Sunday, July 25, 1965 – Ned Jarrett persevered through
delays for rain and wrecks and at the end of a long, 4-plus hour race took the
checkered flag, winning the Volunteer 500 at Bristol International Speedway. Jarrett,
bidding for his second championship in NASCAR’s premier series, had a healthy
20-second lead on runner-up Dick Hutcherson at the finish line. Sam McQuagg,
Jim Paschal and Buck Baker completed the top five.
• The victory was career win No. 45 for Jarrett and came in the No. 11 Bondy Long-owned Ford
• Rain forced officials to start the race under the yellow flag; there were eight cautions for 167 laps. Rather than red-flag the race for a wet track, at one point officials kept cars circling the half-mile oval for 99 laps under yellow.
• The race marked the return of Richard Petty, who missed the first five months of the season following the ban of the hemi by NASCAR. A winner of 40 races, Petty finished 17th due to issues with his car’s differential.
• Jarrett’s win was the last of 34 consecutive victories to open the season for Ford (Mercury notched one Daytona qualifying race win).
Thursday, July 2, 1964 – Glen “Fireball” Roberts, NASCAR’s
top drawing card at tracks across the country, died at Memorial Hospital in
Charlotte where he had spent six weeks following a fiery crash in the World 600
race on May 24. Roberts, 35, was the winner of 33 races in NASCAR’s top series,
including the Daytona 500 and Southern 500. A wreck in the 600 resulted in
burns over 75 percent of his body.
• Officially doctors listed Roberts’ cause of death as pneumonia and septicemia (blood poisoning). The popular star had slipped into a coma a day earlier.
• Roberts was injured in a lap 7 crash that also involved drivers Ned Jarrett and Junior Johnson. Jarrett pulled Roberts from his burning car, which had landed on its roof. “Fireball was the idol of all the drivers,” Jarrett said after hearing of his passing. “We looked up to him. He was a gentleman and a sportsman, all that a man in our profession should be.”
• Roberts once said his first racing win, which came on a small dirt track in southern Georgia, earned him “a ham, a sack of pecans and a $20 bill.” At the time of his passing, he had earned more than $300,000, nearly $2.5 million by today’s standards.
• A.J. Foyt, in Daytona to prepare for the Firecracker 400, called Roberts “the best stock car driver I have ever raced against.”
Saturday, June 4, 1966 – Two-time NASCAR premier series
champion Ned Jarrett announces that he will retire from competition at the end
of the racing season. The 33-year-old from Newton, N.C., has 50 career
victories on NASCAR’s premier circuit and won series championships in 1961 and
’65. At the time, he said he planned to compete in a limited number of races
for the remainder of the ’66 racing season.
• Jarrett did make several more starts that season and closed his career with 352 career starts.
• Two issues and one opportunity helped speed up Jarrett’s decision to step out of the car at a relatively young age and while still competitive – a back injury caused by a crash on the race track and the Ford factory pullout at the end of ’65 were both concerns. But he called the opportunity to work with the marketing group Research With Products too good to pass up.
• In addition to his two premier series championships,
Jarrett also won NASCAR Sportsman crowns in 1957 and ’58. He was often referred
to as “Gentleman Ned Jarrett” for his demeanor behind the wheel.
• Jarrett also enjoyed a successful broadcast career after
he retired from competition. He worked with the Motor Racing Network (MRN) and
CBS TV and had his own syndicated radio show.
Thursday, June 3, 1965 – Dick Hutcherson collected his
second career win and second of the season when he took the checkered flag in
the Music City 200 at Nashville (Tenn.) Speedway. The Keokuk, Iowa native
finished a lap ahead of Ned Jarrett and J.T. Putney in his No. 29 Holman-Moody
• His first full NASCAR premier series season saw Hutcherson win nine times and finish second in points to Jarrett.
• Hutcherson competed in just four races the previous year before running full-time two of three seasons. He was ruled ineligible for Rookie of the Year, however, because he had previously competed for a sanctioning body other than NASCAR.
• Jarrett scored the runner-up finish at Nashville in spite of having to borrow a car to compete. His No. 11 Ford had been destroyed the night before in a crash while en route to the track. Jarret drove a car owned by independent Jabe Thomas.
• The race was the first at the speedway to be run under the lights.
• Hutcherson retired after the 1967 season and oversaw the Holman-Moody operation that carried David Pearson to championships in 1968-69.
• He eventually co-founded the Hutcherson-Pagan organization along with former racer Eddie Pagan. The highly successful company built and repaired race cars and chassis.
• Hutcherson twice competed in the 24 Hours of Le Mans, in 1966 with Ronnie Bucknum and again in ’76 with co-drivers Dick Brooks and Marcel Migiot.
Sunday, May 24, 1964 – Jim Paschal drove his No. 14 Petty
Enterprises Plymouth to his 19th career victory, but the World 600
was marred by a multicar crash that left NASCAR idol Glen “Fireball” Roberts
hospitalized with burns over much of his body. Roberts was caught up in an
incident that also involved Junior Johnson and Ned Jarrett. When his No. 22 Ford
hit the wall, back end first, it ruptured the fuel tank and flipped over.
Jarrett helped free Roberts from the burning car.
• Roberts was NASCAR’s first true superstar, talented, successful and popular. Reports at the time said the Florida native was preparing to step away from competition and work with a popular beer company even though he himself did not drink.
• At the time of his injuries, Roberts had 33 wins in NASCAR’s premier series, including victories in the Southern 500 and Daytona 500.
• Roberts, burned over 75 percent of his body, passed away 39 days after the accident from pneumonia and blood poisoning.
• Paschal finished four laps ahead of teammate Richard Petty. It was one of only two career wins on a track larger than one mile for the North Carolina native.