1976 NASCAR Winston Cup Series

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1976 NASCAR Winston Cup Series season
Previous: 1975 Next: 1977

The 1976 NASCAR Grand National Winston Cup Series season began on Sunday, January 18 and ended on Sunday, November 21. Cale Yarborough, driving the #11 Junior Johnson Holly Farms Chevrolet scored his first of three consecutive NASCAR Grand National Series Winston Cup Championships. Skip Manning was named NASCAR Rookie of the Year.

Season recap[edit]

Date Event Circuit Winner
January 18 Winston Western 500 Riverside International Raceway David Pearson
February 15 Daytona 500 Daytona International Speedway
February 29 Carolina 500 North Carolina Speedway Richard Petty
March 7 Richmond 400 Richmond Fairgrounds Raceway Dave Marcis
March 14 Southeastern 400 Bristol International Speedway Cale Yarborough
March 21 Atlanta 500 Atlanta International Raceway David Pearson
April 4 Gwyn Staley 400 North Wilkesboro Speedway Cale Yarborough
April 11 Rebel 500 Darlington Raceway David Pearson
April 25 Virginia 500 Martinsville Speedway Darrell Waltrip
May 2 Winston 500 Alabama International Motor Speedway Buddy Baker
May 8 Music City USA 420 Nashville Speedway Cale Yarborough
May 16 Mason-Dixon 500 Dover Downs International Speedway Benny Parsons
May 30 World 600 Charlotte Motor Speedway David Pearson
June 13 Riverside 400 Riverside International Raceway David Pearson
June 20 Cam 2 Motor Oil 400 Michigan International Speedway David Pearson
July 4 Firecracker 400 Daytona International Speedway Cale Yarborough
July 17 Nashville 420 Nashville Speedway Benny Parsons
August 1 Purolator 500 Pocono Raceway Richard Petty
August 8 Talladega 500 Alabama International Motor Speedway Dave Marcis
August 22 Champion Spark Plug 400 Michigan International Speedway David Pearson
August 29 Volunteer 400 Bristol International Speedway Cale Yarborough
September 6 Southern 500 Darlington Raceway David Pearson
September 12 Capital City 400 Richmond Fairgrounds Raceway Cale Yarborough
September 19 Delaware 500 Dover Downs International Speedway Cale Yarborough
September 26 Old Dominion 500 Martinsville Speedway Cale Yarborough
October 3 Wilkes 400 North Wilkesboro Speedway Cale Yarborough
October 10 National 500 Charlotte Motor Speedway Donnie Allison
October 24 American 500 North Carolina Speedway Richard Petty
November 7 Dixie 500 Atlanta International Raceway Dave Marcis
November 21 Los Angeles Times 500 Ontario Motor Speedway David Pearson

Race Summaries[edit]

