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The 1978 World 600, the 19th running of the event, was a NASCAR Winston Cup Series racing event that was held on May 28, 1978, at Charlotte Motor Speedway in Concord, North Carolina.

1978 World 600
Race details[1]
Race 12 of 30 in the 1978 NASCAR Winston Cup Series season
Layout of Charlotte Motor Speedway
Layout of Charlotte Motor Speedway
Date May 28, 1978 (1978-May-28)
Official name World 600
Location Charlotte Motor Speedway, Concord, North Carolina
Course Permanent racing facility
1.500 mi (2.414 km)
Distance 400 laps, 600 mi (965 km)
Weather Temperatures of 84.9 °F (29.4 °C); wind speeds of 8 miles per hour (13 km/h)
Average speed 138.355 miles per hour (222.661 km/h)
Attendance 125,000[2]
Pole position
Driver Wood Brothers Racing
Most laps led
Driver Darrell Waltrip DiGard Motorsports
Laps 144
No. 88 Darrell Waltrip DiGard Motorsports
Television in the United States
Network CBS
Announcers Ken Squier

Race reportEdit

Zsa Zsa Gabor served as the celebrity grand marshall. There were 40 drivers on the starting grid. A audience of 125,000 fans would see 43 lead changes along with 32 laps under a caution flag. The entire race from green flag to checkered flag lasted for four hours and twenty minutes.

During the first 100 laps, David Pearson, Darrell Waltrip, and Donnie Allison were fighting for the lead. The final laps would become a battle between Donnie Allison, Darrell Waltrip, and Benny Parsons. Waltrip would eventually defeat Donnie Allison by two seconds in his 1978 Chevrolet Monte Carlo. Joining him on victory lane would be his wife Stevie. Jerry Jolly would be the last-place finisher due to problems with his suspension on lap 20. The lowest driver to actually finish the race was D.K. Ulrich.[2]

After the race, Cale Yarborough would only be 30 points behind Benny Parsons in the overall championship standings. The number of points for Dale Earnhardt and Ron Hutcherson were never recorded. Earnhardt got the #98 car ride when Willie T. Ribbs got fired from it because he was arrested for reckless driving; Ribbs had qualified the vehicle in 28th place but Earnhardt would finish the race in 17th place.[2]

The entire prize purse for this race was $310,491 ($1,192,697 when adjusted for inflation); Waltrip received $48,608 ($186,719 when adjusted for inflation) while Jerry Jolly took home $1,090 ($4,187 when adjusted for inflation).[3]

Roland Wlodyka would end his professional driving career with the NASCAR Cup Series after the end of this racing event.[4]

Racial controversyEdit

Willy T. Ribbs was expected to be at this NASCAR Cup Series event, being a popular African-American race car driver of the time. After failing to appear at two special practice sessions, he was sacked and replaced with then-obscure driver Dale Earnhardt; who back then specialized in short track racing and was not yet a serious championship contender.[5] A lot of traditionalists chided the opportunities that Ribbs received; getting into the higher levels of NASCAR simply because he was black.[6]


Grid No. Driver Manufacturer Speed[7] Owner
1 21 David Pearson Mercury 160.551 Wood Brothers
2 11 Cale Yarborough Oldsmobile 159.736 Junior Johnson
3 2 Dave Marcis Chevrolet 159.432 Rod Osterlund
4 12 Harry Gant Chevrolet 159.040 Kennie Childers
5 90 Dick Brooks Ford 158.936 Junie Donlavey
6 15 Bobby Allison Ford 158.801 Bud Moore
7 14 Sterling Marlin Chevrolet 158.548 H.B. Cunningham
8 48 Al Holbert Oldsmobile 158.431 James Hylton
9 54 Lennie Pond Oldsmobile 158.306 Harry Ranier
10 27 Buddy Baker Chevrolet 158.058 M.C. Anderson

Finishing orderEdit


Section reference: [2]

  • Start of race: David Pearson had the advantage over all the other drivers as the green flag was waved
  • Lap 20: Problems with the vehicle's suspension forced Jerry Jolly into becoming the last-place finisher
  • Lap 117: Caution due to a four-car accident on turn two; caution ended on lap 129
  • Lap 129: The vehicle's throttle was dying, Jimmy Means had to exit the event early
  • Lap 140: Harry Gant managed to overheat his racing vehicle after racing at high speeds
  • Lap 157: Neil Bonnett overheated his vehicle's engine and had to leave the race
  • Lap 184: Connie Saylor actually overheated his engine after racing for so long
  • Lap 198: The vehicle's engine couldn't stand any more high speed racing, forcing Dave Marcis out of the race
  • Lap 207: Lennie Pond had a terminal crash
  • Lap 308: Tighe Scott had a rough time with his vehicle's engine and had to accept a 31st-place finish
  • Lap 318: The steering on Ronnie Thomas's vehicle wasn't raceworthy anymore, ending his day on the track
  • Lap 343: Engine problems forced Jim Vandiver to be the final DNF of the race
  • Lap 368: Caution due to debris on turn four; caution ended on lap 371
  • Lap 396: Dale Earnhardt managed to spin his vehicle, caution ended on lap 398
  • Lap 400: David Pearson and Benny Parsons had an accident on turn two
  • Finish: Darrell Waltrip was officially declared the winner of the event

Standings after the raceEdit

Pos Driver Points[2] Differential
1   Benny Parsons 1862 0
2   Cale Yarborough 1832 -30
3   Dave Marcis 1738 -124
4   Darrell Waltrip 1683 -179
5   Bobby Allison 1665 -197
6   Lennie Pond 1562 -300
7   Richard Petty 1537 -325
8   Buddy Arrington 1527 -335
9   Skip Manning 1455 -407
10   Richard Childress 1444 -418


  1. ^ Weather information for the 1978 World 600 at The Old Farmers' Almanac
  2. ^ a b c d e f 1978 World 600 racing information at Racing Reference
  3. ^ 1978 World 600 racing information at Fantasy Racing Cheat Sheet
  4. ^ 1978 World 600 racing information at Race Database
  5. ^ The Decision That Would Change the 1978 World 600 at How Stuff Works
  6. ^ Racing While Black at Google Books
  7. ^ Qualifying information at Racing Reference
Preceded by
1978 Mason-Dixon 500
NASCAR Winston Cup Season
Succeeded by
1978 Music City USA 420
Preceded by
World 600 races
Succeeded by