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1978 Old Dominion 500

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Official name  Old Dominion 500
1978 Old Dominion 500
Date  September 24, 1978 (1978-September-24)
Location  Martinsville Speedway, Martinsville, Virginia
Course  Permanent racing facility 0.525 mi (0.844 km)
Distance  500 laps, 262.5 mi (442.4 km)
Weather  Mild with temperatures approaching 70 °F (21 °C); wind speeds up to 8 miles per hour (13 km/h)

The 1978 Old Dominion 500 was a NASCAR Winston Cup Series (now Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series) race that took place on September 24, 1978, at Martinsville Speedway in Martinsville, Virginia. This race was the 28th to be held as a part of what is now known as the Tums Fast Relief 500.


By 1980, NASCAR had completely stopped tracking the year model of all the vehicles and most teams did not take stock cars to the track under their own power anymore.


Martinsville Speedway is one of five short tracks to hold NASCAR races. The standard track at Martinsville Speedway is a four-turn short track oval that is 0.526 miles (0.847 km) long. The track's turns are banked at eleven degrees, while the front stretch, the location of the finish line, is banked at zero degrees. The back stretch also has a zero degree banking.


Five hundred laps were done on a paved oval track spanning 0.525 miles (0.845 km) for a grand total of 262.5 miles (422.5 km). The complete time of the race was three hours, nineteen minutes, and fifty-four seconds. There were four cautions given out by the NASCAR officials for nineteen laps. Cale Yarborough defeated Darrell Waltrip by three car lengths. Notable speeds recorded in both the qualifying session and the race were: 79.185 miles per hour (127.436 km/h) as the average speed and 86.558 miles per hour (139.302 km/h) as the pole position speed. Twenty thousand people attended this live race. Chevrolet vehicles would dominate the starting grid of the event with multi-car teams dominating the lineup. By the late 1970s, it had become prohibitively expensive for a single person to own a NASCAR team. A series of oil crises in addition to changing sponsorship needs started to bring in the age of the multi-car team and the slow decline of the independent owners.

Harry Gant would lead a NASCAR Cup Series race for the first time in his career. However, he would only run ninety laps before having to leave the race due to an engine problem. This would cause him to be relegated to a 28th-place finish and only $1,070 in prize winnings ($3,928.97 when considering inflation). Total winnings for this race were $101,430 ($372,444.75 when considering inflation) and Cale Yarborough took the majority of the winnings with an easy $24,950 paycheck ($91,614.87 when considering inflation).

Satch Worley would retire from NASCAR after this race while Lennie Pond would never earn another pole position start after this race. Herb Nab was Pond's chief mechanic for the sole qualifying run that managed to get him the pole position for the event along with an extremely rare silver trophy.

Finishing order

* Driver failed to finish race
† Driver is deceased


  • Start of race: Lennie Pond had the pole position to begin the race
  • Lap 20: Cecil Gordon had to be brought out of the race because his brakes weren't working
  • Lap 42: Tighe Scott had a terminal crash; forcing him to exit the race
  • Lap 46: Harry Gant took over the lead from Lennie Pond
  • Lap 90: Cale Yarborough took over the lead from Harry Gant
  • Lap 111: Tommy Gale's engine couldn't go on any longer and gave out in the middle of the race
  • Lap 247: Darrell Waltrip took over the lead from Cale Yarborough
  • Lap 270: Cale Yarborough took over the lead from Darrell Waltrip
  • Lap 329: Buddy Baker's engine stopped working properly
  • Lap 340: The rear end of David Pearson's vehicle fell out, making it too dangerous for him to continue racing
  • Lap 354: Roger Hamby had serious issues with his brakes that required him to exit the event
  • Lap 403: Jimmy Means managed to overheat his vehicle while racing
  • Lap 409: J.D. McDuffie's terribly performing brakes forced him into the sidelines
  • Lap 453: Ferrell Harris had a faulty engine that forced him out of the race
  • Lap 473: Darrell Waltrip took over the lead from Cale Yarborough
  • Lap 488: Cale Yarborough took over the lead from Darrell Waltrip
  • Finish: Cale Yarborough was officially declared the winner of the event
  • References

    1978 Old Dominion 500 Wikipedia

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