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1970 Alabama 500

The 1970 Alabama 500 was a NASCAR Grand National Series (now Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series) event that was held on April 12, 1970, at Alabama International Motor Speedway (now Talladega Superspeedway) in Talladega, Alabama. As the inaugural running of what is now known as the Talladega 500, it helped to serve as a prime example of Talladega races yet to come.

1970 Alabama 500
Race details[1]
Race 10 of 48 in the 1970 NASCAR Grand National Series season
Layout of Talladega Superspeedway
Layout of Talladega Superspeedway
Date April 12, 1970 (1970-04-12)
Location Alabama International Motor Speedway, Talladega, Alabama
Course Permanent racing facility
2.66 mi (4.3 km)
Distance 188 laps, 500 mi (800 km)
Weather Chilly with temperatures approaching 68 °F (20 °C); wind speeds up to 8.9 miles per hour (14.3 km/h)
Average speed 152.321 miles per hour (245.137 km/h)
Attendance 36,000[2]
Pole position
Driver Nord Krauskopf
Most laps led
Driver Buddy Baker Cotton Owens
Laps 101
No. 40 Pete Hamilton Petty Enterprises
Television in the United States
Network ABC (second half)
Announcers Keith Jackson
Chris Economaki

Nord Krauskopf's Bobby Isaac won the pole position, and the race was won by Petty Enterprises's Pete Hamilton.



Alabama International Motor Speedway (AIMS), later known as Talladega Superspeedway, is a motorsports complex located north of Talladega, Alabama. It is located on the former Anniston Air Force Base in the small city of Lincoln. The track is a Tri-oval and was constructed by International Speedway Corporation, a business controlled by the France Family, in the 1960s. Talladega is most known for its steep banking and the unique location of the start/finish line – located just past the exit to pit road. The track currently hosts the NASCAR series such as the Monster Energy Cup SeriesSeries, Xfinity Series, and the Camping World Truck Series. The track is the longest NASCAR oval with a length of 2.66 miles (4.28 km), and the track at its peak had a seating capacity of 175,000 spectators.[3]


The second half of the race was aired nationally on ABC Sports.[4] A crowd of 36,000 was present at the race.[5] Only manual transmission vehicles were allowed to participate in this race; a policy that NASCAR has retained to the present day.

32 lead changes occurred between eight drivers within the course of this race. Buddy Baker, Hamilton, Isaac, David Pearson, Cale Yarborough, Richard Brickhouse, Charlie Glotzbach and Bobby Allison all had their opportunities to dominate the race.[6] Even though Baker led the most laps with 101 (along with having a nine-second distance between Pete Hamilton by lap 170), he spent 88 minutes on pit road allowing Hamilton to lap him. Baker began to close in on Hamilton. However, Baker's tire blew heading into the fourth turn on lap 175; fragments of the tire would ultimately damage the engine cooler that would result in a serious fire for his Dodge vehicle. Baker proceeded to attempt to put out the fire by spinning into the grass apron, as the area appeared to have the least amount of possible impact on other cars.[7]

Baker suffered second degree burns to the legs and face, but was subsequently released from the hospital. When asked about the incident, Baker stated, "it was the scariest thing that ever happened to me. I don't really mind losing this time; I'm just happy to be alive."[7] Baker would finish 12th, as Hamilton led the final 18 laps to give him the victory, with a 44-second lead[2] over second-place finisher Isaac; Pearson, Benny Parsons and Yarborough closed out the top five. The win was Hamilton's second of the season, and Hamilton would eventually win the second Talladega race.[6]


Grid[2] No. Driver Manufacturer Owner
1 71 Bobby Isaac '69 Dodge Nord Krauskopf
2 17 David Pearson '69 Ford Holman-Moody
3 99 Charlie Glotzbach '69 Dodge Ray Nichels
4 22 Bobby Allison '69 Dodge Mario Rossi
5 6 Buddy Baker '69 Dodge Cotton Owens
6 40 Pete Hamilton '70 Plymouth Petty Enterprises
7 32 Dick Brooks '70 Plymouth Dick Brooks
8 43 Richard Petty '70 Plymouth Petty Enterprises
9 14 Freddy Fryar '70 Plymouth Bill Ellis
10 79 Frank Warren '69 Plymouth Frank Warren

Failed to qualify: Dick May (#67), J.D. McDuffie, Johnny Halford (#57), Wayne Smith[8]

Finishing orderEdit


  1. Pete Hamilton (No. 40)
  2. Bobby Isaac† (No. 71)
  3. David Pearson (No. 17)
  4. Benny Parsons† (No. 72)
  5. Cale Yarborough (No. 21)
  6. Freddy Fryar (No. 14)
  7. Richard Petty (No. 43)
  8. James Hylton (No. 48)
  9. Neil Castles (No. 06)
  10. Coo Coo Marlin† (No. 07)
  11. Frank Martin (No. 79)
  12. Buddy Baker*† (No. 6)
  13. Dick Brooks† (No. 32)
  14. Friday Hassler† (No. 39)
  15. Jabe Thomas (No. 25)
  16. Butch Hurst (No. 89)
  17. Dave Marcis (No. 30)
  18. Bill Seifert (No. 45)
  19. John Sears† (No. 86)
  20. Wendell Scott† (No. 34)
  21. Cecil Gordon† (No. 24)
  22. Dub Simpson (No. 51)
  23. Ben Arnold (No. 76)
  24. Alton Jones* (No. 7)
  25. Ron Keselowski* (No. 62)
  26. Larry Baumel (No. 68)
  27. Elmo Langley† (No. 64)
  28. Jimmy Crawford† (No. 63)
  29. Bobby Allison* (No. 22)
  30. Bill Champion*† (No. 10)
  31. Charlie Glotzbach* (No. 99)
  32. Raymond Williams* (No. 47)
  33. Jim Vandiver* (No. 31)
  34. Henley Gray* (No. 19)
  35. E.J. Trivette* (No. 96)
  36. Bobby Mausgrover* (No. 84)
  37. Richard Brickhouse* (No. 59)
  38. Don Tarr* (No. 37)
  39. Dave Alonzo* (No. 81)
  40. Bill Shirey* (No. 74)

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


  1. ^ "Weather information for the 1970 Alabama 500". The Old Farmers' Almanac. Archived from the original on 2013-07-01. Retrieved 2013-06-21. 
  2. ^ a b c d "1970 Alabama 500". Racing-Reference. Archived from the original on 2013-07-01. Retrieved 2013-06-21. 
  3. ^ "Track Facts". Talladega Superspeedway. November 1, 2012. Archived from the original on November 1, 2012. Retrieved April 27, 2015. 
  4. ^ "1970 NASCAR Grand National Recap". HowStuffWorks. Retrieved 2013-06-21. 
  5. ^ "40 years of Talladega -- Birmingham News special report". The Birmingham News. 2008-10-02. Archived from the original on 2013-07-01. Retrieved 2013-06-21. 
  6. ^ a b "MRN Flashback: 1970 Alabama 500". Motor Racing Network. 2013-05-01. Archived from the original on 2013-07-01. Retrieved 2013-06-21. 
  7. ^ a b "190 mph Fireball!". Cotton Owens Garage. Retrieved 2013-06-21. 
  8. ^ "1970 Alabama 500 qualifying information". Racing Reference. Retrieved 2017-04-12.