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1979 Talladega 500

The 1979 Talladega 500 was a NASCAR Winston Cup Series racing event that took place on August 5, 1979, at Alabama International Motor Speedway in Talladega, Alabama.

1979 Talladega 500
Race details[1]
Race 20 of 31 in the 1979 NASCAR Winston Cup Series season
Layout of Talladega Superspeedway
Layout of Talladega Superspeedway
Date August 5, 1979 (1979-August-05)
Official name Talladega 500
Location Alabama International Motor Speedway, Talladega, Alabama
Course Permanent racing facility
2.660 mi (4.280 km)
Distance 188 laps, 500.1 mi (804.8 km)
Weather Hot with temperatures reaching as high as 90.9 °F (32.7 °C); wind speeds up to 9.9 miles per hour (15.9 km/h)
Average speed 161.229 miles per hour (259.473 km/h)
Attendance 80,000[2]
Pole position
Driver Wood Brothers Racing
Most laps led
Driver Darrell Waltrip DiGard Motorsports
Laps 102
No. 88 Darrell Waltrip DiGard Motorsports
Television in the United States
Network CBS
Announcers Ken Squier
Lee Petty



Talladega Superspeedway, originally known as Alabama International Motor Superspeedway (AIMS), is a motorsports complex located north of Talladega, Alabama. It is located on the former Anniston Air Force Base in the small city of Lincoln. The track is a Tri-oval and was constructed by International Speedway Corporation, a business controlled by the France Family, in the 1960s. Talladega is most known for its steep banking and the unique location of the start/finish line - located just past the exit to pit road. The track currently hosts the NASCAR series such as the Sprint Cup Series, Xfinity Series, and the Camping World Truck Series. Talladega Superspeedway is the longest NASCAR oval with a length of 2.66 miles (4.28 km), and the track at its peak had a seating capacity of 175,000 spectators.[3]


There were 41 American-born drivers on the starting grid; 21 of these vehicles failed to finish the race. Most of the problems in this three-hour event was blamed on the engines. After 188 laps of racing and five caution flags, Darrell Waltrip would defeat David Pearson by a minute and two seconds in front of a live crowd of eighty thousand stock car racing fans. Rookie driver Dale Earnhardt's injuries prevented him from participating in this event. There were a massive amount of changes in the race's first-place position; with Waltrip leading the final 55 laps to his victorious fate.[2]

Speeds at this race reached 161.229 miles per hour (259.473 km/h) for the actual event while Neil Bonnett would earn his pole position by plowing through the field in solo qualifying runs with a top speed of 193.6 miles per hour (311.6 km/h).[2] Kyle Petty would in ninth place in his inaugural race after starting in 18th place. Meanwhile, Bob Burcham and Al Holbert would make this race into their individual swan songs.[4] The total prize purse at this event was $205,680 ($693,521.65 when adjusted for inflation). While the winner would collect $32,325 of this purse ($108,994.98 when adjusted for inflation), the last-place finisher would be stuck with a mere $1,050 ($3,540.44 when adjusted for inflation).[5]

Oldsmobile would rack up their 100th victory in the history of the NASCAR Cup Series; sealing the legendary status of this now-defunct automobile manufacturer within the circles of professional stock car racing.


Grid[2] No. Driver Manufacturer
1 21 Neil Bonnett Mercury
2 2 David Pearson Oldsmobile
3 30 Tighe Scott Buick
4 28 Buddy Baker Oldsmobile
5 11 Cale Yarborough Oldsmobile
6 67 Buddy Arrington Dodge
7 41 Grant Adcox Oldsmobile
8 88 Darrell Waltrip Oldsmobile
9 79 Frank Warren Dodge
10 50 Bruce Hill Oldsmobile
11 90 Ricky Rudd Mercury
12 27 Benny Parsons Oldsmobile
13 43 Richard Petty Oldsmobile
14 71 Dave Marcis Chevrolet
15 44 Terry Labonte Buick
16 12 Jack Ingram Oldsmobile
17 7 Al Holbert Oldsmobile
18 42 Kyle Petty Dodge
19 15 Bobby Allison Ford
20 3 Richard Childress Oldsmobile
21 47 Harry Gant Oldsmobile
22 9 Bill Elliott Mercury
23 1 Donnie Allison Chevrolet
24 05 Dick Brooks Oldsmobile
25 77 Jody Ridley Mercury

Finishing orderEdit

Standings after the raceEdit

Pos Driver Points[2] Differential
1   Darrell Waltrip 3246 0
2   Richard Petty 3017 -229
3   Cale Yarborough 2946 -300
4   Bobby Allison 2924 -322
5   Benny Parsons 2662 -584
6   Dale Earnhardt 2588 -658
7   Joe Millikan 2564 -682
8   Richard Childress 2390 -856
9   J.D. McDuffie 2372 -874
10   Buddy Arrington 2312 -934


  1. ^ Weather information for the 1979 Talladega 500 at the Old Farmers' Almanac
  2. ^ a b c d e f 1979 Talladega 500 racing information at Racing-Reference
  3. ^ "Track Facts". Talladega Superspeedway. November 1, 2012. Archived from the original on November 1, 2012. Retrieved April 27, 2015. 
  4. ^ 1979 Talladega 500 at Race-Database
  5. ^ 1979 Talladega 500 race information at Fantasy Racing Cheat Sheet
Preceded by
1979 Coca-Cola 500
NASCAR Winston Cup Series Season
Succeeded by
1979 Champion Spark Plug 400
Preceded by
Talladega 500 races
Succeeded by