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1979 Champion Spark Plug 400

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1979 Champion Spark Plug 400
Date  August 19, 1979 (1979-August-19)
Official name  Champion Spark Plug 400
Location  Michigan International Speedway, Brooklyn, Michigan
Course  Permanent racing facility 2.000 mi (3.218 km)
Distance  200 laps, 400 mi (643 km)
Weather  Mild with temperatures approaching 78.1 °F (25.6 °C); wind speeds up to 9.9 miles per hour (15.9 km/h)

The 1979 Champion Spark Plug 400 was a NASCAR Winston Cup Series racing event that took place on August 19, 1979, at Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn, Michigan.


Only manual transmission vehicles were allowed to participate in this race; a policy that NASCAR has retained to the present day. Michigan International Speedway had been a Mercury-dominated track from 1969-78 before its driving style became neutral to all manufacturers. 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.


There were 36 American-born male drivers on the grid. Richard Petty defeated Buddy Baker by one second in front of 60,000 live audience members. There were 21 lead changes and five caution flags for 35 laps; making the race three hours and four minutes long. David Pearson earned the pole position with a speed of 162.992 miles per hour (262.310 km/h) while the average racing speed was 130.376 miles per hour (209.820 km/h). Blackie Wangerin would receive the last-place finish due to a crash with H.B. Bailey on lap 2 out of the 200 regulation laps which resulted in Wangerin's car flipping outside of the track.

Al Rudd, Jr. would race his only NASCAR event here. The entire racing purse was valued at $142,905 ($471,566.84 when adjusted for inflation).

By the following season, 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.

Finishing order

* Driver failed to finish race


1979 Champion Spark Plug 400 Wikipedia