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1965:

Jarrett Best Amid Turmoil

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By Ben White

“Gentleman” Ned Jarrett, NASCAR’s 1961 Cup Series champion, enjoyed his second championship in 1965 on the strength of 13 wins and 45 top-10 finishes. The native of Conover, North Carolina, excelled on the short tracks.

NASCAR drivers and teams looked to 1965 as a new start in the world of stock car racing, but with NASCAR officials banning Chrysler’s hemi engine the optimism was short-lived. 

The Pettys were died-in the-wool Chrysler campaigners, so they decided to go drag racing. Chrysler pulled its financial support of NASCAR, leaving father Lee Petty and sons Richard and Maurice to build a Plymouth Barracuda drag racing car. They labeled it “43 Jr. – Outlawed” and hit the quarter-mile.

From there, Fords were king of NASCAR, but fans didn’t want to just see one manufacturer race against itself. All short tracks and superspeedways on the Cup Series schedule reported low advance ticket sales. Track executives were in dire straits. With few fans coming through their turnstiles, they faced certain financial doom.

After discussions with both NASCAR and USAC, the hemi engine was approved for use in Plymouth Belvederes and Coronets on tracks of one mile or less and road courses.

Track promoters celebrated the progress but needed one more incentive, that being the reinstatement of driver Curtis Turner. Turner had been banned by “Big” Bill France for life after trying to organize a union among NASCAR drivers in 1961. After much persuasion, France finally reinstated Turner.

The Floyd, Virginia, native returned for six races, winning the inaugural event at Rockingham Speedway on Oct. 31, 1965. 

Jarrett captured the Cup Series title by 3,034 points over Dick Hutcherson.

1965

PRESIDENT: LYNDON B. JOHNSON

NO. 1 AT THE BOX OFFICE: THE SOUND OF MUSIC

MOVIES TO WATCH: MARY POPPINS AND GOLDFINGER

NO. 1 SONG: “WOOLY BULLY” BY SAM THE SHAM AND THE PHARAOHS

GALLON OF GAS: 31 CENTS

POP CULTURE: THE GEMINI SPACE PROGRAM CONTINUED TO FORM THE FOUNDATION FOR AN EVENTUAL MANNED MISSION TO THE MOON.

BEST DRIVER

Ned Jarett, driving the No. 11 Ford owned by Bondy Long, began the season showing signs of championship form. He won by the fifth race and continued to show strength throughout the season, amassing 13 wins in 54 starts. His tenacity and determination, including a 14-lap lead in the Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway, proved he could win NASCAR’s top prize. Many times he looked to be out of contention but came back to win.

BEST RACE

Driving the No. 21 Wood Brothers Racing Ford, Marin Panch outlasted his overheating Galaxie to win the Dixie 400 at Atlanta Motor Speedway. The Oakland, California, native fought off thoughts of parking the car “a dozen times,” but was saved by caution periods at the right time to cool the engine. With 60 laps remaining, Panch pushed the throttle as instructed by his team via chalkboard. Panch led Darel Dieringer at the end under caution.

TOP CARS

Ned Jarrett drove the top car as Bondy Long’s No. 11 Ford scored 13 wins and 45 top-10 finishes in 54 series starts.

Dick Hutcherson, driver of the No. 29 Holman Moody Ford, notched nine wins with 37 top-10 results in 52 races.

1965 Season Recap

DATE | LOCATION | WINNER

Jan. 17 | Riverside International Raceway | Dan Gurney

Feb. 12 | Daytona International Speedway | Darel Dieringer

Feb. 12 | Daytona International Speedway | Junior Johnson

Feb. 14 | Daytona International Speedway | Fred Lorenzen

Feb. 27 | Piedmont Interstate Fairgrounds | Ned Jarrett

Feb. 28 | Asheville-Weaverville Speedway | Ned Jarrett

March 7 | Richmond Raceway | Junior Johnson

March 14 | Orange Speedway | Ned Jarrett

April 11 | Atlanta Motor Speedway | Marvin Panch 

April 17 | Greenville-Pickens Speedway | Dick Hutcherson

April 18 | North Wilkesboro Speedway | Junior Johnson

April 25 | Martinsville Speedway | Fred Lorenzen

April 28 | Columbia Speedway | Tiny Lund

May 2 | Bristol Motor Speedway | Junior Johnson

May 8 | Darlington Raceway | Junior Johnson

May 14 | Langley Field Speedway | Ned Jarrett 

May 15 | Bowman Gray Stadium | Junior Johnson

May 16 | Hickory Speedway | Junior Johnson

May 23 | Charlotte Motor Speedway | Fred Lorenzen

May 27 | Cleveland County Fairgrounds | Ned Jarrett

May 29 | New Asheville Speedway | Junior Johnson

May 30 | Harris Speedway | Ned Jarrett

June 3 | Fairgrounds Speedway Nashville | Dick Hutcherson

June 6 | Birmingham Int’l Raceway | Ned Jarrett

June 13 | Atlanta Motor Speedway | Marvin Panch

June 19 | Greenville-Pickens Speedway | Dick Hutcherson

June 24 | Rambi Speedway | Dick Hutcherson

June 27 | Valdosta 75 Speedway | Cale Yarborough

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

July 8 | Old Dominion Speedway | Junior Johnson

July 9 | Old Bridge Stadium | Junior Johnson

July 14 | Islip Speedway | Marvin Panch

July 18 | Watkins Glen International | Marvin Panch

July 25 | Bristol Motor Speedway | Ned Jarrett

July 31 | Fairgrounds Speedway Nashville | Richard Petty

Aug. 5 | Cleveland County Speedway | Ned Jarrett

Aug. 8 | Asheville-Weaverville Speedway | Richard Petty

Aug. 13 | Smoky Mountain Raceway | Dick Hutcherson

Aug. 14 | Piedmont Interstate Fairgrounds | Ned Jarrett

Aug. 15 | Augusta International Speedway | Dick Hutcherson

Aug. 19 | Columbia Speedway | David Pearson

Aug. 24 | Dog Track Speedway | Dick Hutcherson

Aug. 25 | Baltimore-Washington Speedway | Ned Jarrett

Aug. 28 | Bowman Gray Stadium | Junior Johnson

Sept. 6 | Darlington Raceway | Ned Jarrett

Sept. 10 | Hickory Speedway | Richard Petty

Sept. 14 | Lincoln Speedway | Dick Hutcherson

Sept. 17 | Old Dominion Speedway | Richard Petty

Sept. 18 | Richmond Raceway | David Pearson

Sept. 26 | Martinsville Speedway | Junior Johnson 

Oct. 3 | North Wilkesboro Speedway | Junior Johnson

Oct. 17 | Charlotte Motor Speedway | Fred Lorenzen

Oct. 24 | Orange Speedway | Dick Hutcherson

Oct. 31 | Rockingham Speedway | Curtis Turner

Nov. 7 | Dog Track Speedway | Ned Jarrett

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