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The 1978 NAPA National 500 was a NASCAR Winston Cup Series racing event held on October 8, 1978, at Charlotte Motor Speedway in Concord, North Carolina.

1978 NAPA National 500
Race details[1]
Race 27 of 30 in the 1978 NASCAR Winston Cup Series season
Layout of Charlotte Motor Speedway
Layout of Charlotte Motor Speedway
Date October 8, 1978 (1978-October-08)
Official name NAPA National 600
Location Charlotte Motor Speedway, Concord, North Carolina
Course Permanent racing facility
1.500 mi (2.414 km)
Distance 334 laps, 500 mi (865 km)
Weather Chilly with temperatures of 66 °F (19 °C); wind speeds of 12 miles per hour (19 km/h)
Average speed 141.846 miles per hour (228.279 km/h)
Pole position
Driver Wood Brothers Racing
Most laps led
Driver Bobby Allison Bud Moore Engineering
Laps 108
Winner
No. 72 Bobby Allison Bud Moore Engineering
Television in the United States
Network ABC
Announcers Jim McKay
Chris Economaki

The #96 Ford was qualified and driven by Dale Earnhardt. Baxter Price only started the race to preserve Dale's status as a rookie for 1979.

Contents

BackgroundEdit

Charlotte Motor Speedway was designed and built by Bruton Smith and partner and driver Curtis Turner in 1959. The first World 600 NASCAR race was held at the 1.5 mi (2.4 km) speedway on June 19, 1960. On December 8, 1961, the speedway filed bankruptcy notice. Judge J.B. Craven of US District Court for Western North Carolina reorganized it under Chapter 10 of the Bankruptcy Act; Judge Craven appointed Robert "Red" Robinson as the track's trustee until March 1962. At that point, a committee of major stockholders in the speedway was assembled, headed by A.C. Goines and furniture store owner Richard Howard. Goines, Howard, and Robinson worked to secure loans and other monies to keep the speedway afloat.[2]

By April 1963 some $750,000 was paid to twenty secured creditors and the track emerged from bankruptcy; Judge Craven appointed Goines as speedway president and Howard as assistant general manager of the speedway, handling its day-to-day operations. By 1964 Howard become the track's general manager, and on June 1, 1967, the speedway's mortgage was paid in full; a public burning of the mortgage was held at the speedway two weeks later.[3]

Smith departed from the speedway in 1962 to pursue other business interests, primarily in banking and auto dealerships from his new home of Rockford, IL. He became quite successful and began buying out shares of stock in the speedway. By 1974 Smith was more heavily involved in the speedway, to where Richard Howard by 1975 stated, "I haven't been running the speedway. It's being run from Illinois."[4] In 1975 Smith had become the majority stockholder, regaining control of its day-to-day operations. Smith hired H.A. "Humpy" Wheeler as general manager in October 1975, and on January 29, 1976, Richard Howard resigned as president and GM of the speedway.

SummaryEdit

The race was held on a dry circuit; with no precipitation recorded around the speedway.[5]

40 drivers competed in this 334-lap racing event in front of a live crowd of 80,000 ardent NASCAR followers. Bobby Fisher's problems with his stock car engine on lap 3 would make him the last-place finisher of the day. Butch Mock would become the lowest-finishing driver to complete the entire event; albeit 80 laps behind the competitors in the lead lap. In his fourth start, Terry Labonte manages to finish outside the top-10 for the first time, thanks to a blown engine on lap 293.[6]

Bobby Allison would defeat Darrell Waltrip after nearly three hours and thirty-two minutes of racing; Allison swept the weekend as he also won the World Service Life 300 Sportsman race. The margin between the victor and the second-place finisher would be slightly more than half a minute. There were 40 changes in the lead position throughout the racing event; with Bobby Allison, Cale Yarborough and Richard Petty dominating a fair amount of these laps. Dick Brooks would develop a problem with his fuel pump on lap 325; preventing him from achieving a "top five" finish.[6]

