1978 Southern 500

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1978 Southern 500
Race details
Race 22 of 30 in the 1978 NASCAR Winston Cup Series season
Darlington Raceway
Darlington Raceway
Date September 4, 1978; 36 years ago (1978-09-04)
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 Temperatures reaching up to 88 °F (31 °C) with 0.28 inches (7.1 mm) of rain within 24 hours of the race; wind speeds up to 8.9 miles per hour (14.3 km/h)[1]
Average speed 116.828 miles per hour (188.016 km/h)
Pole position
Driver David Pearson Wood Brothers Racing
Most laps led
Driver Cale Yarborough Junior Johnson & Associates
Laps 203
No. 11
Cale Yarborough
Junior Johnson & Associates
Television in the United States
Network ABC
Announcers Keith Jackson
Chris Economaki

The 1978 Southern 500 is a NASCAR Winston Cup Series racing event that took place on September 4, 1978, at Darlington Raceway in Darlington, South Carolina, U.S.[2][3]

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 anymore.


There were forty American-born competitors who competed in this 367-lap race.[2] A crowd of 65000 racing fans would cheer them on for four hours and seventeen minutes.[2] NASCAR officials would signal nine cautions for an outstanding 72 laps; 21 changes for the first-place position were made.[2][3]

Cale Yarborough would defeat future NASCAR on Fox personality Darrell Waltrip by three seconds while Richard Petty, rookie driver Terry Labonte, and Bobby Allison would round out the top five finishers.[2][3] Yarborough's win would become the fourth ever at the Southern 500.[4] He would also retain the lead in championship points right after this race.[2] Bruce Hill would finish in last place on lap 80 due to a problem with his vehicle's rear end.[2][3] David Pearson would get the pole position with a top speed of 153.685 miles per hour (247.332 km/h).[2][3] D. K. Ulrich would bring nitrous oxide into his racing vehicle and lost the rest of the 1978 Winston Cup Series season. Neil Bonnett had the most unfortunate incident by hitting the telephone wires while exiting pit road; nobody was injured.

The total prize purse of the race was $200,170 ($723,777.95 when considering inflation); Yarborough received $30,175 of it for winning the race in first-place ($109,107.26 when considering inflation).[3]

Top ten finishers[edit]

  1. Cale Yarborough – #11
  2. Darrell Waltrip – #88
  3. Richard Petty – #43
  4. Terry Labonte – #92
  5. Bobby Allison – #15
  6. Bill Elliott – #9
  7. James Hylton – #48
  8. Buddy Arrington – #67
  9. Ronnie Thomas – #25
  10. Benny Parsons – #72

Standings after the race[edit]

Pos Driver Points[2]
1 Cale Yarborough 3532
2 Benny Parsons 3244
3 Dave Marcis 3197
4 Darrell Waltrip 3083
5 Bobby Allison 3001


  1. ^ Weather information for the 1978 Southern 500 at The Old Farmers' Almanac
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i 1978 Southern 500 at Racing Reference. Accessed 2012-03-05. Archived 2012-03-07.
  3. ^ a b c d e f 1978 Southern 500 racing information at Fantasy Racing Cheat Sheet. Accessed 2012-03-05. Archived 2012-03-07.
  4. ^ 1978 SOUTHERN 500 - Yarborough makes it four at YouTube
Preceded by
1978 Volunteer 500
NASCAR Winston Cup Series Season
Succeeded by
1978 Capital City 400
Preceded by
Southern 500 races
Succeeded by