Puneet Varma

1974 Winston 500

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Official name  Winston 500
1974 Winston 500
Date  May 5, 1974 (1974-May-05)
Location  Alabama International Motor Speedway, Talladega, Alabama
Course  Permanent racing facility 2.660 mi (4.280 km)
Distance  170 laps, 500.1 mi (804.8 km)
Weather  Warm with temperatures approaching 82.9 °F (28.3 °C); wind speeds up to 9.9 miles per hour (15.9 km/h)

The 1974 Winston 500 was a NASCAR Winston Cup Series racing event that was held on May 5, 1974, at Alabama International Motor Speedway in Talladega, Alabama.

Contents

David Pearson acquired one of his superspeedway victories for the 1974 NASCAR Winston Cup Series season at this event. Tickets at this event sold at an average price of $10 ($48.56 when adjusted for inflation); with some tickets selling for a higher price. While the green flag was waved at 1:00 PM, the checkered flag was not waved until approximately 4:28 PM, giving fans ample time to find dinner accommodations.

Background

Talladega Superspeedway, originally known as Alabama International Motor Superspeedway (AIMS), is a motorsports complex located north of Talladega, Alabama. It is located on the former Anniston Air Force Base in the small city of Lincoln. The track is a Tri-oval and was constructed by International Speedway Corporation, a business controlled by the France Family, in the 1960s. Talladega is most known for its steep banking and the unique location of the start/finish line - located just past the exit to pit road. The track currently hosts the NASCAR series such as the Sprint Cup Series, Xfinity Series, and the Camping World Truck Series. Talladega Superspeedway is the longest NASCAR oval with a length of 2.66 miles (4.28 km), and the track at its peak had a seating capacity of 175,000 spectators.

Summary

Due to a fuel crisis, the first 18 laps of the event were not scored. Engine problems caused most of the drivers not to finish the race. Jerry Schild made his NASCAR Cup Series debut in this event; starting in 37th and finishing in 40th place. David Pearson would end up defeating Benny Parsons by nearly 0.2 seconds after racing for almost 210 minutes. Sixty of these 170 laps were raced under yellow; half of the yellow flag laps were due to rain. A strong crowd of forty thousand people would see the lead change hands 53 times. Chevrolet and Dodge vehicles would dominate the race's grid while Ford products led the most laps. Iggy Katona would leave the NASCAR Cup Series as a driver after this event.

Grant Adcox and his father qualified for the event. With a hundred laps in the books, a caution came out as Donnie Allison's clutch burned out and David Sisco's motor went up in smoke. Gary Bettenhausen, who had pitted a lap after the leaders, and was up on jacks as young Adcox came down for service. Adcox's car hit an oil and water patch and slammed straight into the Bettenhausen Matador, crushing catch can man Don Miller between the cars. A young crew member of the Nord Krauskopf team who was pitted nearby, Buddy Parrott, came rushing down to help, while Penske crewmembers John Woodward and John Watson were also injured. Miller was taken to the hospital and eventually had his right leg amputated. Learning of the extent of Miller's injuries, Adcox went into shock, and his car was withdrawn from the event.

The entire prize purse of this race would be $144,280 ($700,663.40 when adjusted for inflation); with the winner receiving $20,785 of it ($100,937.68 when adjusted for inflation) while the last-place finisher received a meager $1,175 ($5,706.12 when adjusted for inflation). A 1973 Mercury Montego would become the winning vehicle at this race. David Pearson would earn the pole position for this race by driving at speeds up to 186.086 miles per hour (299.476 km/h) during qualifying. Compared to today's pole speeds, it was considered to be the slowest except for Jeremy Mayfield's pole run at the 2000 DieHard 500. Only manual transmission vehicles were allowed to participate in this race; a policy that NASCAR has retained to the present day.

References

1974 Winston 500 Wikipedia


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