Open main menu

The 1977 Old Dominion 500 was a NASCAR Winston Cup Series (now Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series) racing event that took place on September 25, 1977, at the historic Martinsville Speedway;[2] a race track that has enjoyed the presence of NASCAR since its first sanctioned race on July 4, 1948.

1977 Old Dominion 500
Race details[1]
Race 25 of 30 in the 1977 NASCAR Winston Cup Series season
A map showing the layout of Martinsville Speedway
A map showing the layout of Martinsville Speedway
Date September 25, 1977 (1977-September-25)
Official name Old Dominion 500
Location Martinsville Speedway, Martinsville, Virginia
Course Permanent racing facility
0.525 mi (0.844 km)
Distance 500 laps, 262.5 mi (442.4 km)
Weather Average temperature of 76.2 °F (24.6 °C); wind speeds of 9.9 miles per hour (15.9 km/h)
Average speed 73.440 miles per hour (118.190 km/h)
Attendance 33,000[2]
Pole position
Driver Jim Stacy Racing
Time 87.637 seconds
Most laps led
Driver Cale Yarborough Junior Johnson & Associates
Laps 352
Winner
No. 11 Cale Yarborough Junior Johnson & Associates
Television in the United States
Network untelevised
Announcers none

Cup Series races are still held on the track today in addition to the Xfinity Series (started in 1982) and Camping World Truck Series (started in 1995). Since the track was repaved back in 1976,[3] the one-year-old concrete surface allowed cars to travel at relatively fast speeds for a short track during the 1970s.

Contents

BackgroundEdit

Martinsville Speedway is one of five short tracks to hold NASCAR races.[4] The standard track at Martinsville Speedway is a four-turn short track oval that is 0.526 miles (0.847 km) long.[5] The track's turns are banked at eleven degrees, while the front stretch, the location of the finish line, is banked at zero degrees. The back stretch also has a zero degree banking.[5]

SummaryEdit

It took three hours and thirty-four minutes for the race to completely progress from the first green flag to the checkered flag.[2] Had the race been held on this day in the year 2010, temperatures would have reached 93.0 °F (33.9 °C) - an increase of 16.8 degrees Fahrenheit from the temperatures of 1977.[6] Five hundred laps on a paved oval track spanning 0.252 miles (0.406 km) per lap was the official distance of the race dictated by NASCAR.[2] A grand total of 262.5 miles (422.5 km) was calculated from all the laps of the race.[2] Thirteen lead changes were made as a part of the racing action.[7]

Despite popular knowledge shared by non-NASCAR fans, the "500" number that was in the event's title indicated the number of laps that were in the race; as opposed to the number of kilometers or miles that the drivers had to finish.[2] All Martinsville races traditionally advertised the number of laps that a race had because it is a very short track. Cale Yarborough managed to defeat Benny Parsons by 8/10ths of a second in front of 33000 live spectators; nine cautions slowed the race for 57 laps.[2] Neil Bonnett would qualify for the pole position with a speed of 87.637 miles per hour (141.038 km/h)[2] - which would be the equivalent of 87.637 seconds.[8] However, Yarborough would average a speed of 73.447 miles per hour (118.201 km/h) during the entire race.[2]

He would retain his championship hopes after this race; being 219 points ahead of Richard Petty in the 1977 NASCAR Cup Series standings.[9] The other top ten finishers were: David Pearson, Richard Petty, Sam Sommers, Jimmy Hensley, Buddy Arrington, James Hylton, Jimmy Means, and Darrell Waltrip.[2] Baxter Price would become the event's last-place finisher with an oil leak on the fourth lap of the race.[2][10] Chevrolet vehicles would make up the majority of the grid with Ford, Dodge, Mercury, and Matador holding a sizeable minority of the vehicles that would compete in this event.[2]

QualifyingEdit

Grid[2] No. Driver Manufacturer Owner
1 5 Neil Bonnett Dodge Jim Stacy
2 88 Darrell Waltrip Chevrolet DiGard Racing
3 11 Cale Yarborough Chevrolet Junior Johnson
4 43 Richard Petty Dodge Petty Enterprises
5 12 Bobby Allison Matador Bobby Allison
6 72 Benny Parsons Chevrolet L.G. DeWitt
7 1 Donnie Allison Chevrolet Hoss Ellington
8 63 Jimmy Hensley Chevrolet Jimmy Hensley
9 15 Buddy Baker Ford Bud Moore
10 21 David Pearson Mercury Wood Brothers
11 92 Skip Manning Chevrolet Billy Hagan
12 70 J.D. McDuffie Chevrolet J.D. McDuffie
13 54 Lennie Pond Chevrolet Ronnie Elder
14 22 Ricky Rudd Chevrolet Al Rudd
15 27 Sam Sommers Chevrolet M.C. Anderson

Technological concernsEdit

Improvements in tire and engine technology in the early 1970s had made NASCAR Cup Series vehicles overpowered compared to the limited space that Martinsville Speedway had for breathing space. Further technological advancements by 2013 have caused further concern for driver safety at Martinsville; indicating that the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series may have to use restrictor plates in Martinsville if tire/engine technology keeps its current pace of development.

