The loss of the factory-supported team in 1971 was a big blow to the NASCAR Grand Nationals. Every team in NASCAR in 1971, save Petty Enterprises, felt the pinch of the factory withdrawal. Drivers -- and NASCAR itself -- found relief in the form of a sponsorship deal with R.J Reynolds Tobacco Company (the parent company of Winston cigarettes), who in turn gained advertising and naming rights to the newly-christened NASCAR Winston Cup Grand Nationals. It was one of a handful of bright spots in an otherwise troubled season. You can learn more about the 1971 season in this article, including highlights, standings, and plenty of photos.
January 10, 1971: Motor Trend 500
West Coast driver Ray Elder surprises the NASCAR touring pros by winning the season-opening Motor Trend 500 at Riverside International Raceway.
With attendance sagging at most of the NASCAR tracks in 1971, Charlotte Motor Speedway general manager Richard Howard formed a Chevrolet team with Junior Johnson as manager and Charlie Glotzbach at the controls. Howard thought the return of Chevrolet and Johnson to NASCAR competition would bring back the fans. He was right. Glotzbach won the pole for the May 30 World 600, and the seats were filled. Glotzbach led often until he crashed just past the midway point. See more pictures of NASCAR.
February 14, 1971: Daytona 500
Richard Petty bags his third Daytona 500 win ahead of Buddy Baker, giving Petty Enterprises a 1-2 finish in NASCAR's most celebrated event. Dick Brooks finishes seventh in a winged Dodge Daytona, the final appearance of the exotic aerodynamic wonder in a NASCAR event.
February 28, 1971
A.J. Foyt drives the Wood Brothers Mercury to victory in the 500-miler at the new Ontario Motor Speedway. Foyt goes down in the record book as winning the 1,000th NASCAR Winston Cup Grand National race.
Reigning NASCAR champion Bobby Isaac intended to defend his title in 1971, but Nord Krauskopf, owner of the #71 K&K Insurance Dodge, drastically reduced the team's schedule following a dispute with NASCAR over restrictor-plate rules. NASCAR used three different size plates in 1971, issuing more restrictive plates to teams running bigger engines. Isaac ran about half the races in 1971, winning four times.
April 10, 1971
Bobby Isaac drives his Dodge to a big win in the 100-mile NASCAR Winston Cup Grand National event at Greenville-Pickens Speedway. The short-track event is televised live flag-to-flag by ABC Sports.
May 9, 1971
Sophomore driver Benny Parsons scores his first career NASCAR Winston Cup Grand National win by lapping the field in the 100-mile event at South Boston Speedway in Virginia. Parsons' Ford finishes a lap ahead of runner-up Richard Petty.
Number 71 Bobby Isaac and #22 Dick Brooks battle through the fourth turn in the Feb. 14 Daytona 500. Brooks was driving a winged Dodge Daytona powered by a small 305-cid engine. Team owner Mario Rossi, with the blessing of the Chrysler factory, defied the odds and entered the underpowered car in NASCAR's biggest annual event. Brooks finished third in the Twin 125 and seventh in the Daytona 500. This marked the Dodge Daytona's final appearance in NASCAR competition.
May 21, 1971
The lightly funded independent drivers stage a mini-boycott of the 100-mile NASCAR Winston Cup Grand National race at Asheville, N.C. Protesting the payoff structure and a lack of any appearance money, seven drivers pull out of the race in the early stages, leaving only five cars running at the finish. Richard Petty wins by four laps over Elmo Langley.
May 30, 1971: World 600
Bobby and Donnie Allison finish first and second, respectively, in the World 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway in a pair of Mercurys. Charlie Glotzbach wins the pole in a Chevrolet built by Junior Johnson but crashes on the 234th lap.
A.J. Foyt pitches his Wood Brothers Mercury into the first turn in the inaugural 500-miler at Ontario Motor Speedway in Ontario, Calif. Foyt manhandled the 51-car field on the 2.5-mile rectangular course and scored an easy victory. The Feb. 28 race marked the 1,000th NASCAR Winston Cup Grand National race in NASCAR history, a noteworthy event that nobody reported.
July 11, 1971: Volunteer 500
Charlie Glotzbach, with relief help from Friday Hassler, scores a big win in the Volunteer 500 at Bristol. The 500-lapper is uninterrupted by a caution flag, the first nonstop NASCAR Winston Cup Grand National race at the 1/2-mile track. It is Chevrolet's first NASCAR win since 1967.
August 6, 1971
Bobby Allison drives a Ford Mustang to victory in the race at Winston-Salem. The event is the first race mixing NASCAR Winston Cup Grand National cars and the pony cars of NASCAR's Grand American division.
Part-time racer and full-time farmer Ray Elder poses with the #96 Dodge he wheeled to victory in the Jan. 10 season opener at Riverside International Raceway. Elder drove past Bobby Allison with 12 laps remaining and scored an upset triumph in the first event under the NASCAR Winston Cup Grand National banner.
November 21, 1971: Wilkes 400
Tiny Lund wheels his Camaro around Charlie Glotzbach with six laps remaining and records a narrow victory in the Wilkes 400 at North Wilkesboro Speedway. Lund's triumph is the third win for the smaller NASCAR Grand American cars since NASCAR permitted them to compete in short-track events.
December 12, 1971
Richard Petty roars to his 21st win of the season in the finale at Texas World Speedway. Petty also wraps up his third NASCAR Winston Cup Grand National championship by 364 points over James Hylton.
Continue on to the next page to learn the full results of the 1971 NASCAR Winston Cup 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