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1973 Richmond 500

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Official name  Richmond 500
Course  0.542 mi (0.872 km)
1973 Richmond 500
Date  February 25, 1973 (1973-02-25)
Location  Richmond Fairgrounds Raceway, Richmond, Virginia
Distance  500 laps, 271 mi (436 km)
Weather  Temperatures reaching a maximum of 57.9 °F (14.4 °C); wind speeds up to 9.9 miles per hour (15.9 km/h)

The 1973 Richmond 500 was a NASCAR Winston Cup Series (now Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series) racing event that took place on February 25, 1973, at Richmond Fairgrounds Raceway (now Richmond International Raceway) in Richmond, Virginia.


This race would essentially jumpstart what would become the "year of the smaller engine" while declining sponsorship interests for the drivers resulted in NASCAR keeping the bigger gas-guzzling engines from being abolished completely. Only manual transmission vehicles were allowed to participate in this race; a policy that NASCAR has retained to the present day.


In 1953, Richmond International Raceway began hosting the Grand National Series with Lee Petty winning that first race in Richmond. The original track was paved in 1968. In 1988, the track was re-designed into its present D-shaped configuration

The name for the raceway complex was "Strawberry Hill" until the Virginia State Fairgrounds site was bought out in 1999 and renamed the "Richmond International Raceway". The Strawberry Hill Races, which are a series of steeplechase horse races were formerly held the third Saturday of April at the Richmond Raceway Complex. In 2001, the races were moved to Colonial Downs in New Kent County, Virginia's first Thoroughbred racetrack.


Five hundred laps took place on a paved oval track spanning .542 miles (0.872 km) for a grand total of 271.0 miles (436.1 km). It took three hours and thirty-seven minutes for the race to reach its full conclusion in front of eighteen thousand audience members.

Richard Petty defeated Buddy Baker by 13.6 seconds. Eight cautions were given for seventy-eight laps. The other drivers in the top ten were: Cale Yarborough, Bobby Isaac, Dave Marcis, Bill Dennis, Lennie Pond, Cecil Gordon, James Hylton, and Benny Parsons. Notable speeds were: 74.764 miles per hour (120.321 km/h) as the average speed and 90.952 miles per hour (146.373 km/h) as the pole position speed. Canadian driver Vic Parsons started in 27th place and ended the race in 30th place (out of 30 drivers).

Total winnings for this race were $35,600 ($192,063.87 when considering inflation). DiGard Motorsports would throw their collective hats into what would become their debut race as a NASCAR Cup Series team.

Finishing order

* Driver failed to finish race
† signifies that the driver is known to be deceased


1973 Richmond 500 Wikipedia

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