1977 Southern 500

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1977 Southern 500
Race details[1][2][3]
Race 22 of 30 in the 1977 NASCAR Winston Cup Series season
Layout of Darlington Raceway
Layout of Darlington Raceway
Date September 5, 1977 (1977-September-05)
Official name Southern 500
Location Darlington Raceway, Darlington, South Carolina
Course Permanent racing facility
1.375 mi (2.212 km)
Distance 367 laps, 500.5 mi (805.4 km)
Weather Very hot with temperatures of 86.9 °F (30.5 °C); wind speeds of 9.9 miles per hour (15.9 km/h)
Average speed 106.797 miles per hour (171.873 km/h)
Pole position
Driver DiGard Motorsports
Most laps led
Driver Darrell Waltrip DiGard Motorsports
Laps 123
Winner
No. 821 David Pearson Wood Brothers Racing
Television in the United States
Network ABC
Announcers Keith Jackson
Chris Economaki

The 1977 Southern 500, the 28th running of the event, was a NASCAR Winston Cup Series race that took place on September 5, 1977, at Darlington Raceway in Darlington, South Carolina.

Background[edit]

Darlington Raceway, nicknamed by many NASCAR fans and drivers as "The Lady in Black" or "The Track Too Tough to Tame" and advertised as a "NASCAR Tradition", is a race track built for NASCAR racing located near Darlington, South Carolina. It is of a unique, somewhat egg-shaped design, an oval with the ends of very different configurations, a condition which supposedly arose from the proximity of one end of the track to a minnow pond the owner refused to relocate. This situation makes it very challenging for the crews to set up their cars' handling in a way that will be effective at both ends.

The track is a four-turn 1.366 miles (2.198 km) oval.[4] The track's first two turns are banked at twenty-five degrees, while the final two turns are banked two degrees lower at twenty-three degrees.[4] The front stretch (the location of the finish line) and the back stretch is banked at six degrees.[4] Darlington Raceway can seat up to 60,000 people.[4]

Darlington has something of a legendary quality among drivers and older fans; this is probably due to its long track length relative to other NASCAR speedways of its era and hence the first venue where many of them became cognizant of the truly high speeds that stock cars could achieve on a long track. The track allegedly earned the moniker The Lady in Black because the night before the race the track maintenance crew would cover the entire track with fresh asphalt sealant, in the early years of the speedway, thus making the racing surface dark black. Darlington is also known as "The Track Too Tough to Tame" because drivers can run lap after lap without a problem and then bounce off of the wall the following lap. Racers will frequently explain that they have to race the racetrack, not their competition. Drivers hitting the wall are considered to have received their "Darlington Stripe" thanks to the missing paint on the right side of the car.

Summary[edit]

I didn't hit you, Jaws did. Jaws Waltrip.

— Cale Yarborough

Drivers competed for a total of purse $184,200 ($761,582.54 when considering inflation).[3] Dave Marcis drove much of the race in relief of Richard Petty.

Darrell Waltrip qualified for the pole position with a speed of 153.493 miles per hour (247.023 km/h).[2] The race covered 367 laps tof the 1.366-mile (2.198 km) paved track, totalling 501.3 miles (806.8 km).[2] After six yellow flags for 93 laps and 32 different leaders, the race lasted four hours and forty-one minutes. Rain on lap 185 forced to cars to slow down their speed until NASCAR confirmed that the rain indeed stopped in time for the green flag on lap 204. An oil slick on lap 210 would slow down the cars yet again until workers fixed the spill around lap 222.[2] Sixty thousand people would watch a race where David Pearson defeated Donnie Allison by 2.5 seconds with an average speed of 106.797 miles per hour (171.873 km/h).[2] Pearson was winless in his first 15 Southern 500s, but then takes three out of four in 1976, 1977, and 1979.

Bill Elliott earned his first career top-ten finish.[2][3] Terry Bivins made his final NASCAR appearance in this race.[5] Notable crew chiefs to fully participate in this race were Buddy Parrott, Jake Elder, Joey Arrington, Kirk Shelmerdine, Dale Inman, and Tim Brewer.[6]

Qualifying[edit]

Grid No. Driver Manufacturer Owner
1 88 Darrell Waltrip Chevrolet DiGard Racing
2 72 Benny Parsons Chevrolet L.G. DeWitt
3 15 Buddy Baker Ford Bud Moore
4 11 Cale Yarborough Chevrolet Junior Johnson
5 21 David Pearson Mercury Wood Brothers
6 43 Richard Petty Dodge Petty Enterprises
7 1 Donnie Allison Chevrolet Hoss Ellington
8 12 Bobby Allison Matador Bobby Allison
9 54 Lennie Pond Chevrolet Ronnie Elder
10 14 Coo Coo Marlin Chevrolet H.B. Cunningham
11 64 Tommy Gale Ford Elmo Langley
12 3 Richard Childress Chevrolet Richard Childress
13 49 G.C. Spencer Dodge G.C. Spencer
14 92 Skip Manning Chevrolet Billy Hagan
15 90 Dick Brooks Ford Junie Donlavey
16 52 Bill Elliott Ford George Elliott
17 27 Sam Sommers Chevrolet M.C. Anderson
18 22 Ricky Rudd Chevrolet Al Rudd
19 70 J.D. McDuffie Chevrolet J.D. McDuffie
20 75 Butch Hartman Chevrolet Butch Hartman

