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1964:

Petty sets record finishes in 61 starts

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In 1964, Richard Petty and his family-owned team, Petty Enterprises, proved best, collecting the coveted NASCAR Cup Series championship after logging nine wins, 37 top-five results, 43 top-10 finishes and eight pole positions in 61 starts.

The 1964 season actually began in November 1963 with four races being run before the new year. The series also visited the serpentine circuit in Riverside, California, prior to the prestigious Daytona 500 in February. Petty, at the young age of 26, won at Savannah Speedway on Dec. 29 and then collected the first of seven Daytona 500 victories at the 2.5-mile Daytona International Speedway.

It was the first superspeedway victory of Petty’s career. Having suffered a horrendous crash during a qualifying race prior to the 1961 Daytona 500, Lee Petty entered only two races in 1964 and retired from driving to concentrate on his son’s championship effort. Richard Petty’s brother, Maurice, built engines for the team’s Plymouths with strength enough to win seven additional short-track races.

Ned Jarrett, driving the No. 11 Fords owned by Charles Robinson (4 races) and Bondy Long (55 race), entered 59 races that season, winning 15 Times. His biggest victory came June 7 at Atlanta Motor Speedway over Petty after leading 66 of 267 laps. Petty bested Jarrett in the championship standings by 5,302 points at season’s end.

Tragically, NASCAR stars Joe Weatherly, Fireball Roberts and Jimmie Pardue died in crashes. Weatherly lost his life in Riverside, California, on Jan. 19. Roberts was involved in a multi-car crash at Charlotte Motor Speed- way on May 24 and succumbed to his injuries on July 2. Pardue died after crashing during a tire test at Charlotteon Sept. 22.

1964

PRESIDENT: Lyndon B. Johnson

NO. 1 AT THE BOX OFFICE: Mary Poppins

NO. 1 SONG: “I Want To Hold Your Hand” by The Beatles

POP CULTURE: The Warren Commission concludes that Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone in assassinating President Kennedy.

GALLON OF GAS: 30 Cents

BEST DRIVER

DRIVING NO. 11

Fords for a pair of owners, Ned Jarrett won 15 of 59 races during the 1964 NASCAR Cup Series season. He was consistently the best driver with 40 top-five finishes and 42 top-10 results as well as nine pole positions. Jarrett’s quest for a third series championship was derailed by failing to finish 23 races, primarily due to a rash of engine failures.

BEST RACE

ON JULY 4, A.J. FOYT and Bobby Isaac exchanged the lead 16 times in the final 56 laps of the 160-lap Firecracker 400 at Daytona International Speedway. Driving a Dodge owned by Ray Nichels, Foyt claimed the win after passing Isaac just before reaching the start- finish line to record his first of seven NASCAR triumphs. Foyt’s victory was marred by the announcement that Fireball Roberts had died after a lengthy hospital stay.

TOP CAR

RICHARD PETTY’S NO. 43 Petty Enterprises Plymouth won nine times in 1964 with 43 top-10 finishes and eight pole positions in 61 starts. Ned Jarrett’s 1964 No. 11 Long/Robinson Ford went to Victory Lane 15 times and had 42 top-10 results in 59 races.

SEASON RECAP

DATE | LOCATION | WINNER

Nov. 10 | Concord International Speedway | Ned Jarrett

Nov. 17 | Augusta International Raceway | Fireball Roberts

Dec. 1 | Jacksonville Speedway | Wendell Scott

Dec. 29 | Savannah Speedway | Richard Petty

Jan. 19 | Riverside International Raceway | Dan Gurney

Feb. 21 | Daytona International Speedway | Junior Johnson

Feb. 21 | Daytona International Speedway | Bobby Isaac

Feb. 23 | Daytona International Speedway | Richard Petty

Mar. 10 | Richmond Raceway | David Pearson

Mar. 22 | Bristol Motor Speedway | Fred Lorenzen

Mar. 28 | Greenville-Pickens Speedway | David Pearson

Mar. 30 | Bowman Gray Stadium | Marvin Panch

Apr. 5 | Atlanta Motor Speedway | Fred Lorenzen

Apr. 11 | Asheville-Weaverville Speedway | Marvin Panch

Apr. 12 | Orange Speedway | David Pearson

Apr. 14 | Piedmont Interstate Fairgrounds | Ned Jarrett

Apr. 16 | Columbia Speedway | Ned Jarrett

Apr. 19 | North Wilkesboro Speedway | Fred Lorenzen

Apr. 26 | Martinsville Speedway | Fred Lorenzen

May 1 | Savannah Speedway | LeeRoy Yarbrough

May 9 | Darlington Raceway | Fred Lorenzen

May 15 | Langley Field Speedway | Ned Jarrett

May 16 | Hickory Speedway | Ned Jarrett

May 17 | South Boston Speedway | Richard Petty

May 24 | Charlotte Motor Speedway | Jim Paschal

May 30 | Greenville-Pickens Speedway | LeeRoy Yarbrough

May 31 | New Asheville Speedway | Ned Jarrett

Jun. 7 | Atlanta Motor Speedway | Ned Jarrett

Jun. 11 | Concord International Speedway | Richard Petty

Jun. 14 | Fairgrounds Speedway Nashville | Richard Petty

Jun. 19 | Chattanooga International Raceway | David Pearson

Jun. 21 | Birmingham International Raceway | Ned Jarrett

Jun. 23 | Valdosta 75 Speedway | Buck Baker

Jun. 26 | Piedmont Interstate Fairgrounds | Richard Petty

Jul. 4 | Daytona International Speedway | A.J. Foyt

Jul. 8 | Old Dominion Speedway | Ned Jarrett

Jul. 10 | Old Bridge Speedway | Billy Wade

Jul. 12 | Bridgehampton Raceway | Billy Wade

Jul. 15 | Islip Speedway | Billy Wade

Jul. 19 | Watkins Glen International | Billy Wade

Jul. 21 | Lincoln Speedway | David Pearson

Jul. 26 | Bristol Motor Speedway | Fred Lorenzen

Aug. 2 | Fairgrounds Speedway Nashville | Richard Petty

Aug. 7 | Rambi Raceway | David Pearson

Aug. 9 | Asheville-Weaverville Speedway | Ned Jarrett

Aug. 13 | Dog Track Speedway | Ned Jarrett

Aug. 16 | West Virginia International Speedway | Richard Petty

Aug. 21 | Columbia Speedway | David Pearson

Aug. 22 | Bowman Gray Stadium | Junior Johnson

Aug. 23 | Roanoke Raceway | Junior Johnson

Sept. 7 | Darlington Raceway | Buck Baker

Sept. 11 | Hickory Speedway | David Pearson

Sept. 14 | Richmond Raceway | Cotton Owens

Sept. 18 | Old Dominion Speedway | Ned Jarrett

Sept. 20 | Orange Speedway | Ned Jarrett

Sept. 27 | Martinsville Speedway | Fred Lorenzen

Oct. 9 | Savannah Speedway | Ned Jarrett

Oct. 11 | North Wilkesboro Speedway | Marvin Panch

Oct. 18 | Charlotte Motor Speedway | Fred Lorenzen

Oct. 25 | Harris Speedway | Richard Petty

Nov. 1 | Augusta Speedway | Darel Dieringer

Nov. 8 | Jacksonville Speedway | Ned Jarrett

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