1978-1979 NASCAR Winston Cup Series (partially found footage of NASCAR races; 1978-1979)
The 1978 and 1979 NASCAR Winston Cup Series were respectively the 30th and 31st seasons of NASCAR's top-level stock car series. Cale Yarborough won his third consecutive, and ultimately, final Championship in 1978, while 1979 saw Richard Petty claim his seventh and last title. Of the races aired on television that year, some have been declared missing, including a rumoured ABC broadcast of the 1979 Dixie 500. The 1979 Daytona ARCA 200 was also confirmed to have been televised.
1978 NAPA National 500
The 1978 NAPA National 500 was the 27th race of the 1978 NASCAR Winston Cup Series. Occurring on 8th October at the Charlotte Motor Speedway, the race would ultimately be won by Bobby Allison in a Ford, where he finished over 30 seconds ahead of second place Chevrolet driver Darrell Waltrip.
It was the 19th running of the event, with the annual race typically lasting 500 miles in length. It was one of two 1978 Winston Cup Series races conducted at Charlotte Motor Speedway, the other being the World 600, which in 1978 occurred on 30th May and was won by Darrell Waltrip in a Chevrolet. 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. This was the second instance of the event adding the sponsor NAPA to its official name, with this lasting until the 1979 edition before being dropped from 1980 onwards.
Prior to the race, qualifying commenced with David Pearson winning the pole position in a Mercury with a speed of 161.355 mph. Behind him were the Oldsmobiles driver Cale Yarborough and Benny Parsons, who lined up second and third respectively. Bobby Allison ultimately qualified 8th out of 40 competitors.
With the starting order decided, the 1978 National 500 commenced on 8th October. Pearson led the opening two laps, before Yarborough briefly led on lap 3, only to drop it back to Pearson a lap later. However, starting from lap 20, Yarborough would lead for 49 laps, one of the longest durations of consecutive laps led in the race. Nevertheless, when the race entered its middle stages, it was an open contest, with nobody being able to lead for more than five laps, contributing towards 40 lead changes overall. Chevrolet's Richard Petty would buck this trend on lap 158, leading the pack for 32 laps. He would ultimately retire from the event on lap 221 however, following an ignition failure.
With Petty out, the race primarily centred upon Pearson, Allison, and Chevrolet's Dave Marcis. On lap 223, Allison passed Pearson to move into the first position, holding it for 30 laps before dropping it back to Pearson. After a duel between Pearson and Marcis occurred over the next 21 laps, Allison would ultimately capitalise, again passing Pearson for the lead on lap 274, which would ultimately prove to be the final leader change. Allison extended his lead from his rivals from there over the final 61 laps, eventually winning with a 30.2 second margin to claim victory and $40,000 in prize money. In second was Darrell Waltrip, who managed to outpace Marcis, who finished third, and Pearson, who ultimately dropped down a lap by the end in fifth.
1979 Daytona ARCA 200
The 1979 Daytona ARCA 200 was the second race of the 1979 ARCA Racing Series. Occurring on 11th February at the Daytona International Speedway, the race would ultimately be won by Kyle Petty in a Dodge, in his debut stock car racing start.
It was the 16th running of the event, with the annual race with the annual event typically lasting 200 miles. The only 1979 ARCA Racing Series race to occur at Daytona International Speedway, it has ties to the modern Lucas Oil Complete Engine Treatment 200.
Prior to the race, qualifying commenced with John Rezek winning the pole position in a Chevrolet with a speed of 191.416 mph. Directly behind him was Dodge's Kyle Petty, who was making his stock car racing debut at the event. He would be driving a Dodge Magnums that his father Richard contended with in the Winston Cup Series. Marvin Smith in a Chevrolet qualified third out of 33 competitors.
With the starting order decided, the 1979 Daytona ARCA 200 commenced on 11th February. Petty shot into the lead on the first lap, holding it for 18 laps until Chevrolet's Alan Sheppard took over, leading four laps. On lap 15, a multicar crash occurred when Chevrolet's Bobby Fisher spun on the backstretch and was hit by Smith and Buick's Bobby Davis, with Chevrolet's Mike Riley also being involved. With the cars spinning out of control, Buick's Bobby Jacks rear-ended Davis, causing the former's car to roll over. Ultimately, all drivers escaped injury.
Rezek passed Sheppard for the first position on lap 23, defending it for 12 laps before losing it to Petty. The race became an open competition during its middle stages, with Petty, Rezek, and the Chevrolet of Phil Finney being the main contenders for the win. On lap 72, Petty passed Finney for the lead, before dropping it to Rezek on lap 77. Ultimately, Petty regained it a lap later, and defended it from Rezek, crossing the line half a second ahead. He therefore claimed victory and $4,150 in prize money, with Rezek finishing second, and Finney taking third. Later that year, Petty would attempt to qualify for 1979 Winston Cup Series races, eventually making his debut at the 1979 Talladega 500.
