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The 1975 Champion Spark Plug 400 was a NASCAR Winston Cup Series race that took place on August 24, 1975, at Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn, Michigan.

1975 Champion Spark Plug 400
Race details[1]
Race 20 of 30 in the 1975 NASCAR Winston Cup Series season
Official program featuring Benny Parsons
Official program featuring Benny Parsons
Date August 24, 1975 (1975-August-24)
Official name Champion Spark Plug 400
Location Michigan International Speedway, Brooklyn, Michigan
Course Permanent racing facility
2.000 mi (3.218 km)
Distance 200 laps, 400 mi (643 km)
Weather Hot with temperatures of 89.1 °F (31.7 °C); wind speeds up to 12.8 miles per hour (20.6 km/h)
Average speed 107.583 miles per hour (173.138 km/h)
Attendance 47,000[2]
Pole position
Driver Wood Brothers Racing
Most laps led
Driver A. J. Foyt Hoss Ellington
Laps 69
No. 43 Richard Petty Petty Enterprises
Television in the United States
Network CBS Sports (aired September 20, 1975)
Radio in the United States
Radio MRN Radio

Programs were sold for this race at a price of $1.50 per copy ($6.98 when adjusted for inflation). The cost of admission to this race was relatively cheap; children got in for US$5 ($23.28 when adjusted for inflation) while adults got decent seats for US$10 ($46.56 when adjusted for inflation).

This was the first Cup race at Michigan International Speedway to have a corporate title sponsor. In all prior years, the August Michigan Cup race had been called the Yankee 400.


Michigan International Speedway is a four-turn superspeedway that is 2 miles (3.2 km) long.[3] Groundbreaking took place on September 28, 1967. Over 2.5 million cubic yards (1.9×10^6 m3) of dirt were moved to form the D-shaped oval. The track opened in 1968 with a total capacity of 25,000 seats. The track was originally built and owned by Lawrence H. LoPatin, a Detroit-area land developer who built the speedway at an estimated cost of $4–6 million.[4] Financing was arranged by Thomas W Itin. Its first race took place on Sunday, October 13, 1968, with the running of the USAC 250 mile Championship Car Race won by Ronnie Bucknum.

Race reportEdit

Two hundred laps were completed in three hours and forty-five seconds on the paved oval track spanning 2 miles (3.2 km). All of the 36 drivers who qualified for this race were born in the United States of America. Henley Gray started 374 races in Cup, but this is the only race where he led laps - two of them right after Coo Coo Marlin's wreck.[5]

Six yellow flags slowed the race for 63 laps while the lead changed 25 times among twelve drivers.[2][6] Richard Petty would defeat David Pearson by a distance of five feet as the lead changed four times between them in the final four laps[7] in front of 47,000 audience members.[2] This race was considered to be one of MRN's finest broadcasts; with interesting commentary during a long rain delay.

Pearson would win the pole position with a speed of 159.798 miles per hour (257.170 km/h) while the average speed of the race would be 107.583 miles per hour (173.138 km/h).[2] Even with David Pearson finishing in second place, he managed to keep his finishing streak going with victories at the 1976 Cam 2 Motor Oil 400 and the 1976 Champion Spark Plug 400.[8]

Jackie Rogers would receive the last-place finish for owner Lou Viglione and his 1975 Chevrolet team; he would match his career-best qualifying effort with a ninth-place starting spot but the motor on his #60 Chevrolet failed in the opening laps.[2][6] The race saw A.J. Foyt lead sixty-eight laps before falling out with engine failure after 117 laps. Independent driver David Sisco led 28 laps en route to finishing 11th.[2][6]

Prize winnings would range from $15,140 for the winner ($70,494 when adjusted for inflation) to $700 for the last-place finisher ($3,259 when adjusted for inflation).[6][9] There were 36 cars on the official racing grid; most of them were Chevrolets.[2][6] Terry Bivins would make his NASCAR debut in this race. Maynard Troyer would record his only top ten on his career. Richard Petty would keep his championship lead after this race. However, Dave Marcis would only be 573 points behind (despite not winning a race up to this point).[6][9]


