, it felt more like an Academy Award-winning movie than an actual NASCAR event.[2]

Individual race earnings for each driver ranged from the winner's share of $17,625 ($120,416 when adjusted for inflation) to the last-place finisher's share of $622 ($4,250 when adjusted for inflation). NASCAR officials were authorized to hand out a grand total of $73,548 in post-race winnings to all the drivers who managed to qualify for this event ($502,489 when adjusted for inflation).[5]

At least ten notable crew chiefs were recorded as attending this race; including Cotton Owens, Dick Hutcherson, Glen Wood, Banjo Matthews and Dale Inman.[6]

QualifyingEdit

Grid[2] No. Driver Manufacturer
1 27 Donnie Allison '69 Ford
2 98 LeeRoy Yarbrough '69 Mercury
3 71 Bobby Isaac '69 Dodge
4 21 Cale Yarborough '69 Mercury
5 43 Richard Petty '69 Ford
6 6 Charlie Glotzbach '69 Dodge
7 17 David Pearson '69 Ford
8 99 Paul Goldsmith '69 Dodge
9 22 Bobby Allison '69 Dodge
10 32 Dick Brooks '69 Plymouth
11 4 John Sears '69 Ford
12 03 Richard Brickhouse '67 Plymouth
13 61 Hoss Ellington '67 Mercury
14 64 Elmo Langley '68 Ford
15 15 Ed Hessert '68 Plymouth
16 76 Ben Arnold '68 Ford
17 10 Bill Champion '68 Ford
18 80 Wayne Gillette '67 Chevrolet
19 96 Frank Warren '68 Ford
20 70 J.D. McDuffie '67 Buick
21 0 Dick Poling '67 Chevrolet
22 23 Paul Dean Holt '67 Ford
23 47 Cecil Gordon '68 Ford
24 45 Bill Seifert '68 Ford
25 48 James Hylton '69 Dodge

Top twenty finishersEdit

Pos[2] No. Driver Manufacturer Laps Laps led Time/Status
1 21 Cale Yarborough Mercury 250 38 3:35:26
2 17 David Pearson Ford 250 57 +5 seconds
3 43 Richard Petty Ford 250 0 Lead lap under green flag
4 98 LeeRoy Yarbrough Mercury 249 136 Terminal vehicle damage
5 6 Charlie Glotzbach Dodge 249 2 +1 lap
6 99 Paul Goldsmith Dodge 248 4 +2 laps
7 48 James Hylton Dodge 244 2 +6 laps
8 06 Neil Castles Dodge 242 0 +8 laps
9 4 John Sears Ford 240 1 +10 laps
10 25 Jabe Thomas Plymouth 227 0 +23 laps
11 15 Ed Hessert Plymouth 224 0 +26 laps
12 34 Wendell Scott Ford 216 0 +34 laps
13 70 J.D. McDuffie Buick 211 0 +39 laps
14 61 Hoss Ellington Mercury 210 0 +40 laps
15 08 E.J. Trivette Chevrolet 210 0 +40 laps
16 47 Cecil Gordon Ford 206 0 +44 laps
17 44 Bob Ashbrook Ford 198 0 +52 laps
18 19 Henley Gray Ford 193 0 Engine failure
19 30 Dave Marcis Dodge 191 0 Engine failure
20 23 Paul Dean Holt Ford 187 0 Engine failure

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ Weather information for the 1969 Motor State 500 at The Old Farmers' Almanac
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r Racing information for the 1969 Motor State 500 at Racing Reference
  3. ^ "Michigan International Speedway". CBS Sports. Retrieved 2013-06-11.
  4. ^ "Track History". Michigan International Speedway. Archived from the original on March 2, 2009.
  5. ^ Winnings information for the 1969 Motor State 500 at Fantasy Racing Cheat Sheet
  6. ^ 1969 Motor State 500 crew chiefs at Racing Reference
Preceded by
1969 Maryville 300
NASCAR Grand National Series Season
1969
Succeeded by
1969 Kingsport 250