1969 Volunteer 500

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1969 Volunteer 500
Race details[1]
Race 33 of 54 in the 1969 NASCAR Grand National Series season
Layout of Bristol Motor Speedway
Layout of Bristol Motor Speedway
Date July 20, 1969 (1969-July-20)
Official name Volunteer 500
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 Hot with temperatures approaching 89.1 °F (31.7 °C); wind speeds up to 13 miles per hour (21 km/h)
Average speed 79.737 miles per hour (128.324 km/h)
Attendance 32,000[2]
Pole position
Driver Wood Brothers
Most laps led
Driver David Pearson Holman-Moody
Laps 316
No. 17 David Pearson Holman-Moody
Television in the United States
Network untelevised
Announcers none

The 1969 Volunteer 500 was a NASCAR Grand National Series (now Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series) event that was held on July 20, 1969, at Bristol International Speedway in Bristol, Tennessee; which was rebuilt with more banking for this race.

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.


It took three hours, eight minutes, and seven seconds for the event to reach its conclusion.[2] David Pearson defeated Bobby Isaac by more than three laps in front of a live audience of thirty-two thousand people.[2]

His Ford Torino Talladega guided him to one of his eleven victories for the 1969 NASCAR Cup Series season.[3] Richard Petty, however, would play the role of the assistant as teamwork became essential with NASCAR's coming of age. Notable speeds were: 79.737 miles per hour (128.324 km/h) as the average speed and 103.424 miles per hour (166.445 km/h) as the pole position speed.[2] Eight cautions were waved for 56 laps in this race that spanned a grand total of 266.5 miles (428.9 km).[2] This race would bring Cecil Gordon's first finish in the top five.[2] Total winnings for this race were $27,685 ($180,806.67 when adjusted for inflation).[2]

This race's importance in the history book would be that the famous Apollo 11 moon landing would take place on the same day. Once the Apollo 11 landed on the moon, it would only be proper for Neil Armstrong to make his famous walk on the Moon. Henley Gray deliberately quit the race so he could get home in time to watch the moon landing on television; according to urban legend. As a result, he only won $550 ($3,591.97 when adjusted for inflation) in prize money and finished only 206 out of the 500 laps of the race.[2]

Finishing order[edit]

  1. David Pearson (No. 17)
  2. Bobby Isaac† (No. 71)
  3. Donnie Allison (No. 27)
  4. James Hylton (No. 48)
  5. Cecil Gordon (No. 47)
  6. Ben Arnold (No. 76)
  7. Bill Seifert (No. 45)
  8. Bill Champion† (No. 10)
  9. J.D. McDuffie† (No. 70)
  10. Roy Tyner† (No. 9)
  11. LeeRoy Yarbrough*† (No. 98)
  12. Walson Gardener* (No. 63)
  13. Ed Hessert* (No. 15)
  14. Elmo Langley*† (No. 64)
  15. Henley Gray* (No. 19)
  16. John Sears*† (No. 4)
  17. Neil Castles* (No. 06)
  18. G.C. Spencer*† (No. 49)
  19. Wendell Scott*† (No. 34)
  20. Dave Marcis* (No. 30)
  21. E.J. Trivette* (No. 08)
  22. Buddy Young* (No. 31)
  23. Richard Petty* (No. 43)
  24. Cale Yarborough* (No. 21)
  25. Dick Brooks*† (No. 32)
  26. Bobby Allison* (No. 22)
  27. Buddy Baker*† (No. 6)
  28. Jabe Thomas* (No. 25)
  29. Wayne Gillette* (No. 09)
  30. Coo Coo Marlin*† (No. 07)
  31. Earl Brooks*† (No. 26)
  32. Bobby Mausgrover* (No. 57)

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


  • Start: Cale Yarborough was leading the other drivers as the green flag was waved in the air
  • Lap 32: Bobby Allison took over the lead from Cale Yarborough
  • Lap 33: James Hylton took over the lead from Bobby Allison
  • Lap 82: David Pearson took over the lead from James Hylton
  • Lap 94: Bobby Isaac took over the lead from David Pearson
  • Lap 97: Donnie Allison took over the lead from Bobby Isaac
  • Lap 183: David Pearson took over the lead from Donnie Allison
  • Lap 345: Bobby Isaac took over the lead from David Pearson
  • Lap 358: LeeRoy Yarbrough took over the lead from Bobby Isaac
  • Lap 359: David Pearson took over the lead from LeeRoy Yarbrough
  • Finish: David Pearson was officially declared the winner of the event


  1. ^ "1969 Volunteer 500 weather results". The Old Farmers' Almanac. Retrieved 2012-08-30. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h "1969 Volunteer 500 racing results". Racing Reference. Retrieved 2011-01-11. 
  3. ^ The winning vehicle of the 1969 Volunteer 500. Google Books. Retrieved 2013-05-28. 
Preceded by
Volunteer 500 races
Succeeded by
Preceded by
1969 Maryland 300
NASCAR Grand National Season
Succeeded by
1969 Nashville 400