50 Years Ago – May 25, 1960
Charlotte Motor Speedway principals Curtis Turner and Bruton Smith announced that weather-related construction delays had forced them to postpone the inaugural World 600. Originally scheduled for May 29, the race was moved to June 19. Several industry insiders, including NASCAR’s Bill France, called the decision a “wise move.”
25 Years Ago – May 29, 1985
“I thought that was all she wrote, but it just spun around and didn’t hit anything. All of a sudden the smoke cleared and I was facing turn two,” said former taxi cab driver Danny Sullivan, who recovered from a dramatic 360-degree spin on lap 120 to win the 69th Indianapolis 500.
Countdown To 100
The many success stories at the Indy 500 are mostly known. Some are on the other side of the spectrum.
George Snider started 22 Indy 500s, the most for a non-winner. His only top-10 finishes were eighth-place efforts in 1975 and 1978.
Dick Simon started 18 times. He was sixth and ninth in his last two starts, but never went the full 500 miles.
Jim Hurtubise, although spectacular, made the most starts (10) without a top-10 finish.
While A.J. Foyt has driven more than 10,000 miles at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Jerry Unser, Art Bisch, Gary Congdon and Dale Whittington all have no laps completed in their only starts.
Newsmaker – Darrell Waltrip
Darrell Waltrip’s efforts to end his relationship with DiGard Racing so he could drive for Junior Johnson garnered nearly as much attention as the on-track action during the final weeks of the 1980 NASCAR Winston Cup season.
Waltrip was eventually able to buy out the three remaining years of his contract with DiGard.
“Finally, I’m free,” Waltrip said on Oct. 30. “Considering I’m released from my contract makes me feel it was a fair settlement. I think 90 percent of the people in the garage area never thought I would get out of it.”
Ricky Rudd replaced Waltrip in DiGard’s No. 88 Gatorade entry while Waltrip moved to Johnson’s No. 11 Mountain Dew machine for 1981.
Chris’s Column – April 2, 1980
“The cancellation of the opening USAC sprint-car race at Salem, Ind., for lack of entries is apparently due to two factors. Firstly, many of the die-hard USAC regulars are in California, with some planning to stay there, and secondly, the high costs prevailing today. Methanol is said to be $1.50 per gallon and a right-rear tire goes for $150. We hope the ‘cost-price squeeze’ doesn’t KO the USAC sprint series.”