BRH RACING ARCHIVES
You might meet someone who’s more passionate about racing history than Bryan Hallman, but it’s not very likely. Bryan attended his first Winston Cup race in 1974, and has been in love with the sport ever since. A veteran photographer for a multitude of publications, Bryan has teamed with a number of other lensmen to form BRH Racing Archives, a body of work that goes back to the 1960s."
PIT ROAD BEAUTY
Richard Petty's Dodge sits on pit road at Charlotte Motor Speedway during preparations for the May 25, 1975 World 600.
Petty went on to win the event, beating runnerup Cale Yarborough by more than a lap. The victory was the 170th of Petty's career, and the sixth of 13 he won in 1975 en route to his sixth championship.
The King's first win at Charlotte was in a 100-mile qualifying event in 1961, the year after the track opened.
BENNY DOES BRISTOL
Benny Parsons makes a pit stop in his Ranier Racing Pontiac during the March 14, 1982 Valleydale 500 at what was then known as Bristol International Raceway. Parsons finished ninth in the event, four laps behind race winner Darrell Waltrip.
It's interesting to note the differences in this shot and one that might be taken from a similar angle today. First, the sky, grass and trees are visible here. That wouldn't be possible in a picture taken today from this vantage point due to Bristol's massive expansion.
Crew chief Waddell Wilson (dark coat) can also be seen at ground level, talking to Parsons via the team's radio. Today, Wilson would be high atop a mammoth war wagon, surrounded by monitors and other personnel. Finally, note the guardrails that serve as both the inside and outside pit walls, plus the fact that the over-the-wall crew aren't wearing helmets.
DALE EARNHARDT'S GREEN MACHINE
When Dale Earnhardt destroyed his own GM Goodwrench Chevrolet on Valentine's Day, 1989 while practicing for the upcoming Busch Series season opener at Daytona, it left him temporarily without a ride.
The accident took place in the trioval during a morning session, and damaged three fence poles in addition to demolishing his car.
"I was making a one-lap run to see what we could do in qualifying," Earnhardt said in the Feb. 23, 1989 issue of Grand National Scene. "The spoiler was laid way back. A gust of wind cut across the track and I just lost it. The car got out from under me and I tagged L.D. (Ottinger).
"If L.D. hadn't been there, i would have gone on down the center of the race track flipping. It was off the ground when I touched L.D. I don't know what all hit. I know the car got airborne from the right rear and after that, i was just waiting for it to stop."
Earnhardt wound up in Greg Sacks' Busch Series car, a Pontiac. Earnhardt started 27th and finished fourth behind winner Darrell Waltrip (who won the Daytona 500 the next day), Rusty Wallace and Rob Moroso.
Earnhardt would go on to win the next five Busch Series season openers at Daytona.
GOING FOR A RIDE
The April 15, 1984 TranSouth 500 at Darlington Raceway might just as well have been a demolition derby. When the smoke cleared, 25 of the 38 cars in the field sustained damage of shape, form or fashion.
In this particular mishap, D.K. Ulrich (6) very nearly flips his Buick. Also involved were Rusty Wallace (88), Geoff Bodine (5), Dick Brooks (behind Ulrich) and Greg Sacks (51). Of the five, only Sacks wound up with the best finish -- 21st, 42 laps down to race winner Darrell Waltrip.
"The thing you've got to tell yourself when you come to Darlington is that you have to race the race track, not the other guys," Waltrip said in Greg Fielden's Forty Years of Stock Car Racing -- Volume IV -- The Modern Era 1972-1989. "Guys who lose their temperament are usually the ones who get themselves into trouble. This race was like putting a bunch of piranha in a pool with one piece of meat. There's going to be some action."
Sam Ard relaxes at Martinsville on Sept. 23, 1984, the morning of his first and only Winston Cup start. Driving a Chevrolet owned by Emanuel Zervakis, Ard completed only one lap before falling out of the race with steering problems. He was credited with a last-place finish in the 31-car field.
Ard was one of the greatest drivers in the history of what's now the Nationwide Series, hands down. He won two championships and set records that still stand, although his mark of 10 wins in 1983 was tied last year by Kyle Busch. His battles with fellow series legend Jack Ingram were some of the greatest the sport has ever known.
A month after this photo was taken, Ard was involved in a crash at Rockingham that ended his driving career. The accident left Ard with severe head injuries, but he was able to return to the sport as a car owner and crew chief as the 1980s wound down. Today, Ard lives in Pamplico, S.C. Four years ago, he was diagnosed with Alheimer's.
