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The 1976 Los Angeles Times 500 was a NASCAR Winston Cup Series racing event that took place on November 21, 1976, at Ontario Motor Speedway in Ontario, California.[2][3] Each copy of the souvenir program was an inexpensive $2 USD per copy ($8.81 when adjusted for inflation).

1976 Los Angeles Times 500
Race details[1]
Race 30 of 30 in the 1976 NASCAR Winston Cup Series season
Official racing program of the 1976 Los Angeles Times 500
Official racing program of the 1976 Los Angeles Times 500
Date November 21, 1976 (1976-November-21)
Official name Los Angeles Times 500
Location Ontario Motor Speedway, Ontario, California
Course Permanent racing facility
2.500 mi (4.023 km)
Distance 200 laps, 500 mi (804 km)
Weather Mild with temperatures of 77 °F (25 °C); wind speeds of 8 miles per hour (13 km/h)
Average speed 137.101 miles per hour (220.643 km/h)
Pole position
Driver Wood Brothers
Most laps led
Driver David Pearson Wood Brothers
Laps 121
Winner
No. 21 David Pearson Wood Brothers
Television in the United States
Network CBS
Announcers Ken Squier
Lee Petty

The five drivers that dominated the 1976 NASCAR Winston Cup Series season were David Pearson (average finish of 7th place), Cale Yarborough (average finish of 8th place), Richard Petty (average finish of 9th place), Benny Parsons (average finish of 10th place), and Bobby Allison (average finish 12th place).

Contents

BackgroundEdit

Ontario Motor Speedway was a motorsport venue located in Ontario, California. It was the first and only automobile racing facility built to accommodate major races sanctioned by all of the four dominant racing sanctioning bodies: USAC (and now IndyCar Series) for open-wheel oval car races; NASCAR for a 500-mile (800 km) oval stock car races; NHRA for drag races; and FIA for Formula One road course races. Constructed in less than two years, the track opened in August 1970 and was considered state of the art at the time.[4][5]

The first full year of racing included the Indy-style open-wheel Inaugural California 500 on September 6, 1970; the Miller High Life 500 stock car race on February 28, 1971, the Super Nationals drag race on November 21, 1970 and the Questor Grand Prix on March 28, 1971. Each of these inaugural races drew attendance second only to their established counterparts, the USAC Indianapolis 500, the NASCAR Daytona 500, the NHRA U.S. Nationals, and the U.S. Formula One race at Watkins Glen.

SummaryEdit

There were 40 drivers on the racing grid;[3][6] 39 of them were born in the United States of America while Roy Smith was born in Canada.[2] Darrell Waltrip would earn the last-place finish of the race due to an engine issue on lap 10 out of 200.[2][3][6] A grand total of $155,639 was handed out after this race was over ($685,267 in when adjusted for inflation); Pearson received a handsome $27,715 ($122,027 when adjusted for inflation) while Waltrip walked away only $3,660 wealthier ($16,115 when adjusted for inflation).[6]

David Pearson managed to defeat Lennie Pond by at least one lap in front of 44,702 people.[2][3] There were four lead changes and two cautions for 19 laps in this three-hour-and-thirty-eight-minute race.[2][3][6][7] Pearson would earn the pole position with a top speed of 153.964 miles per hour (247.781 km/h) while the average speed of the race would only be 137.101 miles per hour (220.643 km/h).[2][3][6]

Former IndyCar driver Mike Hiss would make his only NASCAR start here.[2] This race saw the rare occurrence of both a husband and wife being entered in the same NASCAR race looking to race against each other as IndyCar competitors Mike and Arlene Hiss both attempted to qualify for the race.[2] This possible matrimony milestone didn't come to pass as Arlene Hiss failed to qualify although the late Mike Hiss, as mentioned above, did both qualify for and finish the race.[2]

Notable crew chiefs for this race included Billy Hagan, Junie Donlavey, Jake Elder, Harry Hyde, Dale Inman, Bud Moore among many others.[8]

This race helped to revitalize the state of California (and the spirit of American motorsports) after the 1976 swine flu outbreak ended. What started out as a strain of the H1N1 influenza virus found inside Fort Dix[9] resulted in mass immunization even as far away as California. Since the previous race at Ontario Motor Speedway took place the year prior to the influenza outbreak, none of the drivers were affected by the illness.

QualifyingEdit

Grid[2] No. Driver Manufacturer Owner
1 21 David Pearson Mercury Wood Brothers
2 71 Dave Marcis Dodge Nord Krauskopf
3 11 Cale Yarborough Chevrolet Junior Johnson
4 15 Buddy Baker Ford Bud Moore
5 2 Bobby Allison Mercury Roger Penske
6 88 Darrell Waltrip Chevrolet DiGard Racing
7 43 Richard Petty Dodge Petty Enterprises
8 28 Donnie Allison Chevrolet Hoss Ellington
9 72 Benny Parsons Chevrolet L.G. DeWitt
10 67 Sonny Easley Ford Jerry Lankford
11 54 Lennie Pond Chevrolet Ronnie Elder
12 90 Dick Brooks Ford Junie Donlavey
13 01 Chuck Bown Chevrolet Gerald Craker
14 81 Terry Ryan Chevrolet Bill Monaghan
15 50 Terry Bivins Chevrolet Michael Brockman

