1976 Talladega 500 (lost footage of NASCAR Winston Cup Series race; 1976)

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1976talladega5001.jpg

Program for the race.

Status: Lost

The 1976 Talladega 500 was the 19th race of the 1976 NASCAR Winston Cup Series. Occurring on 8th August at the Alabama International Motor Speedway, the race would ultimately be won by polesitter Dave Marcis in a Dodge after a duel with Ford's Buddy Baker, becoming the first polesitter at the speedway to go on to win the event.

Background[edit | edit source]

The 1976 Talladega 500 was the 8th running of the event, with the annual race typically lasting around 500 miles in length.[1] It was one of two 1976 Winston Cup Series races conducted at Alabama International Motor Speedway, the other being the Winston 500,[2] which in 1976 occurred on 2nd May and was won by Buddy Baker.[3] The race also has ties to the modern YellaWood 500, having dropped the Talladega title from 2002.[4]

Prior to the race, qualifying commenced with Marcis winning the pole position with a speed of 190.651 mph.[5][1] He was therefore aiming to break the curse of every pole winner at the Alabama International Motor Speedway being unable to win the subsequent race.[5] Directly behind him were the Chevrolets of Coo Coo Marlin and A.J. Foyt, who qualified second and third respectively.[1] Baker would line up 7th out of 40 runners.[1]

The Race[edit | edit source]

With the starting order decided, the 1976 Talladega 500 commenced on 8th August.[1] Mercury's Bobby Allison, who qualified fifth, shot into the lead on lap 1.[1] However, Chevrolet's Cale Yarborough moved passed him into the first position a lap later, defending it for ten laps.[1] This would be one of only five instances where a leader was able to hold position into the double figures.[1] Indeed, there would be 57 lead changes throughout the race, with Marcis, Baker, Foyt, Chevrolet's James Hylton, Dodge's Richard Petty, and Mercury's David Pearson all vying for the first position.[1] Several would not finish the race; Pearson suffered an ignition failure after 12 laps, Allison's engine blew after completing 152 laps, as did Foyt's after the 163 mark.[1] Yarborough would finish the race, albeit only completing 137 of the 188 laps.[1]

In the final 35 laps, Marcis passed Foyt for the lead, only to quickly drop it to Petty a lap later.[1] The King held the lead until lap 160 when Baker took over for the next seven.[1] Petty finally moved back into the first position on lap 167, but ultimately retired a lap later after his Dodge's engine failed.[1] Baker again led, but after a further six laps, he was again passed by Marcis on lap 174.[1] It seemed like the duel between Marcis and Baker, which began in the final 80 miles of the race, would end at the chequered flag.[5] However, Baker was forced to make a pitstop with fewer than three laps remaining, as his car ran out of fuel.[5] This enabled Marcis to take his first superspeedway victory of his career and $26,110 in prize money.[5][1] He therefore ended the pole sitter's curse at Alabama. Baker's refuel stop enabled him to finish second, still on the lead lap as Marcis albeit 29.5 seconds behind.[5][1] Ford's Dick Brooks finished third, a lap down from the leaders.[5] Hylton meanwhile finished fourth, a further lap down from the leaders.[1][5] He almost failed to complete the event, when during a pit stop, two of his tyres blew as he entered the pit road.[5] Despite his car spinning out of control, it did not make contact with anything, although nearly did hit Brook's car as it was being serviced.[5]

Availability[edit | edit source]

According to NASCAR on TV, 30 minutes of highlights were televised by CBS on 14th August 1976, as part of its CBS Sports Spectacular, alongside a boxing match pitting George Foreman.[6] However, this broadcast has yet to resurface, and no footage of the race is currently publicly available. Nevertheless, a few photos of the event are publicly viewable.

Gallery[edit | edit source]

Images[edit | edit source]

See Also[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]