By Ben White
Wheeling his familiar No. 43 Dodge, Richard Petty was clearly the class of the NASCAR Cup Series field in 1975 as he recorded 13 wins and 24 top-10 finishes in 30 races.
The 1975 Cup Series season was a year in which car owners were starting to feel the financial pinch of fielding professional racing teams. Top name owners, such as Junior Johnson, Bud Moore, Petty Enterprises and Roger Penske, had made money in the sport but were not willing to sink all of their hard-earned profits back into their teams.
To offset the ever-increasing costs of racing, NASCAR addressed the problem with what was called the Awards and Achievements Plan.
NASCAR founder “Big” Bill France introduced a program where additional money, aside from prize money, would be paid to those who fielded cars in a set number of races. In other words, it was the rebirth of appearance money – but on a larger scale and it was paid to the top teams, those the fans paid to see. In some cases, track promoters would help with the costs.
Also, the points system was changed for the fifth time in series history. Each race now carried equal point value with bonus points paid – a NASCAR first. Five points were awarded for leading the most laps in each race and five bonus points were also paid for leading at least one lap.
Petty accumulated 722 more points than Dave Marcis to claim his sixth series championship.
Petty was questioned about retirement, having won so much in the sport but his answer ended all speculation, saying in part, “As long as you’re winning, you’re afraid to even think about quitting.”
PRESIDENT: GERALD FORD
NO. 1 AT THE BOX OFFICE: ONE FLEW OVER THE CUCKOO’S NEST
MOVIES TO WATCH JAWS AND THE TOWERING INFERNO
NO. 1 SONG: “LOVE WILL KEEP US TOGETHER” BY CAPTAIN AND TENNILLE
GALLON OF GAS: 57 CENTS
POP CULTURE: IN APRIL, CHILDHOOD FRIENDS BILL GATES AND PAUL ALLEN FOUNDED MICROSOFT, WITH GATES AS THE CEO. THE NAME MICROSOFT WAS SHORT FOR MICRO-COMPUTER SOFTWARE.
Richard Petty, driver of the No. 43 Petty Enterprises Dodge, collected 13 Cup Series victories, including the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Petty was quite successful at other NASCAR tracks but not so much at Charlotte, winning there only five times during his career. All other drivers that season could only win in low single digits throughout the 30-race schedule. Buddy Baker was the next highest in the win column with four.
During the closing laps of the Daytona 500, David Pearson looked to have the race won when he spun on the backstretch while trying to avoid a slower car. As a result, second-place Benny Parsons inherited the lead and pulled off the Cinderella victory of the season while driving for team owner L.G. Dewitt. The 1973 Cup Series champion was a true fan favorite, having pulled off a miraculous win in NASCAR’s biggest race.
Richard Petty’s No. 43 Petty Enterprises Dodge won 13 times and had 24-top 10 finishes in that season’s 30 races.
Driving the No 15 Bud Moore Engineering Ford, Buddy Baker accumulated four wins and 13 top-10 results in 23 starts.
1975 Season Recap
DATE | LOCATION | WINNER
Jan. 19 | Riverside International Raceway | Bobby Allison
Feb. 16 | Daytona International Speedway | Benny Parsons
Feb. 23 | Richmond Raceway | Richard Petty
March 2 | Rockingham Speedway | Cale Yarborough
March 16 | Bristol Motor Speedway | Richard Petty
March 23 | Atlanta Motor Speedway | Richard Petty
April 6 | North Wilkesboro Speedway | Richard Petty
April 13 | Darlington Raceway | Bobby Allison
April 27 | Martinsville Speedway | Richard Petty
May 4 | Talladega Superspeedway | Buddy Baker
May 10 | Fairgrounds Speedway Nashville | Darrell Waltrip
May 19 | Dover Motor Speedway | David Pearson
May 25 | Charlotte Motor Speedway | Richard Petty
June 8 | Riverside International Raceway | Richard Petty
June 15 | Michigan International Speedway | David Pearson
July 4 | Daytona International Speedway | Richard Petty
July 20 | Fairgrounds Speedway Nashville | Cale Yarborough
Aug. 3 | Pocono Raceway | David Pearson
Aug. 17 | Talladega Superspeedway | Buddy Baker
Aug. 24 | Michigan International Speedway | Richard Petty
Sept. 1 | Darlington Raceway | Bobby Allison
Sept. 14 | Dover Motor Speedway | Richard Petty
Sept. 21 | North Wilkesboro Speedway | Richard Petty
Sep. 28 | Martinsville Speedway | Dave Marcis
Oct. 5 | Charlotte Motor Speedway | Richard Petty
Oct. 12 | Richmond Raceway | Darrell Waltrip
Oct. 19 | Rockingham Speedway | Cale Yarborough
Nov. 2 | Bristol Motor Speedway | Richard Petty
Nov. 9 | Atlanta Motor Speedway | Buddy Baker
Nov. 23 | Ontario Motor Speedway | Buddy Baker