1965 Southern 500
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1965 Southern 500

Coordinates: 34°17?50.5?N 79°54?18.4?W / 34.297361°N 79.905111°W / 34.297361; -79.905111

1965 Southern 500
Race details[1]
Race 45 of 55 in the 1965 NASCAR Grand National Series season
Layout of Darlington Raceway
Layout of Darlington Raceway
Date September 6, 1965 (1965-September-06)
Official name Southern 500
Location Darlington Raceway, Darlington, South Carolina
Course Permanent racing facility
1.375 mi (2.212 km)
Distance 364 laps, 500.5 mi (805.4 km)
Weather Very hot with temperatures of 81 °F (27 °C); wind speeds of 13 miles per hour (21 km/h)
Average speed 115.878 miles per hour (186.488 km/h)
Pole position
Driver Junior Johnson & Associates
Time 35.993 seconds
Most laps led
Driver Darel Dieringer Bud Moore Engineering
Laps 199
No. 11 Ned Jarrett Bondy Long
Television in the United States
Network ABC (tape-delay basis)
Announcers Jim McKay

The 1965 Southern 500, the 16th running of the event, was a NASCAR Grand National Series event that was held on September 6, 1965, at Darlington Raceway in Darlington, South Carolina.

The race took four hours and nineteen minutes to complete with Ned Jarrett beating Buck Baker by a distance of fourteen laps and 19 laps over third and fourth-place finishers: Darel Dieringer and Roy Mayne; which would remain a NASCAR record to this very day.


Layout of Darlington Raceway, the track where the race was held.

Darlington Raceway, nicknamed by many NASCAR fans and drivers as "The Lady in Black" or "The Track Too Tough to Tame" and advertised as a "NASCAR Tradition", is a race track built for NASCAR racing located near Darlington, South Carolina. It is of a unique, somewhat egg-shaped design, an oval with the ends of very different configurations, a condition which supposedly arose from the proximity of one end of the track to a minnow pond the owner refused to relocate. This situation makes it very challenging for the crews to set up their cars' handling in a way that will be effective at both ends.

The track is a four-turn 1.366 miles (2.198 km) oval.[2] The track's first two turns are banked at twenty-five degrees, while the final two turns are banked two degrees lower at twenty-three degrees.[2] The front stretch (the location of the finish line) and the back stretch is banked at six degrees.[2] Darlington Raceway can seat up to 60,000 people.[2]

Darlington has something of a legendary quality among drivers and older fans; this is probably due to its long track length relative to other NASCAR speedways of its era and hence the first venue where many of them became cognizant of the truly high speeds that stock cars could achieve on a long track. The track allegedly earned the moniker The Lady in Black because the night before the race the track maintenance crew would cover the entire track with fresh asphalt sealant, in the early years of the speedway, thus making the racing surface dark black. Darlington is also known as "The Track Too Tough to Tame" because drivers can run lap after lap without a problem and then bounce off of the wall the following lap. Racers will frequently explain that they have to race the racetrack, not their competition. Drivers hitting the wall are considered to have received their "Darlington Stripe" thanks to the missing paint on the right side of the car.

Race report

In mileage, the gap between Jarrett and Baker is the equivalent of 19.25 miles or 30.98 kilometres. Drivers who failed to qualify for this race were: Pee Wee Ellwanger (Dodge), Wendell Scott (Ford), Worth McMillion (Pontiac) and Bernard Alvarez (Ford).[3] By modern-day standards, this race was considered to be a blowout. Buddy Baker's vehicle overheated on lap 123 even though he was the favorite to win the race.

Jarrett would go on to claim his second NASCAR championship title after the November 7 race at the Dog Track Speedway in Moyock, North Carolina. While 44 cars would originally start the race, only 15 of them would survive until the end. On the third lap Buren Skeen spun out and was fatally injured when Reb Wickersham's Ford plowed into Skeen's drivers door. Darel Dieringer broke with 39 laps to go after leading 199 laps, leaving Ned Jarrett alone by 14 laps en route to the win.[3] Pure survival was considered to be the main component of the race. Every competitive car had problems with the exception of Jarret, so the win was basically by default.[3] The Baker Fury was pretty fast but suffered overheating, during which Buddy assumed command.

The race saw a scary melee when young Cale Yarborough crashed with Sam McQuagg in Turn One and Cale's car flew over the guardrail and landed outside the speedway; he was uninjured and interviewed for ABC Sports by Chris Economaki.

The polesitter, Junior Johnson, went out after the first lap and finished last.[3]

Curtis Turner would be permitted to race after Bill France dropped his lifetime ban for promoting a trade union with NASCAR. Richard Petty did not race even though he stopped boycotting Chrysler and the Grand National Series.

Other notable names who participated included: LeeRoy Yarbrough, Elmo Langley, Wendell Scott, and Darel Dieringer. The winner would walk away with $21,060 while the last place winner would receive $7505.[4] Notable crew chiefs for this race were Franklin McMillion, Herb Nab, Jimmy Thomas, John Ervin, Ray Fox, and Bruce Bacon.[5]

The transition to purpose-built racecars began in the early 1960s and occurred gradually over that decade. Changes made to the sport by the late 1960s brought an end to the "strictly stock" vehicles of the 1950s.


