Sunday, June 30, 2024

1973 – Lawley Grabs 200 Victory


Jerry Lawley

Nashville, Tenn. (June 30, 1973) – Jerry Lawley of Birmingham, Ala., is good at playing the waiting game, and it paid off Saturday night as he won the Union 76 200 at Fairgrounds Speedway.

Lawley arrived at the track Saturday afternoon, just in time to qualify. There wasn’t time to practice. Still, he managed a 10th starting position. On the 191st lap, he shot past Neil Bonnett, another Birmingham driver, and moved out front, putting distance between himself and the second-place car.

There was rarely any doubt that a Birmingham driver would take the race. Bonnett led the first 60 laps before pitting. Then Lawley took over until the 99th circuit, until he pitted.

Only L.D. Ottinger of Newport, Tenn., was able to take over the top spot from the “Alabama Gang”. He led for 19 laps before Red Farmer took over.

Farmer looked unbeatable with his Torino running away from the field. However, trouble came on lap 149 when Bobby Baucom lost control in the fourth turn, leaving his car sideways on the track. It was Farmer’s misfortune to be at the wrong spot.

Farmer tried to go high and miss Baucom, but the Baucom car did not slide down the banked turn as quickly as Farmer had anticipated and he slammed into the side of the stalled car, putting him out of the race.

Farmer’s misfortune put the leadership in the hands of Bonnett, and it looked like the young up-and-coming driver would hold it. But Jerry Lawley was ready to make his move.

As Bonnett faded, Sam Ard, the current national Sportsman point leader, eased past. Ard was driving a car that in the building process was so new, the final touches had been made at the track before qualifying.

Alton Jones, another Birmingham driver, finished fourth, behind Lawley, Ard, and Bonnett. Ottinger, who was penalized for passing a stop sign coming out of the pits, finished fifth, one lap down.

A crowd of more than 15,000 saw the race run in 1 hour, 36 minutes and 59.20 seconds for an average of 77.333 miles per hour. There were nine caution flags for a total of 62 laps.

One unhappy non-participant was Dave Marcis. He drove here from North Carolina, however, the truck transporting his race car had trouble en route and arrived minutes after qualifying had already been completed. He was not permitted to qualify or race in the event.

Results –

1. Jerry Lawley
2. Sam Ard
3. Neil Bonnett
4. Alton Jones
5. L.D. Ottinger
6. Don Smith
7. Jack Ingram
8. Charlie Binkley
9. Flookie Buford
10.Darrell Waltrip

No comments:

Post a Comment