  • Carolina 500 – Richard Petty won going away in a race marred by a huge melee on the backstretch where Bobby Allison tumbled.
  • Atlanta 500 – NASCAR mandated smaller carburators beginning with this race. David Pearson spent 225 laps fighting to get back onto the lead lap and took his third win of the season, beating Parsons. Yarborough finished third, a lap down after making up three laps of a four-lap deficit.
  • Rebel 500 - Pearson ran down Buddy Baker in a race where his father Buck finished sixth. Bobby Allison and Darrell Waltrip were involved in a hard crash at Lap 80 while Petty and Yarborough fell out with engine failures.
  • Winston 500 – Buddy Baker qualified twelfth, a run so disappointing his Bud Moore team drove back to their Spartanburg, SC shop to overhaul the engine before returning to Talladega for the race. Baker nonetheless became the first driver to win a 500-miler in less than three hours, while an early-race crash with Pearson, Dave Marcis, and Dick Brooks eliminated Benny Parsons and cost him the point lead (and a $10,000 bonus awarded to the driver who accumulated the most points per third of the season) to runner-up Yarborough.
  • Mason-Dixon 500 Benny Parsons suffered nose damage in a mid-race crash but his Chevrolet ran stronger after the wreck; he stormed to lead 161 of the race's last 169 laps and beat Pearson by 25 seconds. Cale Yarborough led 243 laps but was penalized a lap on a pitstop, then fell out with engine failure; he thus lost the point lead to Parsons.
  • Michigan 400 - Cale Yarborough dominated until he lost power due to a blown head gasket (still finishing second) and Pearson took his seventh win of the season. Cale's runner-up finish regained him the point lead as Benny Parsons lost 21 laps and finished 19th.
  • Firecracker 400 - Cale Yarborough edged Pearson for his first Daytona win since 1968.
  • Nashville 420 - Neil Bonnett drove most the race for pole-sitter Bobby Allison; days before Allison was injured in a bad crash at Elko, MN and had to give way to Bonnett after the opening lap; the Penske #2 finished a distant seventh. Buddy Baker led 220 laps but fell out while leading with 90 laps to go; Benny Parsons took over and beat Richard Petty and Darrell Waltrip. Waltrip's third place at his home track came following the hiring by DiGard of engine builder Marion "Ducky" Newman, who'd left Bud Moore's team in a salary dispute.
  • Purolator 500 – NASCAR allowed teams to use larger carburators again beginning with Pocono. The lead changed 47 times as Pearson's blown tire coming to the white flag gave Petty only his second win of the season. Benny Parsons edged Pearson for third while pole-sitter Cale Yarborough blew his engine halfway through; Junior Johnson's team changed engines in the garage in 33 minutes and Yarborough finished 25th; he lost the point lead to Parsons.
  • Talladega 500 – Dave Marcis took his only Talladega win and the first for crew chief Harry Hyde. The lead changed a season-high 57 times. Benny Parsons blew his engine after 39 laps while Cale suffered another engine failure, yet Junior Johnson's team changed engines mid-race again, this time in 20 minutes. Richard Petty blew his engine after taking the lead in the final 20 laps; with this combination of DNFs Cale thus took the point lead for what proved to be the final time. Darrell Waltrip blew his engine and following the race DiGard fired team manager Mario Rossi and engine builders "Stump" Davis and Keith Harlan; the team hired Robert Yates to assist Marion Newman.
  • Southern 500 – Pearson took the one race he had sought his entire career. A big wreck occurred after Buddy Baker blew up and spun; behind him Skip Manning spun and was hit in the left side door by Joe Frasson. Cale Yarborough hit a guardrail post on pit road and it bent the rearend assembly; Richard Childress helped the Junior Johnson crew replace the assembly and Cale finished 23rd; Richard Petty finished second despite hammering the wall off the track's infamous fourth turn and cut Cale's point lead to 29.
  • Capital City 400 - Bobby Allison made his most determined bid for a win of the season, chasing Cale Yarborough and finished one length back at the finish. Cale increased his point lead over Petty to 44.
  • Delaware 500 - Cale Yarborough made up two laps on two separate occasions and won his second straight race.
  • Old Dominion 500 - Darrell Waltrip won the pole, his first with Robert Yates power, but could only finish second to Cale as rain cut short the 500-lapper at 340 laps.
  • Wilkes 400 - Yarborough won his fourth straight race and season-leading ninth overall.
  • National 500 - Donnie Allison surprised the field in a backup Hoss Ellington Monte Carlo; the engine measured a tick over the legal displacement in immediate post race inspection but after cooling down the engine was within limits. The win was Donnie's first in Grand National competition since 1971.
  • American 500 - Richard Petty took the win, only his third of the season. Lennie Pond finished second. Green flag pitstops became frequent as Petty spent a total of 125 seconds in the pits to Pond's 54 seconds.
  • LA Times 500 – Pearson led the final 121 laps and easily posted his eighth superspeedway win and tenth overall of the season. Yarborough clinched the season championship (his first and also the first for team owner Junior Johnson) by taking the green flag, only to fall out with transmission trouble after leading 68 laps. Bobby Allison blew his engine simultaneously with his brother Donnie and after the race told Roger Penske he was leaving the team.

Daytona 500[edit]

Main article: 1976 Daytona 500

Dixie 500[edit]

Main article: 1976 Dixie 500

Firecracker 400[edit]

Main article: 1976 Firecracker 400

Gwyn Staley 400[edit]

Main article: 1976 Gwyn Staley 400

Los Angeles Times 500[edit]

Final Points Standings[edit]

  1. Cale Yarborough – 4644
  2. Richard Petty – 4449
  3. Benny Parsons – 4304
  4. Bobby Allison – 4097
  5. Lennie Pond – 3930
  6. Dave Marcis – 3875
  7. Buddy Baker – 3745
  8. Darrell Waltrip – 3505
  9. David Pearson – 3483
  10. Dick Brooks – 3447

External links[edit]