1970 National 500 (partially found footage of NASCAR Grand National Series race; 1970)

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Program for the race.

Status: Partially Found

The 1970 National 500 was the 44th race of the 1970 NASCAR Grand National Series. Occurring on 11th October at the Charlotte Motor Speedway, the race would ultimately be won by LeeRoy Yarbrough in a 1969 Mercury, his first victory of the season and the last of his career, succeeding as the 1970 Plymouths of Richard Petty and Pete Hamilton ran into trouble.

Background[edit | edit source]

The 1970 National 500 was the 11th running of the event, with the annual race typically lasting 500 miles in length.[1] It was one of two 1970 Grand National Series races conducted at Charlotte Motor Speedway, the other being the World 600,[2] which in 1970 occurred on 24th May and was won by Donnie Allison in a 1969 Ford.[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 Charlie Glotzbach winning the pole position in a 1969 Dodge with a speed of 157.273 mph.[1] Directly behind him was Richard Petty, with Buddy Baker in a 1969 Dodge qualifying third. LeeRoy Yarbrough qualified fifth for the event out of 40 competitors.[1] He was seeking to win his first race in the 1970 Series.[6] Additionally, it was known that Curtis Turner had intended to compete in the race, but he was killed in a crash of his private plane on 4th October that same year, aged 46.[7]

The Race[edit | edit source]

With the starting order decided, the 1970 National 500 occurred on 11th October.[1] Glotzbach maintained the lead for the first two laps, before losing it to Baker.[1] He led for 18 laps before Petty assumed the lead for 40 laps.[1] After Petty was overtaken by Yarbrough on lap 61 however, an open contest between themselves, Pete Hamilton, Baker, Petty, and the 1969 Dodges of Bobby Allison and Fred Lorenzen emerged, with numerous overtakes prior to lap 135.[1] Whereas Yarbrough did not make a serious threat to the lead prior to after the halfway point,[6] Hamilton was primarily dominant during this time period, leading 109 laps overall.[1]

However, Hamilton's bid to win the race came to an end on lap 227, when he lost control and crashed into the guardrail of turn 2 while leading.[6] [1] This allowed Yarbrough to assume the first position, also gaining further fortune when Petty crashed out after 239 laps.[1][6] Yarbrough would hold the lead for 83 laps, only to face challenges from Allison and the 1969 Dodge of Bobby Isaac.[6] [1] The latter would retire from the lead following engine failure on lap 323 however, allowing Yarbrough to inherit the lead again.[1] He ultimately held off further challenges from Allison to claim his first victory of the season and $23,000 in prize money.[6][1] Lorenzen finished third, a lap down from the leader.[1][6] The race lasted four hours, and is also notable for its numerous crashes throughout the event.[8][1] It would also mark Yarbrough's final win in the Cup Series, winning 14 races overall.[9]

Availability[edit | edit source]

According to NASCAR on TV, 45 minutes of highlights were televised by ABC on 7th November 1970 as part of its Wide World of Sports, alongside air championships.[10] However, the broadcast has yet to fully resurface. Nevertheless, a few minutes of colour footage was uploaded to YouTube on 20th November 2019 by NascarAllOut. Additionally, Racing-Reference claims that further race highlights were uploaded by Mike Pinto back in 2018, although the video has since been taken down when the account associated with it closed.[11] Many photos of the event can also be found in the J. Murrey Atkins Library.[8]

Gallery[edit | edit source]

Video[edit | edit source]

Highlights of the race.

See Also[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]