1966 Southern 500

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1966 Southern 500
Race details[1][2]
Race 42 of 59 in the 1966 NASCAR Grand National Series season
Layout of Darlington Raceway
Layout of Darlington Raceway
Date September 5, 1966 (1966-September-05)
Official name Southern 500
Location Darlington Raceway
Darlington, South Carolina, U.S.
Course Permanent racing facility
1.375 mi (2.212 km)
Distance 364 laps, 500.5 mi (805.4 km)
Weather Temperatures reaching up to 89.1 °F (31.7 °C); wind speeds up to 10.1 miles per hour (16.3 km/h)
Average speed 114.830 miles per hour (184.801 km/h)
Pole position
Driver Jon Thorne
Most laps led
Driver Richard Petty Petty Enterprises
Laps 131
No. 16 Darel Dieringer Bud Moore
Television in the United States
Network untelevised
Announcers none

The 1966 Southern 500, the 17th running of the event, was a NASCAR Grand National Series event that was held on September 5, 1966 at Darlington Raceway in Darlington, South Carolina.

The race car drivers still had to commute to the races using the same stock cars that competed in a typical weekend's race through a policy of homologation (and under their own power). This policy was in effect until roughly 1975. 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.


A field of 44 drivers competed for a total purse of $67,960 ($493,982.07 when adjusted for inflation).[3] The media was unpleased with the treatement that they received from NASCAR after a terminal crash by Earl Balmer almost wiped out the press box. As a result, they petitioned the president of the track, Bob Colvin, threatening not to be responsible for any loss of life should another terminal crash injure or kill a member of the media.[4]

LeeRoy Yarbrough won the pole position with a qualifying speed of 140.058 miles per hour (225.402 km/h). Darel Dieringer won the race from Richard Petty in front of an audience of 28,000 people. There were 28 lead changes and 8 cautions for 80 laps, and the race lasted four hours and twenty-one minutes.[2] This race was scheduled for 364 laps on a paved oval track spanning 1.375 miles (2.213 km), for a total distance of 500.5 miles (805.5 km).[2] The average race speed was 114.830 miles per hour (184.801 km/h).[2] Twelve engine failures were recorded during the course of the race along with two terminal crashes along with several other reasons that drivers failed to finish the race.[2]

Junior Johnson was disqualified just prior to the race for cheating.[citation needed] Bob Derrington and Eddie MacDonald made their final NASCAR appearances.[5]

Finishing order[edit]

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


  1. ^ "1966 Southern 500 weather information". The Old Farmers' Almanac. Retrieved October 11, 2012. 
  2. ^ a b c d e "1966 Southern 500". Racing-Reference.info. Retrieved November 10, 2011. 
  3. ^ "1966 Official Race Results: Southern 500". NASCAR Fantasy Racing Cheat Sheet. Retrieved November 10, 2011. 
  4. ^ The Official NASCAR Trivia Book at Google Books
  5. ^ "1966 Southern 500". Race-Database.com. Retrieved November 10, 2011. 
Preceded by
1966 Myers Brothers 250
NASCAR Grand National Series season
Succeeded by
1966 Buddy Shuman 250
Preceded by
Southern 500 races
Succeeded by