Top ten finishersEdit

Pos[2] Grid No. Driver Manufacturer Laps Laps led Points Time/Status
1 3 11 Cale Yarborough Chevrolet 500 352 185 3:34:40
2 6 72 Benny Parsons Chevrolet 500 73 175 +0.8 seconds
3 10 21 David Pearson Mercury 500 35 170 Lead lap under green flag
4 4 43 Richard Petty Dodge 499 0 165 +1 lap
5 15 27 Sam Sommers Chevrolet 491 0 155 +9 laps
6 8 63 Jimmy Hensley Chevrolet 491 0 150 +9 laps
7 19 67 Buddy Arrington Dodge 487 0 146 +13 laps
8 24 48 James Hylton Chevrolet 483 0 142 +17 laps
9 21 52 Jimmy Means Chevrolet 482 0 138 +18 laps
10 2 88 Darrell Waltrip Chevrolet 472 36 139 Missing rear end

TimelineEdit

Section reference:[2]

  • Start of race: Darrell Waltrip had the pole position as the green flag was waved
  • Lap 4: An oil leak in Baxter Price's vehicle forced him out of the race
  • Lap 8: Radiator issues managed to end Travis Tiller's day on the track
  • Lap 37: Cale Yarborough took over the lead from Darrell Waltrip
  • Lap 40: Benny Parsons took over the lead from Cale Yarborough
  • Lap 42: Donnie Allison suddenly lost the use of his vehicle's brakes
  • Lap 84: Ricky Rudd suddenly lost the rear end of his vehicle
  • Lap 95: Dick Brooks suddenly lost the rear end of his vehicle
  • Lap 96: David Pearson took over the lead from Benny Parsons
  • Lap 97: Bobby Allison took over the lead from David Pearson
  • Lap 101: Cale Yarborough took over the lead from Bobby Allison
  • Lap 103: Ed Negre's vehicle developed a problematic oil pump
  • Lap 179: Benny Parsons took over the lead from Cale Yarborough
  • Lap 181: David Pearson took over the lead from Benny Parsons
  • Lap 206: Bobby Allison took over the lead from David Pearson
  • Lap 216: Bobby Allison suddenly lost the rear end of his vehicle
  • Lap 304: Neil Bonnett suddenly lost the rear end of his vehicle
  • Lap 336: Buddy Baker suddenly lost the rear end of his vehicle
  • Lap 351: Benny Parsons took over the lead from Bobby Allison
  • Lap 360: Tighe Scott managed to blow his vehicle's engine
  • Lap 366: Cale Yarborough took over the lead from Benny Parsons
  • Lap 373: Ronnie Thomas managed to blow his vehicle's engine
  • Lap 387: David Pearson took over the lead from Cale Yarborough
  • Lap 396: Cale Yarborough took over the lead from David Pearson
  • Lap 472: Darrell Waltrip suddenly lost the rear end of his vehicle
  • Finish: Cale Yarborough was officially declared the winner of the event

Standings after the raceEdit

Pos Driver Points[2] Differential
1   Cale Yarborough 4155 0
2   Richard Petty 3936 -219
3   Benny Parsons 3782 -373
4   Darrell Waltrip 3727 -428
5   Buddy Baker 3276 -879
6   Dick Brooks 3088 -1067
7   James Hylton 2876 -1279
8   Cecil Gordon 2860 -1295
9   Richard Childress 2855 -1300
10   Bobby Allison 2873 -1372

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "1977 Old Dominion 500 weather information". The Old Farmers' Almanac. Retrieved 2011-03-03.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p "1977 Old Dominion 500 racing results". Racing Reference. Retrieved 2011-03-02.
  3. ^ "Martinsville Speedway surface information". Circle Track. Retrieved 2011-03-05.
  4. ^ "NASCAR Race Tracks". NASCAR. Archived from the original on September 12, 2010. Retrieved October 26, 2012.
  5. ^ a b "NASCAR Tracks—The Martinsville Speedway". Martinsville Speedway. Retrieved October 26, 2012.
  6. ^ "2010 Martinsville, Virginia temperatures (for comparison purposes only)". The Old Farmers' Almanac. Retrieved 2011-03-05.
  7. ^ "1977 Old Dominion 500 lead change information". NASCAR.com. Retrieved 2011-03-06.
  8. ^ "1977 Old Dominion 500 qualifying time (in seconds)". Ultimate Racing History. Retrieved 2011-03-06.
  9. ^ "Cale Yarborough's championship hopes". Driver Averages. Archived from the original on 2011-10-05. Retrieved 2011-03-04.
  10. ^ "1977 Old Dominion 500 racing results (last-place driver information)". Martinsville Speedway. Archived from the original on 2011-07-14. Retrieved 2011-03-02.
Preceded by
1977 Delaware 500
NASCAR Winston Cup Series Season
1977
Succeeded by
1977 Wilkes 400
Preceded by
1976
Old Dominion 500 races
1977
Succeeded by
1978