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 GEICO 500, it helped to serve as a prime example of Talladega races yet to come.
|Race 10 of 48 in the 1970 NASCAR Grand National Series season|
Layout of Talladega Superspeedway
|Date||April 12, 1970|
|Location||Alabama International Motor Speedway, Talladega, Alabama|
Permanent racing facility|
2.66 mi (4.3 km)
|Distance||188 laps, 500 mi (800 km)|
|Weather||Chilly with temperatures of 68 °F (20 °C); wind speeds of 8.9 miles per hour (14.3 km/h)|
|Average speed||152.321 miles per hour (245.137 km/h)|
|Most laps led|
|Driver||Buddy Baker||Cotton Owens|
|No. 40||Pete Hamilton||Petty Enterprises|
|Television in the United States|
|Network||ABC (second half)|
Keith Jackson |
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 Series, 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.
|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|
The second half of the race was aired nationally on ABC Sports. A crowd of 36,000 was present at the race. 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.
Bill Shirey blew his engine on lap 3 while Dale Alonzo inflicted terminal vehicle damage on lap 10. Further engine failures were noticed on the vehicles of Don Tarr on lap 17, Richard Brickhouse on lap 25, Bobby Mausgrover on the same lap, and E.J. Trivette on lap 73. Henley Gray wasn't able to steer his vehicle properly; forcing his exit on lap 78. Jim Vandiver managed to overheat his vehicle on lap 93. Two more engine failures would be spotted as Raymond Williams had to leave the race on lap 107 and Charlie Glotzbach had to leave the race on lap 117. Bill Champion's vehicle developed an oil leak on lap 125 while Bobby Allison managed to ruin his engine on lap 126. Elmo Langley couldn't continue the race due to a faulty engine on lap 149. Water pump issues took Ron Keselowski of the race while Alton Jones had to settle for a 24th-place finish due to engine problems on lap 155.
Even though Buddy 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.
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." Baker would finish 12th, as Hamilton led the final 18 laps to give him the victory, with a 44-second lead 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.
- Pete Hamilton (No. 40)
- Bobby Isaac† (No. 71)
- David Pearson† (No. 17)
- Benny Parsons† (No. 72)
- Cale Yarborough (No. 21)
- Freddy Fryar (No. 14)
- Richard Petty (No. 43)
- James Hylton (No. 48)
- Neil Castles (No. 06)
- Coo Coo Marlin† (No. 07)
- Frank Martin (No. 79)
- Buddy Baker*† (No. 6)
- Dick Brooks† (No. 32)
- Friday Hassler† (No. 39)
- Jabe Thomas (No. 25)
- Butch Hurst (No. 89)
- Dave Marcis (No. 30)
- Bill Seifert (No. 45)
- John Sears† (No. 86)
- Wendell Scott† (No. 34)
- Cecil Gordon† (No. 24)
- Dub Simpson (No. 51)
- Ben Arnold (No. 76)
- Alton Jones* (No. 7)
- Ron Keselowski* (No. 62)
- Larry Baumel (No. 68)
- Elmo Langley† (No. 64)
- Jimmy Crawford† (No. 63)
- Bobby Allison* (No. 22)
- Bill Champion*† (No. 10)
- Charlie Glotzbach* (No. 99)
- Raymond Williams* (No. 47)
- Jim Vandiver* (No. 31)
- Henley Gray* (No. 19)
- E.J. Trivette* (No. 96)
- Bobby Mausgrover* (No. 84)
- Richard Brickhouse* (No. 59)
- Don Tarr* (No. 37)
- Dave Alonzo* (No. 81)
- Bill Shirey* (No. 74)
† signifies that the driver is known to be deceased
* Driver failed to finish race
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- "MRN Flashback: 1970 Alabama 500". Motor Racing Network. 2013-05-01. Archived from the original on 2013-07-01. Retrieved 2013-06-21. Cite uses deprecated parameter
- "1970 Alabama 500 crew chief information". Racing Reference. Retrieved 2018-07-30.
- "190 mph Fireball!". Cotton Owens Garage. Archived from the original on 2013-09-06. Retrieved 2013-06-21. Cite uses deprecated parameter
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