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1977:

Cale Yarborough Goes Two in Row

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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.

1977

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.

BEST DRIVER

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.

BEST RACE

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.

SEASON RECAP

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

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