1979 Champion Spark Plug 400

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1979 Champion Spark Plug 400
Race details[1][2][3]
Race 21 of 31 in the 1979 NASCAR Winston Cup Series season
Layout of Michigan International Speedway
Layout of Michigan International Speedway
Date August 19, 1979 (1979-August-19)
Official name Champion Spark Plug 400
Location Michigan International Speedway, Brooklyn, Michigan
Course Permanent racing facility
2.000 mi (3.218 km)
Distance 200 laps, 400 mi (643 km)
Weather Mild with temperatures approaching 78.1 °F (25.6 °C); wind speeds up to 9.9 miles per hour (15.9 km/h)
Average speed 130.367 miles per hour (209.805 km/h)
Attendance 60,000[4]
Pole position
Driver Osterlund Motorsports
Most laps led
Driver Buddy Baker Ranier Racing
Laps 115
Winner
No. 43 Richard Petty Petty Enterprises
Television in the United States
Network untelevised
Announcers none

The 1979 Champion Spark Plug 400 was a NASCAR Winston Cup Series racing event that took place on August 19, 1979, at Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn, Michigan.

Only manual transmission vehicles were allowed to participate in this race; a policy that NASCAR has retained to the present day. Michigan International Speedway had been a Mercury-dominated track from 1969-78 before its driving style became neutral to all manufacturers. It was also a track that suited a smooth driver or a driver that could change his driving tactics for Michigan International Speedway.

Background[edit]

Michigan International Speedway is a four-turn superspeedway that is 2 miles (3.2 km) long.[5] Opened in 1968, the track's turns are banked at eighteen degrees, while the 3,600-foot-long front stretch, the location of the finish line, is banked at twelve degrees.[5] The back stretch, has a five degree banking and is 2,242 feet long.[5]

Summary[edit]

There were 36 American-born male drivers on the grid.[4][3] Richard Petty defeated Buddy Baker[3] by one second in front of 60,000 live audience members.[4][2] There were 21 lead changes and five caution flags for 35 laps; making the race three hours and four minutes long.[4][2] David Pearson earned the pole position with a speed of 162.992 miles per hour (262.310 km/h) while the average racing speed was 130.376 miles per hour (209.820 km/h).[4][2] Blackie Wangerin would receive the last-place finish due to a crash with H.B. Bailey on lap 2 out of the 200 regulation laps which resulted in Wangerin's car flipping outside of the track.[4][2][3]

Al Rudd, Jr. would race his only NASCAR event here. The entire racing purse was valued at $142,905 ($471,566.84 when adjusted for inflation).[6]

By the following season, NASCAR had completely stopped tracking the year model of all the vehicles and most teams did not take stock cars to the track under their own power anymore.

Qualifying[edit]

Grid No. Driver Manufacturer
1 2 David Pearson Chevrolet
2 15 Bobby Allison Ford
3 21 Neil Bonnett Mercury
4 44 Terry Labonte Chevrolet
5 43 Richard Petty Chevrolet
6 27 Benny Parsons Chevrolet
7 72 Joe Millikan Chevrolet
8 11 Cale Yarborough Chevrolet
9 47 Harry Gant Chevrolet
10 88 Darrell Waltrip Chevrolet

Finishing order[edit]

  1. Richard Petty (No. 43)
  2. Buddy Baker (No. 28)
  3. Benny Parsons (No. 27)
  4. David Pearson (No. 2)
  5. John Anderson (No. 08)
  6. Joe Millikan (No. 72)
  7. Ricky Rudd (No. 90)
  8. Tighe Scott (No. 30)
  9. J.D. McDuffie (No. 70)
  10. Richard Childress (No. 70)
  11. Bill Elliott (No. 17)
  12. James Hylton (No. 48)
  13. Kyle Petty (No. 42)
  14. Tommy Gale (No. 64)
  15. John Kennedy (No. 0)
  16. Frank Warren (No. 79)
  17. Cale Yarborough* (No. 11)
  18. Cecil Gordon (No. 24)
  19. Darrell Waltrip (No. 88)
  20. Buddy Arrington* (No. 67)
  21. Baxter Price (No. 42)
  22. Jimmy Means (No. 54)
  23. Bobby Allison* (No. 15)
  24. Ronnie Thomas* (No. 25)
  25. Harry Gant* (No. 47)
  26. Terry Labonte* (No. 44)
  27. Marty Robbins* (No. 6)
  28. D.K. Ulrich (No. 40)
  29. Dick Brooks* (No. 05)
  30. Dave Marcis* (No. 71)
  31. Lennie Pond* (No. 19)
  32. Al Rudd, Jr.* (No. 22)
  33. Neil Bonnett* (No. 21)
  34. Earle Canavan* (No. 01)
  35. H.B. Bailey* (No. 36)
  36. Blackie Wangerin* (No. 39)

* Driver failed to finish race

Standings after the race[edit]

Pos Driver Points[4] Differential
1 1rightarrow.png Darrell Waltrip 3352 0
2 1rightarrow.png Richard Petty 3197 -155
3 1rightarrow.png Cale Yarborough 3063 -289
4 1rightarrow.png Bobby Allison 3023 -329
5 1rightarrow.png Benny Parsons 2827 -525
6 Increase Joe Millikan 2719 -633
7 Decrease Dale Earnhardt 2588 -764
8 1rightarrow.png Richard Childress 2524 -828
9 1rightarrow.png J.D. McDuffie 2510 -842
10 1rightarrow.png Buddy Arrington 2415 -937

References[edit]

  1. ^ Weather for the 1979 Champion Spark Plug 400 at The Old Farmers' Almanac
  2. ^ a b c d e 1979 Champion Spark Plug 400 racing information at Race Database
  3. ^ a b c d 1979 Champion Spark Plug 400 racing information at Driver Averages
  4. ^ a b c d e f g 1979 Champion Spark Plug 400 racing information at Racing Reference
  5. ^ a b c "Michigan International Speedway". CBS Sports. Retrieved 2013-06-11. 
  6. ^ 1979 Champion Spark Plug 400 racing purse at Fantasy Racing Cheat Sheet
Preceded by
1979 Talladega 500
NASCAR Winston Cup Series Season
1979
Succeeded by
1979 Volunteer 500
Preceded by
1979 Virginia 500
Richard Petty's Career Wins
1960-1984
Succeeded by
1979 CRC Chemicals 500