| Coca-Cola 500|
| July 30, 1979 (1979-July-30)|
Pocono International Raceway, Long Pond, Pennsylvania
Permanent racing facility
2.500 mi (3.400 km)
200 laps, 501.0 mi (804 km)
Temperatures reaching up to 80.1 °F (26.7 °C); average wind speeds of 2.9 miles per hour (4.7 km/h)
The 1979 Coca-Cola 500 was a NASCAR Winston Cup Series racing event that took place on July 30, 1979, at Pocono International Raceway in Long Pond, Pennsylvania.
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. Only manual transmission vehicles were allowed to participate in this race; a policy that NASCAR has retained to the present day.
1979 Coca-Cola 500 Wikipedia
Pocono Raceway is one of six superspeedways to hold NASCAR races; the others are Daytona International Speedway, Michigan International Speedway, Auto Club Speedway, Indianapolis Motor Speedway and Talladega Superspeedway. The standard track at Pocono Raceway is a three-turn superspeedway that is 2.5 miles (4.0 km) long. The track's turns are banked differently; the first is banked at 14°, the second turn at 8° and the final turn with 6°. However, each of the three straightaways are banked at 2°.
While originally scheduled for July 29, 1979, it was postponed one day due to rain.
Two hundred laps were completed in four hours and twenty minutes. Seven cautions flags were given out by NASCAR for 49 laps; Cale Yarborough eventually defeated Richard Petty under the race's final yellow flag. This would result in Yarborough's third win of the year. Forty thousand fans attended a live racing event where the average speed of the vehicles would be 115.207 miles per hour (185.408 km/h). None of the drivers on the starting grid were born in Wisconsin; which is still true in 2016. Harry Gant qualified for the pole position with a speed of 148.711 miles per hour (239.327 km/h). The majority of the vehicles involved in the race had Chevrolet as their manufacturer. Steve Gray would make his NASCAR debut that resulted in a last-place finish. He crashed on the very first lap of the race with Roger Hamby and Al Holbert; taking home only $1,305 in winnings ($4,306.32 when adjusted for inflation).
Cale Yarborough would take home $21,465 in winnings for finishing first in the race ($70,831.55 when adjusted for inflation). 56 lead changes were recorded in this race; a rarity outside Talladega Superspeedway and a definite record setter for Pocono Raceway. Dale Earnhardt fractured both of his clavicles by crashing into a wall on lap 98 of this race. As a result, he had to miss the next four races (re-emerging at the 1979 running of the Capital City 400). All of the 39 drivers that qualified for the race were American-born males.