The vehicles involved in this race would drive in speeds averaging around 141.826 miles per hour (228.247 km/h). David Pearson would become the fan favorite for this event; due to his pole position-earning speed of 161.355 miles per hour (259.676 km/h) during qualifying. Ford and Chevrolet vehicles were used by the majority of the qualifying drivers. All drivers were born in the United States of America.[6] Individual race earnings for each driver ranged from the winner's share of $40,000 ($153,653 when adjusted for inflation) to the last-place finisher's purse of $895 ($3,438 when adjusted for inflation). Total driver earnings handed out by NASCAR officials for this event was finalized at $259,980 ($998,668 when adjusted for inflation).[7]

QualifyingEdit

Grid[6] No. Driver Manufacturer
1 21 David Pearson Mercury
2 11 Cale Yarborough Oldsmobile
3 72 Benny Parsons Oldsmobile
4 54 Lennie Pond Chevrolet
5 1 Donnie Allison Chevrolet
6 14 Coo Coo Marlin Chevrolet
7 12 Harry Gant Chevrolet
8 15 Bobby Allison Ford
9 43 Richard Petty Chevrolet
10 88 Darrell Waltrip Chevrolet
11 27 Buddy Baker Chevrolet
12 2 Dave Marcis Chevrolet
13 22 Ricky Rudd Chevrolet
14 90 Dick Brooks Mercury
15 05 Bruce Hill Oldsmobile
16 92 Terry Labonte Chevrolet
17 5 Neil Bonnett Chevrolet
18 19 Bill Dennis Chevrolet
19 3 Richard Childress Oldsmobile
20 00 John Utsman Chevrolet
21 71 Bobby Fisher Chevrolet
22 70 J.D. McDuffie Chevrolet
23 16 Glenn Jarrett Oldsmobile
24 64 Tommy Gale Ford
25 96 Baxter Price Ford
26 9 Bill Elliott Mercury
27 79 Frank Warren Dodge
28 8 Skip Manning Chevrolet
29 41 Grant Adcox Chevrolet
30 99 Dick Trickle Ford

Top ten finishersEdit

Pos[6] Grid No. Driver Manufacturer Laps Laps led Points Time/Status
1 8 15 Bobby Allison Ford 334 108 185 3:31:57
2 10 88 Darrell Waltrip Chevrolet 334 4 175 +30.2 seconds
3 12 2 Dave Marcis Chevrolet 334 5 170 Lead lap under green flag
4 5 1 Donnie Allison Chevrolet 334 15 165 Lead lap under green flag
5 1 21 David Pearson Mercury 333 35 160 +1 lap
6 4 54 Lennie Pond Chevrolet 330 0 150 +4 laps
7 6 14 Coo Coo Marlin Chevrolet 330 3 151 +4 laps
8 34 57 Dick May Ford 326 0 142 +8 laps
9 19 3 Richard Childress Oldsmobile 325 0 138 +12 laps
10 14 90 Dick Brooks Mercury 325 0 134 Fuel pump problems

Standings after the raceEdit

Pos Driver Points[6] Differential
1   Cale Yarborough 4334 0
2   Darrell Waltrip 3953 -381
3   Dave Marcis 3936 -398
4   Benny Parsons 3878 -456
5   Bobby Allison 3857 -477
6   Richard Petty 3553 -781
7   Lennie Pond 3442 -892
8   Dick Brooks 3344 -990
9   Buddy Arrington 3315 -1019
10   Richard Childress 3229 -1105

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ Weather information for the 1978 NAPA National 500 at The Old Farmers' Almanac
  2. ^ Charlotte Observer timeline on Charlotte Motor Speedway Archived November 2, 2013, at the Wayback Machine
  3. ^ Benyo, Richard (1977) SUPERSPEEDWAY: The Story Of NASCAR Grand National Racing Mason/Charter ISBN 0-88405-391-1 pp.71-6
  4. ^ Benyo, SUPERSPEEDWAY, p. 76
  5. ^ "Charlotte NASCAR Climatology" (PDF). SERCC. Retrieved 2018-09-12.
  6. ^ a b c d e f 1978 NAPA National 500 race information at Racing Reference
  7. ^ Winnings information for the 1978 NAPA National 500 at Fantasy Racing Cheat Sheet
Preceded by
1978 Wilkes 400
NASCAR Winston Cup Series Season
1978
Succeeded by
1978 American 500
Preceded by
1977
NAPA National 500 races
1978
Succeeded by
1979