1979 Southern 500

1979 Southern 500

The 1979 Southern 500 was a NASCAR Winston Cup Series (now Sprint Cup Series) race that took place on September 3, 1979 at Darlington Raceway in the American community of Darlington, South Carolina.[1][2]


Three hundred and sixty seven laps were done on a paved oval track spanning 1.366 miles (2.198 km) for a grand total of 501.3 miles (806.8 km).[1] The total time of the race as three hours, fifty-eight minutes, and fourteen seconds. Speeds were: 126.259 miles per hour (203.194 km/h) for the average and 154.88 miles per hour (249.26 km/h) for the pole position speed.[1] There were nine cautions for fifty-two laps.[1] David Pearson (using crew chief Jake Elder) defeated Bill Elliott by two laps and four seconds.[1][2][3] He would race for an injured Dale Earnhardt.[4] Sixty thousand people came to watch this live event.[1] Other famous drivers at the event include Darrell Waltrip, Richard Childress, Richard Petty, Terry Labonte, and Ricky Rudd.[1][2][3]

Darrell Waltrip's mistake in this race would later cause him to lose the 1979 championship to Richard Petty (which would eventually become his last Cup Series championship ever). Notable sponors included: Shoney's, Gatorade, the U.S. Army, Kings Inn, Hawaiian Tropic, Purolator, and Busch.[1][2][3] The top prize of the race was $29,925 ($97,239.1 in today's money).[1][2][3]

The participants of this race were all American-born males.[1]

Finishing order

  1. David Pearson
  2. Bill Elliott (his first career finish in the top five)
  3. Terry Labonte
  4. Buddy Baker
  5. Benny Parsons
  6. Dave Marcis
  7. Dick Brooks
  8. Ricky Rudd
  9. Richard Petty
  10. Bobby Allison (highest finishing Ford vehicle)
  11. Darrell Waltrip
  12. Harry Gant
  13. D. K. Ulrich
  14. Buddy Arrington (highest finishing Dodge vehicle)
  15. Joe Millikan
  16. Jimmy Means
  17. Chuck Bown
  18. J. D. McDuffie
  19. Cale Yarborough
  20. Ed Negre (his final Cup Series race)
  21. Tommy Gale
  22. Frank Warren
  23. Baxter Price
  24. Ronnie Thomas
  25. Lennie Pond
  26. Cecil Gordon
  27. H. B. Bailey* (highest finishing Pontiac vehicle)
  28. Jim Vandiver
  29. Richard Childress*
  30. Jack Ingram*
  31. Donnie Allison*
  32. Neil Bonnett*
  33. Billy Smith*
  34. Dick May*
  35. Tighe Scott*
  36. Coo Coo Marlin*
  37. Ralph Jones*
  38. James Hylton*
  39. Earle Canavan*
  40. Ferrel Harris*

* Driver failed to finish race

Preceded by
1979 Volunteer 500
NASCAR Winston Cup Series Season
Succeeded by
1979 Capital City 400
Preceded by
Southern 500 races
Succeeded by