Pre-double Donnie scores at ‘Dega

Sunday, May 16, 1971 – Donnie Allison won what amounted to a one-lap drag race with brother Bobby Allison and Buddy Baker to capture the Winston 500 at Alabama International Motor Speedway for his sixth career victory in NASCAR’s premier series. The one-lap shootout was set up when Dave Marcis blew an engine while leading with less than 10 laps remaining.

Donnie Allison won in his first start at the massive 2.66-mile speedway in a race that featured 42 lead changes and a 50-car starting field.

It was the fourth 1-2 finish for Donnie and Bobby Allison; Donnie had won all four. Bobby would beat his brother for the win for the first time later that same month in the World 600.

A day before the Winston 500, Donnie Allison had been in Indianapolis where he qualified 20th for the Indianapolis 500 as a teammate to A.J. Foyt.

Foyt was handling most of the driving duties for the No. 21 Wood Brothers Racing winning team that season, having won at Ontario and Atlanta. However, Allison was filling in while Foyt focused on the Indy 500.

Marcis gave up his own ride to drive the No. 71 K&K Insurance Dodge. That team’s regular driver, Bobby Isaac, was hospitalized just days earlier with kidney stones. Isaac was released in time to watch much of the race from the press box.

The race was the first for the series with Winston naming rights.

Cornelia Wallace, wife of Alabama Gov. George Wallace, was the honorary pace car driver for the race.

Isaac finds trouble, Pearson nets win

Sunday May 7, 1972 – Davie Pearson managed to swing around trouble when it struck race leader Bobby Isaac and the result was a victory in the Winston 500 at Alabama International Motor Speedway for the Wood Brothers Racing driver. Pearson was trailing Isaac with two laps remaining when the leader hit the wall after contact with the lapped entry of Jimmy Crawford.

Isaac, who still managed to finish second in spite of his skirmish with Crawford, had ignored a black flag from NASCAR due to an unattached gas cap as the final laps wound down. He was allowed to keep his runner-up finish but fined $1,500. NASCAR president Bill France Jr. said afterward that officials had the option of penalizing, disqualifying or suspending Isaac for the infraction. “It isn’t easy inspecting a car going 190 mph,” France told reporters.

Asked how the call could have differed had Isaac won the race instead of finishing second, NASCAR Vice President Lin Kuchler said, “I guess we’d still be meeting.”

Richard Petty finished fifth and earned a $10,000 bonus for leading the points standings after the season’s 11th event. Another $10,000 was split among the drivers second through fifth in the standings after the race.

Country music star and sometimes racer Marty Robbins finished 18th in the race to earn Rookie of the Race honors. However, officials stripped Robbins of his finish for an improperly installed carburetor, leaving him last in the 50-car field.

The race saw the debut of Darrell Waltrip in NASCAR’s premier series. Waltrip qualified 25th and finished 38th in the No. 95 Terminal Transport Mercury. It was the first of 809 career starts in the series for the three-time champion and NASCAR Hall of Fame member.

Live from Greenville, it’s NASCAR

Saturday, April 10, 1971 – ABC’s “Wild World of Sports” provides the first live, flag-to-flag coverage of a NASCAR premier series event, televising the Greenville 200 from Greenville-Pickens Speedway in its entirety. Bobby Isaac, a late entry, led 181 of the race’s 200 laps to pick up his 32nd career victory.

David Pearson, Dick Brooks, Dave Marcis and Benny Parsons completed the top five in a race that lasted 1 hr., 16 min., 46 sec. There was one caution for five laps.

ABC had previously televised edited versions of select NASCAR races on its “Wide World” program but never live races in their entirety. The broadcasting group used five cameras – three above the grandstands, one in Turn 2 and one hand-held camera assigned to roam pit road. A sixth camera was used for graphics (starting lineup, running order, etc.)

On-air talent for the program consisted of ABC host Jim McKay and veteran automotive reporter Chris Economaki in the booth along with broadcaster Ken Squier on pit road.

The race, which featured a 26-car field, was blacked out within a 150-mile radius of Greenville, S.C.

The race purse of $20,600 was a record for a 100-mile NASCAR race.