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1972 American 500

The 1972 American 500 was a NASCAR Winston Cup Series racing event held on October 22, 1972, at North Carolina Motor Speedway in Rockingham, North Carolina. While not televised, the 1972 American 500 was covered by local radio stations WAYN-AM (900 AM) and WEEB-AM (990 AM).

1972 American 500
Race details[1]
Race 30 of 31 in the 1972 NASCAR Winston Cup Series season
Layout of Rockingham Speedway
Layout of Rockingham Speedway
Date October 22, 1972 (1972-October-22)
Official name American 500
Location North Carolina Motor Speedway, Rockingham, North Carolina
Course Permanent racing facility
1.017 mi (1.636 km)
Distance 492 laps, 500 mi (804 km)
Weather Mild with temperatures of 71.1 °F (21.7 °C); wind speeds of 5.1 miles per hour (8.2 km/h)
Average speed 118.245 miles per hour (190.297 km/h)
Attendance 42,000[2]
Pole position
Driver Wood Brothers Racing
Time 26.621
Most laps led
Driver Bobby Allison Howard & Egerton Racing
Laps 217
Winner
No. 12 Bobby Allison Howard & Egerton Racing
Television in the United States
Network untelevised
Announcers none

Most of the passenger cars were built in America back in 1972 and were built almost exactly to the specifications found in early-1970s NASCAR Cup Series vehicles. People had a tendency to transfer the pride and loyalty of their chosen vehicle manufacturer into their favorite stock car driver. With the growing U.S. environmentalist movement of the 1970s, smog controls were started to be mandated in passenger vehicles. This would create a reasonable performance gap between the passenger vehicles and the stock car vehicles that would become pronounced by the late-1970s.

Race reportEdit

An impressive lineup of 40 American-born drivers managed to qualify for the race. Drivers who failed to qualify were David Ray Boggs, Jimmy Crawford and Elmo Langley. Forty-two thousand people would become enthralled by the drivers going up to 118.275 miles per hour (190.345 km/h) in this 253-minute racing event. David Pearson's impressive qualifying speed of 137.258 miles per hour or 220.895 kilometres per hour got him close and personal with the pole position. Four cautions were given for a duration of 35 laps where 20 different drivers managed to gain the honor of leading the race. Bobby Allison would defeat Richard Petty by out-lapping him twice.[2] Unfortunately, Allison's "Joe DiMaggio Streak" would not last after this race; no driver has ever attempted for this race after this race. Ron Hutcherson was the last-place finisher of this event; with a racing accident costing him a chance to win the event on lap 29 out of 492. Richard Petty, Bobby Allison, and David Pearson managed to dominate the closing laps of this race.[2]

Pete Hamilton scores his final top-5 finish.[2] This was his final start of 1972 and he would only make two further starts in 1973, both of which ended in DNFs

Hutcherson's racing career would last throughout the course of the 1970s; ending only after the 1979 running of the World 600. Notable crew chiefs for this race were Harry Hyde, Dale Inman, Tom Vandiver, Vic Ballard, and Herb Nab.[3]

Rewards for this racing event started off at $19,400 for the winner ($116,199 when adjusted for inflation) while the last-place finisher was lucky to bring home $550 ($3,294 when adjusted for inflation). A grand total of $89,450 was offered to the race by the treasurers of NASCAR ($535,775 when adjusted for inflation).[4]

Bobby Allison's win at this event would become the tenth win of the 1972 NASCAR Winston Cup Series season.[5] Due to the cash crunch of the 1970s, only five individual owners could afford to employ a NASCAR Cup Series driver for the rest; the rest were all "proper" NASCAR teams with more than one person running them.[6]

Only manual transmission vehicles were allowed to participate in this race; a policy that NASCAR has retained to the present day.

QualifyingEdit

Grid No. Driver Manufacturer Qualifying speed[7] Qualifying time[7] Owner
1 21 David Pearson '71 Mercury 137.528 26.621 Wood Brothers
2 71 Buddy Baker '72 Dodge 136.202 26.881 Nord Krauskopf
3 43 Richard Petty '72 Plymouth 136.157 26.889 Petty Enterprises
4 9 Pete Hamilton '72 Plymouth 135.678 26.984 Jack Housby
5 12 Bobby Allison '72 Chevrolet 135.467 27.026 Richard Howard
6 28 Cale Yarborough '72 Chevrolet 134.664 27.188 Hoss Ellington
7 15 Dick Brooks '72 Ford 134.491 27.223 Bud Moore
8 17 Bill Dennis '72 Chevrolet 133.730 27.377 H.J. Brooking
9 27 Bobby Isaac '71 Chevrolet 133.045 27.518 Banjo Matthews
10 16 Dave Marcis '72 AMC Matador 132.837 27.561 Roger Penske

Finishing orderEdit

TimelineEdit

Section reference: [2]

  • Start: David Pearson was the first driver to leave the start/finish line as the green flag was waved in the air
  • Lap 32: First caution due to Ron Hutcherson's accident on turn 4, ended on lap 42
  • Lap 33: Bill Dennis took over the lead from David Pearson
  • Lap 34: Bobby Isaac took over the lead from Bill Dennis
  • Lap 35: Bobby Allison took over the lead from Bobby Isaac
  • Lap 42: Cale Yarborough took over the lead from Bobby Allison
  • Lap 51: Buddy Baker took over the lead from Cale Yarborough
  • Lap 66: Second caution due to Henley Gray's engine failure, ended on lap 75
  • Lap 67: Dick Brooks took over the lead from Buddy Baker
  • Lap 68: Bill Dennis took over the lead from Dick Brooks
  • Lap 69: David Pearson took over the lead from Bill Dennis
  • Lap 91: The third caution started due to Benny Parson's accident on turn 1, ended on lap 101
  • Lap 92: Bobby Allison took over the lead from David Pearson
  • Lap 97: David Pearson took over the lead from Bobby Allison
  • Lap 100: Buddy Baker took over the lead from David Pearson
  • Lap 167: David Pearson took over the lead from Buddy Baker
  • Lap 187: Bobby Allison took over the lead from David Pearson
  • Lap 213: Richard Petty took over the lead from Bobby Allison
  • Lap 250: The fourth caution started due to debris, ended on lap 256
  • Lap 251: Bobby Allison took over the lead from Richard Petty
  • Lap 252: Richard Petty took over the lead from Bobby Allison
  • Lap 259: Bobby Allison took over the lead from Richard Petty
  • Lap 261: Richard Petty took over the lead from Bobby Allison
  • Lap 269: David Pearson took over the lead from Richard Petty
  • Lap 317: Bobby Allison took over the lead from David Pearson
  • Lap 418: Jabe Thomas' engine stopped functioning in a normal manner
  • Lap 428: The rear end of James Hylton's vehicle was removed in an unsafe manner
  • Finish: Bobby Allison was officially declared the winner of the event

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ Weather information for the 1972 American 500 at The Old Farmers' Almanac
  2. ^ a b c d e 1972 American 500 racing information at Racing Reference
  3. ^ 1972 American 500 crew chiefs information at Racing Reference
  4. ^ 1972 American 500 at Fantasy Racing Cheat Sheet
  5. ^ 1972 American 500 at How Stuff Works
  6. ^ 1972 American 500 Archived 2014-08-27 at the Wayback Machine racing information at Driver Averages
  7. ^ a b 1972 American 500 qualifying information at Racing Reference
Preceded by
1972 National 500
NASCAR Winston Cup Series Season
1972
Succeeded by
1972 Texas 500
Preceded by
1971
American 500 races
1972
Succeeded by
1973