Failed to qualify: Bill Osborne (#94), Hugh Pearson (#76), Buddy Arrington (#67), Tom Williams (#52), Don Graham (#52), Jimmy Means (#52), Travis Tiller (#46), Gary Johnson (#44), Marty Robbins (#42), John Weibel (#80), Sumner McKnight (#82), Jack Simpson (#53), Perry Cottingham (#99), Jerry Barnett (#99), Harry Jefferson (#95), Norm Palmer (#93), Chris Monoleos (#92), Don Reynolds (#89), Dick Whalen (#86), Ernie Stierly (#41), Terry Wood (#39), Arlene Hiss (#38), Coo Coo Marlin (#14), Leon Fox (#10), Eddie Bradshaw (#09), Dean Dalton (#7), Doc Faustina (#5), Ross Kusah (#4), Richard White (#2), Earle Canavan (#01), Dennis Wilson (#16), John Dineen (#18), Bruce Jacobi (#37), Chuck Wahl (#37), Ray Elder (#32), Walter Ballard (#30), Sue Williams (#25), Bryce Mann (#24), John Hamson (#22), Ron Esau (#20) and Steve Pfeifer (#0).[10]

Top ten finishersEdit

Section reference: [2]

  1. David Pearson (No. 21), official time 3:38:49
  2. Lennie Pond (No. 54), 1 lap down
  3. Benny Parsons (No. 72), 2 laps down
  4. Dick Brooks (No. 90), 2 laps down
  5. James Hylton (No. 48), 4 laps down
  6. Bobby Wawak (No. 36), 4 laps down
  7. Terry Bivins (No. 50), 6 laps down
  8. Skip Manning (No. 92), 8 laps down
  9. Terry Ryan (No. 81), 8 laps down
  10. Bruce Hill (No. 47), 8 laps down

TimelineEdit

Section reference: [2]

  • Start of race: David Pearson started the race but Cale Yarborough quickly overtook him
  • Lap 10: Darrell Waltrip managed to blow his engine while racing
  • Lap 12: Buddy Baker managed to wreck his vehicle's transmission
  • Lap 23: Roy Smith managed to blow an engine while racing
  • Lap 24: Richard Petty took over the lead from Cale Yarborough
  • Lap 35: Cale Yarborough took over the lead from Richard Petty
  • Lap 48: Henley Gray suffered through some transmission issues with forced him out of the race
  • Lap 54: Richard Childress managed to overheat his vehicle
  • Lap 80: David Pearson took over the lead from Cale Yarborough
  • Lap 111: Carl Joiner, Jr. had a terminal crash, forcing him to exit the race
  • Lap 168: Cale Yarborough had troubles dealing with his vehicle's clutch
  • Lap 171: The battery inside Jimmy Insolo's vehicle no longer worked properly
  • Lap 177: Janet Guthrie experiences problems with her vehicle's hub
  • Lap 178: Chuck Bown managed to blow an engine while racing
  • Finish: Cale Yarborough was officially declared the winner of the event

Standings after the raceEdit

Pos Driver Points[2] Differential
1   Cale Yarborough 4644 0
2   Richard Petty 4449 -195
3   Benny Parsons 4304 -340
4   Bobby Allison 4097 -547
5   Lennie Pond 3930 -714
6   Dave Marcis 3785 -769
7   Buddy Baker 3745 -899
8   Darrell Waltrip 3505 -1139
9   David Pearson 3483 -1161
10   Dick Brooks 3447 -1197

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "1976 Los Angeles Times 500 weather information". The Old Farmers' Almanac. Retrieved 2012-06-12.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m "1976 Los Angeles Times 500 racing information". Racing Reference. Retrieved 2012-03-24.
  3. ^ a b c d e f "1976 Los Angeles Times 500 racing information". Race Database. Retrieved 2012-03-24.
  4. ^ White, Ben (September 5, 2006). "Defunct Ontario Motor Speedway lived in the wrong period of history". The Dispatch. Lexington, North Carolina. p. 1B.
  5. ^ "New track is opened at Ontario". Spokesman-Review. Associated Press. August 23, 1970. p. 1, sports.
  6. ^ a b c d e "1976 Los Angeles Times 500 racing information". Fantasy Racing Cheat Sheet. Retrieved 2012-03-24.
  7. ^ "1976 Los Angeles Times 500 racing information". Decades of Racing. Retrieved 2012-03-24.
  8. ^ "1976 Los Angeles Times 500 crew chief information". Racing Reference. Retrieved 2018-08-01.
  9. ^ Gaydos JC, Top FH, Hodder RA, Russell PK (January 2006). "Swine influenza a outbreak, Fort Dix, New Jersey, 1976". Emerging Infectious Diseases. 12 (1): 23–8. doi:10.3201/eid1201.050965. PMID 16494712. Archived from the original on 2009-07-22. Retrieved 2009-06-23.
  10. ^ "1976 Los Angeles Times 500 qualifying information". Racing Reference. Retrieved 2017-04-08.
Preceded by
1976 Dixie 500
NASCAR Winston Cup Series Season
1976-77
Succeeded by
1977 Winston Western 500
Preceded by
1975
Los Angeles Times 500 races
1976
Succeeded by
1977