1979 Southeastern 500
|Race 7 of 31 in the 1979 NASCAR Winston Cup Series season
|Date||April 1, 1979|
|Location||Bristol International Speedway (Bristol, Tennessee)|
|Course||Permanent racing facility
0.533 mi (0.857 km)
|Distance||500 laps, 266.5 mi (428.8 km)|
|Weather||Temperatures reaching a maximum of 71.1 °F (21.7 °C); wind speeds approaching 7 miles per hour (11 km/h)|
|Average speed||91.033 miles per hour (146.503 km/h)|
|Driver||Buddy Baker||Ranier Racing|
|Most laps led|
|Driver||Dale Earnhardt||Osterlund Motorsports|
|Television in the United States|
Five hundred laps were completed on a paved oval track spanning 0.533 miles (0.858 km) in only two hours and fifty-five minutes. Six cautions were given out by NASCAR for 44 laps. Twenty-six thousand people attended this live event to see Dale Earnhardt defeat Bobby Allison by a time of three seconds. Jake Elder was Earnhardt's crew chief at that time; his nickname was "Suitcase" because he would help a NASCAR driver achieve glory and then leave him for another driver the following season. The notable speeds were: 91.033 miles per hour (146.503 km/h) for the average speed and 111.668 miles per hour (179.712 km/h) for the pole position speed achieved by Buddy Baker.
The other top ten finishers were: Darrell Waltrip (who would lose the race lead to Earnhardt with only 27 laps to go), Richard Petty, Benny Parsons, Donnie Allison, Terry Labonte, Joe Millikan, James Hylton, and Ricky Rudd. Chevrolet vehicles made up the majority of the 30-car racing grid. Corporate sponsors for the drivers included: Gatorade, STP, Hawaiian Tropic, and Shoney's. This race would be notable for starting the Earnhardt family's legacy of winning; leading up to Dale Earnhardt, Jr.'s most recent victory at the 2014 Gobowling.com 400. Millikan would catch something in his eye and would have to report to hospital; J.D. McDuffie ended up being the substitute driver for him.
Many souvenirs were cheap back then with a Richard Petty hat costing $5 USD ($16.25 when adjusted for inflation) and a ticket to the race costing $16 USD ($51.99 when adjusted for inflation). The winner of the race would receive a purse of $19,800 ($64,338.65 when adjusted for inflation). Ralph Jones (a driver-owner) was the last-place finisher of this race; he was forced to end his participation in the race due to brake issues on lap 31.
- "Weather at the 1979 Southeastern 500 race". The Old Farmers' Almanac. Retrieved 2012-08-05.
- "1979 Southeastern 500 racing results". Racing Reference. Retrieved 2011-01-11.
- "Dale Earnhardt's 1st Win Statistics". Decades of Racing. Retrieved 2011-01-12.
- "Average Speed (1979 Southeastern 500)". Ultimate Racing History. Retrieved 2011-01-12.
- "The Earnhardt-Waltrip Fiasco". How Stuff Works. Retrieved 2011-01-12.
- "Dale Earnhardt's First Victory Purse". Hardcore Fans. Retrieved 2011-01-24.
1979 Northwestern Bank 400
|NASCAR Winston Cup Series Season
1979 CRC Chemicals Rebel 500