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.
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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.
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.
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.
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