1967 Rebel 400 (partially found footage of NASCAR Grand National Series race; 1967)

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Richard Petty celebrates his 55th win, breaking the record for the highest number of NASCAR Grand National Series victories.

Status: Partially Found

The 1967 Rebel 400 was the 17th race of the 1967 NASCAR Grand National Series. Occurring on 13th May at the Darlington Raceway, the race would ultimately be won by Richard Petty in a 1967 Plymouth, his 55th victory setting a new record for the highest number of NASCAR Grand National wins.

Background[edit | edit source]

The 1967 Rebel 400 was the 11th running of the event, with the annual race typically lasting around 400 miles in length since 1966.[1] Its name is a reference to the race typically being held near Confederate Memorial Day,[2] with Confederate flags often being featured on race programs and within the stands.[3] It was one of two 1967 Grand National Series races conducted at Darlington Raceway, the other being the Southern 500,[4] which in 1967 occurred on 4th September and was won by Richard Petty.[5] After the two Darlington races were merged into one 400 mile race for 2005,[6] the Rebel 400's legacy would continue in 2020 under the current name of the Goodyear 400.[7]

Prior to the race, qualifying commenced with David Pearson winning the pole position in a 1967 Ford with a record speed of 144.536 mph.[8][1] Directly behind him was Petty, with 1967 Ford driver Earl Balmer qualifying third.[1] Before the race, Petty was the previous year's Rebel 400 winner,[8] and had accumulated 54 race wins, the latest being at the previous event, the 1967 Richmond 250.[9] With that, he tied the highest number of Grand National victories with his father Lee.[9][8] He was therefore seeking to achieve his 55th victory at the Rebel 400 to break the record.[9][8]

The Race[edit | edit source]

With the starting order decided, the 1967 Rebel 400 commenced on 13th May.[1] Pearson maintained his lead for the first 12 laps, before the 1967 Dodge of Buddy Baker overtook him.[1] On the first lap, 1966 Chevrolet driver Friday Hassler hit the wall almost as soon as the race began, causing a nine-car crash.[9][8] This eliminated Hassler, as well as the 1966 Chevrolets of J.T. Putney, Frank Warren, and Roy Mayne, and the 1967 Ford of Jabe Thomas.[9][1] Buck Baker in a 1966 Ford carried on for another lap, but retired because of terminal crash damage.[1][9] It may well have been Petty that triggered the accident, as he car was slow out because of a carburettor issue.[9] On lap 16 Petty moved into the lead, and aside from some brief disruption caused by the 1967 Dodge of Bobby Allison and the 1967 Plymouth of Jim Paschal, dominated the early stages, leading 52 consecutive laps.[1] Pearson was briefly taken out of contention on lap 30, when he was hit by Wendell Scott's spinning Ford following a collision with Buddy Baker.[9] Pearson had to pit so his crew could removed a bit of his front fender, costing him a lap.[9][8]

On lap 89, Petty also encountered difficulties after brushing the first turn guardrail, damaging a tyre.[9][8] He was forced to pit to repair the damage, but was able to charge back through the field.[9] He overtook Pearson, who had recovered from his early pit stop, to move back into the first position on lap 96.[1][9] Pearson took it away again on lap 100, but The King fought back to perform what was ultimately the final lead change a lap later.[9][1] From there, he dominated the final 191 laps,[1][8] with the only issue being tyre durability, with him changing 16 tyres, 12 on the right side and four on the left.[9] He therefore claimed his second consecutive Rebel 400 victory to break the NASCAR Grand National wins record and earn $13,840 in prize money.[9][8][1] Pearson finished a lap behind to take second, while 1967 Ford driver Dick Hutcherson finished third, six laps down from Petty.[8][9][1]

When asked how it felt about breaking the record, Petty responded "I think everyone else was more excited about the record than I was. I hope to get 55 more. Naturally I'm happy to have the record, but I would have been just as happy to win the Rebel 400 if it hadn't been No. 55."[9] He would ultimately go on to achieve 200 victories in the Cup Series.[10] Because he broke the record at the track, Chrysler Corporation announced that it would produce a plaque commemorating the win, which was later installed at the start-finish line.[9]

Availability[edit | edit source]

According to NASCAR on TV, 45 minutes of highlights were televised by ABC on 26th May 1967 on its Wide World of Sports, alongside rugby championships.[11] This broadcast has yet to fully resurface however, although five-and-a-half minutes of footage can be found online. Additionally, photos and newspaper clippings of the event are publicly viewable.[9]

Gallery[edit | edit source]

Video[edit | edit source]

Footage of the race.


Images[edit | edit source]

See Also[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]