1979 Talladega 500

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1979 Talladega 500
Race details[1]
Race 20 of 31 in the 1979 NASCAR Winston Cup Series season
Layout of Talladega Superspeedway
Layout of Talladega Superspeedway
Date August 5, 1979 (1979-August-05)
Official name Talladega 500
Location Alabama International Motor Speedway, Talladega, Alabama
Course Permanent racing facility
2.660 mi (4.280 km)
Distance 188 laps, 500.1 mi (804.8 km)
Weather Hot with temperatures of 90.9 °F (32.7 °C); wind speeds of 9.9 miles per hour (15.9 km/h)
Average speed 161.229 miles per hour (259.473 km/h)
Attendance 80,000[2]
Pole position
Driver Wood Brothers Racing
Most laps led
Driver Darrell Waltrip DiGard Motorsports
Laps 102
No. 88 Darrell Waltrip DiGard Motorsports
Television in the United States
Network CBS
Announcers Ken Squier
Lee Petty

The 1979 Talladega 500 was a NASCAR Winston Cup Series racing event that took place on August 5, 1979, at Alabama International Motor Speedway in Talladega, Alabama.


Talladega Superspeedway, originally known as Alabama International Motor Superspeedway (AIMS), is a motorsports complex located north of Talladega, Alabama. It is located on the former Anniston Air Force Base in the small city of Lincoln. The track is a Tri-oval and was constructed by International Speedway Corporation, a business controlled by the France Family, in the 1960s. Talladega is most known for its steep banking and the unique location of the start/finish line - located just past the exit to pit road. The track currently hosts the NASCAR series such as the Sprint Cup Series, Xfinity Series, and the Camping World Truck Series. Talladega Superspeedway is the longest NASCAR oval with a length of 2.66 miles (4.28 km), and the track at its peak had a seating capacity of 175,000 spectators.[3]

Race report[edit]

There were 41 American-born drivers on the starting grid; 21 of them failed to finish the race. Most of the problems were engine failures. After 188 laps and five caution flags, Darrell Waltrip would defeat David Pearson by a minute and two seconds in front of a crowd of eighty thousand fans. After many lead changes, Waltrip lead the final 55 laps.[2]

The race averaged 161.229 miles per hour (259.473 km/h) for the 500 miles while Neil Bonnett would earn his pole position in qualifying with a speed of 193.6 miles per hour (311.6 km/h).[2] Kyle Petty would earn ninth place in his inaugural Winston Cup race after starting 18th. Bob Burcham and Al Holbert would make this race their individual swan songs.[4] The total prize purse at this event was $205,680 ($710,025 when adjusted for inflation). While the winner would collect $32,325 of this purse ($111,589 when adjusted for inflation), the last-place finisher, Dick May, would collect $1,050 ($3,625 when adjusted for inflation).[5]

Oldsmobile would rack up their 100th victory in the history of the NASCAR Cup Series.


Grid[2] No. Driver Manufacturer Owner
1 21 Neil Bonnett Mercury Wood Brothers
2 2 David Pearson Oldsmobile Rod Osterlund
3 30 Tighe Scott Buick Walter Ballard
4 28 Buddy Baker Oldsmobile Harry Ranier
5 11 Cale Yarborough Oldsmobile Junior Johnson
6 67 Buddy Arrington Dodge Buddy Arrington
7 41 Grant Adcox Oldsmobile Herb Adcox
8 88 Darrell Waltrip Oldsmobile DiGard Racing
9 79 Frank Warren Dodge Frank Warren
10 50 Bruce Hill Oldsmobile Walter Ballard
11 90 Ricky Rudd Mercury Junie Donlavey
12 27 Benny Parsons Oldsmobile M.C. Anderson
13 43 Richard Petty Oldsmobile Petty Enterprises
14 71 Dave Marcis Chevrolet Dave Marcis
15 44 Terry Labonte Buick Billy Hagan
16 12 Jack Ingram Oldsmobile Kennie Childers
17 7 Al Holbert Oldsmobile Al Holbert
18 42 Kyle Petty Dodge Petty Enterprises
19 15 Bobby Allison Ford Bud Moore
20 3 Richard Childress Oldsmobile Richard Childress
21 47 Harry Gant Oldsmobile Jack Beebe
22 9 Bill Elliott Mercury George Elliott
23 1 Donnie Allison Chevrolet Hoss Ellington
24 05 Dick Brooks Oldsmobile Nelson Malloch
25 77 Jody Ridley Mercury Junie Donlavey

Finishing order[edit]

Section reference: [2]

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

Standings after the race[edit]

Pos Driver Points[2] Differential
1 1rightarrow.png Darrell Waltrip 3246 0
2 1rightarrow.png Richard Petty 3017 -229
3 1rightarrow.png Cale Yarborough 2946 -300
4 1rightarrow.png Bobby Allison 2924 -322
5 Increase Benny Parsons 2662 -584
6 Decrease Dale Earnhardt 2588 -658
7 1rightarrow.png Joe Millikan 2564 -682
8 Increase Richard Childress 2390 -856
9 Decrease J.D. McDuffie 2372 -874
10 Increase Buddy Arrington 2312 -934


  1. ^ Weather information for the 1979 Talladega 500 at the Old Farmers' Almanac
  2. ^ a b c d e f 1979 Talladega 500 racing information at Racing-Reference
  3. ^ "Track Facts". talladegasuperspeedway.com. Talladega Superspeedway. November 1, 2012. Archived from the original on November 1, 2012. Retrieved April 27, 2015.
  4. ^ 1979 Talladega 500 at Race-Database
  5. ^ 1979 Talladega 500 race information at Fantasy Racing Cheat Sheet
Preceded by
1979 Coca-Cola 500
NASCAR Winston Cup Series Season
Succeeded by
1979 Champion Spark Plug 400
Preceded by
Talladega 500 races
Succeeded by