1977 Old Dominion 500
|Race 25 of 30 in the 1977 NASCAR Winston Cup Series season|
A map showing the layout of Martinsville Speedway
|Date||September 25, 1977|
|Official name||Old Dominion 500|
|Location||Martinsville Speedway, Martinsville, Virginia|
Permanent racing facility|
0.525 mi (0.844 km)
|Distance||500 laps, 262.5 mi (442.4 km)|
|Weather||Average temperature of 76.2 °F (24.6 °C); wind speeds of 9.9 miles per hour (15.9 km/h)|
|Average speed||73.440 miles per hour (118.190 km/h)|
|Driver||Jim Stacy Racing|
|Most laps led|
|Driver||Cale Yarborough||Junior Johnson & Associates|
|No. 11||Cale Yarborough||Junior Johnson & Associates|
|Television in the United States|
The 1977 Old Dominion 500 was a NASCAR Winston Cup Series (now Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series) racing event that took place on September 25, 1977, at the historic Martinsville Speedway; a race track that has enjoyed the presence of NASCAR since its first sanctioned race on July 4, 1948.
Cup Series races are still held on the track today in addition to the Xfinity Series (started in 1982) and Camping World Truck Series (started in 1995). Since the track was repaved back in 1976, the one-year-old concrete surface allowed cars to travel at relatively fast speeds for a short track during the 1970s.
Martinsville Speedway is one of five short tracks to hold NASCAR races. The standard track at Martinsville Speedway is a four-turn short track oval that is 0.526 miles (0.847 km) long. The track's turns are banked at eleven degrees, while the front stretch, the location of the finish line, is banked at zero degrees. The back stretch also has a zero degree banking.
It took three hours and thirty-four minutes for the race to completely progress from the first green flag to the checkered flag. Had the race been held on this day in the year 2010, temperatures would have reached 93.0 °F (33.9 °C) - an increase of 16.8 degrees Fahrenheit from the temperatures of 1977. Five hundred laps on a paved oval track spanning 0.252 miles (0.406 km) per lap was the official distance of the race dictated by NASCAR. A grand total of 262.5 miles (422.5 km) was calculated from all the laps of the race. Thirteen lead changes were made as a part of the racing action.
Despite popular knowledge shared by non-NASCAR fans, the "500" number that was in the event's title indicated the number of laps that were in the race; as opposed to the number of kilometers or miles that the drivers had to finish. All Martinsville races traditionally advertised the number of laps that a race had because it is a very short track. Cale Yarborough managed to defeat Benny Parsons by 8/10ths of a second in front of 33000 live spectators; nine cautions slowed the race for 57 laps. Neil Bonnett would qualify for the pole position with a speed of 87.637 miles per hour (141.038 km/h) - which would be the equivalent of 87.637 seconds. However, Yarborough would average a speed of 73.447 miles per hour (118.201 km/h) during the entire race.
He would retain his championship hopes after this race; being 219 points ahead of Richard Petty in the 1977 NASCAR Cup Series standings. The other top ten finishers were: David Pearson, Richard Petty, Sam Sommers, Jimmy Hensley, Buddy Arrington, James Hylton, Jimmy Means, and Darrell Waltrip. Baxter Price would become the event's last-place finisher with an oil leak on the fourth lap of the race. Chevrolet vehicles would make up the majority of the grid with Ford, Dodge, Mercury, and Matador holding a sizeable minority of the vehicles that would compete in this event.
|1||5||Neil Bonnett||Dodge||Jim Stacy|
|2||88||Darrell Waltrip||Chevrolet||DiGard Racing|
|3||11||Cale Yarborough||Chevrolet||Junior Johnson|
|4||43||Richard Petty||Dodge||Petty Enterprises|
|5||12||Bobby Allison||Matador||Bobby Allison|
|6||72||Benny Parsons||Chevrolet||L.G. DeWitt|
|7||1||Donnie Allison||Chevrolet||Hoss Ellington|
|8||63||Jimmy Hensley||Chevrolet||Jimmy Hensley|
|9||15||Buddy Baker||Ford||Bud Moore|
|10||21||David Pearson||Mercury||Wood Brothers|
|11||92||Skip Manning||Chevrolet||Billy Hagan|
|12||70||J.D. McDuffie||Chevrolet||J.D. McDuffie|
|13||54||Lennie Pond||Chevrolet||Ronnie Elder|
|14||22||Ricky Rudd||Chevrolet||Al Rudd|
|15||27||Sam Sommers||Chevrolet||M.C. Anderson|
Improvements in tire and engine technology in the early 1970s had made NASCAR Cup Series vehicles overpowered compared to the limited space that Martinsville Speedway had for breathing space. Further technological advancements by 2013 have caused further concern for driver safety at Martinsville; indicating that the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series may have to use restrictor plates in Martinsville if tire/engine technology keeps its current pace of development.
