1972 Bowman-Gray 100 (lost footage of NASCAR Grand American Series race; 1972)

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Jim Paschal passing Randy Bannister's stricken 1969 Chevrolet, the event which enabled Paschal to pass David Pearson for the lead.

Status: Lost

The 1972 Bowman-Gray 100 was the second stand-alone 1972 NASCAR Grand American Series event. Occurring on 8th April at the Bowman Gray Stadium, the race would ultimately be won by Jim Paschal, following a duel with fellow 1971 Pontiac driver David Pearson. The race also received live coverage from ABC.

Background[edit | edit source]

The 1972 Bowman-Gray 100 was the fifth and final instance of a Grand American Series race being held at Bowman Gray Stadium, with the event lasting 100 laps or about 25 miles.[1][2] The previous race was the 1971 Myers Brothers 250, which occurred on 6th August and was a combination face pitting Grand American cars with their Grand National counterparts.[3][2] The previous stand-alone race at Bowman occurred on 5th June 1971 and was won by Tiny Lund in a Chevrolet.[4]

Prior to the race, qualifying commenced with David Pearson winning the pole position with a record time of 16.49 seconds, and having won one of three 10-lap heat races that decided who entered the 100-lap event.[5][6] Directly behind him was 1969 Chevrolet driver Ken Rush, who won the second heat, with Bobby Allison lining up third in a 1970 Ford after being victorious in the third.[5] Jim Paschal qualified ninth out of 24 competitors.[5] The news that ABC would televise the race enticed some regular Grand National drivers, including Pearson, Allison, Buddy Baker, LeeRoy Yarbrough, and Pete Hamilton, to compete in the race.[5] This was at the expense of Al Straub, Bob Williams and Ernie Shaw, three Grand American regulars who failed to qualify for the event.[5]

The Race[edit | edit source]

With the starting order decided, the 1972 Bowman-Gray 100 commenced on 8th April.[1] Pearson led the early stages, while Rush was eliminated in the opening corner of the first lap after being hit by 1971 Pontiac driver H.B. Bailey, forcing him into a guardrail.[5] The incident also collected Allison, who continued, albeit in last place.[5] Rush blamed Bailey for the accident, stating “Bailey just plowed right through me, he was driving like he had lost his mind.”[5] Pearson continued leading post-caution, but Paschal began to climb the field.[5] He was able to move into the first position on lap 40, capitalising via a move from the inside lane when Pearson got stuck in traffic on the outside lane while trying to avoid Randy Bannister, whose 1969 Chevrolet's engine failed.[5][6]

Pearson fell down the order following the incident, but was able to climb his way back to second.[5] He received more fortune when a spin by Yarbrough in a 1969 Chevrolet on lap 81 brought out a caution period, automatically closing the gap between Paschal and Pearson.[5] Ultimately, despite another caution period later on, Paschal never relinquished the first position, edging out Pearson by a bumper.[6][5][1] He therefore claimed victory and $2,500 in prize money.[5][1][6] Gary Myers took third in a 1970 Ford.[5] Post-race, Paschal stated he felt calm despite the constant presence of Pearson, stating “I wasn’t too worried about him. It is hard to pass at this place, I figured I could keep him behind me.”[5] Meanwhile, Pearson praised the race, saying “I had a ball. I could have won by spinning him out but I did not want to be dirty. I did bump him a time or two to make sure he knew I was there. It was a lot of fun.”[5]

Availability[edit | edit source]

As noted by RacersReunion and nascarman History's Top 10 LOST NASCAR TV Broadcasts, the race received 90-minutes of live coverage from ABC as part of its Wide World of Sports.[5] With the exception of a blackout from a 100-mile radius, likely imposed to encourage more people to attend the race, it received nationwide viewership.[5] Additionally, a 40-lap NASCAR Modified race occurred on the same day and was also taped for broadcast, this race being won by Wayne Lambreth.[7][5] Ultimately, the broadcast has yet to resurface, although some photos of the Grand American race are publicly viewable.[5]

Gallery[edit | edit source]

Video[edit | edit source]

Top 10 LOST NASCAR TV Broadcasts detailing the ABC broadcast of the race (0:28-0:49).

Images[edit | edit source]

See Also[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]