1969 NASCAR Grand National Chronology

At the beginning of the 1969 NASCAR Grand National season, Ford and Mercury were virtually unbeatable. On the big tracks hosting races of 300 miles or more, Ford tied together a 13-race winning streak. Fords took the top five spots at Atlanta, the top four at Michigan, and finished first and second in eight of the 13 victories. All of that changed in September with the introduction of the Dodge Charger Daytona at the Talladega 500.

Meanwhile, behind-the-scenes frustrations built among the drivers, who held a secret meeting in Ann Arbor in August and formed the Professional Drivers Association. The rough track at Talladega proved to be a catalyst: Drivers wanted to postpone the race to wait for safer tires to be developed that could handle the surface, but officials refused. Most of the drivers loaded up their cars and went home. The first official drivers boycott in NASCAR history had become a reality.

In the final months of the 1969 campaign, the PDA drivers returned to the speedway, albeit with considerable tension, to cap off another season of thrills and controversy. To get a better picture of this season, this article will guide you through the year's highlights, photos, and standings.

February 1, 1969: Motor Trend 500

In his first start in a Ford, Richard Petty wins the Motor Trend 500 on the Riverside road course. Petty finishes 25 seconds ahead of runner-up A.J. Foyt.

NASCAR Image Gallery

Richard Petty requested that Chrysler officials shift him to the more aerodynamic Dodge for the 1969 NASCAR Grand National campaign.
After a 1968 season that produced only one superspeedway win in his Plymouth Roadrunner, Richard Petty requested that Chrysler officials shift him to the more aerodynamic Dodge for the 1969 NASCAR Grand National campaign. Chrysler balked, indicating they wanted to keep him in the Plymouth nameplate. In a shocking decision, Petty bailed out of the Chrysler camp entirely and joined the powerful Ford team. The King of NASCAR racing won his first start in a Ford. See more pictures of NASCAR.

February 23, 1969: Daytona 500

LeeRoy Yarbrough passes Charlie Glotzbach on the final lap to win the Daytona 500. Yarbrough wins in his back-up car.

March 30, 1969: Atlanta 500

Cale Yarborough dominates the Atlanta 500 in his Mercury, leading 308 of the 334 laps at Atlanta Inter­national Raceway. Yarborough's win marks a successful debut for the new Blue Crescent Boss 429-cid engine.

April 27, 1969: Virginia 500

Richard Petty, with relief help from James Hylton, wins the Virginia 500 at Martinsville Speedway. Petty's Torino Talladega finishes three seconds ahead of runner-up David Pearson.

 John Sears' #4 Ford flanks Richard Petty at the May 4, 1969 Fire­ball 300 at Asheville-Weaverville Speedway.
John Sears' #4 Ford flanks Richard Petty on the fourth row at the start of the May 4 Fire­ball 300 at Asheville-Weaverville Speedway. Sears, a burly driver from Ellerbe, N.C., was one of NASCAR's top independent drivers, finishing among the top 10 in the final points standings on four occasions. Sears had a fine run in this 300-lapper at Weaverville, ­finishing third.

May 10, 1969: Rebel 400

LeeRoy Yarbrough drives a battered Mercury to victory in the Rebel 400 at Darlington Raceway. Yarbrough and Bobby Allison tangle while battling for the lead with four laps to go. Allison crashes, while Yarbrough limps to victory.

June 15, 1969: Motor State 500

Cale Yarborough survives a brush with LeeRoy Yarbrough on the final lap to win in the inaugural Motor State 500 at Michigan International Speedway.

July 6, 1969: Mason-Dixon 300

Richard Petty finishes six laps ahead of the field to win the Mason-Dixon 300 at the new Dover Downs International Speedway. Part-time driver Sonny Hutchins finishes second.

David Pearson's Ford and Cale Yarborough's Mercury line up before the start of the Sept. 28, 1969 Old Dominion 500.
David Pearson's Ford and Cale Yarborough's Mercury line up on the front row before the start of the Sept. 28 Old Dominion 500 at Martinsville Speedway. The annual 500-lapper was run two weeks after the Talladega boycott, and many of the spectators were angered with PDA president Richard Petty for calling the strike. Late in the race, a fan hurled a beer can that struck Petty's windshield. Despite the close call, Petty outran Pearson down the stretch and won the race.

July 20, 1969: Volunteer 500

David Pearson prevails in a wreck-strewn Volunteer 500 at Bristol International Speedway. It is the first event on the 1/2-mile oval since the turns were redesigned and banked to a staggering 36 degrees.

August 22, 1969

Richard Petty drives his Ford to a narrow victory in the 250-lap race at Winston-Salem's Bowman Gray Stadium. It is Petty's 100th NASCAR Grand National victory.

August 24, 1969: Western North Carolina 500

Bobby Isaac rallies from a five-lap deficit to win the Western North Carolina 500, finishing four laps ahead of runner-up David Pearson. It is Isaac's 11th win of the season.

Number 98 LeeRoy Yarbrough battles #6 Buddy Baker during the Oct. 5, 1969 Wilkes 400 at North Wilkesboro Speedway.
Number 98 LeeRoy Yarbrough battles #6 Buddy Baker during the Oct. 5, 1969 Wilkes 400 at North Wilkesboro Speedway. Yarbrough finished fourth and Baker took fifth in the 250-miler. Richard Petty was seemingly on his way to victory until a late-race caution was thrown to remove a bottle that had been thrown from the grandstands. Petty's big lead was erased and David Pearson came on in the final lap to steal the win.

