Pure Michigan 400 - History

History

  • 1970: Restrictor plates made their racing debut in the 1970 Yankee 400 and Charlie Glotzbach drove a Dodge Daytona to the win.
  • 1971: Bobby Allison duled with Richard Petty and Pete Hamilton before Hamilton fell out with engine failure. Allison edged Petty at the stripe for a season sweep at Michigan in the Holman-Moody Mercury.
  • 1974: Promoter Roger Penske reinserted the Yankee 400 to Michigan's schedule after 1973 after the Michigan 400 that June turned a strong profit. David Pearson and Cale Yarborough fought hard before Cale was stopped by a mismatched set of tires late in the race. The lead changed 45 times among eight drivers.
  • 1975: A late yellow set up a five-lap finish; Pearson and Richard Petty went at it and the lead changed on every lap down to the finish as Petty edged Pearson by a nose.
  • 1977: Rain postponed the race to Monday and Darrell Waltrip edged Pearson to the stripe.
  • 1978: Pearson's final win for the Wood Brothers came on a one-lap shootout as he passed Waltrip. Richard Petty crashed in the final laps, setting up the finish; he was making his debut in a second-hand 1974 bodied Chevrolet after abandoning his 1978 Dodge Magnum.
  • 1979: Pearson was hired to drive Rod Osterlund's Chevrolet after Dale Earnhardt was injured at Pocono and he won the Michigan pole, ultimately finishing fourth. Buddy Baker led late but Richard Petty took tires on a late stop and gunned him down on the final lap; the win began a rally from a 229-point deficit to the season championship.
  • 1981: The most competitive Michigan race ever erupted as Ron Bouchard won his first pole fresh off his electrifying Talladega win. There were 65 lead changes among 14 drivers and Richard Petty, who led 65 laps, roared from fifth to the lead with five to go and held off six other challengers. "This wasn't the toughest race, but it sure was the most aggravating," Petty said afterward.
  • 1987: Fellow drivers revolted against Tim Richmond at Watkins Glen the week before when he reported to the prerace drivers meeting looking sickly and acting belligerently. Before Michigan qualifying Richmond had to be rousted out of his motorhome and when he arrived at the qualifying line asked aloud, "Where are we?" When NASCAR officials Les Richter and Dick Beaty asked Hendrick officials what was wrong with Tim, Richmond appeared from nowhere and confronted both of them, then showed up late for the prerace drivers meeting. During the 400 he had an anxiety attack and the engine blew; he drove to the garage and when the crew checked the tachometer they found it had been pegged, because Richmond had deliberately overreved the engine to blow it. It became his final race ever. Richard Petty rallied to the lead in the final 40 laps but had to pit on a late caution and crashed after colliding with Davey Allison on the final lap as Bill Elliott took the win, his sixth Michigan win in an eight-race span.
  • 1991: Dale Jarrett stayed out on a late caution, and in the final laps Davey Allison ran him down, but became locked in a side-by-side battle won by Jarrett by inches for his first win and the first for the Wood Brothers since 1987 at Charlotte.
  • 1994: Just after Wally Dallenbach, Jr. was released from his ride in Richard Petty's Pontiac, Indycar veteran John Andretti took over the seat and turned heads by qualifying second. However, the story of the weekend was a savage crash in practice that left Ernie Irvan critically injured with head injuries. Irvan would recover from near-fatal injury over a year later. The race itself began with a six-car melee where Bobby Hillin, Jr. nearly flew over the second turn wall. Geoff Bodine won on Hoosier Tires.
  • 1998: Irvan dominated the race, but Jeff Gordon ran down the leaders and won handily. Mark Martin was denied the win, the race coming days after the death of his father in a plane crash.
  • 1999: Goodyear brought tires to Michigan designed for Fontana for Winston West racing, where Hoosier Tire was still a presence in competition against Goodyear; the new tire featured greater stagger and handled more like bias-ply tires than radials. Dale Earnhardt grabbed the lead late and got into a spirited battle with Bobby Labonte before Labonte cleared for the win.

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