1978 NAPA National 500 (lost footage of NASCAR Winston Cup Series race; 1978)

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Program for the race.

Status: Lost

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.


The 1978 NAPA National 500 was the 19th running of the event, with the annual race typically lasting 500 miles in length.[1] It was one of two 1978 Winston Cup Series races conducted at Charlotte Motor Speedway, the other being the World 600,[2] which in 1978 occurred on 30th May and was won by Darrell Waltrip in a Chevrolet.[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] 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.[4]

Prior to the race, qualifying commenced with David Pearson winning the pole position in a Mercury with a speed of 161.355 mph.[6][1] Behind him were the Oldsmobiles driver Cale Yarborough and Benny Parsons, who lined up second and third respectively.[1] Bobby Allison ultimately qualified 8th out of 40 competitors.[1]

The Race

With the starting order decided, the 1978 National 500 commenced on 8th October.[1] Pearson led the opening two laps, before Yarborough briefly led on lap 3, only to drop it back to Pearson a lap later.[1] However, starting from lap 20, Yarborough would lead for 49 laps, one of the longest durations of consecutive laps led in the race.[1] 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.[1][6] Chevrolet's Richard Petty would buck this trend on lap 158, leading the pack for 32 laps.[1] He would ultimately retire from the event on lap 221 however, following an ignition failure.[1]

With Petty out, the race primarily centred upon Pearson, Allison, and Chevrolet's Dave Marcis.[1] On lap 223, Allison passed Pearson to move into the first position, holding it for 30 laps before dropping it back to Pearson.[1] 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.[1] 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.[6][1] 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.[1]


According to NASCAR on TV, 30 minutes of footage 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.[7] 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.[7] However, this broadcast has yet to resurface, and no footage of the race is currently publicly available.

See Also