Supriya Ghosh (Editor)

1969 Motor State 500

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Official name  Motor State 500
1969 Motor State 500
Date  June 15, 1969 (1969-June-15)
Location  Michigan International Speedway, (Brooklyn, Michigan)
Course  Permanent racing facility 2.000 mi (3.218 km)
Distance  250 laps, 500 mi (743 km)
Weather  Chilly with temperatures approaching 63 °F (17 °C); wind speeds up to 15 miles per hour (24 km/h)

The 1969 Motor State 500 was a NASCAR Grand National Series (now Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series) event that was held on June 15, 1969, at Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn, Michigan. Highlights from this event were featured on the classic television show Car and Track; hosted by famous race commentator Bud Lindemann.


During this era, Michigan International Speedway was a Mercury-dominated track. It was also a track that suited a smooth driver or a driver that could change his driving tactics for Michigan International Speedway.


Michigan International Speedway is a four-turn superspeedway that is 2 miles (3.2 km) long. Opened in 1968, the track's turns are banked at eighteen degrees, while the 3,600-foot-long front stretch, the location of the finish line, is banked at twelve degrees. The back stretch, has a five degree banking and is 2,242 feet long.


A grand total of 38 American-born drivers competed in this 250-lap racing event. Wayne Gillette ended up becoming the last-place finisher due to troubles with the rear end of vehicle only after completing a single lap. While LeeRoy Yarbrough would lead the most amount of laps, Cale Yarborough would defeat David Pearson by a distance of five car lengths after more than three and a half hours of racing. Yarbrough's day would end when his car suddenly crashed on lap 249; but not without picking up a respectable fourth-place finish in the process.

Donnie Allison would become known as the fastest driver in qualifying; he earned his pole position after driving speeds up to 160.135 miles per hour (257.712 km/h) by himself on the track. Earl Brooks would become known for being the lowest-finishing driver to complete the event; he was 85 laps behind the lead lap drivers. The vehicles in this event ranged from 1967 to 1969; most of the vehicles raced here were Fords and Dodges; all built nearby in the assembly plants of Dearborn, Flint and Detroit. The racing grid was forced to slow down a total of seven times for a duration of 35 laps; more than 46,000 people would purchase tickets for the inaugural NASCAR Cup Series race set in the "Irish Hills" of Michigan. LeeRoy Yarbrough and David Pearson both lead a respectable amount of green flags and were tough opponents to deal with while under pressure. With the first-place position being exchanged a whopping 35 times throughout the event, it felt more like an Academy Award-winning movie than an actual NASCAR event.

Individual race earnings for each driver ranged from the winner's share of $17,625 ($115,106.28 when adjusted for inflation) to the last-place finisher's share of $622 ($4,062.19 when adjusted for inflation). NASCAR officials were authorized to hand out a grand total of $73,548 in post-race winnings to all the drivers who managed to qualify for this event ($480,331.18 when adjusted for inflation).

Top ten finishers

  1. Cale Yarborough (No. 21)
  2. David Pearson (No. 17)
  3. Richard Petty (No. 43)
  4. LeeRoy Yarbrough (No. 98), 1 lap behind
  5. Charlie Glotzbach (No.6), 1 lap behind
  6. Paul Goldsmith (No. 99), 2 laps behind
  7. James Hylton (No. 48), 6 laps behind
  8. Neil Castles (No. 06), 8 laps behind
  9. John Sears (No. 4), 10 laps behind
  10. Jabe Thomas (No. 25), 23 laps behind


1969 Motor State 500 Wikipedia