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1979 Sun-Drop Music City USA 420

The 1979 Sun-Drop Music City USA 420 as a NASCAR Winston Cup Series racing event that took place on May 12, 1979, at Nashville Speedway in Nashville, Tennessee.

1979 Sun-Drop Music City USA 420
Race details[1]
Race 11 of 31 in the 1979 NASCAR Winston Cup Series season
Date May 12, 1979 (1979-May-12)
Official name Sun-Drop Music City USA 420
Location Nashville Speedway, Nashville, Tennessee
Course Permanent racing facility
0.596 mi (0.959 km)
Distance 420 laps, 250.3 mi (402.8 km)
Weather Hot with temperatures approaching 86 °F (30 °C); wind speeds up to 13 miles per hour (21 km/h)
Average speed 88.652 miles per hour (142.672 km/h)
Pole position
Driver L.G. DeWitt
Most laps led
Driver Richard Petty Petty Enterprises
Laps 164
Winner
No. 11 Cale Yarborough Junior Johnson
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

Nashville Speedway was converted to a half-mile paved oval in 1957, when it began to be a NASCAR series track. The speedway was lengthened between the 1969 and 1970 seasons. The corners were cut down from 35 degrees to their present 18 degrees in 1972.[citation needed]

SummaryEdit

This race was a 420-lap race; Harry Gant would be credited with the last-place finish due to an engine problem after only 18 laps of racing.[2][3]

Cale Yarborough would defeat Richard Petty by nearly three seconds after almost three hours of racing action.[2][3] A small crowd of 16000 people would see only three caution periods (lasting 27 laps) and nine different changes concerning the leader of the race.[2][3] Joe Millikan would get his only pole position start here; qualifying at speeds up to 104.155 miles per hour (167.621 km/h).[2][3]

The finish was marred by controversy. Richard Petty and Bobby Allison asserted that Cale Yarborough was a lap down at the finish. Said Petty, "He lost one lap when he spun (with J.D. McDuffie), then he lost another when he spent 22 seconds in the pits." Allison agreed, saying, "Richard won this race and I finished second. I don't know how they had Cale winning."

A star-studded top ten finishing chart would include fan favorites like Bobby Allison, Dale Earnhardt, J.D. McDuffie, Richard Childress, Benny Parsons, Buddy Baker, Terry Labonte, and Ricky Rudd.[2][3] Al Elmore and Steve Spencer would make their NASCAR Cup Series debuts during this race.[3]

The entire racing purse for this event was $70,100 ($231,320.36 when adjusted for inflation).[4] Yarborough would receive $12,275 for winning ($40,505.81 when adjusted for inflation) the race while last-place finisher Gant would only receive $360 of the total purse ($1,187.95 when adjusted for inflation).[4]

QualifyingEdit

Grid No. Driver Manufacturer
1 72 Joe Millikan Chevrolet
2 28 Buddy Baker Chevrolet
3 88 Darrell Waltrip Chevrolet
4 11 Cale Yarborough Oldsmobile
5 43 Richard Petty Chevrolet
6 15 Bobby Allison Ford
7 2 Dale Earnhardt Chevrolet
8 27 Benny Parsons Chevrolet
9 70 J.D. McDuffie Chevrolet
10 44 Terry Labonte Chevrolet
11 47 Harry Gant Chevrolet
12 90 Ricky Rudd Ford
13 24 D.K. Ulrich Oldsmobile
14 48 James Hylton Chevrolet
15 19 Steve Spencer Buick

TimelineEdit

  • Start: Joe Millikan was the driver who was leading the racing grid as the green flag was waved
  • Lap 18: Harry Gant managed to blow his vehicle's engine
  • Lap 32: J.D. McDuffie took over the lead from Joe Millikan
  • Lap 36: Transmission issues managed to take Dick Brooks out of the race
  • Lap 44: Darrell Waltrip took over the lead from J.D. McDuffie
  • Lap 63: Buddy Arrington managed to blow his vehicle's engine
  • Lap 73: J.D. McDuffie took over the lead from Darrell Waltrip
  • Lap 95: Vehicle ignition problems managed to knock Nelson Oswald out of the event
  • Lap 101: Darrell Basham managed to lose the rear end of his vehicle in a relatively unsafe manner
  • Lap 124: Joe Millikan managed to blow his vehicle's engine
  • Lap 140: Darrell Waltrip took over the lead from J.D. McDuffie
  • Lap 142: J.D. McDuffie took over the lead from Darrell Waltrip
  • Lap 147: Richard Petty took over the lead from J.D. McDuffie
  • Lap 250: J.D. McDuffie took over the lead from Richard Petty
  • Lap 277: Richard Petty took over the lead from J.D. McDuffie
  • Lap 333: Cale Yarborough took over the lead from Richard Petty
  • Lap 355: Frank Warren managed to blow his vehicle's engine
  • Lap 356: A problem with the vehicle's clutch ended Baxter Price's hopes of winning the race
  • Finish: Cale Yarborough was officially declared the winner of the event

Standings after the raceEdit

Pos Driver Points[2] Differential
1   Darrell Waltrip 1767 0
2   Bobby Allison 1746 -21
3   Richard Petty 1639 -128
4   Cale Yarborough 1557 -210
5   Joe Millikan 1496 -271
6   Benny Parsons 1451 -319
7   Dale Earnhardt 1431 -336
8   D.K. Ulrich 1346 -421
9   Richard Childress 1331 -436
10   Donnie Allison 1318 -449

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ Weather information for the 1969 Sun-Drop Music City USA 420 at the Old Farmers' Almanac
  2. ^ a b c d e f 1979 Sun-Drop Music City USA 420 racing information at Racing Reference
  3. ^ a b c d e f 1979 Sun-Drop Music City USA 420 racing information at Race Database
  4. ^ a b 1979 Sun-Drop Music City USA 420 at Fantasy Racing Cheat Sheet
Preceded by
1979 Winston 500
NASCAR Winston Cup Series Season
1979
Succeeded by
1979 Mason-Dixon 500