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The 1970 Rebel 400 was a NASCAR Grand National Series (now Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series) event that was held on May 9, 1970, at Darlington Raceway in Darlington, South Carolina. The race is known for a crash involving Richard Petty that inspired NASCAR to implement the Window net; a mandatory safety feature in today's NASCAR vehicles.

1970 Rebel 400
Race details[1][2]
Race 10 of 48 in the 1970 NASCAR Grand National Series season
Layout of Darlington Raceway
Layout of Darlington Raceway
Date May 9, 1970 (1970-May-09)
Official name Rebel 400
Location Darlington Raceway, Darlington, South Carolina
Course Permanent racing facility
1.375 mi (2.213 km)
Distance 291 laps, 400.1 mi (643.9 km)
Weather Extremely hot with temperatures of 91.9 °F (33.3 °C); wind speeds of 10.9 miles per hour (17.5 km/h)
Average speed 129.688 miles per hour (208.713 km/h)
Pole position
Driver Ray Nichels
Time 64.360 seconds
Most laps led
Driver David Pearson Holman Moody
Laps 117
Winner
No. 17 David Pearson Holman Moody

BackgroundEdit

Darlington Raceway is a race track built for NASCAR racing located near Darlington, South Carolina. It is of a unique, somewhat egg-shaped design, an oval with the ends of very different configurations, a condition which supposedly arose from the proximity of one end of the track to a minnow pond the owner refused to relocate. This situation makes it very challenging for the crews to set up their cars' handling in a way that will be effective at both ends.

Harold Brasington was a retired racer in 1948, who had gotten to know Bill France, Sr. while competing against France at the Daytona Beach Road Course and other dirt tracks in the Southeast and Midwestern United States; he quit racing in the late 1940s to concentrate on farming and his construction business.[3] He began planning a new speedway after he noticed the huge crowds while attending the 1948 Indianapolis 500[3] and thought, "If Tony Hulman can do it here, I can do it back home."[3] Brasington bought 70 acres from farmer Sherman Ramsey, and started making a race track from a cotton and peanut field.[3] However, he was forced to create an egg-shaped oval with one corner tighter, narrower, and more steeply banked because he promised Ramsey that the new track wouldn't disturb Ramsey's minnow pond at the west side of the property.[3] Brasington was able to make the other turn at the east side of the property wide, sweeping, and flat as he wanted.[3] It took almost a year to build the track.[3]

 
Dale Earnhardt Jr. on pit road, as his team completes a pit stop during the 2008 Dodge Challenger 500

Brasington made a deal in the summer of 1950 with France to run a 500-mile (800 km) race in Darlington on Labor Day that year. The first Southern 500 carried a record $25,000 purse, and was co-sanctioned by NASCAR and its rival Central States Racing Association.[4] More than 80 entrants showed up for the race.[4] Brasington used a 2-week qualifying scheme similar to the one used at the Indianapolis 500.[4] Brasington was also inspired by Indianapolis when he had the 75-car field aligned in 25 rows of three cars.[4] These practices have been curtailed over the years as NASCAR adopted a more uniform set of guidelines with regard to the number of cars which could qualify for a race. The race was won by Johnny Mantz in a car owned by France.

Race reportEdit

David Pearson defeated Dick Brooks by at least three laps in a racing session lasting three hours and five minutes; leading to his only win of the 1970 NASCAR Grand National Series season. Bill Seifert finished in last-place due to him quitting the race on lap 3. Four cautions given out for a duration of 37 laps. Twenty lead changes were made during the course of the race. Overall, there were three accidents and one accidental spin down turn 4. Bobby Isaac dominated the last half of the race but ended up in third place.[1]

This was Buddy Arrington's first race back after his vicious wreck in the Daytona 500. The Mopar stalwart posted a strong run in his return as he brought his #5 Charger home with a sixth-place finish, his best of the season.[1]

Engine failures dominated a good portion of the race. Five drivers failed to qualify for the event; including two Ford drivers. Cale Yarborough would finish in 13th place despite losing control over his clutch on lap 250. Nearly 13% of the race was run under a caution flag. Each green flag lasted almost 51 laps on average.[1] Paul Connors would make his final professional stock car appearance at this event.[5]

Drivers who failed to qualify for the race were: Ed Negre, Bill Shirey, Dick May, Hoss Ellington and Johnny Halford. Qualifying times ranged from 64.3 seconds to 72.1 seconds; speeds driven at the event ranged from 137.267 miles per hour (220.910 km/h) for the 37th-place driver to 153.822 miles per hour (247.553 km/h) for the pole position driver.[6] Dale Inman was listed as the official crew chief for Pete Hamilton and Richard Petty. Other notable crew chiefs included Banjo Matthews, Harry Hyde and Herb Nab.[7]

The race car drivers still had to commute to the races using the same stock cars that competed in a typical weekend's race through a policy of homologation (and under their own power). This policy was in effect until roughly 1975. By 1980, NASCAR had completely stopped tracking the year model of all the vehicles and most teams did not take stock cars to the track under their own power anymore.

