October 1, 1967
“Wilkes 400”

Top 5 finsihers.....


With his victory in the 1967 Wilkes 400, Richard Petty now had won 10 consecutive Grand National races. Petty started fifth and dominated the race. He led 256 laps and finished over two laps ahead of the second place finisher. The streak would end here though. Petty had engine problems in the next race and finished 18th. The win was number 27 for the season and the 75th of Petty’s career.

A fast qualifying lap of 21.57seconds/104.312mph landed Dick Hutcherson on the pole. It was Hutcherson’s first and only pole at NWS. “Hutch” went on to lead 20 laps before finishing 2nd. It would also be his last Grand National race at the speedway. In five attempts, “Hutch” had one win and four top fives at NWS.

Driving Junior Johnson’s #26 Ford to a 3rd place finish, the same car Darel Dieringer led all 400 laps with in the ’67 spring race, was LeeRoy Yarbrough. It would be the first of a great string of finishes at NWS for Yarbrough. Yarbrough started from the second spot. Long before “Million Dollar Bill” Elliot and Jeff Gordon winning the Winston Million, there was LeeRoy. In 1969, he won the Daytona 500, the World 600, and the Southern 500—not to mention winning both Daytona and Darlington races that year.

Get used to seeing this name—Bobby Allison. Starting from the seventh spot, Allison went on to lead 96 laps. He would see 23 more top five finishes at NWS in the future. Much like Ned Jarrett driving under a false name early on, Allison drove under the assumed name of Bob Sunderman while at a young age until his parents found out.

As with the 2nd thru 4th place finishers, Jim Paschal also finished two laps off the pace in 5th. Paschal started third and led nine laps in the race. Paschal managed to win 4 times in 1967 despite Petty’s record season. 1967 was Paschal’s last full-time season, and unfortunately, it would be Paschal’s last race at NWS. In 21 races, Paschal had one victory, 7 top fives, 12 top tens and one pole.

Just 15 of the 35 cars entered in the race finished. The race lasted 2 hours, 38 minutes, 10 seconds. There were 6 lead changes among 5 drivers. The other driver to lead laps was Paul Goldsmith with 19. Three different drivers improved 18 spots over their starting positions—Melvin Bradley (28th to 10th), Wendell Scott (29th to 11th) and Wayne Smith (33rd to 15th).

Along with Hutcherson and Paschal, drivers making their last Grand National showing at the track included Don Biederman, J.T. Putney and 1964 ROTY, Doug Cooper. Some new faces in Grand National racing at NWS included “Swede” Savage, future Busch Series champ Jack Ingram, Bobby Wawak, legendary owner Bud Moore and (I love this name) Harold “Frog” Fagan.

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