Open main menu

The 1973 Richmond 500 was a NASCAR Winston Cup Series racing event that took place on February 25, 1973, at Richmond Fairgrounds Raceway (now Richmond Raceway) in Richmond, Virginia.

1973 Richmond 500
Race details[1][2]
Race 3 of 28 in the 1973 NASCAR Winston Cup Series
Layout of Richmond Speedway
Layout of Richmond Speedway
Date February 25, 1973 (1973-02-25)
Official name Richmond 500
Location Richmond Fairgrounds Raceway, Richmond, Virginia
Course 0.542 mi (0.872 km)
Distance 500 laps, 271 mi (436 km)
Weather Temperatures of 57.9 °F (14.4 °C); wind speeds of 9.9 miles per hour (15.9 km/h)
Average speed 74.764 miles per hour (120.321 km/h)
Attendance 18,000[3]
Pole position
Driver Bobby Allison Motorsports
Time 21.453 seconds
Most laps led
Driver Richard Petty Petty Enterprises
Laps 227
No. 43 Richard Petty Petty Enterprises

This race would essentially jumpstart what would become the "year of the smaller engine" while declining sponsorship interests for the drivers resulted in NASCAR keeping the bigger gas-guzzling engines from being abolished completely. Only manual transmission vehicles were allowed to participate in this race; a policy that NASCAR has retained to the present day.


In 1953, Richmond International Raceway began hosting the Grand National Series with Lee Petty winning that first race in Richmond.[4] The original track was paved in 1968.[5] In 1988, the track was re-designed into its present D-shaped configuration

The name for the raceway complex was "Strawberry Hill" until the Virginia State Fairgrounds site was bought out in 1999 and renamed the "Richmond International Raceway".

Race reportEdit

Five hundred laps took place on a paved oval track spanning .542 miles (0.872 km) for a grand total of 271.0 miles (436.1 km).[3][2][6] It took three hours and thirty-seven minutes for the race to reach its full conclusion in front of eighteen thousand audience members.[3][2][6]

There were nine notable crew chiefs that were a part of the race; including Herb Nab, Bud Moore, Lee Gordon, Vic Ballard, Dale Inman and Harry Hyde.[7] Richard Petty defeated Buddy Baker by 13.6 seconds.[3][6]

Eight cautions were given for seventy-eight laps.[3][2][6] The other drivers in the top ten were: Cale Yarborough, Bobby Isaac, Dave Marcis, Bill Dennis, Lennie Pond, Cecil Gordon, James Hylton, and Benny Parsons. Though Lennie Pond made his debut four years prior, this was only his third career start, and it yielded his first top-10.[3][2][6] Notable speeds were: 74.764 miles per hour (120.321 km/h) as the average speed[6] and 90.952 miles per hour (146.373 km/h) as the pole position speed.[3]

Canadian driver Vic Parsons started in 27th place and ended the race in 30th place (out of 30 drivers).[3][2][6] J.D. McDuffie would ruin his vehicle's engine on lap 54 while David Sisco would do the same thing on lap 110.[3] Engine problems would also claim the vehicles of Dean Dalton on lap 126, Ray Hendrick on lap 151 and Donnie Allison on lap 162.[3] Neil Castles' vehicle would suffer from terminal damage due to a crash on lap 210 while Tiny Lund would lose his vehicle's rear end on lap 229.[3] Frank Warren's vehicles ran out of tires on lap 237 while a crash would cause terminal damage to Sonny Hutchins' vehicle on lap 254.[3] Richard D. Howard would acquire the final DNF of the race due to engine problems on lap 349.[3]

Total winnings for this race were $35,600 ($200,924 when considering inflation).[2][6] DiGard Motorsports would throw their collective hats into what would become their debut race as a NASCAR Cup Series team.


Grid[3] No. Driver Manufacturer Owner
1 12 Bobby Allison '73 Chevrolet Bobby Allison
2 72 Benny Parsons '72 Chevrolet L.G. DeWitt
3 59 Donnie Allison '72 Chevrolet DiGard
4 24 Cecil Gordon '72 Chevrolet Cecil Gordon
5 71 Buddy Baker '71 Dodge Nord Krauskopf
6 11 Cale Yarborough '73 Chevrolet Richard Howard
7 90 Ray Hendrick '71 Mercury Junie Donlavey
8 43 Richard Petty '73 Dodge Petty Enterprises
9 17 Bill Dennis '72 Chevrolet H.J. Brooking
10 15 Bobby Isaac '72 Ford Bud Moore

Finishing orderEdit

Section reference: [3]

  1. Richard Petty (No. 43)
  2. Buddy Baker† (No. 71)
  3. Cale Yarborough (No. 11)
  4. Bobby Isaac† (No. 15)
  5. Dave Marcis (No. 2)
  6. Bill Dennis (No. 17)
  7. Lennie Pond (No. 54)
  8. Cecil Gordon† (No. 24)
  9. James Hylton† (No. 48)
  10. Benny Parsons† (No. 72)
  11. Walter Ballard (No. 30)
  12. Elmo Langley† (No. 64)
  13. Jabe Thomas (No. 25)
  14. Bill Champion† (No. 10)
  15. Bobby Allison (No. 12)
  16. Henley Gray (No. 19)
  17. Buddy Arrington (No. 67)
  18. Charlie Roberts (No. 77)
  19. John Sears† (No. 4)
  20. Richard D. Brown* (No. 51)
  21. Sonny Hutchins*† (No. 82)
  22. Frank Warren*† (No. 79)
  23. Tiny Lund*† (No. 55)
  24. Neil Castles* (No. 06)
  25. Donnie Allison* (No. 59)
  26. Ray Hendrick*† (No. 90)
  27. Dean Dalton* (No. 7)
  28. David Sisco* (No. 05)
  29. J.D. McDuffie*† (No. 70)
  30. Vic Parsons* (No. 45)

* Driver failed to finish race
† signifies that the driver is known to be deceased


  1. ^ "1973 Richmond 500 weather information". The Old Farmers' Almanac. Retrieved 2011-02-22.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g "1973 Richmond 500 information (third reference)". Ultimate Racing History. Retrieved 2011-02-27.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o "1973 Richmond 500 information". Racing Reference. Retrieved 2010-11-30.
  4. ^ "Richmond International Raceway has hosted the NASCAR Winston Cup Series since 1953. Lee Petty won the first race that year. "
  5. ^ "The original track was paved in 1968."
  6. ^ a b c d e f g h "1973 Richmond 500 information (fourth reference)". Race Database. Retrieved 2011-03-01.
  7. ^ "1973 Richmond 500 crew chief information". Racing Reference. Retrieved 2017-06-17.
Preceded by
1973 Daytona 500
Richard Petty's Career Wins
Succeeded by
1973 Gwyn Staley 400