1972 Texas 500
|Race 31 of 31 in the 1972 NASCAR Winston Cup Series season|
Layout of Texas World Speedway
|Date||November 12, 1972|
|Official name||Texas 500|
|Location||Texas World Speedway, College Station, Texas|
Permanent racing facility|
2.000 mi (3.218 km)
|Distance||250 laps, 500 mi (804.68 km)|
|Weather||Mild with temperatures of 75.9 °F (24.4 °C); wind speeds of 10.1 miles per hour (16.3 km/h)|
|Average speed||147.059 miles per hour (236.669 km/h)|
|Driver||Wood Brothers Racing|
|Most laps led|
|Driver||Buddy Baker||K&K Insurance Racing|
|No. 71||Buddy Baker||K&K Insurance Racing|
|Television in the United States|
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.
The race was 250 laps on a paved track spanning 2 miles (3.2 km) in front of 33,000 live spectators. It took exactly 3 hours and 24 seconds for Buddy Baker to defeat A. J. Foyt by ½ of a car length. Baker's victory played a role in making 1972 the first NASCAR Cup Series season without any first-time Cup series winners. Foyt had earned the pole position with a speed of 170.273 miles per hour (274.028 km/h) during the qualifying runs even though the actual race speeds approached 147.059 miles per hour (236.669 km/h). Five cautions slowed the race for 29 laps. All the 44 drivers on the racing grid were American-born males.
Bill Seifert of the famous Giachetti Brothers (headed by Richard Giachetti) finished the race in the last-place position due to a clutch problem in the first lap of the race. Bill Champion had engine issues on lap 16 while Earle Canavan had windshield issues on lap 30. Ron Keselowski would ruin his vehicle's engine on lap 38 while Bill Hollar did the same thing on lap 68. Frank Warren would ruin his vehicle's engine on lap 92. Jabe Thomas noticed that his vehicle's suspension acted strangely on lap 93.
H.B. Bailey would lose the rear end of his vehicle on lap 106. Gordon Johncock's engine expired on lap 182. Once Buddy Arrington dropped out with engine failure after completing 184 laps, Petty had locked up a 33rd-place finish. Petty only needed to complete 190 laps to clinch the championship; becoming the champion on lap 191. Clarence Lovell's engine stopped working on lap 196 while Paul Feldner's engine stopped working on lap 198. Larry Smith had identical problems to Lovell and Feldner on lap 199. Johnny Rutherford had to stop racing due to a problematic engine on lap 224.
Seven notable crew chiefs were recorded as participating in the event; including Dale Inman and Harry Hyde. Paul Feldner and Bill Shirey would retire from the NASCAR Winston Cup Series after this event while Rick Newsom would make his introduction into professional stock car racing.
Only manual transmission vehicles were allowed to participate in this race; a policy that NASCAR has retained to the present day. Unfortunately, this race broke Bobby Allison's streak of leading a lap from the 1971 Southern 500 all the way to the 1972 American 500. This streak would be known as the "Joe DiMaggio Streak" after the famous baseball player, and it has not been accomplished by any driver after this date.
Individual prize winnings for each driver ranged from the winner's share of $14,920 ($89,366 when considering inflation) to the last-place finishers' share of just $705 ($4,223 when considering inflation). The total prize purse for this racing event was locked in at $88,270 ($528,707 when considering inflation).
|1||21||A. J. Foyt||'71 Mercury||Wood Brothers|
|2||71||Buddy Baker||'71 Dodge||Nord Krauskopf|
|3||43||Richard Petty||'72 Dodge||Petty Enterprises|
|4||12||Bobby Allison||'72 Chevrolet||Richard Howard|
|5||04||Hershel McGriff||'72 Plymouth||Beryl Jackson|
|6||14||Coo Coo Marlin||'72 Chevrolet||H.B. Cunningham|
|7||22||Gordon Johncock||'72 Plymouth||Crawford Brothers|
|8||72||Benny Parsons||'71 Mercury||L.G. DeWitt|
|9||90||Johnny Rutherford||'72 Ford||Junie Donlavey|
|10||18||Joe Frasson||'72 Dodge||Joe Frasson|
- Buddy Baker
- A.J. Foyt
- Richard Petty
- Bobby Allison
- Hershel McGriff
- Benny Parsons
- Coo Coo Marlin
- Cecil Gordon
- Cale Yarborough
- Joe Frasson
- James Hylton
- Dave Marcis
- Ramo Stott
- J.D. McDuffie
- Ben Arnold
- John Sears
- Dick Brooks
- Walter Ballard
- Jim Whitt
- Dean Dalton
- Raymond Williams
- Rick Newsom
- Harry Schilling
- Elmo Langley
- Ed Negre
- Johnny Rutherford
- David Sisco
- Charlie Roberts
- Bill Shirey
- Mel Larson
- Larry Smith
- Paul Feldner
- Clarence Lovell
- Buddy Arrington
- Gordon Johncock
- H.B. Bailey
- Jabe Thomas
- Frank Warren
- Henley Gray
- Bill Hollar
- Ron Keselowski
- Earle Canavan
- Bill Champion
- Bill Seifert
- "1972 Texas 500 weather information". The Old Farmers' Almanac. Retrieved 2012-09-07.
- "1972 Texas 500 race information (second reference)". Database Racing. Retrieved 2011-04-04.
- "1972 Texas 500 race information". Racing Reference. Retrieved 2011-04-03.
- 1972 NASCAR Winston Cup Results at Racing Reference
- "1972 Texas 500 crew chief information". Racing Reference. Retrieved 2017-07-13.
- Retirement and new driver information at Race Database
- "1972 Texas 500 prize winnings information". Fantasy Racing Cheat Sheet. Retrieved 2012-11-10.
1972 American 500
| NASCAR Winston Cup Races
1973 Winston Western 500