1979 Talladega 500

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1979 Talladega 500
Race details
Race 20 of 31 in the 1979 NASCAR Winston Cup Series season
Talladega Superspeedway
Talladega Superspeedway
Date August 5, 1979 (1979-August-05)
Location Talladega Superspeedway (Talladega, Alabama)
Course Permanent racing facility
2.660 mi (4.280 km)
Distance 188 laps, 500.1 mi (804.8 km)
Weather Temperatures reaching as high as 90.9 °F (32.7 °C); wind speeds up to 9.9 miles per hour (15.9 km/h)[1]
Average speed 161.229 miles per hour (259.473 km/h)
Pole position
Driver Neil Bonnett Wood Brothers Racing
Most laps led
Driver Darrell Waltrip DiGard Motorsports
Laps 102
No. 88
Darrell Waltrip
DiGard Motorsports
Television in the United States
Network CBS
Announcers Ken Squier
Lee Petty

The 1979 Talladega 500 is a NASCAR Winston Cup Series racing event that took place on August 5, 1979, at Alabama International Motor Speedway in Talladega, Alabama, USA.


There were 41 American-born drivers on the starting grid; 21 of these vehicles failed to finish the race. Most of the problems in this three-hour event was blamed on the engines. After 188 laps of racing and five caution flags, Darrell Waltrip would defeat David Pearson by a minute and two seconds in front of a live crowd of eighty thousand stock car racing fans. Rookie driver Dale Earnhardt's injuries prevented him from participating in this event. There were a massive amount of changes in the race's first-place position; with Waltrip leading the final 55 laps to his victorious fate.[2]

Speeds at this race reached 161.229 miles per hour (259.473 km/h) for the actual event while Neil Bonnett would earn his pole position by plowing through the field in solo qualifying runs with a top speed of 193.6 miles per hour (311.6 km/h).[2] Kyle Petty would in ninth place in his inaugural race after starting in 18th place. Meanwhile, Bob Burcham and Al Holbert would make this race into their individual swan songs.[3] The total prize purse at this event was $205,680 ($668,342.12 in today's money). While the winner would collect $32,325 of this purse ($105,037.72 in today's money), the last-place finisher would be stuck with a mere $1,050 ($3,411.9 in today's money).[4]

Oldsmobile would rack up their 100th victory in the history of the NASCAR Cup Series; sealing the legendary status of this now-defunct automobile manufacturer within the circles of professional stock car racing.

Finishing order[edit]

† signifies that the driver is known to be deceased
* Driver failed to finish race


  1. ^ Weather information for the 1979 Talladega 500 at the Old Farmers' Almanac
  2. ^ a b 1979 Talladega 500 racing information at Racing-Reference
  3. ^ 1979 Talladega 500 at Race-Database
  4. ^ 1979 Talladega 500 race information at Fantasy Racing Cheat Sheet
Preceded by
1979 Coca-Cola 500
NASCAR Winston Cup Series Season
Succeeded by
1979 Champion Spark Plug 400
Preceded by
Talladega 500 races
Succeeded by