1961 World 600

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1961 World 600
Race details
Race 24 of 52 in the 1961 NASCAR Grand National Series season
Map of Charlotte Motor Speedway
Map of Charlotte Motor Speedway
Date May 28, 1961; 53 years ago (1961-05-28)
Location Charlotte Motor Speedway (Concord, North Carolina)
Course Permanent racing facility
1.500 mi (2.414 km)
Distance 400 laps, 600 mi (965 km)
Weather Temperatures reaching up to 73 °F (23 °C); wind speeds up to 10.1 miles per hour (16.3 km/h)[1]
Average speed 111.633 miles per hour (179.656 km/h)
Pole position
Driver Richard Petty Petty Enterprises
Most laps led
Driver David Pearson John Masoni
Laps 225
No. 3
David Pearson
John Masoni
Television in the United States
Network ABC
Announcers Chris Economaki

The 1961 World 600 was a 400-lap NASCAR Grand National (now Sprint Cup Series, also formerly known as the Winston Cup Series and the Winston Cup Grand National Series) event that took place on May 28, 1961, at Charlotte Motor Speedway in the American community of Concord, North Carolina.[2] Chris Economaki called the race in one of the few televised NASCAR races of the 1960s. A series of two qualifying events took place on May 21 to determine the starting grid for this prestigious racing event.


Four hundred laps were done over a paved oval track spanning 1.500 miles (2.414 km) with a time of five hours, twenty-two minutes, and twenty-nine seconds.[2] Seven cautions were done for fifty-seven laps with the result of David Pearson defeating Fireball Roberts by more than two laps for his first NASCAR Cup series victory.[2] He and Richard Petty would both acquire wins in what is now called the Coca-Cola 600 (but in different years). There were fifty-five competitors; Cafe Burgundy, Daytona Kennel, and Holly Farms were the main sponsors for some of the drivers.[2] The average speed was 111.633 miles per hour (179.656 km/h) while the pole position speed was 131.611 miles per hour (211.807 km/h).

Attendance for this race was 46,538 people and the top prize was $24,280 ($191,617.33 when adjusted for inflation).[2] The last place competitor received $200 ($1,578.4 when adjusted for inflation).[2] Popular competitors for this race included: Ralph Earnhardt (who promised to be a very competitive driver early in the race), Ned Jarrett, Tiny Lund, Junior Johnson, Joe Weatherly, Richard Petty, and Roy Tyner. A terrible crash occurred in this race to driver Reds Kagle; he would lose a leg in this race and Charlotte Motor Speedway would lose 20 feet or 6.1 metres of steel guardrail in the process.[2][3]

The race car drivers still had to commute to the races using the same stock cars that competed in a typical weekend's race through a policy of homologation (and under their own power). This policy was in effect until roughly 1975. By 1980, NASCAR had completely stopped tracking the year model of all the vehicles and most teams did not take stock cars to the track under their own power any more.

Finishing order[edit]

  1. David Pearson (only car to finish on lead lap - raced with a 1961 Pontiac Catalina)
  2. Fireball Roberts (also drive a 1961 Pontiac Catalina vehicle)
  3. Rex White (highest finishing Chevrolet)
  4. Ned Jarrett
  5. Jim Paschal
  6. Tiny Lund
  7. Jack Smith
  8. Bob Welborn
  9. Junior Johnson (sponsored by Holly Farms)
  10. Joe Weatherly
  11. Ralph Earnhardt
  12. Paul Lewis
  13. Joe Eubanks (highest finishing Ford Galaxie vehicle)
  14. T.C. Hunt (highest finishing Dodge)
  15. Emanuel Zervakis
  16. Lee Reitzel
  17. Elmo Langley (highest finishing T-Bird)
  18. Friday Hassler
  19. Bobby Johns
  20. Tommy Irwin* (highest ranking driver not to finish the race - driveshaft problems)
  21. Bobby Waddell
  22. Ed Markstellar
  23. Doug Yates
  24. Herman Beam
  25. Wes Morgan
  26. Buddy Baker*
  27. Bob Burdick*
  28. Banjo Matthews*
  29. Tubby Gonzales*
  30. Richard Petty*
  31. G.C. Spencer (lowest finishing driver to finish the race - 75 laps behind)
  32. Bob Barron*
  33. Johnny Allen*
  34. Reds Kagle*
  35. Fred Lorenzen*
  36. Roy Tyner*
  37. Tim Flock (his final NASCAR Cup race before retiring[4])
  38. Ed Livingston*
  39. Jimmy Pardue*
  40. Curtis Crider*
  41. Speedy Thompson*
  42. Buck Baker*
  43. Marvin Panch*
  44. Curtis Turner*
  45. Marvin Porter*
  46. Nelson Stacy*
  47. Jimmy Thompson*
  48. Gene Stokes*
  49. Jim Reed*
  50. Roscoe Thompson*
  51. Bobby Allison*
  52. Joe Lee Johnson*
  53. Larry Frank*
  54. Doug Cox*
  55. E.J. Trivette*

Note: * denotes that the driver failed to finish the race.


  1. ^ "Weather information for the 1961 World 600". The Old Farmers' Almanac. Retrieved 2012-09-05. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g "Racing information for the 1961 World 600". Racing Reference. Retrieved 2012-09-05. 
  3. ^ "Reds Kagle crashes in 1961 World 600 at Charlotte". Daily Motion. Retrieved 2012-09-06. 
  4. ^ "Tim Flock's retirement". Race Database. Retrieved 2012-09-05. 
Preceded by
1961 untitled race at Ascot Stadium
NASCAR Grand National Races
Succeeded by
1961 untitled race at Piedmont Interstate Fairgrounds