September 1, 1969: Southern 500

LeeRoy Yarbrough ­passes David Pearson on the final lap to win the rain-shortened Southern 500 at Darlington.

September 14, 1969: Talladega 500

Unheralded Richard Brickhouse drives a winged Dodge Daytona to victory in the inaugural Talladega 500 at the new Alabama International Motor Speedway. The event is boycotted by virtually all the top NASCAR drivers.

October 26, 1969: American 500

LeeRoy Yarbrough scores his seventh superspeedway win of the season in the American 500 at Rockingham. Yarbrough loses a lap when a tire blows, sending him into the wall. He scrambles back into contention and takes the lead for keeps with 57 laps remaining.

Ford Motor Co. introduced sloped nose extensions on their Ford Torinos and Mercury Cyclones in 1969.
Ford Motor Co. introduced sloped nose extensions on their Ford Torinos and Mercury Cyclones in 1969 in an effort to lengthen their advantage over Chrysler products. The extensions provided a definite advantage over the conventional Dodge Chargers, particularly on the high-speed ovals. The new Ford was coined the Torino Talladega while the Mercury special edition was the Cyclone Spoiler. Fords didn't lose on a superspeedway until September.

December 7, 1969: Texas 500

Bobby Isaac claims his first career superspeedway victory in the inaugural Texas 500 at the new Texas International Speedway. Cale Yarborough is seriously injured when his Mercury clobbers the wall.

December 17, 1969

NASCAR signs a contract with ABC Television, which will televise nine NASCAR Grand National races, including five live broadcasts during the 1970 season.

See the next section for the full standings and statistics from the 1969 NASCAR Grand National tour.

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1969 NASCAR Grand National Standings

David Pearson racked up his third NASCAR Grand National champ­ionship in 1969, taking the points lead in April and holding it for the remainder of the 54-race season.

1969 NASCAR Grand National Champion David Pearson
1969 NASCAR Grand National Champion David Pearson

With his win in the 250-miler at Richmond on April 13, Pearson took the points lead from Richard Petty, never to relinquish it. Petty's bid for a third championship was derailed in May when he missed two races due to broken ribs suffered in a crash at Asheville-Weaverville Speedway.

Pearson's third NASCAR title came in only his fourth concentrated attempt at the largest plum of the annual NASCAR Grand National campaign. He finished third in 1964 during his first full-season run, and won in 1966, 1968, and 1969.

Bobby Isaac was the most prolific winner in 1969, winning 17 NASCAR Grand National races. He finished 6th in the final standings. For the rest of the standings from the 1969 NASCAR Grand National season, see the chart below.

1969 NASCAR Grand National Standings

Rank
Driver Points Wins Earnings
1
David Pearson
4,170 11 $229,760
2
Richard Petty 3,813 10
129,906
3
James Hylton 3,750 0
114,416
4
Neil Castles 3,530 0 54,367
5
Elmo Langley 3,383 0
73,092
6
Bobby Isaac 3,301 17
92,074
7
John Sears 3,166 0
52,281
8
Jabe Thomas 3,103 0
44,989
9
Wendell Scott 3,015 0
47,451
10
Cecil Gordon 3,002 0
39,679
11
E.J. Trivette 2,988 0
35,896
12
Bill Champion 2,813 0
33,656
13
Bill Seifert 2,765 0
44,361
14
J.D. McDuffie 2,741 0
30,861
15
Ben Arnold 2,736 0
33,256
16
LeeRoy Yarbrough 2,712 7
193,211
17
Henley Gray 2,517 0
29,335
18
Earl Brooks 2,454 0
34,793
19
Dave Marcis 2,348 0
32,383
20
Bobby Allison 2,055 5
69,483
21
Dick Brooks 1,780 0
28,187
22
Buddy Baker 1,769 0
62,928
23
Cale Yarborough 1,715 2
74,240
24
Donnie Allison 1,662 1
78,055
25
Richard Brickhouse 1,660 1
45,637
26
G.C. Spencer 1,562 0
21,660
27
Ed Negre 1,465 0
15,160
28
Friday Hassler 1,421 0
17,690
29
Frank Warren
1,299 0
15,677
30
Hoss Ellington 1,210 0
16,552
31
Roy Tyner 1,191 0
12,302
32
Dr. Ed Hessert 1,113 0
17,690
33
Buddy Arrington 1,099 0
12,975
34
Dick Johnson 1,055 0
11,182
35
Buddy Young 981 0
15,542
36
Dub Simpson 959 0
12,915
37
Charlie Glotzbach 944 0
36,090
38
Roy Mayne 924 0
9,875
39
Wayne Smith 922 0
10,340
40
Paul Goldsmith
892 0
22,305
41
Dr. Don Tarr
855 0
13,720
42
Ken Meisenhelder
627 0
5,630
43
Pete Hazelwood
598 0
4,160
44
Sonny Hutchins
535 0
9,552
45
Wayne Gillette
509 0
5,827
46
Paul Dean Holt
485 0
4,442
47
Johnny Halford
465 0
4,200
48
Ray Elder
433 0
7,200
49
John Kennedy
417 0
6,462
50
Dick Polling
408 0
5,467

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