Nashville, Tenn. (September 29, 1974) – While most of the race favorites found the 250-mile race too much for them, young Butch Lindley of Greenville, S.C., calmly followed his race plan and went on to win.
And for his effort, the 27-year-old received $7,000, including $1,900 in lap money for the 190 circuits he was clearly in charge of.
“After 30 laps, I felt I had the fastest car,” Lindley said in victory circle. “At first, I was holding back, but then I figured I might as well get out there and lead.”
And he did. Lindley isn’t sure – keeping score isn’t his strong point – but he believes this is his 15th NASCAR sportsman championship race of the season. One of those wins came in the STP 200 here earlier in the season which ended with this Permatex Southern 400.
The victory didn’t come without some close calls. Lindley recalled one in particular that may have been the race. On the 281st lap, Lindley and national champion Jack Ingram of Asheville, N.C., had come out of the pits under caution and Ingram leading.
Coming out of the first turn, Flookie Buford, who was running third at the time, blew an engine just ahead of the two leaders. Oil from the blown engine sent Buford skidding into the wall. Ingram could not completely stop and slammed into Buford, damaging the right front section of his Chevrolet.
Lindley was luckier.
“I saw it happening,” Lindley said. “I had planned to go high but I changed my mind and went low.” It was a fortunate decision as the high groove would have sent him into the crash.
From that point on, it was a matter of waiting to see if anything would happen to Lindley’s car. A few laps later, smoke boiled from Ingram’s car, and he had to ride the apron the rest of the race. With Ingram in trouble, Lindley was not in a lap by himself.
Wrecks and mechanical issues took a heavy toll on the pre-race favorites. L.D. Ottinger went out after a crash on lap 11. A split in the cylinder wall took Darrell Waltrip out of the running on lap 51. At that point, he was running first and had led for the last 28 circuits.
Freddy Fryar led for 131 laps but on the 245th lap, he limped to the pits. He would return to the race later, but on lap 274, slammed into the first turn wall and was done for the day.
Jack Ingram led for 40 laps and Jerry Lawley, who finished second behind Lindley, was out front for 10 laps.
Ken Worley of Fairfax, Va., who started 31st, finished in third place and Don Smith of Gurley, Ala., who started 27th, finished fourth. Ingram limped home to a fifth-place finish.
Lindley blew an engine in practice on Saturday. It took his crew and hour and 45 minutes to replace it.
The time for the race last 3 hours, 27 minutes, and 23 seconds.
1. Butch Lindley
2. Jerry Lawley
3. Ken Worley
4. Don Smith
5. Jack Ingram
6. Phil Stilling
7. Windle Webster
8. Gene Glover
9. Don Rader