Suvarna Garge (Editor)

1965 Wilkes 400

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Official name  Wilkes 400
1965 Wilkes 400
Date  October 3, 1965 (1965-October-03)
Location  North Wilkesboro Speedway, North Wilkesboro, North Carolina
Course  Permanent racing facility 0.625 mi (1.005 km)
Distance  400 laps, 250 mi (402 km)
Weather  Warm with temperatures reaching up to 79 °F (26 °C); wind speeds up to 10.1 miles per hour (16.3 km/h)

The 1965 Wilkes 400 was a NASCAR Grand National Series (now Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series) event that was held on October 3, 1965, at North Wilkesboro Speedway in North Wilkesboro, North Carolina.


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.


During this 400-lap event, the only drivers to clinch the lead were Fred Lorenzen, Junior Johnson, and Cale Yarborough. There were 35 drivers who qualified for this race; Buddy Arrington would be credited as the last-place due to being involved in a crash with three other drivers on his thirteenth lap. All of the drivers on the racing grid were born in the United States of America. Most of automobiles present at this race belong to the Ford manufacturer.

Fifteen thousand fans would see an event that would last for two hours and forty-eight minutes. Fred Lorenzen would qualify for the pole position by virtue of driving up to 101.58 miles per hour or 163.48 kilometres per hour during his solo qualifying session. Only two of the top-ten finishers would drive a Dodge vehicle while Chevrolet stock cars would finish anywhere between the middle of the pack to near the end of the pack. Junior Johnson defeated Cale Yarborough by two laps in order to clinch his final victory ever in the NASCAR Cup Series. Frank Weathers would retire from driving in the top-level NASCAR series after this event.

Individual winnings for each driver ranged from $4,475 for Junior Johnson ($34,009.05 when inflation is taken into effect) and $150 for Buddy Arrington ($1,139.97 when inflation is taken into effect). Total winnings assigned for this racing event by NASCAR officials was $17,050 ($129,576.40 when inflation is taken into effect).


  • Start of race: Fred Lorenzen starts the race with the pole position
  • Lap 13: Buddy Arrington had a terminal crash; causing him to "finish" the event in last place
  • Lap 14: Richard Petty and Bobby Isaac would crash at the same time, ending both of their chances of winning the race
  • Lap 82: Henley Gray had a terminal crash, forcing him to withdraw from the race
  • Lap 154: An oil leak ended Jabe Thomas' chance of winning the race
  • Lap 191: Junior Johnson takes over the lead from Fred Lorenzen
  • Lap 198: Paul Lewis' vehicle developed engine problems, taking him out of the race
  • Lap 219: Fred Lorenzen started having engine problems, forcing him out of the event
  • Lap 311: Cale Yarborough takes over the lead from Junior Johnson
  • Lap 317: Junior Johnson takes over the lead from Cale Yarborough
  • Lap 318: Roy Mayne became the final DNF of the race due to problems with his car's engine
  • Finish: Junior Johnson wins the race directly from the pole position
  • References

    1965 Wilkes 400 Wikipedia