Finishing order[edit]

Section reference: [2]

  1. David Pearson (No. 21)
  2. Donnie Allison (No. 1)
  3. Buddy Baker (No. 15)
  4. Richard Petty (No. 43)
  5. Cale Yarborough (No. 11)
  6. Darrell Waltrip (No. 88)
  7. Ricky Rudd (No. 22)
  8. Richard Childress (No. 3)
  9. Bruce Hill (No. 47)
  10. Bill Elliott (No. 52)
  11. Ed Negre (No. 8)
  12. J.D. McDuffie (No. 70)
  13. James Hylton (No. 48)
  14. Buddy Arrington (No. 67)
  15. Gary Myers (No. 4)
  16. Janet Guthrie (No. 68)
  17. Frank Warren (No. 79)
  18. Tommy Gale (No. 64)
  19. Cecil Gordon (No. 24)
  20. Mike Kempton (No. 69)
  21. Baxter Price (No. 45)
  22. Bobby Wawak (No. 19)
  23. Earle Canavan (No. 01)
  24. Terry Bivins* (No. 91)
  25. Benny Parsons* (No. 72)
  26. Coo Coo Marlin* (No. 14)
  27. D.K. Ulrich (No. 40)
  28. Lennie Pond* (No. 54)
  29. Sam Sommers* (No. 27)
  30. Ralph Jones* (No. 08)
  31. Dick May* (No. 10)
  32. Tighe Scott* (No. 30)
  33. Ferrel Harris* (No. 25)
  34. Dick Brooks* (No. 90)
  35. Butch Hartman* (No. 75)
  36. Roland Wlodyka* (No. 98)
  37. G.C. Spencer* (No. 49)
  38. Skip Manning* (No. 92)
  39. Bobby Allison* (No. 12)
  40. Joe Mihalic* (No. 61)

* Driver failed to finish race

Timeline[edit]

Section reference: [2]

  • Start: Darrell Waltrip was ahead of all the other drivers as the green flag was waved in the air
  • Lap 24: First caution of the race due to Skip Manning's accident on turn 2; caution ended on lap 33
  • Lap 65: Second caution of the race due to a two-car accident; caution ended on lap 77
  • Lap 159: Third caution of the race due to Tighe Scott's accident on turn 4; caution ended on lap 168
  • Lap 185: Fourth caution of the race due to rain; caution ended on lap 204
  • Lap 210: Fifth caution of the race due to oil on the track; caution ended on lap 222
  • Lap 236: Sixth caution of the race due to a 5-car accident in the backstretch; caution ended on lap 249
  • Lap 251: Final caution of the race due to a 2-car accident on turn 4; caution ended on lap 262
  • Finish: David Pearson was officially declared the winner of the race

Standings after the race[edit]

Pos Driver Points[2] Differential
1 1rightarrow.png Cale Yarborough 3635 0
2 1rightarrow.png Richard Petty 3507 -128
3 Increase Darrell Waltrip 3287 -348
4 Decrease Benny Parsons 3252 -383
5 1rightarrow.png Buddy Baker 2944 -691
6 1rightarrow.png Dick Brooks 2719 -916
7 1rightarrow.png Cecil Gordon 2539 -1096
8 1rightarrow.png Richard Childress 2501 -1134
9 1rightarrow.png James Hylton 2481 -1154
10 1rightarrow.png Bobby Allison 2391 -1244

References[edit]

  1. ^ "1977 Southern 500 weather information". The Old Farmers' Almanac. Retrieved July 6, 2012.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i "1977 Southern 500". Racing-Reference.info. Retrieved November 10, 2011.
  3. ^ a b c "1977 Official Race Results: Southern 500". NASCAR Fantasy Racing Cheat Sheet. Retrieved November 10, 2011.
  4. ^ a b c d "Darlington Raceway". CBS Sports. Retrieved 2013-05-07.
  5. ^ "1977 Southern 500". Race-Database.com. Retrieved November 10, 2011.
  6. ^ "1977 Southern 500 crew chief information". Racing-Reference.com. Retrieved August 26, 2018.
Preceded by
1977 Volunteer 400
NASCAR Winston Cup Series season
1977
Succeeded by
1977 Capital City 400
Preceded by
1976
Southern 500 races
1977
Succeeded by
1978