1964 Atlanta 500

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1964 Atlanta 500
Race details[1]
Race 13 of 62 in the 1964 NASCAR Grand National Series season
Fred Lorenzen, in victory circle, after winning the 1964 Atlanta 500
Fred Lorenzen, in victory circle, after winning the 1964 Atlanta 500
Date April 5, 1964 (1964-April-05)
Official name Atlanta 500
Location Atlanta International Raceway, Hampton, Georgia
Course Permanent racing facility
1.500 mi (2.414 km)
Distance 334 laps, 501.000 mi (806.281 km)
Weather Cold with temperatures reaching of 57.9 °F (14.4 °C); wind speeds of 17.1 miles per hour (27.5 km/h)
Average speed 134.137 miles per hour (215.873 km/h)
Attendance 50,000[2]
Pole position
Driver Holman Moody
Most laps led
Driver Fred Lorenzen Holman Moody
Laps 206
No. 28 Fred Lorenzen Holman Moody
Television in the United States
Network CBS
Announcers unknown

The 1964 Atlanta 500 was a NASCAR Grand National Series (now Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series) event that was held on April 5, 1964, at Atlanta International Raceway in Hampton, Georgia. As the fifth annual race in the history of the Atlanta 500 series of racing events, it was a milestone race in NASCAR Cup Series history.

Even by 1964 standards, this race was rather brutal with only ten vehicles surviving to the finish. Many of top NASCAR teams suffered from engine failure along with the non-contenders. Ford and Chevrolet used this race as a major "battleground" to determine whose vehicle was the most innovative and had the best endurance. Five terminal crashes were recorded in this event; with some footage of the event being used for the drive-in movie Speed Lovers.


Atlanta International Raceway (now Atlanta Motor Speedway) is one of ten current intermediate track to hold NASCAR races; the others are Charlotte Motor Speedway, Chicagoland Speedway, Darlington Raceway, Homestead Miami Speedway, Kansas Speedway, Kentucky Speedway, Las Vegas Motor Speedway, New Hampshire Motor Speedway, and Texas Motor Speedway.[3] However, at the time, only Charlotte and Darlington were built.

The layout at Atlanta International Speedway at the time was a four-turn traditional oval track that is 1.54 miles (2.48 km) long.[4] The track's turns are banked at twenty-four degrees, while the front stretch, the location of the finish line, and the back stretch are banked at five.[4]


All 39 drivers on the grid were American-born with no foreigners either attempting to qualify or competing in the actual race itself.[2] Notable drivers who finished outside the top ten included Darel Dieringer, Paul Goldsmith, Roy Tyner, Cale Yarborough, LeeRoy Yarbrough, Fireball Roberts, and A. J. Foyt.[2][5] Fred Lorenzen managed to defeat Bobby Isaac by two laps after almost four hours of racing action in order to extend the era of "Fearless Freddie's Fast Ford".[2][5] Fifty thousand live spectators would see four caution periods lasting for 19 laps and 11 changes in the lead spot for the race.[2][5] Goldsmith would flip his car after leading the first 55 laps but would get out of the wreckage completely unharmed.[6][7]

Jimmy Helms and Ken Spikes would make their introductions into the NASCAR professional stock car racing circuit here while Dave MacDonald would say his final goodbyes from professional auto racing here.[5] Neil Castles ended up finishing in last-place due to a handling problem on the second lap of this 334-lap race.[2][5]

The total winning purse of the racing event would be $57,655 ($465,756 when adjusted for inflation); Lorenzen would walk away with a handsome $18,000 ($145,410 when adjusted for inflation).[8] Twelve notable crew chiefs played a role in this event; including Jimmy Helms, Dale Inman, Herb Nab, Bud Allman, Glen Wood, Shorty Johns, Bud Moore and Banjo Matthews.[9]

The transition to purpose-built racecars began in the early 1960s and occurred gradually over that decade. Changes made to the sport by the late 1960s brought an end to the "strictly stock" vehicles of the 1950s; most of the cars were trailered to events or hauled in by trucks.


Grid[2] No. Driver Manufacturer Owner
1 28 Fred Lorenzen '64 Ford Holman-Moody Racing
2 00 A. J. Foyt '64 Ford Banjo Matthews
3 25 Paul Goldsmith '64 Plymouth Ray Nichels
4 22 Fireball Roberts '64 Ford Holman-Moody Racing
5 1 Billy Wade '64 Mercury Bud Moore
6 26 Bobby Isaac '64 Dodge Ray Nichels
7 15 Parnelli Jones '64 Mercury Bill Stroppe
8 43 Richard Petty '64 Plymouth Petty Enterprises
9 3 Junior Johnson '64 Dodge Ray Fox
10 06 Larry Frank '64 Ford Holman-Moody Racing
11 12 Dan Gurney '64 Ford Wood Brothers
12 21 Marvin Panch '64 Ford Wood Brothers
13 54 Jimmy Pardue '64 Plymouth Charles Robinson
14 41 Buck Baker '64 Plymouth Petty Enterprises
15 01 Rex White '64 Mercury Bud Moore

Top ten finishers[edit]