Top ten finishersEdit

Pos[1] Grid No. Driver Manufacturer Laps Winnings Laps led Time/Status
1 3 17 David Pearson Ford 291 $15,560 117 3:05:07
2 5 32 Dick Brooks Plymouth 288 $8,170 0 +3 laps
3 9 71 Bobby Isaac Dodge 284 $5,580 77 +7 laps
4 13 48 James Hylton Ford 282 $3,350 0 +9 laps
5 8 72 Benny Parsons Ford 279 $2,600 0 +12 laps
6 17 5 Buddy Arrington Dodge 272 $1,950 0 +17 laps
7 26 37 Don Tarr Dodge 270 $1,675 0 +19 laps
8 36 46 Roy Mayne Chevrolet 267 $1,500 0 +22 laps
9 21 25 Jabe Thomas Plymouth 265 $1,425 0 +24 laps
10 34 54 Bill Dennis Chevrolet 261 $1,350 0 +28 laps

TimelineEdit

Section reference:[1]

  • Start of race: Charlie Glotzbach started the event with the pole position
  • Lap 3: Jim Vandiver's engine gave out on him, Bill Seifert quit the race
  • Lap 5: Bobby Allison took over the lead from Charlie Glotzbach
  • Lap 11: Windshield issues managed to put a hamper on Larry Baumel's day
  • Lap 29: Earl Brooks's vehicle developed bad vibrations, forcing him out of the race
  • Lap 34: Dave Marcis' engine gave out on him
  • Lap 37: Elmo Langley had issues with his vehicle's clutch
  • Lap 67: Bobby Allison took over the lead from LeeRoy Yarbrough, Cecil Gordon's engine gave out on him
  • Lap 73: Bobby Mausgrover's engine gave out on him
  • Lap 82: David Pearson took over the lead from Bobby Allison
  • Lap 96: Frank Warren's engine gave out on him
  • Lap 108: Caution due to LeeRoy Yarbrough's accident, ended on lap 117
  • Lap 113: David Pearson took over the lead from Pete Hamilton
  • Lap 116: G.C. Spencer's engine gave out on him
  • Lap 130: Caution due to a spun tire on turn four, ended on lap 133
  • Lap 132: Bobby Allison took over the lead from David Pearson
  • Lap 134: Paul Connors' engine gave out on him
  • Lap 136: Bill Champion's engine gave out on him
  • Lap 146: Bobby Allison's engine gave out on him
  • Lap 149: Caution due to Pete Hamilton's accident, ended on lap 155
  • Lap 156: Bobby Isaac took over the lead from David Pearson
  • Lap 176: Caution due to Richard Petty's accident, ended on lap 191
  • Lap 181: David Pearson took over the lead from Bobby Isaac
  • Lap 191: Bobby Isaac took over the lead from David Pearson
  • Lap 206: Neil Castles had issues with his vehicle's clutch
  • Lap 233: Wendell Scott had issues with his vehicle's clutch
  • Lap 234: Buddy Baker's engine gave out on him
  • Lap 238: David Pearson took over the lead from Bobby Isaac
  • Lap 250: Cale Yarborough had issues with his vehicle's clutch
  • Lap 256: Bobby Isaac took over the lead from David Pearson
  • Lap 259: David Pearson took over the lead from Bobby Isaac
  • Finish: David Pearson was officially declared the winner of the event

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ a b c d e f "1970 Rebel 400". Racing Reference. Retrieved July 2, 2014.
  2. ^ "1970 Rebel 400 weather information". The Old Farmers' Almanac. Retrieved 2014-07-16.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g Fleischman, Bill; Al Pearce (1999). The Unauthorized NASCAR Fan Guide (1998-99). Visible Ink Press. p. 7.
  4. ^ a b c d Fleischman, page 8
  5. ^ Paul Connors' retirement information at Race Database
  6. ^ Qualifying information for the 1970 Rebel 400 at Racing Reference
  7. ^ Crew chief information for the 1970 Rebel 400 at Racing Reference
Preceded by
1970 Columbia 200
NASCAR Grand National races
1970
Succeeded by
1970 Beltsville 300