TDIH: January 26, 1974


Cale Yarborough wins the Winston Western 500 at Riverside, with Richard Petty a close second in the season opener of 1974. Starting alongside polesitter David Pearson, the #11 Kar-Kare Chevrolet would lead the final 72 laps en route to victory. Cale, despite having spun out on the first lap, would spend most of the race battling Pearson and Bobby Allison for top spot, going on to lead a total of 144 laps. Pearson would eventually finish in third, while Allison settled for fifth. Prior to the ’74 season beginning, NASCAR announced that all races would be cut by ten percent, a direct result of the OPEC oil embargo. Though the Riverside race did run its full length, the Daytona 500 would be the first event shortened, with 20 laps being dropped from the beginning of the race. In all, eleven races would see their distances reduced in 1974, shedding over 400 miles of track time.


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