1972 Miller High Life 500

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1972 Miller High Life 500
Race details
Race 4 of 31 in the 1972 NASCAR Winston Cup Series season
Souvenir program of the 1972 Miller High Life 500
Souvenir program of the 1972 Miller High Life 500
Date March 5, 1972 (1972-March-05)
Location Ontario Motor Speedway (Ontario, California, U.S.A.)
Course Permanent racing facility
2.500 mi (4.023 km)
Distance 200 laps, 500 mi (804 km)
Weather Temperatures reaching up to 82 °F (28 °C); wind speeds up to 6 miles per hour (9.7 km/h)[1]
Average speed 127.082 miles per hour (204.519 km/h)
Pole position
Driver A.J. Foyt Wood Brothers Racing
Most laps led
Driver A.J. Foyt Wood Brothers Racing
Laps 132
No. 21
A.J. Foyt
Wood Brothers Racing
Television in the United States
Network ABC
Announcers Jim McKay
Jackie Stewart

The 1972 Miller High Life 500 is a NASCAR Winston Cup Series racing event that took place on March 5, 1972, at Ontario Motor Speedway in the American community of Ontario, California.[2] An inexpensive souvenir magazine was sold to the spectators at $1.50 USD per copy ($8.46 when adjusted for inflation). Bub Strickler would fail to qualify for this race; making it the only time that Strickler has ever failed to qualify for a NASCAR Cup Series race.[2]


A topo view of what the Ontario Motor Speedway looked like.

Two hundred laps took place on a paved track spanning 2.500 miles (4.023 km); the race was resolved in three hours and fifty-six minutes.[2][3] With a purse larger than the previous month's Daytona 500, 113 cars were waiting in line to compete in three qualifying sessions to fill the 51-car grid.[4] An unprecedented number of teams failed to qualify for the race.[4] Given the economic outlook of that era, it was amazing that 113 cars would try to earn a spot on the racing grid (with only a 45% chance of actually qualifying for the race). Richard Childress, Charlie Glotzbach and Wendell Scott were three of the Cup Series regulars that failed to qualify along with unknown drivers Ivan Baldwin and Emiliano Zapata (no relation to the Mexican Revolutionary figure).[4] All of the drivers who qualified were born in the United States.[2]

A.J. Foyt defeated Bobby Allison by 4.2 seconds in front of nearly 69,000 live spectators.[2][3] This victory would be as equally impressive as his wins at the 1964 Firecracker 400 and the 1972 Daytona 500.[5] The pole position was achieved by the race winner qualifying at a speed of 153.217 miles per hour (246.579 km/h).[2][3] Four cautions were given out for 31 laps and the average racing speed was 127.082 miles per hour (204.519 km/h).[2][3] Jim Vandiver would earn the last-place finish due to an engine issue on lap 1.[2][3] Country music legend Marty Robbins would compete in this race in a 1972 Dodge Charger vehicle; he started in 22nd and ended in 8th place.[3][6] After the race, Robbins was named as the "Sportsman of the Race.[6]" The winner's purse for the 1972 Miller High Life 500 was $31,695 ($178,697.27 when adjusted for inflation).[2]

Drivers that retired from NASCAR after this race were: Cliff Garner, Ron Gautsche, Les Loeser, and Don White.[3] The drivers who commenced their NASCAR Cup Series careers during this race were: Carl Adams, Bill Butts, former USAC Championship Car series driver George Follmer, and Jim Whitt.[3] Follmer would eventually go back to USAC Championship Car racing for its 1974 season.

Top thirty finishers[edit]


  1. ^ Weather information for the 1972 Miller High Life 500 at the Old Farmers' Almanac
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i 1972 Miller High Life 500 information at Racing Reference
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h 1972 Miller High Life 500 information at Race Database
  4. ^ a b c 1972 Miller High Life 500 qualifying information at NASCAR
  5. ^ A.J. Foyt’s top five career accomplishments at Yahoo Sports
  6. ^ a b Marty Robbins information at MartyRobbins.net
Preceded by
1972 Richmond 500
NASCAR Winston Cup Series Season
Succeeded by
1972 Carolina 500
Preceded by
Miller High Life 500 races
Succeeded by
none (postponed until 1974)