out of the box by ALAN PARADISe
NASCAR today is far different than it was in the late 1960s. During that time stock car acing used “stock cars.” In other words, the sheet metal on the track was the same as the sheet metal in the showroom. It was also a time when nearly every American
nameplate had a stake in the race — Ford, Mercury, Dodge, Pontiac, Oldsmobile, Buick, and
Plymouth. The schedule was also different. The 2014 schedule started on February 23rd
and ended November 16th – 38 races. In 1968 there were 49 races – six of which were on
dirt tracks. One thing that is the same then as it is now is the pull of the big name drivers. In
the 1960s and early 1970s, legendary names like Bobby Allison, Dan Gurney, David Pearson,
Cale Yarborough, Buddy Baker, and, the king of them all, Richard Petty, swapped paint and
slammed bumpers on a weekly basis.
During the 1968 NASCAR Grand National season, Petty drove the #43 Plymouth Road
Runner to an amazing 16 victories, yet he finished the year third behind David Pearson (Ford)
and Bobby Isaac (Dodge) in points. Following the season, Petty was shown the new Dodge
Daytona that Issac and Bobby Allison would be driving in 1969. Petty pleaded with Plymouth
to develop a Road Runner with the same sloped-nose and high deck wing as the Daytona.
When Plymouth was unable to make it happen, Petty jumped from the Chrysler brand
that he had been with for a decade and ran a Ford in 1969. The following year (1970), Petty
returned to Plymouth with a special Superbird. However, truth be told, the greatest driver in
NASCAR history would have preferred his 1968 Road Runner to any other racecar of the era.
A KING’S CHOICE
AutO WORlD RichaRd Petty Plymouth Road RunneR
1: 18 | $80