1971 NASCAR Winston Cup Recap


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.

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Charlotte Motor Speedway GM Richard Howard formed a Chevrolet team with Junior Johnson as manager and Charlie Glotzbach driving.
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 ran about half the races in 1971, winning four times.
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 turn in the Feb. 14, 1971 Daytona 500.
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 Mercury into the turn in the inaugural 500-miler at Ontario Motor Speedway in Ontario, Calif.
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.

Ray Elder with the #96 Dodge he wheeled to victory at Riverside International Raceway.
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.

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1971 NASCAR Winston Cup Standings

Richard Petty won 21 races in 46 starts and breezed to his third NASCAR Winston Cup Grand National championship. The "Randle­man Rocket" assumed command of the points chase after the eighth race of the season at Hickory, N.C., in March and never trailed again. He finished 364 points ahead of runner-up James Hylton.

1971 NASCAR Winston Cup Grand National Champion Richard Petty
1971 NASCAR Winston Cup Champion Richard Petty

Hylton, Bobby Allison, Benny Parsons, and Bobby Isaac jockeyed the points lead in the early part of the season before Petty set sail. King Richard posted 38 top-five finishes in 46 starts to post a thoroughly dominating ­performance.

Allison, who joined the Holman-Moody team in May, won 11 races and finished fourth in the standings. He started 42 of the 48 races, but was never was able to challenge Petty for the points lead.

Only two drivers that finished in the top 10 in the points race were able to win races during the 1971 campaign. See the chart below for a full list of the standings for the year.

1971 NASCAR Winston Cup Standings

Rank
Driver Points Wins Earnings
1
Richard Petty
4,435 21 $351,071
2
James Hylton 4,071 0 90,282
3
Cecil Gordon 3,677 0
69,080
4
Bobby Allison 3,636 11 254,316
5
Elmo Langley 3,356 0
57,037
6
Jabe Thomas 3,200 0
48,241
7
Bill Champion 3,058 0
43,769
8
Frank Warren 2,886 0
40,072
9
J.D. McDuffie 2,862 0
35,578
10
Walter Ballard 2,633 0
30,974
11
Benny Parsons 2,611 1
55,896
12
Ed Negre 2,528 0
29,738
13
Bill Seifert 2,403 0
33,220
14
Henley Gray 2,392 0
31,789
15
Buddy Baker 2,358 1
115,150
16
Friday Hassler 2,277 0
37,305
17
Earl Brooks 2,205 0
25,360
18
Bill Dennis 2,181 0
29,420
19
Wendell Scott 2,180 0
21,701
20
John Sears 2,167 0
26,735
21
Dave Marcis 2,049 0
37,582
22
Neil Castles 2,036 0
22,939
23
Bobby Isaac 1,819 4
106,526
24
Pete Hamilton 1,739 1
60,440
25
Joe Frasson 1,619 0
20,975
26
Ben Arnold 1,618 0
18,491
27
Ron Keselowski 1,446 0
17,680
28
Bill Shirey 1,303 0
9,160
29
Donnie Allison
1,280 1
69,995
30
Dean Dalton 1,276 0
13,910
31
Raymond Williams 1,270 0
14,585
32
Dick May 1,090 0
9,225
33
Charlie Roberts 1,053 0
12,470
34
G.C. Spencer 1,008 0
11,470
35
Richard Brown 967 0
11,940
36
Dick Brooks 939 0
32,921
37
Larry Baumel 904 0
10,910
38
Maynard Troyer 879 0
13,115
39
Roy Mayne 852 0
10,330
40
Ken Meisenhelder
797 0
5,405
41
Tommy Gale
729 0
8,800
42
Charlie Glotzbach
699 1
38,605
43
Bill Hollar
644 0
4,275
44
Marv Acton
627 0
8,620
45
Fred Lorenzen
611 0
45,100
46
Richard Childress
601 0
3,855
47
Paul Tyler
561 0
6,360
48
Jim Vandiver
553 0
13,575
49
Coo Coo Marlin
527 0
9,085
50
Eddie Yarboro
497 0
3,685

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