Friday, October 13, 2017

Who is Richard Brickhouse?

Who is Richard Brickhouse?

The Tale of Three Richards
(Brickhouse, Petty, Childress)

The inaugural Talladega 500 was held on September 14, 1969. The size of the track and the 33-degree banking, coupled with hot temperatures and an abrasive surface, were causing tires to fail in practice, often with just a few laps on them.

The Professional Drivers Association (PDA), led by Richard Petty, asked Bill France to postpone the race until Goodyear or Firestone could guarantee the tires would handle the load. France refused. His solution was to just not drive so fast. Which, to a lot of racers, wasn’t racing.

So, led by the ‘King’ (who had shredded three of the four Firestones on his car during qualifying) the majority of the top drivers walked. The boycott did not sit well with France, who said he’d run a race anyway, and did, with a few of the top drivers like Bobby Isaac, but mostly second-tier drivers like the eventual winner Richard Brickhouse.

Brickhouse, a relative newcomer, quit the PDA to run the race. It was his only NASCAR victory, and he ran just eight more NASCAR events in his career.

The driver boycott has been credited with the demise of the recently formed Professional Drivers Association (PDA), an organization the drivers hoped would make their jobs safer, guarantee their futures and raise their paltry incomes. 

Richard Childress (#96) races against Benny Parsons during a mid-1970s race.

The biggest winner in the 1969 NASCAR Driver Boycott turned out to be Richard Childress.

"It was the biggest break that I got in racing," said Childress, then a struggling 23-year-old owner-driver who raced in a Grand American event on Saturday and stuck around to drive his first race in NASCAR's top series Sunday. "I was down there and didn't even have hardly enough money to get home.

"I won some money on Saturday, and they paid me extra money to race on Sunday. I came home with $10,000 or $12,000 and I thought, 'Hell, I'll never have to work again.' That's the most money I'd ever seen," he said. "But I came back and bought some land and built a shop with that money. So that race means a lot to me today."

Drivers involved in the 1969 boycott

  • • Richard Petty
  • • David Pearson
  • • Bobby Allison
  • • Donnie Allison
  • • Cale Yarborough
  • • James Hylton
  • • Wendell Scott
  • • Buddy Baker
  • • Charlie Glotzbach
  • • LeeRoy Yarbrough
  • • Ramo Stott
  • • Jack Ingram
  • • Tiny Lund
  • • Bobby Johns
  • • John Sears
  • • Paul Goldsmith
  • • Dave Marcis

1969 Talladega 500 Race Results

  1. Richard Brickhouse
  2. Jim Vandiver
  3. Ramo Stott
  4. Bobby Isaac
  5. Dick Brooks
  6. Earl Brooks
  7. Jimmy Vaughn
  8. Billy Hagan
  9. Tiny Lund
  10. Coo Coo Marlin
  11. Bill Ward
  12. Ernie Shaw
  13. Amos Johnson
  14. Bobby Fleming
  15. Ben Arnold
  16. Don Tarr
  17. Frank Sessoms
  18. Buck Baker
  19. Dick Lawrence
  20. Wilbur Pickett
  21. Larry Bock
  22. Stan Starr
  23. Richard Childress
  24. C.B. Gwyn
  25. Jim Hurtubise
  26. Earle Canavan
  27. Homer Newland
  28. T.C. Hunt
  29. Roy Tyner
  30. J.W. King
  31. Bobby Brewer
  32. Al Straub
  33. Les Snow
  34. Bob Burcham
  35. Doug Easton
  36. Don Schisler

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