1973 Southern 500

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1973 Southern 500
Race details
Race 22 of 28 in the 1973 NASCAR Winston Cup Series season
Darlington Raceway
Darlington Raceway
Date September 3, 1973 (1973-September-03)
Location Darlington Raceway (Darlington, South Carolina, USA)
Course Permanent racing facility
1.375 mi (2.212 km)
Distance 367 laps, 500.5 mi (805.4 km)
Weather Temperature reaching up to 88 °F (31 °C); wind speeds up to 10.9 miles per hour (17.5 km/h)[1]
Average speed 134.033 miles per hour (215.705 km/h)
Pole position
Driver David Pearson Wood Brothers Racing
Most laps led
Driver Cale Yarborough Howard & Egerton Racing
Laps 277
No. 11
Cale Yarborough
Howard & Egerton Racing
Television in the United States
Network ABC
Announcers Bill Flemming
Chris Economaki

The 1973 Southern 500 was a NASCAR Winston Cup Series racing event held on September 3, 1973, at Darlington Raceway in the American community of Darlington, South Carolina. This race would highlight the relative lack of safety involved when an engine-related oil spill caused four cars to spin out on the track before a caution flag settled things back down to normal.

Bud Moore would ultimately leave the NASCAR Cup Series as a driver after the conclusion of this event.[2]


40 drivers competed in this race; only one foreigner competed - Canadian-born Vic Parsons. This event took three hours and forty-four minutes to complete 367 laps. Richard Childress was credited as the last-place finisher due to a problem with his stock car engine on lap 19. Frank Warren was the lowest-finishing driver to complete the event while being nearly 100 laps behind the lead lap cars. Joe Frasson's problematic engine on lap 304 would force him to finish in the middle of the pack.[3] Jim Vandiver would deliberately cause his engine to blow on lap 223 in order to avoid arrest from the local police department for not appearing at a court hearing regarding the custody of his children.[4]

Cale Yarborough defeated David Pearson under caution in front of the collective eyes of 70,000 loyal NASCAR followers. Ironically, Pearson would qualify for the pole position by driving speeds up to 150.366 miles per hour (241.991 km/h) during the solo qualifying sessions. Average race speeds would end up being 134.033 miles per hour (215.705 km/h) due to the seven yellow flags that NASCAR officials handed out for a duration of 37 laps.[3] Chevrolet and Ford were the dominant manufacturers at this racing event. Richard D. Brown suddenly quit this race on lap 30 for no apparent reason.[3]

Individual race earnings for each driver ranged from the winner's portion of $23,140 ($122,933.42 when adjusted for inflation) to the last-place finisher's portion of $1,700 ($9,031.41 when adjusted for inflation). NASCAR officials authorized a total amount of $126,725 to be handed out to every qualifying driver on the conclusion of this event ($673,238.44 when adjusted for inflation).[5]

Finishing order[edit]

* Driver failed to finish race


  1. ^ Weather information for the 1973 Southern 500 at The Old Farmers' Almanac
  2. ^ Results of the 1973 Southern 500 at Race Database
  3. ^ a b c 1973 Southern 500 racing information at Racing Reference
  4. ^ A Sit Down With Jim Vandiver; A True Pioneer Of NASCAR at Bleacher Report
  5. ^ Winnings information for the 1973 Southern 500 at Fantasy Racing Cheat Sheet
Preceded by
1973 Nashville 420
Winston Cup Series races
Succeeded by
1973 Capital City 500
Preceded by
Southern 500 races
Succeeded by