Grid[2] No. Driver Manufacturer
1 21 David Pearson '73 Mercury
2 15 Buddy Baker '75 Ford
3 28 A.J. Foyt '75 Chevrolet
4 43 Richard Petty '74 Dodge
5 16 Bobby Allison '75 AMC Matador
6 14 Coo Coo Marlin '75 Chevrolet
7 90 Dick Brooks '73 Ford
8 11 Cale Yarborough '75 Chevrolet
9 60 Jackie Rogers '75 Chevrolet
10 72 Benny Parsons '75 Chevrolet
11 88 Darrell Waltrip '75 Chevrolet
12 24 Cecil Gordon '75 Chevrolet
13 48 James Hylton '74 Chevrolet
14 47 Bruce Hill '75 Chevrolet
15 96 Richard Childress '75 Chevrolet
16 7 Dean Dalton '73 Ford
17 19 Henley Gray '74 Chevrolet
18 05 David Sisco '75 Chevrolet
19 79 Frank Warren '74 Dodge
20 8 Ed Negre '74 Dodge
21 71 Dave Marcis '74 Dodge
22 70 J.D. McDuffie '75 Chevrolet
23 98 Richie Panch '75 Chevrolet
24 30 Walter Ballard '75 Chevrolet
25 63 Terry Bivins '75 Chevrolet

Finishing orderEdit


Section reference:[2]

  • Start: David Pearson was leading the starting grid as the first official lap commenced
  • Lap 6: Jackie Roberts managed to blow his vehicle's engine
  • Lap 20: Coo Coo Marlin managed to blow his vehicle's engine, after it blew he hit the turn 2 steel guardrail so hard it sheered off the support post causing a lengthy caution for repairs
  • Lap 48: Benny Parsons managed to blow his vehicle's engine
  • Lap 58: Ed Negre managed to blow his vehicle's engine
  • Lap 61: Earle Canavan managed to blow his vehicle's engine
  • Lap 67: Caution due to rain, ended on lap 87
  • Lap 97: Richard Childress managed to blow his vehicle's engine
  • Lap 117: A.J. Foyt managed to blow his vehicle's engine
  • Lap 119: Carl Adams managed to blow his vehicle's engine
  • Lap 132: J.D. McDuffie managed to blow his vehicle's engine
  • Lap 142: The rear end came off of Henley Gray's vehicle in an unsafe manner
  • Lap 183: Richie Panch managed to blow his vehicle's engine
  • Lap 192: Caution due to Cale Yarborough and Dave Marcis spinning into the frontstretch, ended on lap 195
  • Finish: Richard Petty was officially declared the winner of the event

Standings after the raceEdit

Pos Driver Points[2] Differential
1   Richard Petty 3329 0
2   Dave Marcis 2756 -573
3   James Hylton 2625 -704
4   Benny Parsons 2525 -804
5   Richard Childress 2493 -836
6   Darrell Waltrip 2474 -855
7   Cecil Gordon 2449 -880
8   Elmo Langley 2224 -1105
9   David Pearson 2183 -1146
10   Buddy Baker 2103 -1226
10   Walter Ballard 2103 -1226


  1. ^ "1975 Champion Spark Plug 400 weather information". The Old Farmers' Almanac. Retrieved 2012-09-10.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k "1975 Champion Spark Plug 400 racing information". Racing Reference. Retrieved 2012-03-24.
  3. ^ "Michigan International Speedway". CBS Sports. Retrieved 2013-06-11.
  4. ^ "Track History". Michigan International Speedway. Archived from the original on March 2, 2009.
  5. ^ "Driver Henley Gray Career Statistics". Racing Reference. Retrieved 2018-07-04.
  6. ^ a b c d e f "1975 Champion Spark Plug 400 racing information". Race Database. Retrieved 2012-03-24.
  7. ^ "Exact distance of victory". Motor Racing Network. Archived from the original on 2011-09-19. Retrieved 2013-06-14.
  8. ^ "David Pearson was king of Michigan International Speedway". Stock Car Racing. Archived from the original on 2013-11-27. Retrieved 2013-06-14.
  9. ^ a b "1975 Champion Spark Plug 400 racing information". Driver Averages. Archived from the original on 2015-09-23. Retrieved 2012-03-24.
Preceded by
1975 Talladega 500
NASCAR Winston Cup Series season
Succeeded by
1975 Southern 500
Preceded by
Champion Spark Plug 400 races
Succeeded by