THE PEPSI CHALLENGE
Darrell Waltrip (left) and car owner Junior Johnson pose with their Pepsi-sponsored Chevrolet at Charlotte Motor Speedway on May 25, 1983, a few days before that season's World 600. Waltrip took the machine to a fourth-place finish in the event, behind race winner Neil Bonnett, runnerup Richard Petty and third-place Bobby Allison.
As it had the previous two seasons, the 1983 Winston Cup championship came down to a close two-way battle between Waltrip and Allison. Both times, Waltrip came out the victor. This time around, however, it was Allison who scored the title at the end of the year. It was Allison's first -- and only -- Winston Cup championship.
A LONG WAY FOR NOTHING
Harry Gant makes a pit stop during the Winston Cup event at Riverside, Calif. on June 14, 1981. It was a short day for the Bandit, who completed only 23 laps before falling out of the race due to a blown engine. He was credited with a 31st-place finish in the 35-car field. The race was won by Darrell Waltrip in the first of his three championship seasons.
The date: June 6, 1998.
The place: Richmond International Raceway.
What happened: Jeff Gordon was dumped by Rusty Wallace while the two raced for the lead on lap 373. After climbing from his car, Gordon made a beeline for the garage with a handful of reporters in tow. That's Stock Car History Online Editor Rick Houston on the right, MRN's Jim Phillips on the left and Bob Dillner, then with TNN, to the immediate right of Gordon. Gordon wound up 37th, while Wallace took third.
The race also set a precedent that eventually led to the "green-white-checkered" rule years later. For the first time, NASCAR threw a red flag on lap 394 to allow the track to be cleared following a multicar mishap. Dale Jarrett was leading at the time, but Terry Labonte was able to make up his deficit due to the red flag. Labonte grabbed the lead from Jarrett three laps from the end and held on to take the checkered flag. Ironically, the race still ended under caution when Johnny Benson wrecked on the final lap.
NEED A LIFT?
If you think that companies going to great lengths to promote their NASCAR sponsorships is a new thing, think again. Here, the legendary wrestler Andre the Giant poses with the Unocal 76 Racestoppers before the Oct. 21, 1979 Winston Cup event at Rockingham. Richard Petty won the event en route to his seventh and last NASCAR championship.
THE KING DETHRONED
Richard Petty balances precariously on his left-side tires in this tangle with Chad Little during the Sept. 29, 1991 Winston Cup race at North Wilkesboro. Both drivers were able to continue, with Petty finishing 19th and Little 21st, four and six laps down, respectively.
It was on this day that Harry Gant very nearly won his fifth straight race, after starting from the pole and leading 350 of the event's 400 laps. Brake failure, however, cost Gant the victory with just nine laps to go. Dale Earnhardt wound up beating Gant to the finish line by 1.47 seconds. Gant had won the previous four races on the Winston Cup schedule (Darlington, Richmond, Dover and Martinsville), as well as Busch Series events at Richmond and Dover.
On Oct. 22, 1977 at Rockingham, Bobby Allison relaxes on the hood of his AMC Matador. His brother, Donnie, dominated the next day's American 500, leading 374 of 492 laps. Bobby finished sixth, four laps down. In that race, Cale Yarborough took fourth to clinch the second of his three straight Winston Cup championships.
Allison claimed four of his 85 wins while driving a Matador owned by Roger Penske. He drove the brand to victory in 1974 at Ontario, and in 1975 at Riverside and twice at Darlington. He ran his own Matador in 1977, with sponsorship from 1st National City Travelers Checks. His best finish that season was a second on July 16 at Nashville.
In 1978, Allison joined Bud Moore's longtime operation.
HOT AROUND THE COLLAR
A clearly disappointed Neil Bonnett makes his exit as a small fire begins to char the hood of his car during the March 4, 1984 Warner W. Hodgdon Carolina 500 at Rockingham. Bonnett would eventually finish 28th in the 36-car field, after completing 314 of the event's 492 laps.
Hodgdon made a huge splash in the sport in the early 1980s, buying race tracks and sponsoring events. He also bought an interest in Junior Johnson's team, which then brought Bonnett on board as a teammate to Darrell Waltrip. By early 1985, however, Hodgdon was out of the sport due to financial difficulties.
THE OL' STOMPIN' GROUNDS
Darrell Waltrip was born and raised in Owensboro, Ky., but it was on this track at the fairgrounds in Nashville, Tenn. where he first began getting noticed as a race-car driver. At the 0.596-mile facility early in his career, Waltrip was everything that he would later become in the Winston Cup ranks -- both loved and reviled.
