Yarborough wins; Earnhardt injured

Monday, July 30, 1979 – Three-time NASCAR premier series champion Cale Yarborough won the rain-delayed Coca-Cola 500 under caution while rookie of the year points leader Dale Earnhardt was transported to a local hospital following a hard crash at the 2.5-mile Pocono Raceway. Yarborough, driving the No. 11 Chevrolet fielded by owner Junior Johnson, beat Darrell Waltrip out of the pits during a final fuel stop and was leading when a final yellow appeared for a crash involving Nelson Oswald. Officials were unable to clear the track in time for a one-lap dash under green, giving Yarborough his third win of the season.

Earnhardt, driving the No. 2 Chevrolet of Rod Osterlund, blew a tire and struck the wall hard just two laps from the 100-lap mark. The former race leader was transported to a local hospital where he was diagnosed with a concussion, one broken collarbone and one cracked collarbone.

Two days after the crash, the Osterlund team announced veteran David Pearson would fill in as driver until Earnhardt was able to return. The injuries kept Earnhardt sidelined for the following four races. Pearson, winner of 103 career races, had split with Wood Brothers Racing earlier in the year.

Richard Petty, Buddy Baker, Benny Parsons and Ricky Rudd completed the top five in the race, which was run one day later than originally scheduled due to rain.

Waltrip finished seventh in a “borrowed” car that was practically rebuilt after he crashed his own entry during practice. Unable to make the necessary repairs to his car, Waltrip “bought” a ride in the No. 22 of Al Rudd.

Rookie Harry Gant finished 15th in the No. 47 Jack Beebe Race Hill Farm entry after winning his first premier series pole.

NASCAR awards Yarborough Nashville win

Monday, July 22, 1974 – NASCAR officials ruled Cale Yarborough the winner of the Nashville (Tenn.) 420, two days after the race was completed. Following the conclusion of the premier series event, competitor Bobby Allison argued that Yarborough had been a lap down and he (Allison) had won the race. Officials announced no formal winner following the race; Yarborough had been flagged the winner on the track.

NASCAR officials Len Kuchler, Joe Epton and Bill Gazaway traveled to Los Angeles following the race to meet with NASCAR president Bill France Jr. and decide what action should be taken.

Allison contended that Yarborough had lost two laps, one when his No. 11 Chevrolet spun and another when the pace car picked up the wrong car under caution. NASCAR officials eventually agreed with Allison’s assessment but ruled that such infractions must confirmed during the race before a penalty can be assessed.

• It was the second consecutive week a driver had protested a win by Yarborough. The week before, Buddy Baker argued that Yarborough was actually a lap down at the end of the Volunteer 500 at Bristol (Tenn.) International Speedway. Officials eventually ruled in Yarborough’s favor in that one, too.

Another Andretti wins at Daytona

Saturday, July 5, 1997 – John Andretti, nephew of Indianapolis 500 and Daytona 500 winner Mario Andretti, scored his first NASCAR premier series win with a victory in the Pepsi 400 at Daytona International Speedway. Andretti led 113 of 160 laps in collecting his first win as well as the first victory for Cale Yarborough Motorsports.

The ’97 race was the last to be run in the morning at Daytona; beginning in ’98 the race was run under the lights on Saturday nights.

Andretti, who would win two times in Cup competition, picked up the victory in his 110th career start.

Terry Labonte, Sterling Marlin, Dale Earnhardt and Dale Jarrett completed the top five.

Mario Andretti had one win in 14 NASCAR starts, winning the 1967 Daytona 500.

A win for Petty, the President and NASCAR

Wed., July 4, 1984 – Richard Petty, NASCAR’s first seven-time premier series champion, recorded his milestone 200th career victory when he beat Cale Yarborough by a fender in the annual Firecracker 400 at Daytona International Speedway. Petty became the first driver to win in front of a sitting president, Ronald Reagan, who had arrived at the track after the race had begun.

