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The 1976 National 500 was a NASCAR Winston Cup Series racing event that took place on October 10, 1976, at Charlotte Motor Speedway in Concord, North Carolina.

1976 National 500
Race details[1][2]
Race 27 of 30 in the 1976 NASCAR Winston Cup Series season
This is a souvenir magazine from the 1976 running of the National 500.
This is a souvenir magazine from the 1976 running of the National 500.
Date October 10, 1976 (1976-October-10)
Official name National 500
Location Charlotte Motor Speedway, Concord, North Carolina
Course Permanent racing facility
1.500 mi (2.414 km)
Distance 334 laps, 500 mi (804 km)
Weather Temperatures of 64.9 °F (18.3 °C); wind speeds of 10.1 miles per hour (16.3 km/h)
Average speed 141.226 miles per hour (227.281 km/h)
Pole position
Driver Wood Brothers
Time 33.494 seconds
Most laps led
Driver Buddy Baker Bud Moore
Laps 104
No. 1 Donnie Allison Hoss Ellington
Television in the United States
Network ABC
Announcers Chris Economaki

By 1980, NASCAR had completely stopped tracking the year model of all the vehicles and most teams did not take stock cars to the track under their own power anymore.

Race reportEdit

A souvenir program was offered to the spectators at a cost of $3 USD per copy ($13.21 when adjusted for inflation). Another race took place the previous day known as the World Service Life 300; a companion race that accompanied the National 500 during the course of the 1970s.

The race was held on a dry circuit; with no precipitation recorded around the speedway.[3]

Forty American-born drivers competed at this race; the winner received $22,435 out of the total prize purse ($98,780 when adjusted for inflation). Last-place finisher Al Holbert received only $855 for his engine problem of lap 7 out of the scheduled 334 laps of the race ($3,765 in when adjusted for inflation). Janet Guthrie was the only female competitor in this three-hour-and-thirty-two-minute race. After three cautions for eighteen laps and 26 lead changes, Donnie Allison defeated Cale Yarborough in front of 74500 other people. Had Cale Yarborough won the race, he would have won five consecutive races.[2] A.J. Foyt quit the Hoss Ellington team in the early stages of the race, telling reporters he'd rather build his own cars than drive cars that are "never prepared.[2]" The frustrated Foyt quipped that he "couldn't keep that car in a 10 acre bryar patch." Donnie Allison won the race driving Foyt's backup car in a last minute entry.[2]

David Pearson qualified for the pole position with a top speed of 161.223 miles per hour (259.463 km/h) while the average racing speed was 141.226 miles per hour (227.281 km/h). His next pole position achievement would be at the 1977 World 600.[4] Notable crew chiefs that participated in this race included Junie Donlavey, Jake Elder, Harry Hyde, Dale Inman, Bud Moore, Sterling Marlin and Tim Brewer.[5]

Buck Baker would make his last NASCAR start here before retiring with a 34th-place finish in the books. He would go on to tutor an adolescent Jeff Gordon; who would go on to become one of the best NASCAR drivers in the "modern" era of NASCAR.[6] Hoss Ellington would make his first win as a NASCAR owner while bending the rules so that both his vehicles could compete.[7] Gordon Johncock would also retire from NASCAR after this race.

David Pearson had to get out of his #21 Purolator Mercury in this race. Neil Bonnett, an early retiree in this one, hopped into the Wood Brothers special as a relief driver to help out as the car went on to a top-10 finish. It was something of an early bird cameo in the #21 for Bonnett as he would later replace Pearson as the team's Cup driver in early 1979.[2]

Johnny Rutherford had entered the qualifying session carrying a faulty engine; the car was supposedly "set up" and the crews did not need to work on the chassis. Before he took the green to qualify he stopped and backed up a lap as he was screaming for a wedge adjustment. After eight turns down on the left rear he did put the car in the show. The decision was made to check the chassis and the front end settings were backward and the car had qualified with four inches of bite. As the race progressed Rutherford wanted four turns down on the right rear, which made no sense. The spinout that followed did not eliminate the car from the race but the engine failure down the backstretch did. Engines back then were not turned as tight as today. The tachometer was pegged to the maximum. He had clutched the motor and had to exit the race on lap 208 with a 31st-place finish; 13 places worse than the position that he qualified for.[2]


