On October 19, 1964, NASCAR issued new rules for the 1965 NASCAR Grand National campaign designed to curb speeds and increase the focus on safety. The engine displacement remained unchanged, but special limited edition engines were banned, including the Chrysler Hemi.
Chrysler packed up and pulled out of NASCAR in protest. Richard Petty would not defend his championship, and top contenders David Pearson, Paul Goldsmith, Bobby Isaac, Jim Paschal, and LeeRoy Yarbrough were on the sidelines. It was a season marked by protest and controversy. You can learn all about the highlights, low points, and standings of 1965 in the following article.
January 1, 1965
New NASCAR rules go into effect that eliminate the Chrysler Hemi engine and the Plymouth and Dodge models that were raced in 1964. Chrysler balks at the new rules and announces it will boycott all NASCAR races in 1965.
Number 28 Fred Lorenzen and #27 Junior Johnson battle side-by-side in the February 12, 1965 Twin 100-mile qualifier at Daytona. Lorenzen took the white flag a car length ahead of Johnson, but thought he had seen the checkered flag. He backed off and Johnson sprinted to victory. See more pictures of NASCAR.
January 5, 1965
Billy Wade is killed during a tire test at Daytona. Wade had replaced the late Joe Weatherly on the Bud Moore Mercury team and had become the first driver to win four NASCAR Grand National events in a row.
January 17, 1965
Road-racing expert Dan Gurney wins his second straight 500-miler at Riverside International Raceway. The race is marred by the death of a 20-year-old spectator, who was crushed when a forklift overturned in the infield. Three other spectators were injured.
February 14, 1965: Daytona 500
Fred Lorenzen wins the rain-shortened Daytona 500, finishing a lap ahead of runner-up Darel Dieringer. Fords and Mercurys take the top 13 positions as the factory Chrysler team continues its boycott.
Number 27 Junior Johnson leads #28 Fred Lorenzen, #15 Earl Balmer, and #21 Marvin Panch in the early stages of the February 14, 1965 Daytona 500. The starting field was comprised mostly of Ford products due to the Chrysler boycott. Nearly half the field was made up of rookies and some of the equipment fell short of first class. Fourteen cars fell out within the first six laps due to mechanical problems. Only 29 cars were still in the race with 485 miles remaining.
February 27, 1965
Ned Jarrett wins the 100-mile race at Spartanburg by an incredible 22 laps. Only 16 cars start the race. Independent driver G.C. Spencer finishes second despite only completing 178 of the 200 laps.
February 28, 1965
Richard Petty loses control of his 1965 Plymouth Barracuda drag car at a dragstrip in Dallas, Georgia. The car veers into a group of spectators, killing an eight-year-old boy.
April 17, 1965
Talented rookie driver Dick Hutcherson scores his first career win in the 100-mile NASCAR Grand National race at Greenville-Pickens Speedway. Hutcherson leads all but nine of the 200 laps on the 1/2-mile dirt track.
Neil Castles was among the few independent racers to compete with Chrysler equipment in the 1965 NASCAR Grand National campaign. Driving the #86 Plymouth, Castles competed in 51 of the 55 races and recorded 28 top-10 finishes. Castles, who began his career in 1957, finished eighth in the final NASCAR points standings.
June 27, 1965
Cale Yarborough drives Kenny Myler's Ford to his first career NASCAR Grand National win at Valdosta, Georgia. Yarborough takes the lead 18 laps from the finish when engine problems end G.C. Spencer's bid for victory.
July 25, 1965: Volunteer 500
Ned Jarrett edges Dick Hutcherson to win Bristol's Volunteer 500. It is the 32nd consecutive victory for Ford, an all-time NASCAR Grand National record. Richard Petty returns to NASCAR Grand National racing as NASCAR relaxes the rules against the Hemi engine on short tracks.
July 31, 1965
Following a meeting with concerned promoters, Bill France lifts the lifetime ban on Curtis Turner. Turner plans to enter selected NASCAR Grand National events for the first time since 1961.
Although the Chrysler teams were on the sidelines for most of 1965, LeeRoy Yarbrough made a special run against the clock at Daytona International Speedway. Driving a supercharged Dodge Coronet prepared by Ray Fox, Yarbrough turned a lap of 181.818 mph, establishing a new closed-course record for stock cars.
August 14, 1965
Ned Jarrett scores his 10th win of the season in the 100-mile race at Spartanburg. Curtis Turner gets a ride in a Petty Engineering Plymouth, but crashes in practice and is unable to start.
September 6, 1965: Southern 500
Title-bound Ned Jarrett wins the Southern 500 at Darlington. Jarrett crosses the finish line 14 laps (19.25 miles) ahead of runner-up Buck Baker, the largest margin of victory in NASCAR Grand National history. Rookie Buren Skeen is fatally injured in a lap-three crash.
October 17, 1965
Fred Lorenzen wins at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Lorenzen outruns Dick Hutcherson, A.J. Foyt, and Curtis Turner in what is regarded as a "race for the ages." Harold Kite, the 1950 Daytona winner who was ending a nine-year retirement, loses his life in a multicar crash on lap two.
October 24, 1965
Rookie Dick Hutcherson claims his ninth win of the season at Hillsboro. Hutcherson's feat is the all-time record for race wins during a freshman campaign.
Junior Johnson sprinted to a big early lead in the Daytona 500, but crashed his Ford on the 28th lap when a right front tire blew. Here, rookies #24 Sam McQuagg and #81 Don Tilley, along with sophomore #60 Doug Cooper safely pass Johnson's battered mount.
October 31, 1965: American 500
Curtis Turner returns from exile by winning the inaugural American 500 at the new North Carolina Motor Speedway. Turner wheels his Wood Brothers Ford to a narrow victory over upstart driver Cale Yarborough.
November 7, 1965
Ned Jarrett outruns Bobby Isaac to win the 100-mile race at Dog Track Speedway in Moyock, N.C. Jarrett's 13th win of the season helps him wrap up his second championship by 3,034 points over Dick Hutcherson.
Continue on to the next page to learn the full results of the 1965 NASCAR Grand National season.
For more information on all things NASCAR, see:
- NASCAR Home Page
- NASCAR Season Recaps
- NASCAR Tracks
- NASCAR Results
- NASCAR Drivers
- How NASCAR Race Cars Work
- How the Daytona 500 Works