Salem, Ind. (July 6, 1975) – When NASCAR Grand National ace Bobby Allison came to Salem Speedway for the United States Auto Club stock car race last year, he failed to bring tires that fit his car. The tires he brought to the track rubbed the underside of his car and he pulled out of the race after only two laps.
“I hate to go somewhere and look that bad,” Allison later said.
So, in an afternoon of atonement, Allison returned to Salem on Sunday afternoon, during qualifying became the first driver ever to lap the field in less than 19 seconds, and then led all the way to win the first running of ARCA’s National 200.
Dave Dayton of Indianapolis, the 1974 ARCA co-champion, finished second, nearly a lap behind the Hueytown, Ala., driver. Ron Hutcherson of Keokuk, Iowa, who shared the ’74 title with Dayton, relieved Woody Fisher shortly after the halfway point and brought the Cincinnati driver’s car home in third place, three laps down.
Before the race, the legality of the rear springs on Allison’s Chevy Nova was protested by Hutcherson and A. Arnold of Brooks, Ky., who eventually placed fourth. ARCA president John Marcum later disallowed the protest and awarded Allison the $1,850 first prize.
Both Allison and Dayton went the entie100 mile without pitting, which many thought the front-runners would have to do.
“We ran a small engine, and our car was light, so we felt we could go all the way,” Allison said afterwards. “And the caution lights helped our milage considerably. You get twice as many miles per gallon when you’re running under yellow.”
As a result of several minor fender benders, and once because of a brief shower that sent many of the 3,491 in attendance dashing for cover, the yellow flag had to be displayed a total of five times for 30 laps.
“I was hoping Bobby would run out of gas,” Dayton said. “He was just outrunning me. I ran as hard as I could for as long as I could.”
Allison’s only anxious moment came when he and Willard Googe of Louisville, Ky., brushed fenders early on in the contest. Googe spun to the infield, while Allison continued merrily along the way.
“He got a little bit out of shape,” Allison said. “He did himself more damage trying to avoid me than he did by hitting me. I got a little sideways, but I didn’t have any trouble straightening the car out.”
Dayton received $1,350 for his runner-up finish while the Fisher-Hutcherson duo took home $950 from the $9,225 purse.
1. Bobby Allison, Hueytown, Ala.
2. Dave Dayton, Indianapolis
3. Woody Fisher, Cincinnati, Ohio (Ron Hutcherson in relief)
4. A. Arnold, Brooks, Ky.
5. Robin Schildknecht, Crestwood, Ky.
6. Charlie Paxton, Louisville, Ky.
7. Bill Noel, Anderson, Ind.
8. Tony Bettenhausen, Indianapolis
9. Luther Burton, Columbus, Ind.
10.Frank Sandlin, Hamilton, Ohio