1972 Atlanta 500 (lost footage of NASCAR Winston Cup Series race; 1972)

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Program for the race.

Status: Lost

The 1972 Atlanta 500 was the 6th race of the 1972 NASCAR Winston Cup Series. Occurring on 26th March at the Atlanta Motor Speedway, the race would ultimately be won by pole sitter Bobby Allison in a 1972 Chevrolet, having driven from third to first in the last five laps.

Background[edit | edit source]

The 1972 Atlanta 500 was the 13th running of the event, with the race traditionally being around 500 miles in length.[1] It was one of two 1972 Winston Cup Series races conducted at Atlanta Motor Speedway,[2] the other being the Dixie 500,[1] which in 1972 occurred on 23rd July and was won by Bobby Allison.[3] The Atlanta 500 also has ties to the modern Quaker State 400, which resumed the event at a 400 mile length in 2021 after not being held from 2011-2020.[4][5]

Prior to the race, qualifying commenced with Allison winning the pole position with a speed of 156.245 mph.[6] Directly behind him was Bobby Isaac in a 1972 Dodge, with 1972 Plymouth driver Richard Petty third, and last year's winner A.J. Foyt fourth in a 1971 Mercury.[6] Allison was looking to win not only his first race of the season, but also to secure Chevrolet's first major stockcar event win since 1963.[7]

The Race[edit | edit source]

With the starting order decided, the 1972 Atlanta 500 occurred on 26th March.[6] Allison led the first 58 laps, with Isaac successfully making a move on lap 59.[6][7] Aside from Petty briefly leading from laps 65-66, Isaac led until lap 117.[6] Nevertheless, the battle for the first position remained hotly contested, with the 1972 Ford of David Pearson and Donnie Allison in a 1972 Chevrolet also taking the lead during the race.[7][6] The New York Times noted that positions were changing constantly, meaning a leader could easily fall down to fifth when the race featured contenders in clusters of four or five.[7] As the event progressed, Joe Frasson in a 1972 Dodge retired because of an engine failure.[6] As the Dodge grinded to a halt, oil and fuel began to ignite and leak across the pavement, with The New York Times comparing it to a flamethrower.[7] Frasson escaped unhurt.[7]

By lap 323, the battle for the lead was between Foyt, Isaac, and Allison, with Foyt leading the pack.[7][6] Allison then swiftly overtook Isaac on the first turn, and began to challenge for the lead.[7] On lap 325, Allison passed Foyt on the back stretch.[7][6] Despite Allison believing Foyt was sandbagging based on his previous victories at Ontario and Daytona, this ultimately was not the case, with Foyt putting 100% into moving back into the first position.[7] Allison held on though by five car lengths to take his first win of the season and Chevrolet's first since 1963, earning $31,605 in prize money.[6][7] Foyt finished a couple of yards ahead of third-placed Isaac.[7][6]

Availability[edit | edit source]

According to NASCAR on TV, ABC would televise the last 90 minutes of the race live under the title of ABC's Championship Auto Racing.[8] However, the broadcast has yet to publicly resurface, and no footage of the race is currently publicly viewable. Nevertheless, a race program and a few photos help to document the race.

See Also[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]