| Volunteer 500|
| April 29, 1962 (1962-April-29)|
Bristol International Speedway, Bristol, Tennessee
Permanent racing facility
0.533 mi (0.857 km)
500 laps, 266.5 mi (428.8 km)
Warm with temperatures approaching 79 °F (26 °C); wind speeds up to 14 miles per hour (23 km/h)
The 1962 Volunteer 500 was a NASCAR Grand National Series (now Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series) event that was held on April 29, 1962, at Bristol International Speedway in Bristol, Tennessee.
The transition to purposely-built racers began in the early 1960s and occurred gradually over that decade. Changes made to the sport by the late 1960s brought an end to the "strictly stock" vehicles of the 1950s; most of the cars were trailered to events or hauled in by trucks.
1962 Volunteer 500 Wikipedia
This 500-lap event lasted for a duration of three hours and 24 minutes. Thirty-six drivers managed to qualify for this racing event; with Fireball Roberts earning a pole position start due to his qualifying speed of 81.374 miles per hour (130.959 km/h). Fireball Roberts, Richard Petty and Bobby Johns would dominate the opening laps while Richard Petty and Bobby Johns would dominate the closing laps. John would later credit his win in this event to having a sense of consistency; rather than accelerating the car to full throttle all the time.
Larry Frank was the last-place finisher of this event due to his car overheating on lap 29. George Green would become the final driver to finish the event while David Pearson's faulty lug bolts would prevent him from acquiring a "top five" finish. Most of the vehicles in this race were Pontiac or Chevrolet. All of the drivers were born in the United States of America; no foreigners attempted to qualify for this racing event. Bobby Johns would eventually defeat Fireball Roberts by a margin of six laps; making Johns the only finisher on the lead lap. Gene Blackburn would retire from NASCAR Cup Series racing after this event.
Individual earnings for each driver ranged from the winner's share of $4,405 ($34,876.55 when adjusted for inflation) to the meager earnings of $100 ($791.75 when adjusted for inflation) that was given to several low-ranked drivers. NASCAR only authorized a total sum of $17,865 to the qualifying drivers of this event ($141,445.99 when adjusted for inflation).
The first major wreck of the race occurred when Nelson Stacy, on his 302nd lap, skidded into the second-turn guardrail after the '62 Ford had blown a tire. It bounced back on the track in time to be hit by Maurice Petty's '62 Plymouth. Stacy was shaken up, got a few minor bruises, and was sent to the hospital for observation. He was released before the race ended.
The second major wreck occurred when cars driven by Ned Jarrett and George Green collided on the fourth turn. Nobody was hurt. Both cars were badly damaged and hauled off the track by the wreckers. They were quickly repaired, however, and they got back into the race and were running at the finish.
Start of race: Fireball Roberts starts the race with the pole position
Lap 29: Larry Frank managed to overheat his vehicle
Lap 62: Bobby Johns takes over the lead from Fireball Roberts
Lap 68: Ralph Earnhardt managed to overheat his vehicle
Lap 81: Oil pressure issues forced Stick Elliott out of the race
Lap 160: Richard Petty takes over the lead from Bobby Johns
Lap 163: Bobby Johns takes over the lead from Richard Petty
Lap 297: Maurice Petty had a terminal crash, forcing him to exit the event
Lap 302: Nelson Stacy had a terminal crash, forcing him to exit the event
Lap 321: Richard Petty takes over the lead from Bobby Johns
Lap 327: Bobby Johns takes over the lead from Richard Petty
Lap 430: Buck Baker's engine would stop working properly, causing him not to finish the race
Lap 444: The rear end of Joe Weatherly's vehicle came off, forcing him to exit the race
Lap 461: Problems with his lug bolts forced David Pearson to exit the race prematurely
Finish: Bobby Johns was officially declared the winner of the event
- Bobby Johns (No. 72)
- Fireball Roberts (No. 22), 6 laps behind
- Jack Smith (No. 47), 8 laps behind
- Ned Jarrett (No. 11), 25 laps behind
- Tom Cox (No. 60), 26 laps behind
- Herman Beam (No. 19), 27 laps behind
- David Pearson (No. 6), 39 laps behind
- Wendell Scott (No. 34), 40 laps behind
- Bill Morton (No. 61), 41 laps behind
- Curtis Crider (No. 62), 53 laps behind