Quick results for Bonnett, Wood Brothers

Sunday, May 20, 1979 – It took Neil Bonnett only three races with the Wood Brothers to show that their belief in his talent wasn’t misplaced as Bonnett put the famed No. 21 Mercury in victory lane when he won the Mason-Dixon 500 at Dover International Speedway. Bonnett beat Cale Yarborough for his third career win in the series, thanks to a late caution that erased Yarborough’s 10-second lead.

Bonnett replaced three-time series champ David Pearson in the No. 21; Pearson and the team had split following a pit road miscue at Darlington.

Bonnett split with team owner Jim Stacy just three races into the ’79 season and seemed destined for a career in the local bullrings of the southeast. He said after the Dover win that he was “outside mounting tires” on his Late Model car when the Wood Brothers called to see if he was interested in driving for the team.

Yarborough did not pit under the final caution, brought out when J.D. McDuffie was hit by Ricky Rudd, who had blown a tire. Bonnett did pit, and the fresh tires and quick pit work by the Woods proved to be the difference.

Yarborough had Bonnett a lap down earlier but ran out of gas and had to pit, thus allowing Bonnett to get back on the lead lap.

Darrell Waltrip suffered an engine failure, but his DiGard team reportedly replaced the piece in 18 minutes to get their driver back out on the track.

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