1979 Gabriel 400

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1979 Gabriel 400
Race details[1][2]
Race 16 of 31 in the 1979 NASCAR Winston Cup Series season
Roger Hamby's vehicle (driven by Steve Pfeiffer) crashes while racing at the 1979 Gabriel 400.
Roger Hamby's vehicle (driven by Steve Pfeiffer) crashes while racing at the 1979 Gabriel 400.
Date June 17, 1979 (1979-June-17)
Official name Gabriel 400
Location Michigan International Speedway (Brooklyn, Michigan, USA)
Course Permanent racing facility
2.000 mi (3.218 km)
Distance 200 laps, 400 mi (643 km)
Weather Hot with temperatures approaching 90.9 °F (32.7 °C); wind speeds up to 15 miles per hour (24 km/h)
Average speed 135.798 miles per hour (218.546 km/h)
Attendance 62,000[3]
Pole position
Driver Wood Brothers Racing
Most laps led
Driver Buddy Baker Ranier Racing
Laps 121
No. 28 Buddy Baker Ranier Racing
Television in the United States
Network ABC
Announcers Al Michaels
Jackie Stewart

The 1979 Gabriel 400 was a NASCAR Winston Cup Series (now Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series) race that took place on June 17, 1979, at Michigan International Speedway in the American community of Brooklyn, Michigan.

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. Only manual transmission vehicles were allowed to participate in this race; a policy that NASCAR has retained to the present day.


Michigan International Speedway is a four-turn superspeedway that is 2 miles (3.2 km) long.[4] 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.[4] The back stretch, has a five degree banking and is 2,242 feet long.[4]


Two hundred laps were done on a paved oval track spanning 2.000 miles (3.219 km).[3][2] The total time of the race was two hours, fifty-six minutes, and forty-four seconds.[3][2] There were six cautions for thirty-three laps with the race finishing under caution.[3][2] Speeds were: 135.798 miles per hour (218.546 km/h) as the average and 162.371 miles per hour (261.311 km/h) as the pole position speed.[3][2]

Sixty-two thousand fans managed to see Buddy Baker defeat Donnie Allison under caution.[3][2] The race was also Bill Seifert's final start in addition to being Bill Elliott's 33rd start in the NASCAR Cup Series; Elliott would lead the first lap of his NASCAR Cup Series career during this event. Other famous drivers like Darrell Waltrip (who retained the championship points lead after this race[3] but lost it at the 1979 running of the Los Angeles Times 500 by 11 points[5]), Richard Childress (now the owner of Richard Childress Racing), Benny Parsons, and Terry Labonte have participated in this race.[3] While substituting for Roger Hamby during the middle of this racing event, Steve Pfieffer lost control of his car during a caution period and injured a couple of spectators on the pit wall while attempting to stop his vehicle for maintenance. He would be later sent to Foote West Hospital in nearby Jackson; where the doctors gave him a good prognosis and eventually released him with cuts on his right knee and chest.[6]

The total winnings of this race were $148,505 ($490,046.07 when adjusted for inflation). Buddy Baker earned $16,780 in cash prizes for his win ($55,371.69 when adjusted for inflation) while Bill Seifert walked away only $960 wealthier ($3,167.87 when adjusted for inflation).[7]


Grid No. Driver Manufacturer
1 21 Neil Bonnett Mercury
2 1 Donnie Allison Chevrolet
3 28 Buddy Baker Chevrolet
4 72 Joe Millikan Chevrolet
5 11 Cale Yarborough Oldsmobile
6 15 Bobby Allison Ford
7 44 Terry Labonte Chevrolet
8 90 Ricky Rudd Mercury
9 88 Darrell Waltrip Chevrolet
10 43 Richard Petty Chevrolet

Finishing order[edit]

Note: The participants of this race were all American-born males.[3] Chevrolet vehicles made up the majority of the racing grid while the rest of the field consisted of Oldsmobile, Mercury, Ford, Buick and Dodge entries.[3]

  1. Buddy Baker† (#28)
  2. Donnie Allison (#1)
  3. Cale Yarborough (#11)
  4. Neil Bonnett† (#21)
  5. Richard Petty (#43)
  6. Dale Earnhardt† (#2)
  7. Bobby Allison (#15)
  8. Ricky Rudd (#90)
  9. Tighe Scott (#30)
  10. Dick Brooks† (#05)
  11. Lennie Pond (#12)
  12. Bill Elliott (#9)
  13. Darrell Waltrip* (#88)
  14. J.D. McDuffie† (#70)
  15. Buddy Arrington (#67)
  16. Jimmy Means (#52)
  17. Harry Gant (#47)
  18. John Kennedy (#0)
  19. Sandy Satullo† (#38)
  20. James Hylton (#48)
  21. D.K. Ulrich (#40)
  22. Frank Warren* (#79)
  23. Richard Childress (#3)
  24. Bob Burcham*† (#19)
  25. Terry Labonte (#44)
  26. Dave Marcis* (#71)
  27. Ronnie Thomas* (#25)
  28. David Sosebee* (#81)
  29. Roger Hamby* (#17)
  30. Joe Milikan* (#72)
  31. Benny Parsons*† (#27)
  32. Paul Fess* (#82)
  33. Tommy Gale*† (#62)
  34. Bill Green* (#49)
  35. Marty Robbins*† (#42)
  36. Bill Seifert* (#09)

† signifies that the driver is known to be deceased
* Driver failed to finish race

Standings after the race[edit]

Pos Driver Points[3]
1 1rightarrow.png Darrell Waltrip 2555
2 1rightarrow.png Bobby Allison 2514
3 1rightarrow.png Cale Yarborough 2397
4 1rightarrow.png Richard Petty 2362
5 1rightarrow.png Dale Earnhardt 2172
6 1rightarrow.png Joe Millikan 2079
7 1rightarrow.png Benny Parsons 2069
8 1rightarrow.png Terry Labonte 1933
9 1rightarrow.png Richard Childress 1931
10 1rightarrow.png J.D. McDuffie 1897


  1. ^ "1979 Gabriel 400 weather information". The Old Farmers' Almanac. Retrieved 2012-08-03. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f "1979 Gabriel 400 racing results (third reference)". Ultimate Racing History. Retrieved 2010-12-11. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k "1979 Gabriel 400 racing results". Racing Reference. Retrieved 2010-11-20. 
  4. ^ a b c "Michigan International Speedway". CBS Sports. Retrieved 2013-06-11. 
  5. ^ "Darrell Waltrip's Lost Championship Hopes". Racing Reference. Retrieved 2010-12-12. 
  6. ^ "Baker Garners Gabriel 400". Google News Archive (The Hour). Retrieved 2012-09-18. 
  7. ^ "1979 Gabriel 400 racing results (second reference)". Fantasy Racing Cheat Sheet. Retrieved 2012-09-18. 
Preceded by
1979 NAPA Riverside 400
NASCAR Winston Cup Series Season
Succeeded by
1979 Firecracker 400