1975 National 500 (lost footage of NASCAR Winston Cup Series race; 1975)

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1975national5001.jpeg

Program for the race.

Status: Lost

The 1975 National 500 was the 25th race of the 1975 NASCAR Winston Cup Series. Occurring on 5th October at the Charlotte Motor Speedway, the race would ultimately be won by Richard Petty in a 1974 Dodge, narrowly holding off the 1973 Mercury of David Pearson.

Background[edit | edit source]

The 1975 National 500 was the 16th running of the event, with the annual race typically lasting 500 miles in length.[1] It was one of two 1975 Winston Cup Series races conducted at Charlotte Motor Speedway, the other being the World 600,[2] which in 1975 occurred on 25th May and was won by Richard Petty.[3] The race also has ties to the modern Bank of America Roval 400, having dropped the National name from 1983 onwards and being reduced to 400 miles from 2018.[4][5]

Prior to the race, qualifying commenced with David Pearson winning the pole position with a speed of 161.701 mph.[1][6] Directly behind him was 1974 Dodge driver Dave Marcis, with the 1975 Chevrolet of A.J. Foyt qualifying third.[1] Meanwhile, Petty would start the race 9th,[1] but was still hoping to achieve back-to-back wins at Charlotte, after having never won at the speedway for 16 years prior to the 1975 World 600.[6]

Background[edit | edit source]

With the starting order decided, the 1975 National 500 commenced on 6th October.[1] Pearson maintained his lead until lap 11, when Foyt moved into the first position.[1] Indeed, the first two-thirds of the race featured numerous lead changes and leaders,[6] contributing towards 30 changes occurring throughout the race duration.[1] Among leaders included Bobby Allison in a 1975 Matador, who ultimately retired while leading on lap 125 because of an engine failure.[1] Cale Yarborough in a 1975 Chevrolet took over, and remained in contention before his engine too failed on lap 283.[1] Foyt meanwhile led 23 laps, but would retire on lap 265, again because of engine issues.[1]

Thus, the race would be primarily between Petty, Pearson, and 1975 Ford driver Buddy Baker, with Petty overtaking Yarborough to assume the lead on lap 224.[6][1] Baker was seemingly the underdog in this three-way duel, as his Ford suffered from a broken sway bar.[6] But on lap 307, following the end of a caution, the three drivers were side-by-side with Baker briefly taking the lead after Petty experienced a miss shift.[6] However, Petty would reassume the lead before the lap's completion, with Pearson having to concede prior to the third turn, and Baker during the fourth turn.[6] Pearson would nevertheless overtake Baker for second on lap 314, and began to chase after Petty, trailing him by seven-tenths of a second.[6] Ultimately, Petty managed to hold on without ever conceding the lead, primarily due to him having a far stronger exit out of turn 2.[6] The King therefore crossed the line to claim back-to-back Charlotte victories and $27,970 in prize money.[6][1] Pearson finished second, with Baker holding on to claim third.[1][6]

Aside from Petty's victory, discussion post-race also centred around backlash over NASCAR rulings, with Joe Frasson, Bruce Hill, and Darrell Waltrip all angered by an official's decisions.[6][7] Frasson allegedly failed to let Baker lap him, resulting in him being black-flagged for two laps.[7] He ended up making obscene comments to the official when he entered the pits, resulting in him being fined $100.[7] Meanwhile, Hill was upset with an official penalising him twice for 15 seconds each after having seven people over the wall during his pit stops, illegal during races.[7] However, Hill claimed the "seventh" individual was just passing him water from behind the wall.[7] Finally, Waltrip claimed that a penalty for passing the pace car was unfair because he had a flat tyre and was trying to avoid causing an accident.[7]

Availability[edit | edit source]

According to NASCAR on TV, 45 minutes of highlights were televised by ABC on 18th October 1975 as part of its Wide World of Sports alongside a feature dedicated to the Acrobats of Nationalist China.[8] However, the broadcast has yet to resurface, and as of the present day no footage of the race is currently publicly available. Nevertheless, photos of the event are viewable, including as part of the J. Murrey Atkins Library.[9]

Gallery[edit | edit source]

Images[edit | edit source]

See Also[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]