1975 NASCAR Winston Cup Series
|1975 NASCAR Winston Cup Series|
The 1975 NASCAR Grand National Winston Cup Series was the 27th season of professional stock car racing in the United States and the 4th modern era NASCAR Cup series. The season began on Sunday, January 19 and ended on Sunday, November 12. Richard Petty, driving the #43 Petty Enterprises STP Dodge scored his sixth NASCAR Grand National Series Winston Cup Championship. Bruce Hill was named NASCAR Rookie of the Year. NASCAR introduced a new points system for 1975, a system designed by statistician Bob Latford. For the first time, each race on the NASCAR Winston Cup Grand National schedule carried an equal point value, a system that would be used for 36 seasons, from 1975 to 2010. The original points system ran for the first 29 seasons, from 1975 to 2003, and in the original points system, 5 bonus points for leading a lap and 5 additional bonus points for a driver leading the most laps was only counted towards the points of your finishing position. In 2004 however, even though this points system was still in play, modifications were made in the points system itself: A playoff system was added, points would reset to 5000 after 26 races, only the top 10 drivers in points or anyone else within 400 points of the leader would race for the championship with 10 races to go, the drivers in the chase would start off the 10 race format 5 points apart from each other (1st place gets 5050, 2nd 5045, 3rd 5040 and so on), and throughout the whole season, an additional 5 bonus points for winning a race was now included. In 2007, the number of drivers to compete for a championship would increase from 10 drivers to 12, the seeding for the chase was now lined up by the number of wins the driver had after the 26th race, or before the 10 race chase, and increasing another 5 additional bonus points from the 2004 rule for winning a race, making it now 10 bonus points for winning.
- Western 500 Bobby Allison led 173 laps at Riverside International Raceway in Roger Penske's AMC Matador to beat David Pearson by 22 seconds.
- Daytona 500 After falling back several laps due to overheating, Richard Petty pulled forward Benny Parsons in his draft to catch Pearson. With three to go Pearson moved into a group of lapped cars that included Cale Yarborough; inexplicably Yarborough got into Pearson and David spun down the backstretch. The win was Parsons' first since 1973.
- Richmond 500 With a field of only 22 entries due to a dearth of team sponsorships, Petty led 444 laps and won by six laps. Cale Yarborough was among the teams not entered, due to losing Carling sponsorship after the 1974 season.
- Carolina 500 In below-freezing temperatures, Cale Yarborough edged Pearson for the win while Petty finished nine laps down due to the same overheating problems that had plagued him at Daytona.
- Southeastern 500 Maurice Petty finally diagnosed the team's overheating issues as a cylinder head issue; with the issue corrected Richard Petty won his first race at Bristol International Speedway since 1967. Cale Yarborough led 78 laps but fell out with rearend failure.
- Atlanta 500 Petty and Pearson engaged in a running duel for the lead, but Pearson lost a lap in the final 100 miles. A late caution set up a one-lap duel between Petty and Buddy Baker; Petty contended the race ran past 328 laps but NASCAR showed scoring cards proving it had run the correct distance; among those who scored the race was Richard's daughter Sharon, who said Petty "went by 328 times." Manual scoring with cards and a clock created controversy over the years in NASCAR; the system was used until 1993, when NASCAR switched to electronic scoring.
- Rebel 500 Darlington Raceway once again proved tougher than Richard Petty as the #43 Dodge crashed out after 159 laps. Benny Parsons and David Pearson got into the late duel for the lead; when Pearson dove under Parsons entering Turn One on lap 350 both cars hammered the wall and ground to a halt. Bobby Allison, who'd been two laps down earlier, unlapped himself and edged Darrell Waltrip and Donnie Allison nose to tail at the stripe.
- Winston 500 Tragedy blackened Buddy Baker's first win since 1973 and the first win for team owner Bud Moore since 1966. Richard Petty's wheel well caught fire while leading and he pitted; his brother in law Randy Owens fitted a hose to a pressurized water tank; the tank exploded, nearly landing on Petty's roof, and Owens was killed. Baker edged Pearson at the stripe while Dick Brooks and Darrell Waltrip had sparkling efforts in finishing out the top four. The race lead changed 51 times among 13 drivers.
- Music City 420 The race was dominated by third-year driver Darrell Waltrip, his first Winston Cup Grand National win in what would become a Hall of Fame career.
