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1979 Coca-Cola 500

The 1979 Coca-Cola 500 was a NASCAR Winston Cup Series racing event that took place on July 30, 1979, at Pocono International Raceway in Long Pond, Pennsylvania.

1979 Coca-Cola 500
Race details[1]
Race 19 of 31 in the 1979 NASCAR Winston Cup Series season
Pocono Raceway, the race track where the race was held.
Pocono Raceway, the race track where the race was held.
Date July 30, 1979 (1979-July-30)
Official name Coca-Cola 500
Location Pocono International Raceway, Long Pond, Pennsylvania
Course Permanent racing facility
2.500 mi (3.400 km)
Distance 200 laps, 501.0 mi (804 km)
Weather Temperatures reaching up to 80.1 °F (26.7 °C); average wind speeds of 2.9 miles per hour (4.7 km/h)
Average speed 115.207 miles per hour (185.408 km/h)
Attendance 40,000[2]
Pole position
Driver Race Hill Farm Team
Most laps led
Driver Darrell Waltrip Al Rudd Auto
Laps 62
Winner
No. 11 Cale Yarborough Junior Johnson & Associates
Television in the United States
Network untelevised
Announcers none

By the following season, NASCAR had completely stopped tracking the year model of all the vehicles and most teams did not take stock cars to the track under their own power anymore. Only manual transmission vehicles were allowed to participate in this race; a policy that NASCAR has retained to the present day.

Contents

BackgroundEdit

Pocono Raceway is one of six superspeedways to hold NASCAR races; the others are Daytona International Speedway, Michigan International Speedway, Auto Club Speedway, Indianapolis Motor Speedway and Talladega Superspeedway.[3] The standard track at Pocono Raceway is a three-turn superspeedway that is 2.5 miles (4.0 km) long.[4] The track's turns are banked differently; the first is banked at 14°, the second turn at 8° and the final turn with 6°. However, each of the three straightaways are banked at 2°.[4]

SummaryEdit

While originally scheduled for July 29, 1979, it was postponed one day due to rain.[5]

Two hundred laps were completed in four hours and twenty minutes.[2] Seven cautions flags were given out by NASCAR for 49 laps; Cale Yarborough eventually defeated Richard Petty under the race's final yellow flag.[2] This would result in Yarborough's third win of the year.[6] Forty thousand fans attended a live racing event where the average speed of the vehicles would be 115.207 miles per hour (185.408 km/h). None of the drivers on the starting grid were born in Wisconsin; which is still true in 2016.[2] Harry Gant qualified for the pole position with a speed of 148.711 miles per hour (239.327 km/h).[2] The majority of the vehicles involved in the race had Chevrolet as their manufacturer.[2] Steve Gray would make his NASCAR debut that resulted in a last-place finish.[2] He crashed on the very first lap of the race with Roger Hamby and Al Holbert; taking home only $1,305 in winnings ($4,306.32 when adjusted for inflation).[2][7]

Cale Yarborough would take home $21,465 in winnings for finishing first in the race ($70,831.55 when adjusted for inflation).[2] 56 lead changes were recorded in this race; a rarity outside Talladega Superspeedway and a definite record setter for Pocono Raceway.[8] Dale Earnhardt fractured both of his clavicles[6] by crashing into a wall on lap 98 of this race.[2] As a result, he had to miss the next four races (re-emerging at the 1979 running of the Capital City 400). All of the 39 drivers that qualified for the race were American-born males.[2]

Top ten finishersEdit

Pos[2] Grid No. Driver Manufacturer Laps Points
1 2 11 Cale Yarborough Chevrolet 200 180
2 10 43 Richard Petty Chevrolet 200 175
3 9 28 Buddy Baker Chevrolet 200 170
4 5 27 Benny Parsons Chevrolet 200 160
5 6 90 Ricky Rudd Mercury 200 155
6 15 72 Joe Millikan Chevrolet 200 150
7 18 22 Darrell Waltrip Chevrolet 200 156
8 7 21 Neil Bonnett Mercury 200 147
9 4 15 Bobby Allison Ford 199 143
10 16 30 Tighe Scott Buick 198 134

Standings after the raceEdit

Pos Driver Points[2] Differential
1   Darrell Waltrip 3061 0
2   Richard Petty 2852 -209
3   Cale Yarborough 2850 -211
4   Bobby Allison 2845 -216
5   Dale Earnhardt 2588 -473
6   Benny Parsons 2557 -504
7   Joe Millikan 2471 -590
8   J.D. McDuffie 2263 -798
9   Richard Childress 2256 -805
10   D.K. Ulrich 2197 -864

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "1979 Coca-Cola 500 weather information". The Old Farmers' Almanac. Archived from the original on 2012-03-13. Retrieved 2012-03-10. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m "1979 Coca-Cola 500 information". Racing Reference. Retrieved 2011-02-08. 
  3. ^ "NASCAR Race Tracks". NASCAR. Turner Sports Interactive, Inc. Archived from the original on January 5, 2013. Retrieved December 20, 2011. 
  4. ^ a b "Pocono Raceway". NASCAR. Turner Sports. Retrieved June 6, 2012. 
  5. ^ "1979 Coca-Cola 500 race postponment information". Ultimate Racing History. Retrieved 2011-02-08. 
  6. ^ a b "Dale Earnhardt's injury evaluation/Yarborough's third win of season". How Stuff Works. Retrieved 2011-02-08. 
  7. ^ "1979 Coca-Cola 500 information (third reference)". Motor Racing Network. Retrieved 2011-02-08. 
  8. ^ "By the Numbers: Pocono". NASCAR. Retrieved 2014-09-09. 
Preceded by
1979 Busch Nashville 420
NASCAR Winston Cup Series Season
1979
Succeeded by
1979 Talladega 500
Preceded by
1978
Coca-Cola 500 races
1979
Succeeded by
1980