Two in a Row for Yarborough
Cale Yarborough and his Junior Johnson and Associates crew claimed the NASCAR Cup Series championship for the second consecutive season in 1977, as the driver from Timmonsville, South Carolina, visited Victory Lane nine times that year.
After enjoying an impressive 1976 Cup Series season that required only firing his engine to secure the Cup Series title in the final race of the year at Ontario Motor Speedway, Yarborough was ready to repeat as champion for 1977.
The hard-nosed racer joined Johnson’s team in 1973. He immediately began winning races and established himself as a solid title contender. However, in 1974 and ’75, mechanical issues arose that translated to too many losses in Cup Series points, dashing the team’s championship aspirations.
But the magic eventually came together and in 1977 veteran crew chief Herb Nab helped orchestrate the team’s second consecutive championship run.
Yarborough scored a total of 5,000 championship points over 30 races, besting Richard Petty by 386 points at season’s end. Amazingly, the No. 11 Chevrolet was running at the checkered flag in every race. Yarborough was virtually unstoppable with his worst finish of the year being a 24th-place result in May at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
Yarborough’s nine wins included the Daytona 500 with six of the triumphs coming on short tracks. His reputation as a tenacious driver shined through, as he completed 9,269 of the 10,010 scheduled laps while leading 3,198 of them. His 427-cubic-inch engines were built by Robert Yates, a future championship team owner.
Yarborough’s on-track performance and off-track persona made him a fan favorite.
PRESIDENT: JIMMY CARTER
NO. 1 AT THE BOX OFFICE: STAR WARS EP. IV: A NEW HOPE
NO. 1 SONG: “TONIGHT’S THE NIGHT” BY ROD STEWART
GALLON OF GAS: 62 CENTS
POP CULTURE: ELVIS PRESLEY DIES AT GRACELAND, HIS MEMPHIS, TENNESSEE, HOME. HE WAS 42.
CALE YARBOROUGH, DRIVER OF THE NO. 11 Junior Johnson and Associates Chevrolet, dominated the 1977 season by visiting Victory Lane nine times. The team’s season came together in stellar fashion with nearly flawless execution on the race track and guidance from team owner Junior Johnson, a former driver with 50 wins of his own. With Johnson and Yarborough’s aggressive driving styles closely matched, their personal chemistry was also close. Minimal communication was needed to find success.
ON AUG.7,1977 AT TALLADEGA Superspeedway, Donnie Allison vacated his Hoss Ellington Racing Chevrolet after becoming sick. Darrell Waltrip, who had fallen out of the race with engine issues in his DiGard Racing Chevrolet, was asked to relief drive for Allison with 23 laps remaining. Waltrip won the race but Allison got credit for the victory. It was the last time in NASCAR history that a driver won a race for another driver.
DATE | LOCATION | WINNER
Jan. 16 | Riverside International Raceway | David Pearson
Feb. 20 | Daytona International Speedway | Cale Yarborough
Feb. 27 | Richmond Raceway | Cale Yarborough
Mar. 13 | Rockingham Speedway | Richard Petty
Mar. 20 | Atlanta Motor Speedway | Richard Petty
Mar. 27 | North Wilkesboro Speedway | Cale Yarborough
April 3 | Darlington Raceway | Darrell Waltrip
April 17 | Bristol Motor Speedway | Cale Yarborough
April 24 | Martinsville Speedway | Cale Yarborough
May 1 | Talladega Superspeedway | Darrell Waltrip
May 7 | Fairgrounds Speedway Nashville | Benny Parsons
May 15 | Dover Motor Speedway | Cale Yarborough
May 29 | Charlotte Motor Speedway | Richard Petty
June 12 | Riverside International Raceway | Richard Petty
June 19 | Michigan International Speedway | Cale Yarborough
July 4 | Daytona International Speedway | Richard Petty
July 16 | Fairground Speedway Nashville | Darrell Waltrip
July 31 | Pocono Raceway | Benny Parsons
Aug. 7 | Talladega Superspeedway | Donnie Allison
Aug. 22 | Michigan International Speedway | Darrell Waltrip
Aug. 28 | Bristol Motor Speedway | Cale Yarborough
Sept. 5 | Darlington Raceway | David Pearson
Sept. 11 | Richmond Raceway | Neil Bonnett
Sept. 18 | Dover Motor Speedway | Benny Parsons
Sept. 25 | Martinsville Speedway | Cale Yarborough
Oct. 2 | North Wilkesboro Speedway | Darrell Waltrip
Oct. 9 | Charlotte Motor Speedway | Benny Parsons
Oct. 23 | Rockingham Speedway | Donnie Allison
Nov. 6 | Atlanta Motor Speedway | Darrell Waltrip
Nov. 20 | Ontario Motor Speedway | Neil Bonnett