At the peak of his racing career, Cale Yarborough in his #11 Junior Johnson Oldsmobile was on his way to his third consecutive Winston Cup Championship, and in this full-color 37-minute original TV broadcast, Cale holds off a determined bid by Darrell Waltrip to win his fourth Southern 500!
Featuring many great live interviews throughout, this film opens with comments about the new track surface by many of the drivers of the day: Yarborough, Buddy Baker, Lennie Pond, Richard Petty, David Pearson, Waltrip and Dick Brooks. At the time, Waltrip, driver of the #88 DiGard Chevrolet, was involved in a contract dispute with car owner Bill Gardner.
Other than the live interviews, this film consists entirely of racing action, with many great closeup shots throughout showing the top contenders racing side-by-side all around the racetrack. Shown at speed on the track are the cars of Baxter Price, Richard Petty, Ronnie Thomas, Cale Yarborough, Donnie & Bobby Allison, David Pearson and Darrell Waltrip.
The first incident of the day is the spin by Tighe Scott off turn four in the #30 Ballard Racing Chevrolet. Good pit action is shown throughout, and cameras capture the pit incident, with Waltrip bumping Neil Bonnett into a power pole. Neil's back bumper on the #5 Osterland Chevy hooks the cables running up the pole, and as he pulls out, he rips down the TV power cables that connect to the tower!
On lap 122, Bobby Wawak blows a RF tire, which sends him into the fourth turn wall. David Marcis, driving the #2 Rod Osterland Chevrolet, is caught up in the accident and comes to rest in the groove where he is T-boned by young Ricky Rudd! Both Marcis and Rudd are interviewed in the emergency vehicle before being taken to the care center. An "O.K." Wawak is shown comforting his relieved wife Stephanie. Slow-motion replay is used to analyze the wreck.
Richard Petty, suffering with broken ribs from an earlier race gives up his car to David Marcis and is interviewed. By lap 149, hard-charging Buddy Baker has blown his engine and is out of the race.
The biggest wreck of the day occurs on lap 166, as Grant Adcox hits the second turn wall, and slides into the path of Coo Coo Marlin, triggering a four-car pile-up! Adcox's car is then hit by D.K. Ulrich and David Pearson, ending the race for all four drivers and sending Ulrich and Adcox to the hospital. The accident is shown from different angles and in slow-motion. David Pearson is shown both at the wreck site and back in the garage area afterward.
The final accident of the day occurs during some great side-by-side racing. Darrell Waltrip is following leaders Yarborough and Bobby Allison into the backstretch, but when he attempts to pass, he clips Donnie Allison, sending him first into the outside wall, then down to the inside backstretch wall. Donnie gives his comments in the garage area afterwards.
Waltrip and Yarborough have been trading the lead all afternoon, and with only a few laps to go, Darrell makes his last pit stop. He gets fuel and right side tires. When Yarborough pits moments later, crew chief Johnson gives Cale fuel only, enabling Yarborough to re-enter the race after only a 7-second pit stop! This is the move that wins the race. With his fresh tires, Waltrip gains more than a second a lap, but he runs out of laps and Cale Yarborough wins his 4th Southern 500 at Darlington! After the race, Yarborough gives a nice interview in victory lane!
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