1972 National 500 (partially found footage of NASCAR Winston Cup Series race; 1972)

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Bobby Allison (12) battling Buddy Baker (71) for the lead.

Status: Partially Found

The 1972 National 500 was the 29th race of the 1972 NASCAR Winston Cup Series. Occurring on 8th October at the Charlotte Motor Speedway, the race would ultimately be won by Bobby Allison in a 1972 Chevrolet, following a close duel with 1972 Dodge driver Buddy Baker in the final 10 laps.


The 1972 National 500 was the 13th running of the event, with the annual race typically lasting 500 miles in length.[1] It was one of two 1972 Winston Cup Series races conducted at Charlotte Motor Speedway, the other being the World 600,[2] which in 1972 occurred on 28th May and was won by Buddy Baker.[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 David Pearson winning the pole position in a 1971 Mercury with a speed of 158.539 mph.[1] Directly behind him was Baker, with 1971 Mercury driver A.J. Foyt third, and Bobby Allison lining up fourth.[1] Allison was looking to repeat his success at the previous year's race.[6][7] Additionally, it was reported that Bobby Unser, the 1968 Indianapolis 500 winner and the-then holder of the world closed course speed record, would compete in the race.[7] He qualified 28th out of 44 competitors in a 1972 Chevrolet.[1]

The Race

With the starting order decided, the 1972 National 500 commenced on 8th October.[1] Pearson maintained the lead until lap 4, when he was overtaken by Baker.[1] After challenges from Pearson and the 1971 Chevrolet of Bobby Isaac, Baker would generally control the early stages, leading 40 consecutive laps from lap 16, and another 20 starting from lap 60.[1] However, Allison began to emerge as a challenger, overtaking Baker on lap 97, and holding it for 34 laps.[1] From this point, aside from the occasional challenge from Foyt and 1972 Dodge driver Richard Petty, the race would be a duel between Allison and Baker.[8][1] Unser's race meanwhile ended in disappointment; according to The New York Times, he retired after 20 laps, but Racing-Reference claims his race finished after just eight.[8][1] Both claim he retired because of an engine failure, however.[8][1]

On lap 213, Allison overtook Baker for the first position, and held onto it for 114 consecutive laps.[1] While it seemed that Allison had the race won, Baker was fast-charging again, with the final ten laps being especially competitive.[8] Baker moved back into the first position on lap 327, only for Allison to regain the lead on lap 329.[1] Baker again pulled off a successful overtake a lap later, but Allison ultimately regained the lead on lap 331.[1] He was able to hold off Baker for the remaining few laps to claim his ninth victory of the season and $19,825 in prize money.[8][1] Pearson meanwhile would finish the race third, two laps down from the leaders.[8][1]


According to NASCAR on TV, 45 minutes of highlights were televised by ABC on 21st October 1972 as part of its Wide World of Sports, alongside the World Lumberjack Championships.[9] However, this broadcast has yet to publicly resurface. Nevertheless, archival footage of the race was uploaded to YouTube by DiFilm on 20th January 2015. Further investigation found that it was a newsreel from Reuters that was issued on 10th October 1972, with British Pathé uploading the tape in full colour on its website.[10]



DiFilm uploading black and white Reuters footage of the race.


See Also