1979 Sportsman 300
Main article: 1979 Sportsman 300.
1979 Atlanta 500
Main article: 1979 Atlanta 500.
1979 Southeastern 500
The 1979 Southeastern 500 was the 7th race of the 1979 NASCAR Winston Cup Series. Occurring on 1st April 1979 at Bristol International Speedway, the race marked a historic moment in NASCAR as Dale Earnhardt won his first race in the Series.
It was the 37th instance of a NASCAR Cup Series race being held at the Bristol International Speedway. Occurring since 1961, it is a mainstay on the NASCAR schedule under the new name of Food City Dirt Race. This would be one of two races held at Bristol International Speedway that season, with the 1979 Volunteer 500 being won by Darrell Waltrip on 25th August 1979.
Prior to the race, Bobby Allison led the Cup Series by nine points. Qualifying for the 500 occurred, with Buddy Baker winning the pole position with a qualifying record speed of 111.668 mph in his Oldsmobile. He qualified ahead of Chevrolet drivers Waltrip and Donnie Allison in second and third respectively, with Waltrip being impressed with Baker's qualifying performance. Dale Earnhardt, in his 16th Winston Cup Series start, would qualify ninth for the race.
Baker was confident this was going to be his best chance of winning at Bristol, and so capitalised on winning the pole position by leading the first 138 laps of the 500-lap event. On lap 139, Earnhardt briefly passed him for the lead, before the first position quickly changed hands to Ford's Bobby Allison, then to Cale Yarborough in an Oldsmobile, and then to Waltrip. On lap 211, Baker retired following an accident with Yarborough on lap 210, who also ultimately retired from the race a few laps later. These would contribute to the six cautions for the race, lasting 44 laps.
By lap 255, the race was generally between Earnhardt and Waltrip. On lap 460, Earnhardt almost crashed out after scrapping one of the track's walls, causing damage to his car's right side. Nevertheless, he succeeded in passing Waltrip for the lead on lap 474, about 13 miles before the finish, and held on to win. Earnhardt earned $19,800 in prize money, his biggest earnings at that point in his NASCAR career, while also becoming the first rookie winner in the Cup Series since 1974. Allison overtook Waltrip to finish second, 2.7 seconds behind Earnhardt, with Waltrip holding on to finish third, with the trio being the only ones on the lead lap.
In victory lane, Earnhardt praised his pit crew, as well as his recent crew chief Jake Elder for his win, stating "My crew got me in and out of the pits and there at the end it won me the race. The addition of crew chief Jake Elder has made this team a winner." Earnhardt would later win the Rookie of the Year trophy for that year's Series, and his win at the event also caused one of Earnhardt's mechanics, Doug Richert, to quit smoking after promising he would do so the first time that Earnhardt would win a race. Richert would later become Earnhardt's crew chief from the 1980 Series onwards. While this would be Earnhardt's only victory of the 1979 Winston Cup Series, the win would kickstart a highly successful career for The Intimidator, as he would later achieve a total of 76 victories and seven Cup championships. Earnhardt also shares the most Cup championships accolade alongside Richard Petty and Jimmie Johnson.
1979 Gabriel 400
Main article: 1979 Gabriel 400.
1979 Dixie 500
The 1979 Dixie 500 was the penultimate race of the 1979 NASCAR Winston Cup Series. Occurring on 4th November at the Atlanta Motor Speedway, the race would ultimately be won by Neil Bonnett in a Mercury, after a close three-car finish between himself, the Chevrolet of Dale Earnhardt, and Cale Yarborough's Oldsmobile.
It was the 20th running of the event, with the race traditionally being around 500 miles in length. It was one of two 1979 Winston Cup Series races conducted at Atlanta Motor Speedway, the other being the Atlanta 500, which in 1979 occurred on 18th March and was won by Buddy Baker in an Oldsmobile. The Dixie 500 also has ties to the modern Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500; in fact, the Dixie name would be dropped after this race, being replaced with the Atlanta Journal 500.
Prior to the race, qualifying commenced with Baker winning the pole position with a speed of 164.813 mph, this time while driving a Chevrolet. Directly behind him was Cale Yarborough, with Ford driver Bobby Allison lining up fourth. Championship contenders Darrell Waltrip and Richard Petty, both of whom were driving Chevrolets, qualified 14th and 13th respectively. Initially, Baker's pole position was cast in doubt, because rain prevented five drivers, including Neil Bonnett, from setting a run. Thus, Baker had to wait from Thursday to Sunday to confirm his pole position, with Bonnett, the most likely to take it away from Baker, qualifying 4th. This allowed Baker to earn the distinction of achieving the most pole positions in the 1979 season. Yarborough meanwhile was disappointed with qualifying 2nd, as he still had yet to achieve a pole position for the entirety of the season, putting his chances of competing in the Busch Clash at Daytona in doubt.
