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.
|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|
|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)|
|Most laps led|
|Driver||Buddy Baker||Cotton Owens|
|No. 40||Pete Hamilton||Petty Enterprises|
|Television in the United States|
|Network||ABC (second half)|
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.
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.
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. 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.
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.
|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|
- 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.
- "190 mph Fireball!". Cotton Owens Garage. Retrieved 2013-06-21.
- "1970 Alabama 500 qualifying information". Racing Reference. Retrieved 2017-04-12.