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1979 Talladega 500

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Official name  Talladega 500
1979 Talladega 500
Date  August 5, 1979 (1979-August-05)
Location  Alabama International Motor Speedway, Talladega, Alabama
Course  Permanent racing facility 2.660 mi (4.280 km)
Distance  188 laps, 500.1 mi (804.8 km)
Weather  Hot with temperatures reaching as high as 90.9 °F (32.7 °C); wind speeds up to 9.9 miles per hour (15.9 km/h)

The 1979 Talladega 500 was a NASCAR Winston Cup Series racing event that took place on August 5, 1979, at Alabama International Motor Speedway in Talladega, Alabama.


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.


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.


There were 41 American-born drivers on the starting grid; 21 of these vehicles failed to finish the race. Most of the problems in this three-hour event was blamed on the engines. After 188 laps of racing and five caution flags, Darrell Waltrip would defeat David Pearson by a minute and two seconds in front of a live crowd of eighty thousand stock car racing fans. Rookie driver Dale Earnhardt's injuries prevented him from participating in this event. There were a massive amount of changes in the race's first-place position; with Waltrip leading the final 55 laps to his victorious fate.

Speeds at this race reached 161.229 miles per hour (259.473 km/h) for the actual event while Neil Bonnett would earn his pole position by plowing through the field in solo qualifying runs with a top speed of 193.6 miles per hour (311.6 km/h). Kyle Petty would in ninth place in his inaugural race after starting in 18th place. Meanwhile, Bob Burcham and Al Holbert would make this race into their individual swan songs. The total prize purse at this event was $205,680 ($678,715.71 when adjusted for inflation). While the winner would collect $32,325 of this purse ($106,668.05 when adjusted for inflation), the last-place finisher would be stuck with a mere $1,050 ($3,464.86 when adjusted for inflation).

Oldsmobile would rack up their 100th victory in the history of the NASCAR Cup Series; sealing the legendary status of this now-defunct automobile manufacturer within the circles of professional stock car racing.

Finishing order

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


1979 Talladega 500 Wikipedia

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