- World 600 Petty won a long-distance race at Charlotte Motor Speedway for the first time in his career (he'd won a 100-mile qualifying race there in 1961) as he led 234 laps and finished a lap ahead of Cale Yarborough (it was his only win in this race). The Junior Johnson team by this point had secured Holly Farms sponsorship, allowing the team to contest the remainder of the season.
- Michigan 400 In a highly competitive race that saw 44 lead changes, Pearson edged Petty for his second win of the season while Dave Marcis and Cale Yarborough finished third and fourth; the top four combined to lead 180 of 200 laps. Petty increased his point lead to 441 over Marcis.
- Firecracker 400 Petty struggled during the weekend, qualifying only at 180 MPH but drafted past Buddy Baker with thirteen laps to go. Donnie Allison finished a distant fifth after winning the pole and was released from the DiGard Racing team and replaced by Darrell Waltrip, who finished fourth.
- Purolator 500 Controversy marred the finish. The lead changed 43 times despite a ninety-minute delay for rain near halfway. Pearson took the lead with 14 to go, but in the final seven laps the Wood Brothers Mercury smoked heavily, to where by Lap 198 it was lapping its own smoke. At that point NASCAR black-flagged Pearson, but the rules allowed a three lap period to obey the flag and there were only two laps to go. It was the third win of the season for Pearson. Under current NASCAR rules with electronic scoring, a time or lap penalty would be added for late-race black flag penalties.
- Talladega 500 Multiple tragedies surrounded the seventh running of NASCAR's late-summer 500-miler at Talladega. Gene Lovell, crew chief for Grant Adcox, died of a heart attack; Adcox withdrew and first alternate Tiny Lund got his starting spot. Mark Donohue drove a Porsche IMSA racer to a new closed-course speed record of 221 MPH (breaking A. J. Foyt's 217 MPH record in his Indycar the previous year) before pole qualifying; Donohue was killed ten days later during the Austrian Grand Prix. The 500 itself was scheduled for August 10 but was rained out until the 17th. Early in the race a six-car melee erupted and Lund was smashed through the driver side by another car; he succumbed to massive internal injuries. Dick Brooks then survived a furious tumble down the backstretch in the middle of the race. Buddy Baker held off Richard Petty at the stripe after 60 lead changes among 17 drivers.
- Champion Spark Plug 400 A six-car crash pierced the backstretch guardrail and stopped the race for half an hour. A late caution set off a five-lap shootout as Petty and Pearson fought for the lead; the lead changed on every lap before Petty drafted past Pearson for the win. Cale Yarborough survived a spin after colliding with Dave Marcis and finished third; the two exchanged words after the race.
- Southern 500 Bobby Allison, despite breaking a suspension piece in the final 50 laps, completed a season sweep at Darlington as he outlasted Richard Petty, who competed despite illness and heat, needing relief help from Dave Marcis.
- Delaware 500 Petty put the entire field two laps down, but with 150 to go a backmarker's blown engine sent debris under the STP Dodge and snapped a tie rod. Petty's crew needed eight laps to fix the problem and he restarted six laps behind Lennie Pond and Cale Yarborough. Pond fell out and Cale fell back; Petty kept lapping the field until he got back onto the lead lap; Buddy Arrington then came to a stop, necessitating a late yellow. Petty won handily and Dick Brooks finished second, upset because Arrington had purchased a transporter from Petty; said Brooks, "I guess Arrington needed that truck paid for."
- Old Dominion 500 Richard Petty fell out with rearend failure and pole-sitter Cale Yarborough crashed after leading 272 laps. Darrell Waltrip led before blowing his engine and Dave Marcis took the win, his first Winston Cup win and the first for Harry Hyde's #71 Dodge since 1973.
- National 500 Richard Petty broke out of a tight battle and led the final 111 laps for the sweep at Charlotte Motor Speedway. The win all but clinched his sixth Winston Cup Grand National title.
- Capital City 500 Richard Petty broke a piston 34 laps in but still clinched his sixth title; the Petty Enterprises team had begun experimenting with new parts in anticipation of the 1976 season. Darrell Waltrip made up two laps to post his second win of 1975 and the first for DiGard Racing.
- Los Angeles Times 500 Buddy Baker initially was not entered in NASCAR's season finale but Bud Moore had secured sponsorship from Norris Industries so Baker flew out to LA and led 148 laps, winning by 30 seconds over Pearson. Richard Petty led but fell out for the second straight year with engine failure; it was also his fourth DNF in his last seven races.