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1972 American 500

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Official name  American 500
1972 American 500
Date  October 22, 1972 (1972-October-22)
Location  North Carolina Motor Speedway, Rockingham, North Carolina
Course  Permanent racing facility 1.017 mi (1.636 km)
Distance  492 laps, 500 mi (804 km)
Weather  Mild with temperatures approaching 71.1 °F (21.7 °C); wind speeds up to 5.1 miles per hour (8.2 km/h)

The 1972 American 500 was a NASCAR Winston Cup Series racing event held on October 22, 1972, at North Carolina Motor Speedway in Rockingham, North Carolina. While not televised, the 1972 American 500 was covered by local radio stations WAYN-AM (900 AM) and WEEB-AM (990 AM).

Contents

Most of the passenger cars were built in America back in 1972 and were built almost exactly to the specifications found in early-1970s NASCAR Cup Series vehicles. People had a tendency to transfer the pride and loyalty of their chosen vehicle manufacturer into their favorite stock car driver. With the growing U.S. environmentalist movement of the 1970s, smog controls were started to be mandated in passenger vehicles. This would create a reasonable performance gap between the passenger vehicles and the stock car vehicles that would become pronounced by the late-1970s.

Summary

An impressive lineup of 40 American-born drivers managed to qualify for the race. Drivers who failed to qualify were David Ray Boggs, Jimmy Crawford and Elmo Langley. Forty-two thousand people would become enthralled by the drivers going up to 118.275 miles per hour (190.345 km/h) in this 253-minute racing event. David Pearson's impressive qualifying speed of 137.258 miles per hour or 220.895 kilometres per hour got him close and personal with the pole position. Four cautions were given for a duration of 35 laps where 20 different drivers managed to gain the honor of leading the race.

Bobby Allison would defeat Richard Petty by outlapping him twice. Unfortunately, Allison's "Joe DiMaggio Streak" would not last after this race; no driver has ever attempted for this race after this race. Ron Hutcherson was the last-place finisher of this event; with a racing accident costing him a chance to win the event on lap 29 out of 492. Richard Petty, Bobby Allison and David Pearson managed to dominate the closing laps of this race. Hutcherson's racing career would last throughout the course of the 1970s; ending only after the 1979 running of the World 600.

Rewards for this racing event started off at $19,400 for the winner ($111,075.42 when adjusted for inflation) while the last-place finisher was lucky to bring home $550 ($3,149.05 when adjusted for inflation). A grand total of $89,450 was offered to the race by the treasurers of NASCAR ($512,149.28 when adjusted for inflation). Bobby Allison's win at this event would become the tenth win of the 1972 NASCAR Winston Cup Series season. Due to the cash crunch of the 1970s, only five individual owners could afford to employ a NASCAR Cup Series driver for the rest; the rest were all "proper" NASCAR teams with more than one person running them. Only manual transmission vehicles were allowed to participate in this race; a policy that NASCAR has retained to the present day.

Timeline

  • Start: David Pearson was the first driver to leave the start/finish line as the green flag was waved in the air
  • Lap 33: Bill Dennis took over the lead from David Pearson
  • Lap 34: Bobby Isaac took over the lead from Bill Dennis
  • Lap 35: Bobby Allison took over the lead from Bobby Isaac
  • Lap 42: Cale Yarborough took over the lead from Bobby Allison
  • Lap 51: Buddy Baker took over the lead from Cale Yarborough
  • Lap 67: Dick Brooks took over the lead from Buddy Baker
  • Lap 68: Bill Dennis took over the lead from Dick Brooks
  • Lap 69: David Pearson took over the lead from Bill Dennis
  • Lap 92: Bobby Allison took over the lead from David Pearson
  • Lap 97: David Pearson took over the lead from Bobby Allison
  • Lap 100: Buddy Baker took over the lead from David Pearson
  • Lap 167: David Pearson took over the lead from Buddy Baker
  • Lap 187: Bobby Allison took over the lead from David Pearson
  • Lap 213: Richard Petty took over the lead from Bobby Allison
  • Lap 251: Bobby Allison took over the lead from Richard Petty
  • Lap 252: Richard Petty took over the lead from Bobby Allison
  • Lap 259: Bobby Allison took over the lead from Richard Petty
  • Lap 261: Richard Petty took over the lead from Bobby Allison
  • Lap 269: David Pearson took over the lead from Richard Petty
  • Lap 317: Bobby Allison took over the lead from David Pearson
  • Lap 418: Jabe Thomas' engine stopped functioning in a normal manner
  • Lap 428: The rear end of James Hylton's vehicle was removed in an unsafe manner
  • Finish: Bobby Allison was officially declared the winner of the event
  • References

    1972 American 500 Wikipedia


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