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1976 Riverside 400

The 1976 Riverside 400 was a NASCAR Winston Cup Series racing event that took place on June 13, 1976, at Riverside International Raceway in Riverside, California.

1976 Riverside 400
Race details[1][2]
Race 15 of 28 in the 1976 NASCAR Winston Cup Series season
Layout of Riverside International Raceway
Layout of Riverside International Raceway
Date June 13, 1976 (1976-June-13)
Official name Riverside 400
Location Riverside International Raceway, Riverside, California
Course Permanent racing facility
2.620 mi (4.216 km)
Distance 153 laps, 400.9 mi (645.1 km)
Weather Warm with temperatures approaching 84.9 °F (29.4 °C); winds reaching a maximum of 11.8 miles per hour (19.0 km/h)
Average speed 106.279 miles per hour (171.039 km/h)
Pole position
Driver Wood Brothers Racing
Time 84.639 seconds
Most laps led
Driver Cale Yarborough Junior Johnson & Associates
Laps 48
No. 21 David Pearson Wood Brothers Racing
Television in the United States
Network CBS
Announcers Ken Squier
Richard Petty

Most of the vehicles that raced in this event had Chevrolet as their manufacturer.[3] Roy Smith was the only Canadian competitor out of the 35-driver grid; the rest of them were American-born males.[2]



Pearson's qualifying speed of 114.437 miles per hour (184.168 km/h) would earn him the pole position while the average speed of the actual race was 106.279 miles per hour (171.039 km/h).[2][3] Richard Petty would become proficient on turn 6 throughout the race; despite ending the race outside of the "top five."

David Pearson managed to defeat Bobby Allison by a time of 1.6 seconds in front of 29,500 people.[2] The race took two hours and twenty minutes to complete; with the event's only caution flag lasting for a duration of four laps.[2] The victor would take home $15,150 in winnings ($63,762.89 when adjusted for inflation) while last-place paid a meager $665 ($2,798.83 when adjusted for inflation).[2][3] Ron Esau would acquire the last-place finish due to a clutch problem on lap 6 out of the 95 that made up the regulation length of the course.[2][3] Safe driving habits and remarkable efforts with keeping the oil products away from the track helped to keep most of the race under the green flag.

John Dineen and Ernie Stierly would make their NASCAR Cup Series debut at this racing event. Final NASCAR appearances by Jim Danielson, Bill Polich, and Don Reynolds were also memorable moments from this racing event.[4] A little known fact was that Darrell Waltrip was listed down as a resident of Daytona Beach, Florida for the purpose of tracking the starting grid instead of using his home town of Owensboro, Kentucky.[5] A race that Waltrip would end up winning later in his career would have him as listed as a resident Franklin, Tennessee - which is located exactly 127 miles (204 km) to the south of Owensboro.


Grid No. Driver Manufacturer Speed[6] Qualifying time[6]
1 43 Richard Petty Dodge 111.437 84.639
2 21 David Pearson Mercury 110.095 85.671
3 2 Bobby Allison Mercury 109.895 85.827
4 15 Buddy Baker Ford 109.575 86.078
5 38 Jimmy Insolo Chevrolet 109.037 86.502
6 11 Cale Yarborough Chevrolet 108.814 86.680
7 43 Richard Petty Dodge 108.506 86.296
8 50 Rusty Sanders Chevrolet 108.206 87.196
9 96 Ray Elder Dodge 108.099 87.253
10 88 Darrell Waltrip Chevrolet 107.995 87.337

Top ten finishersEdit

  1. David Pearson (No. 21)
  2. Bobby Allison (No. 2)
  3. Benny Parsons (No. 72), 1 lap behind
  4. Ray Elder (No. 96), 1 lap behind
  5. Buddy Baker (No. 15), 1 lap behind
  6. Darrell Waltrip (No. 88), 2 laps behind
  7. Cale Yarborough (No. 11), 2 laps behind
  8. Jimmy Insolo (No. 38), 3 laps behind
  9. Richard Petty (No. 43), 3 laps behind
  10. Dave Marcis (No. 71), 3 laps behind


Section reference: [2]

  • Start of race: David Pearson had the pole position to begin the race
  • Lap 5: Bobby Allison took over the lead from David Pearson
  • Lap 6: Ron Esau had a hard time handling his vehicle's clutch, forcing him out of the race prematurely
  • Lap 7: Cale Yarborough took over the lead from Bobby Allison
  • Lap 9: Jim Thirkettle's engine stopped working
  • Lap 8: Bobby Allison took over the lead from Cale Yarborough
  • Lap 9: Cale Yarborough took over the lead from Bobby Allison
  • Lap 21: Ernie Stierly's vehicle had transmission issues
  • Lap 26: John Hamson had to leave the race because his vehicle's engine started acting up
  • Lap 29: Rusty Sanders had a terminal crash
  • Lap 31: Bobby Allison took over the lead from Cale Yarborough
  • Lap 32: Hugh Pearson had to leave the race because his vehicle's engine started acting up
  • Lap 35: Cale Yarborough took over the lead from Bobby Allison
  • Lap 36: Neil Bonnett noticed that his vehicle's brakes were acting shoddy
  • Lap 39: Jim Danielson had to leave the race because his vehicle's engine started acting up
  • Lap 54: Oil pressure issues managed to overcome Roy Smith's vehicle
  • Lap 57: D.K. Ulrich had to leave the race because his vehicle's engine started acting up
  • Lap 60: David Pearson took over the lead from Cale Yarborough
  • Lap 70: Oil pump issues forced Lennie Pond to leave the race promptly
  • Lap 71: Gary Matthews lost the rear end of his vehicle, forcing him to exit the race
  • Lap 81: Frank Warren managed to blow his vehicle's engine while he was racing
  • Finish: David Pearson was officially declared the winner of the event

Standings after the raceEdit

Pos Driver Points[2] Differential
1   Benny Parsons 2161 0
2   Cale Yarborough 2138 -23
3   Richard Petty 2036 -125
4   Bobby Allison 1991 -170
5   Dave Marcis 1827 -334
6   Lennie Pond 1818 -343
7   Richard Childress 1758 -403
8   Darrell Waltrip 1664 -497
9   Buddy Baker 1663 -498
10   Frank Warren 1583 -578


  1. ^ 1976 Riverside 400 weather information at The Old Farmers' Almanac
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i 1976 Riverside 400 racing information at Racing Reference
  3. ^ a b c d 1976 Riverside 400 racing information at Fantasy Racing Cheat Sheet
  4. ^ Driver debuts at the 1976 Riverside 400 at Race Database
  5. ^ Darrell Waltrip home town information at
  6. ^ a b Qualifying information for the 1976 Riverside 400 at Racing Reference
Preceded by
1976 World 600
NASCAR Winston Cup Season
Succeeded by
1976 Cam 2 Motor Oil 400