1964 Richmond 250 (lost footage of NASCAR Grand National Series qualifying session; 1964)

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1964richmond2501.jpeg

David Pearson being congratulated for his win by promoter Paul Sawyer.

Status: Lost

The 1964 Richmond 250 was the 9th race of the 1964 NASCAR Grand National Series. Originally occurring on 8th March at the Atlantic Rural Fairgrounds, the race had to be postponed midway because of heavy rain, resuming on the 10th. When it resumed, the race was ultimately won by David Pearson in a 1964 Dodge. While the race was not televised, it is known that WRVA-TV aired footage of the qualifying session.

Background[edit | edit source]

The 1964 Richmond 250 was the 4th running of the event, with the annual race typically lasting around 250 laps or around 125 miles in length.[1] It was one of two 1964 Grand National races at Atlantic Rural Fairgrounds, the other being the Capital City 300,[2] which occurred on 14th September and was won by Cotton Owens in a 1964 Dodge.[3] The race also has ties to the modern Toyota Owners 400, having been expanded to 400 laps since 1976, and having dropped the Richmond title since 1984.[4]

Prior to the race, qualifying commenced with Ned Jarrett winning the pole position in a 1964 Ford with a speed of 69.07 mph.[5][1] Directly behind him was 1964 Mercury driver Billy Wade, with Marvin Panch qualifying third in a 1964 Ford.[5][1] David Pearson qualified 10th out of 27 competitors.[1] Heading into the event, Petty Enterprises decided to enter the 250.[6][5] Originally, the entrants were meant to consist of Richard Petty and Buck Baker, in a 1964 and 1963 Plymouth respectively.[6][5] For unknown reasons, the team opted to have Baker be replaced by Petty's brother, Maurice.[5] Maurice ultimately outqualified his older brother, lining up fourth compared to The King's sixth.[5][1]

The Race[edit | edit source]

With the starting order decided, the 1964 Richmond 250 commenced on 8th March.[5] Jarrett maintained his lead from the start; in fact, he controlled the first 100 laps, building a significant lead, with Wade being his main competition.[5][1] However, the race was suddenly stopped after 100 laps because a shower caused the dirt track to become too slippery to race on.[7][8][5] NASCAR officials were therefore forced to postpone the event until the next clear day.[8][5][7] This ultimately caused the remainder of the race to be delayed until the 10th, because the track was still too muddy and saturated to race on the 9th.[5][8] Thus, the race resumed on the evening of the 10th, becoming Richmond's first under the lights race.[5][8][1] Jarrett admitted that the postponement came at the worst time for him, stating "I'm real sorry about the rain, she was running perfect for the track."[7] Meanwhile, 1964 Dodge driver Junior Johnson had to withdraw from the event in 5th because of other commitments.[5][8] His replacement driver would be Baker.[8][5]

When the race restarted, Jarrett led the first five laps, but ultimately was overtaken by Wade.[8][5][1] Wade would then hold the first position for the next 33 laps before Richard Petty overtook him on lap 138.[5][1] This was the commencement of a duel between the pair, Wade regaining the lead on lap 163 and defending it until Petty regained it on lap 211.[5][8][1] However, both were forced to pit in the midst of the duel, enabling Pearson, who had taken advantage of a caution period to pit and thus minimising time lost, a chance to gain the first position.[8][5] He ultimately achieved this on lap 215, which would be the final lead change of the race.[5][1] Jarrett started climbing back through the order, and engaged in an intense duel with Pearson before his engine suddenly expired after 224 laps.[8][5][1] This enabled Pearson to maintain control of the remainder of the race, crossing the line with a half-a-lap advantage.[1] He therefore claimed victory and $2,300 in prize money.[8][5][1] Petty finished second, Wade took third, while Baker drove Johnson's Dodge to fourth place.[8][5][1]

Availability[edit | edit source]

While the race went untelevised, nascarman History detailed in his video Top 10 LOST NASCAR TV Broadcasts that local Richmond, Virginia television station WRVA-TV, like in the previous Richmond 250, presented live coverage of the race's qualifying session. However, no clips of the broadcast are known to have survived. Nevertheless, newspaper clippings of the event are publicly viewable.[5]

Gallery[edit | edit source]

Video[edit | edit source]

Top 10 LOST NASCAR TV Broadcasts detailing the 1963 and 1964 broadcasts of the qualifying sessions (0:49-1:18).


Images[edit | edit source]

See Also[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]