1979 Champion Spark Plug 400

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1979 Champion Spark Plug 400
Race details
Race 21 of 31 in the 1979 NASCAR Winston Cup Series season
Michigan International Speedway
Michigan International Speedway
Date August 19, 1979 (1979-August-19)
Location Michigan International Speedway (Brooklyn, Michigan, USA)
Course Permanent racing facility
2.000 mi (3.218 km)
Distance 200 laps, 400 mi (643 km)
Weather Temperatures reaching up to 78.1 °F (25.6 °C); wind speeds up to 9.9 miles per hour (15.9 km/h)[3]
Average speed 130.367 miles per hour (209.805 km/h)
Pole position
Driver David Pearson Osterlund Motorsports
Most laps led
Driver Buddy Baker Ranier Racing
Laps 115
No. 43
Richard Petty
Petty Enterprises
Television in the United States
Network untelevised
Announcers none

The 1979 Champion Spark Plug 400 is a NASCAR Winston Cup Series racing event that took place on August 19, 1979, at Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn, Michigan, U.S..[1][4][2]

Only manual transmission vehicles were allowed to participate in this race; a policy that NASCAR has retained to the present day. Michigan International Speedway had been a Mercury-dominated track from 1969-78 before its driving style became neutral to all manufacturers. It was also a track that suited a smooth driver or a driver that could change his driving tactics for Michigan International Speedway.


There were 36 American-born male drivers on the grid.[1][2] Richard Petty defeated Buddy Baker[2] by one second in front of 60,000 live audience members.[1][4] There were 21 lead changes and five caution flags for 35 laps; making the race three hours and four minutes long.[1][4] David Pearson earned the pole position with a speed of 162.992 miles per hour (262.310 km/h) while the average racing speed was 130.376 miles per hour (209.820 km/h).[1][4] Blackie Wangerin would receive the last-place finish due to a crash with H.B. Bailey on lap 2 out of the 200 regulation laps.[1][4][2]

Al Rudd, Jr. would race his only NASCAR event here. The entire racing purse was valued at $142,905 ($464,359.35 when adjusted for inflation).[5]

By the following season, 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.

Finishing order[1][2][edit]

* Driver failed to finish race

Standings after the race[edit]

Pos Driver Points[1]
1 Darrell Waltrip 3352
2 Richard Petty 3197
3 Cale Yarborough 3063
4 Bobby Allison 3023
5 Benny Parsons 2827


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i 1979 Champion Spark Plug 400 racing information at Racing Reference
  2. ^ a b c d e f 1979 Champion Spark Plug 400 racing information at Driver Averages
  3. ^ Weather for the 1979 Champion Spark Plug 400 at The Old Farmers' Almanac
  4. ^ a b c d e 1979 Champion Spark Plug 400 racing information at Race Database
  5. ^ 1979 Champion Spark Plug 400 racing purse at Fantasy Racing Cheat Sheet
Preceded by
1979 Talladega 500
NASCAR Winston Cup Series Season
Succeeded by
1979 Volunteer 500
Preceded by
1979 Virginia 500
Richard Petty's Career Wins
Succeeded by
1979 CRC Chemicals 500