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The 1976 Dixie 500 was a NASCAR Winston Cup Series (now Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series) race that took place on November 7, 1976, at Atlanta International Raceway in Hampton, Georgia.

1976 Dixie 500
Race details[1]
Race 29 of 30 in the 1976 NASCAR Winston Cup Series season
Layout of Atlanta International Speedway, used until 1996
Layout of Atlanta International Speedway, used until 1996
Date November 7, 1976 (1976-November-07)
Official name Dixie 500
Location Atlanta International Raceway, Hampton, Georgia
Course Permanent racing facility
1.522 mi (2.449 km)
Distance 328 laps, 499.2 mi (803.3 km)
Weather Chilly with temperatures of 66.9 °F (19.4 °C); wind speeds of 15 miles per hour (24 km/h)
Average speed 127.396 miles per hour (205.024 km/h)
Attendance 46,000[2]
Pole position
Driver Bud Moore Engineering
Most laps led
Driver Dave Marcis K&K Insurance Racing
Laps 224
No. 71 Dave Marcis K&K Insurance Racing
Television in the United States
Network CBS
Announcers Ken Squier

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


Atlanta International Raceway (now Atlanta Motor Speedway) is one of ten current intermediate tracks to hold NASCAR races; the others are Charlotte Motor Speedway, Chicagoland Speedway, Darlington Raceway, Homestead Miami Speedway, Kansas Speedway, Kentucky Speedway, Las Vegas Motor Speedway, New Hampshire Motor Speedway, and Texas Motor Speedway.[3] However, at the time, only Charlotte and Darlington were built.

The layout at Atlanta International Speedway at the time was a four-turn traditional oval track that is 1.54 miles (2.48 km) long.[4] The track's turns are banked at twenty-four degrees, while the front stretch, the location of the finish line, and the back stretch are banked at five.[4]

Race reportEdit

Three hundred and twenty eight laps were done on a paved oval track spanning 1.522 miles (2.449 km) for a grand total of 499.2 miles (803.4 km).[2] The total time of the race was three hours and fifty-five minutes.[2] Four cautions were made for forty-one laps.[2] Dave Marcis defeated David Pearson by two car lengths. In his third career start, Dale Earnhardt scores a career best to that point 19th-place finish.[2] Chevrolet vehicles managed to fill out the majority of the racing grid.[5]

Notable crew chiefs for this race included Travis Carter, Tim Brewer, Sterling Marlin, Dale Inman, Harry Hyde, Jake Elder, and Junie Donlavey.[6] Speeds for this race were: 127.396 miles per hour (205.024 km/h) as the average and 161.652 miles per hour (260.154 km/h) for the pole position.[2] Forty-six thousand fans attended this live race.[2] Total winnings for this race were $132,625 ($583,938 when adjusted for inflation).[2]

Canadian driver Jack Donohue would finish the race in last place without completing any laps of the race. Donohue simply forgot to shift to fourth gear; causing his engine to malfunction.[7] he was granted 55 championship points just for qualifying.[2]

G.C. Spencer inflicted terminal vehicle damage on lap 1 while Billy McGinnis blew his vehicle's engine on lap 15. A faulty head gasket forced David Sisco to leave the race on lap 34. Oil pressure issues would force Dick May out of the race on lap 60 while faulty wheel bearings eliminated Chuck Bown from the race on lap 75.[2] Coo Coo Marlin had a bad engine on lap 114. Oil pressure issues forced Richard Petty to leave the race on lap 157 while Frank Warren overheated his vehicle on lap 164. A valve problem caused Bobby Allison to leave the race on lap 168. Engine problems would claim the vehicles of Richard Childress on lap 218, Lennie Pond on lap 228, and Terry Bivins on lap 250. A problematic valve spring on lap 252 would end Richie Panch's weekend on the track. Grant Adcox's engine would stop working on lap 254.[2] David Pearson looked like a winner on lap 301 as he drove by Marcis on lap 301. Turns out Dave was cooling his tires and 14 laps later Marcis drove by Pearson to end up winning the race.[2]

Richie Panch, son of Marvin Panch, would retire after the end of this race while Billy McGinnis would make his official NASCAR Cup Series debut.[8]

Dale Earnhardt survived a huge crash when Dick Brooks slid down the banking of Turn 3; Earnhardt hit Brooks and tumbled to Turn 4.[9]

Future NASCAR superstar Bill Elliott had a role wiping the windshield of 16th-place finisher Gene Felton's stock car; Elliott would go on to have a successful Cup Series career of his own 12 years later.[10]


Grid[2] No. Driver Manufacturer Owner
1 15 Buddy Baker Ford Bud Moore
2 71 Dave Marcis Dodge Nord Krauskopf
3 21 David Pearson Mercury Wood Brothers
4 43 Richard Petty Dodge Petty Enterprises
5 1 Donnie Allison Chevrolet Hoss Ellington
6 27 Sam Sommers Chevrolet M.C. Anderson
7 11 Cale Yarborough Chevrolet Junior Johnson
8 2 Bobby Allison Mercury Roger Penske
9 88 Darrell Waltrip Chevrolet DiGard Racing
10 01 Chuck Bown Chevrolet Gerald Craker

Finishing orderEdit

Standings after the raceEdit

Pos Driver Points[2] Differential
1   Cale Yarborough 4545 0
2   Richard Petty 4362 -183
3   Benny Parsons 4139 -406
4   Bobby Allison 4033 -512
5   Dave Marcis 3784 -761
6   Lennie Pond 3760 -785
7   Buddy Baker 3699 -846
8   Darrell Waltrip 3462 -1083
9   Richard Childress 3373 -1172
10   David Pearson 3298 -1247


  1. ^ "1976 Dixie 500 weather information". The Old Farmers' Almanac. Retrieved 2012-08-04.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o "1976 Dixie 500 information". Racing Reference. Retrieved 2011-02-02.
  3. ^ "NASCAR Race Tracks". NASCAR. Archived from the original on June 28, 2011. Retrieved September 2, 2011.
  4. ^ a b "NASCAR Tracks—The Atlanta Motor Speedway". Atlanta Motor Speedway. Archived from the original on 2011-07-21. Retrieved September 2, 2011.
  5. ^ "Official Race Results: Dixie 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway on 11-07-1976". Fantasy Racing Cheat Sheet. Retrieved 2014-04-04.
  6. ^ "1976 Dixie 500 crew chiefs information". Racing Reference. Retrieved 2018-08-27.
  7. ^ "1976 Dixie 500 information (Jack Donohue information)". Driver Averages. Archived from the original on 2011-10-05. Retrieved 2011-02-27.
  8. ^ "Debuts and retirements". Race Database. Retrieved 2014-04-04.
  9. ^ "1976 Dixie 500 information (third reference)". How Stuff Works. Retrieved 2011-02-24.
  10. ^ "Mister Versatility". Hemmings. Retrieved 2014-04-04.
Preceded by
1976 American 500
NASCAR Winston Cup Series Season
Succeeded by
1976 Los Angeles Times 500