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1975:

Petty Wins a Baker's Dozen

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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.”

1975

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.

BEST DRIVER

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.

BEST RACE

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.

TOP CARS

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

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