1974 Winston 500

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1974 Winston 500
Race details[1]
Race 10 of 30 in the 1974 NASCAR Winston Cup Series season
Layout of Talladega Superspeedway
Layout of Talladega Superspeedway
Date May 5, 1974 (1974-May-05)
Official name Winston 500
Location Alabama International Motor Speedway, Talladega, Alabama
Course Permanent racing facility
2.660 mi (4.280 km)
Distance 170 laps, 500.1 mi (804.8 km)
Weather Very hot with temperatures approaching 82.9 °F (28.3 °C); wind speeds up to 9.9 miles per hour (15.9 km/h)
Average speed 130.220 miles per hour (209.569 km/h)
Pole position
Driver Wood Brothers Racing
Most laps led
Driver David Pearson Wood Brothers Racing
Laps 58
No. 21 David Pearson Wood Brothers Racing

The 1974 Winston 500 was a NASCAR Winston Cup Series racing event that was held on May 5, 1974, at Alabama International Motor Speedway in Talladega, Alabama.

David Pearson acquired one of his superspeedway victories for the 1974 NASCAR Winston Cup Series season at this event.[2] Tickets at this event sold at an average price of $10 ($49.62 when adjusted for inflation); with some tickets selling for a higher price. While the green flag was waved at 1:00 PM, the checkered flag was not waved until approximately 4:28 PM, giving fans ample time to find dinner accommodations.


Talladega Superspeedway, originally known as Alabama International Motor Superspeedway (AIMS), is a motorsports complex located north of Talladega, Alabama. It is located on the former Anniston Air Force Base in the small city of Lincoln. The track is a Tri-oval and was constructed by International Speedway Corporation, a business controlled by the France Family, in the 1960s. Talladega is most known for its steep banking and the unique location of the start/finish line - located just past the exit to pit road. The track currently hosts the NASCAR series such as the Sprint Cup Series, Xfinity Series, and the Camping World Truck Series. Talladega Superspeedway is the longest NASCAR oval with a length of 2.66 miles (4.28 km), and the track at its peak had a seating capacity of 175,000 spectators.[3]


Due to a fuel crisis, the first 18 laps of the event were not scored. Engine problems caused most of the drivers not to finish the race.[4] Jerry Schild made his NASCAR Winston Cup Series debut in this event; starting in 37th and finishing in 40th place. David Pearson would end up defeating Benny Parsons by nearly 0.2 seconds after racing for almost 210 minutes. Sixty of these 170 laps were raced under yellow; half of the yellow flag laps were due to rain. A strong crowd of forty thousand people would see the lead change hands 53 times. Chevrolet and Dodge vehicles would dominate the race's grid while Ford products led the most laps.[4] Iggy Katona would leave the NASCAR Winston Cup Series as a driver after this event.

Grant Adcox and his father qualified for the event. With a hundred laps in the books, a caution came out as Donnie Allison's clutch burned out and David Sisco's motor went up in smoke. Gary Bettenhausen, who had pitted a lap after the leaders, and was up on jacks as young Adcox came down for service. Adcox's car hit an oil and water patch and slammed straight into the Bettenhausen Matador, crushing catch can man Don Miller between the cars. A young crew member of the Nord Krauskopf team who was pitted nearby, Buddy Parrott, came rushing down to help, while Penske crewmembers John Woodward and John Watson were also injured. Miller was taken to the hospital and eventually had his right leg amputated. Learning of the extent of Miller's injuries, Adcox went into shock, and his car was withdrawn from the event.

Richard Petty was remarkably slow in qualifying; starting in a meager 24th place.[4] Petty and Yarborough had brought out their big block engines thinking that the reliability would pay off, but Pearson running a 351 Cleveland held on for the win. Both Allisons ran small block Chevy's but they didn't seem to hold up as well as the Fords.

The entire prize purse of this race would be $144,280 ($715,948.12 when adjusted for inflation); with the winner receiving $20,785 of it ($103,139.60 when adjusted for inflation) while the last-place finisher received a meager $1,175 ($5,830.60 when adjusted for inflation). A 1973 Mercury Montego would become the winning vehicle at this race. David Pearson would earn the pole position for this race by driving at speeds up to 186.086 miles per hour (299.476 km/h) during qualifying.[5] Compared to today's pole speeds, it was considered to be the slowest except for Jeremy Mayfield's pole run at the 2000 DieHard 500.[6] Only manual transmission vehicles were allowed to participate in this race; a policy that NASCAR has retained to the present day.

Top ten finishers[edit]

Pos[4] Grid No. Driver Manufacturer Laps Laps led
1 1 21 David Pearson '73 Mercury 188 58
2 11 72 Benny Parsons '74 Chevrolet 188 9
3 24 43 Richard Petty '74 Dodge 188 0
4 19 90 Charlie Glotzbach '72 Ford 188 1
5 26 54 Lennie Pond '74 Chevrolet 187 0
6 22 2 Dave Marcis '73 Dodge 187 0
7 13 14 Coo Coo Marlin '73 Chevrolet 187 7
8 9 28 Sam McQuagg '74 Chevrolet 187 1
9 5 11 Cale Yarborough '74 Chevrolet 187 0
10 48 57 Bob Burcham '74 Chevrolet 187 0

Failed to qualify[edit]

Section reference: [4]

Name Number Car manufactuer
Bill Champion 10 Ford
Jimmy Crawford 22 Plymouth
Robert Brown 58 Chevrolet
Ramo Stott 83 Chevrolet
Darrell Waltrip 95 Chevrolet


  1. ^ Weather information for the 1974 Winston 500 at The Old Farmers' Almanac
  2. ^ 40 years of Talladega -- Birmingham News special report at AL.com
  3. ^ "Track Facts". talladegasuperspeedway.com. Talladega Superspeedway. November 1, 2012. Archived from the original on November 1, 2012. Retrieved April 27, 2015. 
  4. ^ a b c d e 1974 Winston 500 at Racing Reference
  5. ^ 1974 Winston 500 at Fantasy Racing Cheat Sheet
  6. ^ Pole speed comparions: 1974 vs 2000 at ESPN.com
Preceded by
1974 Virginia 500
NASCAR Winston Cup Season
Succeeded by
1974 Music City USA 420
Preceded by
1973 Winston 500
Talladega spring race
Succeeded by
1975 Winston 500