1970's at Bristol - One Word: Domination
April 8, 2020
Cale Yarborough was a hard charger but he went winless the first thirteen times he raced at Bristol during the 1960s. But once he got together with Junior Johnson, almost nobody could keep them out of victory lane.
It all began in March 1973 in what we call the Food City 500 today. Cale put Juniorâ€™s Chevrolet on the pole with a track record speed of 107 miles per hour. When they waved that green flag, Cale was gone. He took off and was lapping slower cars when the rain started.
NASCAR postponed the race so everybody came back two weeks later and Cale took over again. He led every lap â€“ all 500 â€“ beating Richard Petty by two laps and Bobby Allison by five.
Nobody else has ever done that since. You just thought Kyle Busch was tough.
Afterwards, Cale said that was pretty good â€“ I led the race for two weeks.
Cale and Junior came back in 1974 and led more than 670 laps to win both races that season. Caleâ€™s car fell out of both Bristol races in 1975 but Junior and Herb Nab got her fixed up for 1976 and 1977. Cale won the â€™76 spring race over Darrell Waltrip and they came back that summer and smoked â€˜em again. We only ran 400 laps that year and old Cale led 373 of them, but that was nothing compared to 1977.
April 1977 looked like 1973 all over again. Cale put No. 11 on the pole and led all but five laps in the first half of the race. The rest of the day? Well he led them all â€“ 495 out of 500 laps. Dick Brooks ran second, and that was his best Bristol finish, but he was still seven laps behind. Richard Petty might be the king, but that day he finished third, nine laps down to Cale and Junior.
No surprise. They went on to win Bristolâ€™s first night race in 1978 and came back two years later and won it again. Cale finished with nine Bristol wins.
Cale Yarborough and Junior Johnson â€“ two of NASCARâ€™s greatest legends and two of the best at Bristol.