Petty’s 200th victory came 24 years after his first and it was his 943rd career start.

Petty beat Yarborough back to the line with two laps remaining when the yellow flag appeared for an incident involving Doug Heveron. Petty was leading when the caution came out, Yarborough passed Petty going into Turn 3, then Petty pulled up alongside Yarborough in Turn 4 as they sprinted side-by-side to the finish line.

Petty’s 200th win came with team owner Mike Curb, who he had joined following the ’83 season. The legendary driver competed eight more seasons before retirement without another victory.

Yarborough, driving the No. 28 Chevrolet for owner Harry Ranier, had used the slingshot move – waiting until the final lap to draft past the leader – to win multiple races on the series’ biggest tracks, including that season’s Daytona 500.

The final two laps were run under caution; Yarborough mistakenly thought there was only one lap remaining and pulled onto pit road. As a result, he lost one position, falling from second to third in the final rundown. Harry Gant was awarded the runner-up spot.

Five fined for monkeying with manifolds

Wednesday, June 29, 1988 – NASCAR officials seized the intake manifolds from five of its premier series teams and quickly fined the five drivers $5,000 each prior to practice for the Firecracker 400 at Daytona International Speedway. The drivers fined were Davey Allison (Ranier Racing), Buddy Baker (Baker/Schiff Racing), Ken Bouchard (Whitcomb Racing), Dale Jarrett (Hoss Ellington) and Cale Yarborough (Cale Yarborough Motorsports).

NASCAR determined the teams were attempting to get around the limitations of the 1-inch restrictor plate in use for the upcoming race by altering the manifolds. Some manifolds had small holes bored in them while others were not seated flush against the gasket, allowing air into the engine

Officials also confiscated a faulty gasket from the Ford driven by Kyle Petty, however the third-generation driver was not fined.

Winston Cup director Dick Beatty said he informed teams that officials would be on the lookout for anyone attempting to get around the horsepower-restricting plates. Anyone caught a second time for a similar infraction would be suspended for 12 weeks.

Yarborough collects first NASCAR victory

Sunday, June 27, 1965 – Cale Yarborough finally joined the ranks of the winners on NASCAR’s premier circuit when he picked up the victory in the rain-delayed 200-lap race at Valdosta (Ga.) 75 Speedway. Yarborough, 26, was making his 78th career start in the series and his fourth for car owner Kenny Myler.

J.T. Putney, G.C. Spencer, Stick Elliott and Harvey Jones rounded out the top five at the end of the 100-mile race.

Yarborough, who started fifth in the No. 06 Ford, finished three laps ahead of runner-up Putney. He took the lead at lap 183 and led the final 18 circuits.

The race, No. 28 of 55 contested that season, had originally been scheduled for Saturday, June 26 but was halted after just 12 laps due to rain. Polesitter Dick Hutcherson of Keokuk, Iowa was leading when the race was halted.

Had it not been for the rain delay, Yarborough would not have competed in the event. The rain kept the Timmonsville, S.C. resident from flying from Charlotte, N.C. to Valdosta and another driver, Sam McQuagg, qualified the entry and started the race. When officials postponed the race until Sunday, Yarborough reportedly drove all night to get to Valdosta, arriving at the track some four hours before the race resumed. Rather than pick up the race at lap 13, officials re-started the race to be run in its entirety. Had it been resumed instead, McQuagg would have gotten credit for the victory since he was the driver of record when the race began on Saturday.

Yarborough continues to master Michigan

Sunday, June 20, 1982 – Three-time NASCAR premier series champion Cale Yarborough continued his mastery of the 2-mile Michigan International Speedway, recording his sixth career victory in the Gabriel 400. Yarborough’s No. 27 Buick, fielded by owner M.C. Anderson, led 73 of the race’s 200 laps and survived a last-lap encounter with Darrell Waltrip to earn the win.