With the starting order decided, the 1979 Dixie 500 occurred on 4th November. Baker maintained his lead until lap 3, before being overtaken by Yarborough. It was an open contest for the first position, with Earnhardt, Waltrip, and Chevrolet's Benny Parsons all leading at some point in the early stages. Two contenders would however experience engine failures, with Baker retiring on lap 88, and Parsons ending his session on lap 193. Bonnett had entered the scene by lap 215, but initially only led a few laps at a time before Yarborough or Earnhardt would take it away.
By lap 270, the race was a three-way between Bonnett, Yarborough and Earnhardt. The finish would prove especially close, with the trio swapping the lead four times within the last 20 laps. Earnhardt would be leading at the start of the final three laps, but Bonnett achieved a critical overtake on lap 325 to move back into the first position. Despite the efforts of Earnhardt and Yarborough, Bonnett was just about able to hold off the other contenders, beating Earnhardt to a line by a half-car length to claim victory and earn $20,550 in prize money. Yarborough finished third just three lengths behind the winner. In the championship, Waltrip finished fifth ahead of Petty in sixth, giving the former a 2-point advantage heading into the final race of the season. Petty almost did not finish the race, as he had spun two-thirds of the way through. The Daytona Beach Morning Journal noted his son Petty ironically spun at the same spot 10 laps earlier, placing the photos of both spinning together with the title "Like Father Like Son?".
This would also be the first Atlanta win for a Wood Brothers since 1976. Post-race, Bonnett expressed the difficulty of leading the race as the tyres increased in temperature. The decision to hold back, let Earnhardt through and then plough past again with three laps to go contributed towards him winning the race. Earnhardt meanwhile admitted that he gave it his best shot, but that "it wasn't quite enough".
1978 and 1979 NASCAR Winston Cup Series race broadcasts have been documented by sources like NASCAR on TV. 30 minutes of footage from the 1978 NAPA National 500 was televised by ABC on 30th December 1978 as part of its Wide World of Sports, alongside the Men's Downhill Skiing World Cup and World Acrobatics Championships. Unlike most other races of the era, race footage would not be televised for two months after the event was held, with the reason for this being unknown. However, this broadcast has yet to resurface, and no footage of the race is currently publicly available.
While it was claimed by Bench-Racing that the 1979 Daytona ARCA 200 went untelevised, it was confirmed by nascarman that a CBS broadcast of the event occurred on 28th April 1979. This broadcast has yet to resurface, although photos of the event remain publicly available. Meanwhile, according to NASCAR on TV, there have been reports indicating that ABC televised highlights of the 1979 Dixie 500, most likely as part of its Wide World of Sports. However, there is no confirmation on whether this broadcast officially occurred. No other footage of the race has resurfaced as of the present day, but a few photos of the event are publicly accessible.
Finally, despite the race's historic nature for NASCAR, the 1979 Southeastern 500 was not actually televised in any form, with only 14 of the 33 races in the 1979 Cup Series being televised. This has led to the race becoming coveted NASCAR media, with Earnhardt's son, Dale Earnhardt Jr., discussing in a March 2009 interview how he wishes that a videotape of the race could one day be accessible. However, footage of the race is publicly accessible, thanks to a Bristol Motor Speedway video detailing Earnhardt's first win, including showing Earnhardt passing the chequered flag and celebrating following the race's conclusion. As of the present day, these are the only clips available of the race. However, the clips' existence does bring the possibility that additional clips of the race may still be held within the Bristol Motor Speedway archives, perhaps containing footage unrelated to Earnhardt's win. Earnhardt Jr. speculates that a videotape might be available somewhere, which contains more than the clips of his father coming off the last corner.
