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1971 Space City 300

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The 1971 Space City 300 was a NASCAR Winston Cup Series racing event that took place on June 23, 1971, at Meyer Speedway in Houston, Texas. While Houston was considered to be one of the epicenters of stock car racing during the 1950s and 1960s, the local passion for the motorsport died out starting in the 1970s.[3]

1971 Space City 300
Race details[1]
Race 25 of 48 in the 1971 NASCAR Winston Cup Series season
Date June 23, 1971 (1971-June-23)
Official name Space City 300
Location Meyer Speedway, Houston, Texas
Course Permanent racing facility
0.500 mi (0.744 km)
Distance 300 laps, 150 mi (200 km)
Weather Hot with temperatures up to 91 °F (33 °C); wind speeds up to 8 miles per hour (13 km/h)
Average speed 73.489 miles per hour (118.269 km/h)
Attendance 9,000[2]
Pole position
Driver Bobby Allison Motorsports
Most laps led
Driver Bobby Allison Bobby Allison Motorsports
Laps 253
Winner
No. 12 Bobby Allison Bobby Allison Motorsports
Television in the United States
Network untelevised
Announcers none

With only 14 cars entering the 1971 Space City 300, this event was one of many in 1971 that contributed to significant changes demanded by new series sponsor Winston for the 1972 season, when the number of races was reduced from 48 to 31, all dirt tracks were removed from the schedule, and a minimum race distance of 250 miles was established for oval tracks. While NASCAR's top series had a successful 48 race schedule in previous years, by 1971 the reduced sponsorship money being given out by the "Big Three" automobile companies made it difficult for race car drivers to justify driving their "stock" race cars under their own power (as required by the homologation rules until 1975) to events offering only small prize money.[4]

Contents

SummaryEdit

Bobby Allison defeated James Hylton by at least two laps after two hours and two minutes of racing 300 laps on a paved track).[2] The entire track was considered to span a distance of 0.500 miles (0.805 km) for a grand total of 150.0 miles (241.4 km).[2] There were no cautions given out by NASCAR; making this a perfect race[2] alongside the 1959 Daytona 500, the 1969 Motor Trend 500, the 1971 Asheville 300 and the 2002 EA Sports 500; which became the final oval course race that had gone the entire distance without a single caution flag.[5]

Nine thousand people would watch a 14-car grid of American-born drivers perform speeds of up to 73.489 miles per hour (118.269 km/h).[2] Pete Arnold would make his only start here and record the race's last-place finish due to a steering issue on lap 58.[2] Fred Hill would make his only NASCAR Cup Series start here; ending his day with a rear end issue on lap 116.[2]

Frank Warren's Pontiac was the only General Motors product on the racing grid.[2] The next NASCAR Winston Cup Series race to lack a major manufacturer would be the 1982 Daytona 500; which excluded all Chevrolet vehicles.[6] Lee Gordon, Vic Ballard and Dale Inman were the three notable crew chiefs that participated in the event.[7]

Only manual transmission vehicles were allowed to participate in this race; a policy that NASCAR has retained to the present day. This event would become Meyer Speedway's only NASCAR Cup Series racing event; with the description of being the newest racing track that is "no longer under the schedule." There would be less than 15 cars in the entire racing event; a rarity during the early 1970s. After this race, there would be at least 20 cars that qualified each and every time.

The winner would receive $2,200 in winnings ($13,010.19 when adjusted for inflation) while the last-place finisher would walk away with $340 ($2,010.67 when adjusted for inflation).[8] Most of the teams that raced at Meyer Speedway went straight back to the Southeastern United States due to the meager prize money given out at this racing event (that took place in the Southwestern United States).

QualifyingEdit

Grid No. Driver Manufacturer
1 12 Bobby Allison '71 Dodge
2 43 Richard Petty '71 Plymouth
3 64 Elmo Langley '69 Mercury
4 8 Ed Negre '69 Ford
5 36 Frank Warren '70 Pontiac
6 70 J.D. McDuffie '69 Mercury
7 24 Cecil Gordon '69 Mercury
8 77 Charlie Roberts '70 Ford
9 14 Fred Hill '69 Ford
10 19 Henley Gray '69 Ford

Finishing orderEdit

Pos No. Driver Manufacturer Laps Reason for DNF
1 12 Bobby Allison Dodge 300
2 48 James Hylton Ford 298
3 30 Walter Ballard Ford 292
4 64 Elmo Langley Mercury 290
5 36 Frank Warren Pontiac 289
6 24 Cecil Gordon Mercury 286
7 43 Richard Petty Plymouth 279
8 19 Henley Gray Ford 270
9 77 Charlie Roberts Ford 254
10 70 J.D. McDuffie Mercury 249
11 8 Ed Negre Ford 239
12 00 Ronnie Chumley Ford 136 Transmission
13 14 Fred Hill Ford 116 Rear end
14 3 Pete Arnold Ford 58 Steering

TimelineEdit

  • Lap 5: Bobby Allison takes over the lead from Richard Petty
  • Lap 9: Richard Petty takes over the lead from Bobby Allison
  • Lap 43: Bobby Allison takes over the lead from Richard Petty
  • Lap 58: Pete Arnold had trouble steering his vehicle, forcing him to withdraw from the event
  • Lap 116: Fred Hill would suffer severe damage to his vehicle's rear end, ending his day at the event
  • Lap 136: Ronnie Chumley's transmission would seize up on him, forcing him to withdraw from the event
  • Lap 148: James Hylton takes over the lead from Bobby Allison
  • Lap 157: Bobby Allison takes over the lead from James Hylton
  • Finish: Bobby Allison was officially declared the winner of the event

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ Weather for the 1971 Space City 300 at The Old Farmers' Almanac
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h 1971 Space City 300 racing information at Racing-Reference.info
  3. ^ Lone stars highlight '71 race at Texas track at NASCAR.com
  4. ^ "A Race Without A Winner". Grand National East. Retrieved 2015-01-20. 
  5. ^ "EA Sports 500". Jayski's Silly Season Site. Retrieved 2013-04-03. 
  6. ^ "1982 Daytona 500 results". Racing-reference. Retrieved 2009-08-01. 
  7. ^ 1971 Space City 300 crew chief information at Racing Reference
  8. ^ 1971 Space City 300 racing information at Race-Database
Preceded by
1971 Winston Golden State 400
NASCAR Grand National Series Season
1971
Succeeded by
1971 Pickens 200