Waltrip, who still lives in nearby Franklin, Tenn., made frequent returns to the track after finding success at NASCAR's highest level. In this event, the Busch Series' Opryland 320 held on March 19, 1995, Waltrip started from the pole and finished eighth, two laps down to winner David Green, another Owensboro native who gained notice by racing at Nashville.
In honor of Kevin Grubb, 1978-2009.
IN THE BEGINNING - THE FIELD
The field for the inaugural The Winston all-star race on May 25, 1985 included (from the pole) Terry Labonte (44), Darrell Waltrip (11), Harry Gant (33), Bill Elliott (9), Geoff Bodine (5), Cale Yarborough (28), Dale Earnhardt (3), Bobby Allison (22), Richard Petty (43), Ricky Rudd (15), Tim Richmond (27) and Benny Parsons (55).
IN THE BEGINNING - DRIVERS
Nobody knew quite what to expect. An official "all-star" type race hadn't been run in years. The event was open to winners from the 1984 season, and the starting grid determined by number of wins during that year. Waltrip led early, but had to overcome Gant's nearly 3 1/2-second lead to win. As he took the checkered flag, Waltrip's engine blew. To this day, there's speculation that the powerplant may or may have been exactly legal.
Kurt Busch lifts Ricky Craven's rear tires off the ground between turns one and two with a lap-and-a-half to go at Darlington on March 16, 2003. The contact set up one of the most spectacular finishes in the history of NASCAR. Busch briefly took the lead, but the fight was far from over. Coming off turn four to the checkered flag, Craven got back under Busch and they cracked fenders all the way down the frontstretch. Craven won the race, by the slimmest recorded margin ever -- 2/1,000ths of a second.
UNDER THE HOOD
Problems were few and far between for Richard Petty in 1975. His 13 wins are record for most in the modern season, matched only by Jeff Gordon in 1998. Even after this problem on March 2 at Rockingham, The King managed to score a third-place finish, nine laps down to race winner Cale Yarborough.
Petty won the championship in 1975 by more than 700 points over Dave Marcis. James Hylton was third in the standings that season.
It's July 31, 1998 at Indianapolis Raceway Park, and Jimmie Johnson is competing in the first NASCAR race of his career. Driving for ST Motorsports Busch Series team owners Tad and Jodi Geschickter, Johnson qualified 37th and finished 25th, two laps down to race winner Dale Earnhardt Jr.
Certainly, the future three-time Cup champion’s debut was rather quiet. Check out the duct tape over the door with Johnson’s initials. (Don Hamilton/BRH Racing Archives)
RUSTY MAKES A POINT
Rusty Wallace makes a point to Dale Earnhardt in the North Wilkesboro garage in April 1995. Looking on are Shawn Parker (second from left) and Robin Pemberton. Parker would go on to serve as crew chief for a number of drivers, including Dale Jarrett, David Green and Brad Coleman. Pemberton is now the vice president of competition for NASCAR.
Earnhardt won the race, by more than 13 seconds over Jeff Gordon. Wallace finished fourth.(Bryan Hallman/BRH Racing Archives)
TIM AND FRIEND
The world of NASCAR had never seen anything like Tim Richmond. He lived life as hard and as fast as he ever drove on a race track. Had Richmond remained healthy, would Dale Earnhardt have won seven Winston Cup championships?
Sadly, we’ll never know. After a stellar campaign in 1986, Richmond fell ill while in New York for the season-ending awards banquet and subsequently missed the first half of the following year. He returned with a vengeance, winning his first two starts. After that, however, things seemed to fall apart.
He finished 29th at Michigan in August 1987 in what would turn out to be the last start of his career. Almost two years to the day after his final appearance at the Cup level, Richmond passed away due to complications from AIDS. (Bryan Hallman/BRH Racing Archives)
Nineteen-year-old Ricky Rudd is introduced prior to the Carolina 500 at North Carolina Motor Speedway on March 2, 1975. It was the first start of the young Virginian’s Winston Cup career. He finished 11th in a Bill Champion-owned Ford, 56 laps down.
CALM BEFORE THE STORM
Just before the start of the Nov. 7, 1976 Dixie 500 at Atlanta International Raceway, Dale Earnhardt prepares for the third start of his Winston Cup career (top photo).
The race would not go well for Earnhardt, who drove a Chevrolet owned by Johnny Ray. When Dick Brooks crashed in turn three late in the race, Earnhardt plowed into him and began a series of violent barrel rolls, the aftermath of which is clearly evident in the black-and-white photo. Although dazed, Earnhardt was not seriously injured.
Dave Marcis won the event. (Bill Niven/BRH Racing Archives)