Pos[2] Grid No. Driver Manufacturer Laps Winnings Laps led Time/Status
1 1 28 Fred Lorenzen Ford 334 $18,000 206 3:46:05
2 6 26 Bobby Isaac Dodge 332 $8,065 37 +2 laps
3 18 11 Ned Jarrett Ford 331 $4,500 0 +3 laps
4 9 3 Junior Johnson Dodge 330 $2,925 0 +4 laps
5 14 41 Buck Baker Plymouth 327 $1,800 0 +7 laps
6 22 35 Tiny Lund Plymouth 326 $1,275 0 +8 laps
7 8 43 Richard Petty Plymouth 325 $1,100 0 +9 laps
8 24 5 Jim Paschal Dodge 315 $1,050 0 +19 laps
9 28 82 Bill McMahan Pontiac 279 $925 0 +55 laps
10 30 95 Ken Spikes Dodge 269 $925 0 +65 laps


Section reference: [2]

  • Start of race: Fred Lorenzen started out with the pole position but Paul Goldsmith quickly overtook him
  • Lap 2: Neil Castles just couldn't handle his vehicle properly; forcing him to exit the race due to safety reasons
  • Lap 3: A frame came off Joe Clark's vehicle; ending his day on the track
  • Lap 19: Jimmy Pardue had a terminal crash; forcing him to leave the event prematurely
  • Lap 22: The rear end managed to come off Jimmy Helms' vehicle; causing him to get a 34th-place finish
  • Lap 26: Ignition problems managed to sideline Jack Anderson
  • Lap 31: Larry Thomas' day on the track came to a rough end due to a faulty ignition in his vehicle
  • Lap 41: Darel Dieringer had a terminal crash; making him accept a rather lousy 31st-place finish
  • Lap 42: Roy Mayne just couldn't handle his vehicle properly; ending his day on the track
  • Lap 55: Paul Goldsmith had a terminal crash; forcing him to retire from the race
  • Lap 56: Fireball Roberts took over the lead from Fred Lorenzen
  • Lap 59: Jim Hurtubise took over the lead from Fireball Roberts
  • Lap 60: Curtis Crider had to bring an overheating vehicle out of the race prematurely
  • Lap 61: Marvin Panch took over the lead from Jim Hurtubuise
  • Lap 74: Cale Yarborough noticed that some of his gasoline was leaking out of his vehicle
  • Lap 77: Jim Hurtubise managed to lose the rear end of his vehicle; causing him to accept a 23rd-place finish
  • Lap 78: Engine problems managed to take LeeRoy Yarbrough out of the race
  • Lap 92: Fred Lorenzen took over the lead from Marvin Panch
  • Lap 106: David Pearson had a terminal crash
  • Lap 107: Fireball Roberts had a terminal crash
  • Lap 110: A frame managed to come off Larry Frank's vehicle
  • Lap 113: Bobby Isaac took over the lead from Fred Lorenzen
  • Lap 114: Fred Lorenzen took over the lead from Bobby Isaac
  • Lap 119: Rex White had to nurse his troublesome engine away from the race
  • Lap 130: Bobby Isaac took over the lead from Fred Lorenzen
  • Lap 149: The head gasket managed to come off Bobby Johns' vehicle; making it too dangerous for him to continue racing at high speeds
  • Lap 150: Fred Lorenzen took over the lead from Bobby Isaac; Dave MacDonald's engine started to blow causing his 16th-place finish
  • Lap 151: Bobby Isaac took over the lead from Fred Lorenzen
  • Lap 167: Fred Lorenzen took over the lead from Bobby Isaac
  • Lap 173: Jim McElreath's vehicle would develop engine problems severe enough to force him out of the race
  • Lap 190: Marvin Panch's vehicle developed problems with its engine
  • Lap 225: Billy Wade's engine stopped working on this lap
  • Lap 246: A.J. Foyt had to accept an 11th-place finish due to his malfunctioning engine
  • Finish: Fred Lorenzen was officially declared the winner of the event


  1. ^ "1964 Atlanta 500 weather information". The Old Farmers' Almanac. Retrieved 2012-08-04.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i "1964 Atlanta 500 racing information". Racing Reference. Retrieved 2012-03-23.
  3. ^ "NASCAR Race Tracks". NASCAR. Archived from the original on June 3, 2011. Retrieved September 2, 2011.
  4. ^ a b "NASCAR Tracks—The Atlanta Motor Speedway". Atlanta Motor Speedway. Archived from the original on 2011-07-21. Retrieved September 2, 2011.
  5. ^ a b c d e "1964 Atlanta 500 racing information". Race Database. Retrieved 2012-03-23.
  6. ^ "NASCAR at Atlanta". DaveMacDonald.net. Retrieved 2012-03-23.
  7. ^ "1964 Paul Goldsmith flip @ Atlanta". YouTube. Retrieved 2012-03-23.
  8. ^ "1964 Atlanta 500 racing information". Fantasy Racing Cheat Sheet. Retrieved 2012-03-23.
  9. ^ "1964 Atlanta 500 crew chief information". Racing Reference. Retrieved 2017-06-17.
Preceded by
Atlanta 500 races
Succeeded by