Grid No. Driver Manufacturer Qualifying time[6] Speed[6] Owner
1 26 Junior Johnson '65 Ford 35.993 137.528 Junior Johnson
2 28 Fred Lorenzen '65 Ford 36.048 137.318 Holman-Moody
3 21 Marvin Panch '65 Ford 36.185 136.797 Wood Brothers
4 15 Earl Balmer '64 Mercury 36.250 136.551 Bud Moore
5 16 Darel Dieringer '64 Mercury 36.475 135.709 Bud Moore
6 29 Dick Hutcherson '65 Ford 36.508 135.588 Holman-Moody
7 41 Jim Paschal '65 Chevrolet 36.738 134.739 Tom Friedkin
8 14 Curtis Turner '65 Plymouth 36.810 134.474 Sam Fletcher
9 27 Cale Yarborough '65 Ford 36.060 137.271 Banjo Matthews
10 11 Ned Jarrett '65 Ford 36.500 135.616 Bondy Long

Finishing order

Section reference: [3]

+ signifies that the driver is known to be deceased
* Driver failed to finish race


Section reference: [3]

  • Start of race: Fred Lorenzen was the pole position as the drivers are given the green flag
  • Lap 1: Junior Johnson's ignition fails to work
  • Lap 2: Reb Wickersham had a terminal crash along with Buren Skeen
  • Lap 3: Bert Robbins had a terminal crash
  • Lap 9: Bud Moore had to leave the race because his vehicle had terrible oil pressure
  • Lap 25: A frame came loose enough off of Tiny Lund's vehicle that he couldn't race anymore
  • Lap 29: Problems with the vehicle's clutch sent Henley Gray into the garage
  • Lap 33: Darel Dieringer took over the lead from Fred Lorenzen
  • Lap 42: Marvin Panch managed to ruin his engine
  • Lap 46: Earl Balmer took over the lead from Darl Dieringer, Bobby Wawak managed to ruin his engine
  • Lap 47: Bobby Johns took over the lead from Earl Balmer
  • Lap 49: Jim Paschal took over the lead from Bobby Johns
  • Lap 51: A wheel bearing came off Curtis Turner's vehicle, rendering him a noncompetitor for the remainder of the event
  • Lap 54: Darel Dieringer took over the lead from Cale Yarbrough
  • Lap 79: Junior Spencer managed to blow his vehicle's engine
  • Lap 85: The differential of Doug Cooper's vehicle was acting strangely, knocking him out of the race
  • Lap 87: Earl Balmer took over the lead from Darel Deringer
  • Lap 88: Sam McQuagg took over the lead from Earl Balmer
  • Lap 94: Earl Balmer had a terminal crash
  • Lap 109: Bunkie Blackburn had a terminal crash
  • Lap 118: Sam McQuagg and Cale Yarborough both suffered from terminal crashes
  • Lap 119: Darel Dieringer took over the lead from Sam McQuagg
  • Lap 122: Fred Lorenzen took over the lead from Darel Dieringer
  • Lap 123: Jim Paschal took over the lead from Fred Lorenzen; Buddy Baker's engine blew up
  • Lap 129: Ned Jarrett took over the lead from Jim Paschal
  • Lap 134: The differential on LeeRoy Yarbrough's vehicle developed major issues
  • Lap 145: Fred Lorenzen took over the lead from Ned Jarrett
  • Lap 148: Darel Dieringer took over the lead from Fred Lorenzen
  • Lap 167: Fred Lorenzen took over the lead from Darel Dieringer
  • Lap 168: Darel Dieringer took over the lead from Fred Lorenzen
  • Lap 173: Neil Castles had a terminal crash
  • Lap 222: Bud Harless' engine stopped working properly
  • Lap 228: Fred Lorenzen took over the lead from Darel Dieringer
  • Lap 233: Ned Jarrett took over the lead from Fred Lorenzen
  • Lap 240: Darel Dieringer took over the lead from Ned Jarrett
  • Lap 288: Fred Lorenzen took over the lead from Darel Dieringer
  • Lap 293: Dick Hutcherson's engine stopped working properly
  • Lap 301: The differential on Bobby Johns' vehicle developed major issues
  • Lap 303: Darel Dieringer took over the lead from Fred Lorenzen
  • Lap 319: Fred Lorenzen's engine stopped working properly
  • Lap 326: Ned Jarrett took over the lead from Darel Dieringer
  • Lap 345: The differential on Darel Dieringer's vehicle developed major issues
  • Finish: Ned Jarrett was officially declared the winner of the event


  1. ^ "1965 Southern 500 weather information". The Old Farmers' Almanac. Retrieved .
  2. ^ a b c d "Darlington Raceway". CBS Sports. Retrieved .
  3. ^ a b c d e f "1965 Southern 500 information". Racing Reference. Retrieved .
  4. ^ "1965 Southern 500 information". Fantasy Racing Cheat Sheet. Retrieved .
  5. ^ "1965 Southern 500 crew chiefs". Racing Reference. Retrieved .
  6. ^ a b "1965 Southern 500 qualifying information". Racing Reference. Retrieved .
Preceded by
1965 Myers Brothers 250
NASCAR Grand National Series season
Succeeded by
1965 Buddy Shuman 250
Preceded by
Southern 500 races
Succeeded by

  This article uses material from the Wikipedia page available here. It is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.



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