Grid No. Driver Manufacturer Speed[8] Qualifying time[8] Owner
1 21 David Pearson Mercury 161.223 33.494 Wood Brothers
2 15 Buddy Baker Ford 159.915 33.768 Bud Moore
3 43 Richard Petty Dodge 159.726 33.808 Petty Enterprises
4 11 Cale Yarborough Chevrolet 159.297 33.899 Junior Johnson
5 2 Bobby Allison Mercury 158.898 33.984 Roger Penske
6 27 Sam Sommers Chevrolet 158.744 34.017 M.C. Anderson
7 88 Darrell Waltrip Chevrolet 158.493 34.071 DiGard
8 71 Dave Marcis Dodge 157.141 34.364 Nord Krauskopf
9 17 Gordon Johncock Dodge 157.109 34.371 Nord Krauskopf
10 54 Lennie Pond Chevrolet 156.849 34.428 Ronnie Elder

Top twenty finishersEdit

Pos[2] No. Driver Manufacturer Laps Laps led Time/Status
1 1 Donnie Allison Chevrolet 334 59 3:32:51
2 11 Cale Yarborough Chevrolet 334 81 +12.2 seconds
3 2 Bobby Allison Mercury 334 8 Lead lap under green flag
4 15 Buddy Baker Ford 334 106 Lead lap under green flag
5 72 Benny Parsons Chevrolet 333 0 +1 lap
6 21 David Pearson Mercury 331 59 +1 lap
7 54 Lennie Pond Chevrolet 329 0 +3 laps
8 43 Richard Petty Dodge 328 5 +4 laps
9 90 Dick Brooks Ford 328 0 +4 laps
10 36 Bobby Wawak Chevrolet 326 0 +6 laps
11 88 Darrell Waltrip Chevrolet 325 0 +7 laps
12 67 Buddy Arrington Dodge 323 0 +11 laps
13 92 Skip Manning Chevrolet 322 0 +12 laps
14 41 Grant Adcox Chevrolet 319 0 +14 laps
15 3 Richard Childress Chevrolet 319 0 +14 laps
16 22 Ricky Rudd Chevrolet 318 0 +15 laps
17 49 G.C. Spencer Dodge 316 0 +17 laps
18 48 James Hylton Chevrolet 315 0 +18 laps
19 05 David Sisco Chevrolet 315 0 +19 laps
20 33 Earl Brooks Chevrolet 314 0 +20 laps


Section reference: [2]

  • Start: David Pearson was leading the other drivers to the green flag to start the first official lap
  • Lap 7: Al Holbert managed to blow his vehicle's engine
  • Lap 41: A valve stopped working on Gordon Johncock's vehicle
  • Lap 59: A.J. Foyt quit the race despite his vehicle not suffering from any mechanical issues
  • Lap 70: A valve stopped working on Ed Negre's vehicle
  • Lap 80: The clutch stopped functioning on Sam Sommers' vehicle
  • Lap 126: Neil Bonnett managed to blow his vehicle's engine
  • Lap 144: Bruce Hill managed to blow his vehicle's engine
  • Lap 148: A valve stopped working on Sonny Easley's vehicle
  • Lap 189: A valve stopped working on Coo Coo Marlin's vehicle
  • Lap 208: Johnny Rutherford managed to blow his vehicle's engine
  • Lap 250: D.K. Ulrich managed to blow his vehicle's engine
  • Lap 262: A valve stopped working on Dave Marcis' vehicle
  • Lap 268: The rear end of Cecil Gordon's vehicle was forcibly removed in an unsafe manner
  • Finish: Donnie Allison was officially declared the winner of the event

Standings after the raceEdit

Pos Driver Points[2] Differential
1   Cale Yarborough 4225 0
2   Richard Petty 4098 -127
3   Benny Parsons 3914 -311
4   Bobby Allison 3788 -437
5   Dave Marcis 3506 -719
6   Lennie Pond 3494 -731
7   Buddy Baker 3460 -765
8   Richard Childress 3203 -1022
9   Darrell Waltrip 3151 -1074
10   Dick Brooks 3069 -1156


  1. ^ 1976 National 500 weather information at The Old Farmers' Almanac
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i 1976 National 500 racing information at Racing Reference
  3. ^ "Charlotte NASCAR Climatology" (PDF). SERCC. Retrieved 2018-09-12.
  4. ^ "David Pearson's pole position accomplishment". Scene Daily. Retrieved 2011-08-06.
  5. ^ "1976 National 500 crew chiefs". Racing Reference. Retrieved 2018-08-16.
  6. ^ "2013 NASCAR Hall of Fame: Buck Baker at a glance". That's Racin'. Archived from the original on 2013-06-20. Retrieved 2013-06-17.
  7. ^ Hoss Ellington at the 1976 National 500. Google Books. Retrieved 2013-06-17.
  8. ^ a b Qualifying information for the 1976 National 500 at Racing Reference
Preceded by
1976 Wilkes 400
NASCAR Winston Cup Season
Succeeded by
1976 American 500
Preceded by
National 500/NAPA National 500 races
Succeeded by