- Racing-Reference detailing qualifying and race results for the 1978 NAPA National 500. Retrieved 28 Mar '22
- Racing-Reference detailing the 1978 NASCAR Winston Cup Series calendar. Retrieved 28 Mar '22
- Racing-Reference detailing the results of the 1978 World 600. Retrieved 28 Mar '22
- The New York Times Stats detailing the history of the National 500. Retrieved 28 Mar '22
- Motorsport reporting on the Charlotte Roval being reduced to 400 miles. Retrieved 28 Mar '22
- Charlotte Motor Speedway History providing some statistics for the 1978 NAPA National 500, including the margin of victory. Retrieved 28 Mar '22
- Racing-Reference detailing the qualifying and race results of the 1979 Daytona ARCA 200. Retrieved 21 Apr '22
- Racing-Reference detailing the 1979 ARCA Racing Series schedule. Retrieved 21 Apr '22
- ARCA Racing detailing its history at Daytona International Speedway. Retrieved 21 Apr '22
- Bench-Racing summarising Kyle Petty's debut at the 1979 Daytona ARCA 200. Retrieved 21 Apr '22
- The Crash Photos Database detailing the lap 15 accident at the 1979 Daytona ARCA 200 and providing photos of it. Retrieved 21 Apr '22
- Racing-Reference detailing the results of the 1979 Talladega 500, Petty's first Winston Cup Series start. Retrieved 21 Apr '22
- Racing-Reference listing NASCAR Cup Series races held at the Bristol International Speedway. Retrieved 2nd Jan '22
- Bristol Motor Speedway detailing its latest NASCAR race. Retrieved 2nd Jan '22
- Racing-Reference detailing the 1979 NASCAR Winston Cup Series schedule. Retrieved 2nd Jan '22
- Racing-Reference detailing the results of the 1979 Volunteer 500. Retrieved 2nd Jan '22
- Racing-Reference detailing stories regarding the 1979 Southeastern 500. Retrieved 2nd Jan '22
- Speed Sport detailing Earnhardt's first win at the 1979 Southeastern 500, as well as containing qualifying and race details. Retrieved 2nd Jan '22
- Dale Earnhardt Sr.: NASCAR Legend briefly detailing his first win at the 1979 Southeastern 500. Retrieved 2nd Jan '22
- Racing-Reference detailing the start order and race results of the 1979 Southeastern 500. Retrieved 2nd Jan '22
- The New York Times reporting on Earnhardt winning the 1979 Southeastern 500 Retrieved 2nd Jan '22
- Autoweek detailing the story of Earnhardt's first win at the 1979 Southeastern 500, where he would later become one of the most successful NASCAR drivers of all-time. Retrieved 2nd Jan '22
- Jeff Gordon noting Earnhardt sharing the most Cup championships with Petty and Johnson. Retrieved 2nd Jan '22
- Racing Circuits documenting the Dixie 500 and the Atlanta 500. Retrieved 8 Mar '22
- Racing-Reference detailing the results of the 1979 Atlanta 500. Retrieved 8 Mar '22
- The New York Times Stats detailing the history of the second Atlanta race beyond Dixie 500. Retrieved 8 Mar '22
- Racing-Reference detailing qualifying and race results of the 1979 Dixie 500. Retrieved 8 Mar '22
- Spartanburg Herald reporting on Baker's pole position for the 1979 Dixie 500 being in doubt (report found on RacersReunion). Retrieved 8 Mar '22
- RacersReunion detailing the qualifying and race events of the 1979 Dixie 500. Retrieved 8 Mar '22
- Spartanburg Herald reporting on Baker officially winning the pole position for the 1979 Dixie 500 (report found on RacersReunion). Retrieved 8 Mar '22
- Spartanburg Herald reporting on Yarborough needing a pole position to qualify for the Busch Clash at Daytona (report found on RacersReunion). Retrieved 8 Mar '22
- The New York Times reporting on Bonnett winning the 1979 Dixie 500. Retrieved 8 Mar '22
- Spartanburg Herald reporting on Bonnett winning the 1979 Dixie 500 and post-race interviews (report found on RacersReunion). Retrieved 8 Mar '22
- Daytona Beach Morning Journal reporting on Richard and Kyle Petty spinning in the same area at the 1979 Dixie 500 (report found on RacersReunion). Retrieved 8 Mar '22
- Spartanburg Herald reporting on Bonnett winning the 1979 Dixie 500 and giving the Wood Brothers their first Atlanta win since 1976 (report found on RacersReunion. Retrieved 8 Mar '22
- NASCAR on TV listing the 1978 NASCAR Winston Cup Series broadcasts. Retrieved 23 May '23
- NASCAR on TV listing the 1979 NASCAR Winston Cup Series broadcasts. Retrieved 23 May '23
- NASCAR on TV detailing the ABC broadcast of the 1978 NAPA National 500. Retrieved 28 Mar '22
- nascarman Twitter post containing a listing of the CBS broadcast of the 1979 Daytona ARCA 200. Retrieved 21 Apr '22
- NASCAR on TV detailing the possibility of an ABC broadcast of the 1979 Dixie 500. Retrieved 8 Mar '22
- ESPN where Earnhardt Jr. discussed his wish for a videotape of the 1979 Southeastern 500 to become publicly accessible. Retrieved 2nd Jan '22