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1977 Champion Spark Plug 400

The 1977 Champion Spark Plug 400 was a NASCAR Winston Cup Series racing event that took place on August 22, 1977, at Michigan International Speedway in the American community of Brooklyn, Michigan.

1977 Champion Spark Plug 400
Race details[1]
Race 20 of 30 in the 1977 NASCAR Winston Cup Series season
Layout of Michigan International Speedway
Layout of Michigan International Speedway
Date August 22, 1977 (1977-August-22)
Official name Champion Spark Plug 400
Location Michigan International Speedway, Brooklyn, Michigan
Course Permanent racing facility
2.000 mi (3.218 km)
Distance 200 laps, 400 mi (643 km)
Weather Mild with temperatures approaching 78.1 °F (25.6 °C); wind speeds up to 14 miles per hour (23 km/h)
Average speed 137.944 miles per hour (221.999 km/h)
Attendance 35,000[2]
Pole position
Driver Wood Brothers Racing
Most laps led
Driver Cale Yarborough Junior Johnson & Associates
Laps 120
No. 88 Darrell Waltrip DiGard Motorsports
Television in the United States
Network untelevised
Announcers none

During this era, Michigan International Speedway was a Mercury-dominated track. It was also a track that suited a smooth driver or a driver that could change his driving tactics for Michigan International Speedway.



Michigan International Speedway is a four-turn superspeedway that is 2 miles (3.2 km) long.[3] Opened in 1968, the track's turns are banked at eighteen degrees, while the 3,600-foot-long front stretch, the location of the finish line, is banked at twelve degrees.[3] The back stretch, has a five degree banking and is 2,242 feet long.[3]


There were 36 drivers on the racing grid; all of them were born in the United States of America. While Cale Yarborough and Darrell Waltrip would duel for the lead during the opening laps of this racing event, Waltrip would eventually battle against Benny Parsons for supremacy during the closing laps. David Pearson would end up losing to Darrell Waltrip by a mere two car lengths in front of a live audience of 35,000 stock car racing fans.[2] Waltrip's crew chief for this race would be Buddy Parrott.[4]

Janet Guthrie was the only female representative in this race; finishing an outstanding tenth place and securing a spot as one of the "top ten" finishers. Earle Canavan would secure the last-place finish in this 200-lap racing event due to an engine issue on the first lap. Most of the DNFs in this race would be due to serious engine issues. The lowest finishing driver to finish the race was Dave Marcis. Only six drivers would end the race on the lead lap; with Yarborough being the slowest driver on the lead lap.[2] After this race, Cale Yarborough and Richard Petty would be 50 points of each other; gunning for a championship opportunity.[2]

The entire winning purse for this race was $108,825 ($439,483.28 when adjusted for inflation); Waltrip brought home $16,820 to his family ($67,926.57 when adjusted for inflation) while Canavan was barely able to profit by taking home a meager $600 ($2,423.06 when adjusted for inflation).[5] Terry Ryan would retire from NASCAR Cup Series racing after this event was over.[6]


Grid[2] No. Driver Manufacturer
1 21 David Pearson Mercury
2 11 Cale Yarborough Chevrolet
3 88 Darrell Waltrip Chevrolet
4 72 Benny Parsons Chevrolet
5 15 Buddy Baker Ford
6 43 Richard Petty Dodge
7 27 Sam Sommers Chevrolet
8 2 Dave Marcis Chevrolet
9 92 Skip Manning Chevrolet
10 22 Ricky Rudd Chevrolet
11 47 Bruce Hill Chevrolet
12 81 Terry Ryan Chevrolet
13 90 Dick Brooks Ford
14 67 Buddy Arrington Dodge
15 68 Janet Guthrie Chevrolet
16 75 Butch Hartman Chevrolet
17 12 Bobby Allison Matador
18 9 Bill Elliott Mercury
19 8 Ed Negre Dodge
20 70 J.D. McDuffie Chevrolet

Finishing orderEdit


Section reference: [2]

  • Lap 1: Cale Yarborough was officially leading the race as the green flag was waved
  • Lap 5: Baxter Price managed to blow his vehicle's engine
  • Lap 41: Richard Childress managed to blow his vehicle's engine
  • Lap 61: Ed Negre managed to blow his vehicle's engine
  • Lap 68: Buddy Baker managed to blow his vehicle's engine
  • Lap 76: Bill Elliott managed to blow his vehicle's engine
  • Lap 85: Harold Miller's vehicle suffered from a problematic driveshaft
  • Lap 114: Jocko Maggiacomo managed to blow his vehicle's engine
  • Lap 117: Bobby Allison managed to blow his vehicle's engine
  • Lap 125: Butch Hartman managed to blow his vehicle's engine
  • Lap 134: Joey Mihalic's wheel started acting funny
  • Lap 141: Frank Warren managed to blow his vehicle's engine
  • Finish: Darrell Waltrip was officially declared the winner of the race

Standings after the raceEdit

Pos Driver Points[2] Differential
1   Cale Yarborough 3290 0
2   Richard Petty 3240 -50
3   Benny Parsons 2989 -301
4   Darrell Waltrip 2952 -338
5   Buddy Baker 2656 -634
6   Dick Brooks 2498 -792
7   Cecil Gordon 2357 -933
8   Bobby Allison 2266 -1024
9   James Hylton 2219 -1071
10   Richard Childress 2217 -1073


  1. ^ Weather information for the 1977 Champion Spark Plug 400 at The Old Farmers' Almanac
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h 1977 Champion Spark Plug 400 racing information at Racing Reference
  3. ^ a b c "Michigan International Speedway". CBS Sports. Retrieved 2013-06-11. 
  4. ^ Crew chief information for the 1977 Champion Spark Plug 400 at Racing Reference
  5. ^ 1977 Champion Spark Plug 400 racing information at Fantasy Racing Cheat Sheet
  6. ^ 1977 Champion Spark Plug 400 racing information at Race Database
Preceded by
1977 Talladega 500
NASCAR Winston Cup Series Season
Succeeded by
1977 Volunteer 400
Preceded by
Champion Spark Plug 400 races
Succeeded by