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1972:

Richard Petty vs Bobby Allison

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Petty Fends Off Allison for No. 4

Richard Petty and Bobby Allison emerged as the top championship contenders during the 1972 NASCAR Cup Series season, collecting a combined 18 victories throughout the 31-race premier series schedule.

After running a Dodge fielded by his own team and making a handful of starts in aFord owned by the powerhouse Holman Moody operation during the previous season, Allison joined forces with team owner Richard Howard, whose No. 12 Howard Racing Chevrolet was prepared by former driver Junior Johnson.

It was a relatively new team that debuted in 1971 with driver Charlie Glotzbach entering 14 Cup Series races and winning once at Bristol Motor Speedway. Allison was a proven winner with 29 career victories and brought much-needed sponsorship from Coca-Cola.

Going into the 1972 season, Petty had already accumulated 140 Cup Series victories and three championships with family-owned Petty Enterprises of Level Cross, North Carolina. After his 1967 season in which he won 27 races in 48 starts, including 10 consecutively, Petty was dubbed “The King,” a moniker that still stands today.

Allison and Petty dominated the headlines during 1972 for their on-track performances as well as their intense rivalry. Allison’s 10 victories to Petty’s eight came on short tracks and superspeedways around the country.

When Petty would gain ground in points, Allison was there to counter his advances. When Allison would gain ground, Petty would win and erase any advantage.

When the season ended on Nov. 12 at Texas World Speedway, Petty was 128 points ahead to collect his fourth series championship.

Even though their season was considered magical by most standards, Allison left Howard’s operation and once again fielded his own car in 1973, citing communication issues.

1972

PRESIDENT: RICHARD NIXON

GALLON OF GAS: 36¢

NO. 1 AT THE BOX OFFICE: THE GODFATHER

POP CULTURE: INTEL INVENTED THE SINGLE-CHIP MICROPROCESSOR

BEST DRIVER

BOBBY ALLISON, DRIVING THE NO. 12 Chevrolet fielded by Howard Racing, collected 10 victories during the 1972 season with seven coming on superspeedways and three on short tracks. The Miami native amassed 25 top-five finishes, 27 top-10 results and 12 pole positions in 31 starts. Even though he finished second in points, it was the best season of Allison’s 25-year NASCAR Cup Series career. His average start was 4.0 and his average finish was 5.3.

BEST RACE

ON OCT.1, 1972 , AT NORTH Wilkesboro Speedway, Bobby Allison and Richard Petty engaged in a fender-crushing battle that left their cars smoking inside and out during the final seven laps. In the end, Petty went to Victory Lane, but several of Allison’s fans stood outside the winner’s circle and boldly expressed their displeasure of the outcome. It was Petty’s eighth and final win of the season. With two races remaining, he claimed the 1972 championship.

TOP CARS

BOBBY ALLISON’S No.12 Richard Howard-owned Chevrolet won 10 NASCAR Cup Series races in 1972.

Richard Petty drove his No. 43 Petty Enterprises Dodge to victory eight times during the 1972 season.

SEASON RECAP

DATE | LOCATION | WINNER

Jan. 23 | Riverside International Raceway | Richard Petty

Feb. 20 | Daytona International Speedway | A.J. Foyt

Feb. 27 | Richmond Raceway | Richard Petty

March 5 | Ontario Motor Speedway | A.J. Foyt

March 12 | Rockingham Speedway | Bobby Isaac

March 26 | Atlanta Motor Speedway | Bobby Allison

April 9 | Bristol Motor Speedway | Bobby Allison

April 16 | Darlington Raceway | David Pearson

April 23 | North Wilkesboro Speedway | Richard Petty

April 30 | Martinsville Speedway | Richard Petty

May 7 | Talladega Superspeedway | David Pearson

May 28 | Charlotte Motor Speedway | Buddy Baker

June 4 | Dover International Speedway | Bobby Allison

June 11 | Michigan International Speedway | David Pearson

June 18 | Riverside International Raceway | Ray Elder

June 25 | Texas World Speedway | Richard Petty

July 4 | Daytona International Speedway | David Pearson

July 9 | Bristol Motor Speedway | Bobby Allison

July 16 | Trenton Speedway | Bobby Allison

July 23 | Atlanta Motor Speedway | Bobby Allison

Aug. 6 | Talladega Superspeedway | James Hylton

Aug. 20 | Michigan International Speedway | David Pearson

Aug. 26 | Fairgrounds Speedway Nashville | Bobby Allison

Sept. 4 | Darlington Raceway | Bobby Allison

Sept. 10 | Richmond Raceway | Richard Petty

Sept. 17 | Dover International Speedway | David Pearson

Sept. 24 | Martinsville Speedway | Richard Petty

Oct. 1 | North Wilkesboro Speedway | Richard Petty

Oct. 8 | Charlotte Motor Speedway | Bobby Allison

Oct. 22 | Rockingham Speedway | Bobby Allison

Nov. 12 | Texas World Speedway | Buddy Baker

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