Waltrip dove underneath Yarborough in Turn 3 on the white-flag lap and there was brief contact but Waltrip couldn’t make the pass. On the cool-down lap, Waltrip again made contact with Yarborough, but wound up spinning into the grass. Asked about the altercation, Yarborough said “Guess I’ll have to meet him in the Big K parking lot.” Waltrip, upset over fan reaction to his crash in the World 600 at Charlotte, had earlier suggested “putting out a bulletin that I’ll be at the Big K parking lot … and anybody that don’t like me can show up.”

Bill Elliott, Bobby Allison and Ricky Rudd completed the top five.

The race was delayed twice by rain for a total of 3 hr., six min. Once the rain stopped, the race didn’t go green again until 7:20 p.m. It finished at 9:12 p.m.

Robin McCall, 18 and only recently out of high school, made her NASCAR premier series debut, finishing 29th in the J.D. Stacy-owned No. 5 Buick.

Ron Bouchard started on the pole for the second time in his career.

Parsons adds road course win to resume

Sunday, June 11, 1978 – Benny Parsons, who won a Daytona 500 in 1972 and a premier series championship in ’73, finally won on a road course when he outlasted the competition to capture the NAPA 400 at Riverside International Raceway. The win came in Parsons’ 17th attempt at the 2.62-mile layout.

Parsons, 36, drove his L.G. DeWitt-owned Monte Carlo to the front, passing Bobby Allison with 16 laps remaining in the 95-lap affair. It was his third win of the year, coming on the heels of victories at Richmond, Va. and Darlington, S.C.

Parsons’ pit crew was the same group pitting the No. 11 Oldsmobile fielded by Junior Johnson and driven by Cale Yarborough. Parsons asked for the help in an effort to save money by not bringing additional crewmen on the trip.

Yarborough, the No. 2 qualifier, led 47 laps, most of anyone. However, he was penalized 30 seconds by NASCAR for improper pitting – he used an illegal shortcut to get to pit road after suffering a flat tire.

Runner-up Richard Petty saw his winless streak reach 28 races at Riverside. The six-time series champion had not won since the July Daytona race of the previous season.

Hershel McGriff won a sportsman/modified combo race, the Warner W. Hodgdon 200, contested earlier that day at Riverside. McGriff then came back to finish 17th in the Cup event.

Yarborough wins, but no fan of TWS

Sunday, June 1, 1980 – Cale Yarborough scored the 65th win of his NASCAR premier series career when he won the NASCAR 400 at Texas World Speedway in College Station, Texas. Yarborough led 110 laps in the 200-lap race, including the final 65. Richard Petty finished second and Bobby Allison third, both one lap down.

To say Yarborough wasn’t a fan of the rough 2-mile racing surface at TWS would be an understatement. Yarborough said he had “driven on dirt tracks that weren’t this rough” and added after winning “If I had my way, I’d never run here again.”

Yarborough had other reasons to not be a fan of the track besides the rough surface. In 1969 he was involved in a crash that left him with a shoulder injury so severe doctors initially told him he would likely never race again. In ’79, he was tossed out of the garage before practice when security guards didn’t see his credential and failed to recognize the three-time series champion.

The ’80 victory was worth $21,000 to the winner and made Yarborough the second driver to top $3 million in career earnings, joining Richard Petty.

The Cup Series competed on 17 tracks at that time. The Texas victory gave Yarborough, driver of the No. 11 Chevrolet for Junior Johnson, wins on 16 of the 17; he lacked only a victory at Ontario (Calif.) Motor Speedway.

The race was the seventh of eight premier series races held at TWS and the only one completed without a caution period.

The race was the first for points leader Dale Earnhardt without crew chief Jake Elder, who had resigned from the Osterlund Racing team May 28. Elder left the team due to disagreements with team manager Roland Wlodyka and Osterlund, the car owner. Wlodyka was named interim crew chief following Elder’s departure. Earnhardt finished ninth.

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.