Top ten finishers
|2||6||72||Benny Parsons||Chevrolet||500||73||175||+0.8 seconds|
|3||10||21||David Pearson||Mercury||500||35||170||Lead lap under green flag|
|4||4||43||Richard Petty||Dodge||499||0||165||+1 lap|
|5||15||27||Sam Sommers||Chevrolet||491||0||155||+9 laps|
|6||8||63||Jimmy Hensley||Chevrolet||491||0||150||+9 laps|
|7||19||67||Buddy Arrington||Dodge||487||0||146||+13 laps|
|8||24||48||James Hylton||Chevrolet||483||0||142||+17 laps|
|9||21||52||Jimmy Means||Chevrolet||482||0||138||+18 laps|
|10||2||88||Darrell Waltrip||Chevrolet||472||36||139||Missing rear end|
- Start of race: Darrell Waltrip had the pole position as the green flag was waved
- Lap 4: An oil leak in Baxter Price's vehicle forced him out of the race
- Lap 8: Radiator issues managed to end Travis Tiller's day on the track
- Lap 37: Cale Yarborough took over the lead from Darrell Waltrip
- Lap 40: Benny Parsons took over the lead from Cale Yarborough
- Lap 42: Donnie Allison suddenly lost the use of his vehicle's brakes
- Lap 84: Ricky Rudd suddenly lost the rear end of his vehicle
- Lap 95: Dick Brooks suddenly lost the rear end of his vehicle
- Lap 96: David Pearson took over the lead from Benny Parsons
- Lap 97: Bobby Allison took over the lead from David Pearson
- Lap 101: Cale Yarborough took over the lead from Bobby Allison
- Lap 103: Ed Negre's vehicle developed a problematic oil pump
- Lap 179: Benny Parsons took over the lead from Cale Yarborough
- Lap 181: David Pearson took over the lead from Benny Parsons
- Lap 206: Bobby Allison took over the lead from David Pearson
- Lap 216: Bobby Allison suddenly lost the rear end of his vehicle
- Lap 304: Neil Bonnett suddenly lost the rear end of his vehicle
- Lap 336: Buddy Baker suddenly lost the rear end of his vehicle
- Lap 351: Benny Parsons took over the lead from Bobby Allison
- Lap 360: Tighe Scott managed to blow his vehicle's engine
- Lap 366: Cale Yarborough took over the lead from Benny Parsons
- Lap 373: Ronnie Thomas managed to blow his vehicle's engine
- Lap 387: David Pearson took over the lead from Cale Yarborough
- Lap 396: Cale Yarborough took over the lead from David Pearson
- Lap 472: Darrell Waltrip suddenly lost the rear end of his vehicle
- Finish: Cale Yarborough was officially declared the winner of the event
Standings after the race
- "1977 Old Dominion 500 weather information". The Old Farmers' Almanac. Retrieved 2011-03-03.
- "1977 Old Dominion 500 racing results". Racing Reference. Retrieved 2011-03-02.
- "Martinsville Speedway surface information". Circle Track. Retrieved 2011-03-05.
- "NASCAR Race Tracks". NASCAR. Archived from the original on September 12, 2010. Retrieved October 26, 2012.
- "NASCAR Tracks—The Martinsville Speedway". Martinsville Speedway. Retrieved October 26, 2012.
- "2010 Martinsville, Virginia temperatures (for comparison purposes only)". The Old Farmers' Almanac. Retrieved 2011-03-05.
- "1977 Old Dominion 500 lead change information". NASCAR.com. Retrieved 2011-03-06.
- "1977 Old Dominion 500 qualifying time (in seconds)". Ultimate Racing History. Retrieved 2011-03-06.
- "Cale Yarborough's championship hopes". Driver Averages. Archived from the original on 2011-10-05. Retrieved 2011-03-04.
- "1977 Old Dominion 500 racing results (last-place driver information)". Martinsville Speedway. Archived from the original on 2011-07-14. Retrieved 2011-03-02.
1977 Delaware 500
| NASCAR Winston Cup Series Season
1977 Wilkes 400
| Old Dominion 500 races