|Race 25 of 30 in the 1978 NASCAR Winston Cup Series season|
A map showing the layout of Martinsville Speedway
|Date||September 24, 1978|
|Official name||Old Dominion 500|
|Location||Martinsville Speedway, Martinsville, Virginia|
Permanent racing facility|
0.525 mi (0.844 km)
|Distance||500 laps, 262.5 mi (442.4 km)|
|Weather||Mild with temperatures approaching 70 °F (21 °C); wind speeds up to 8 miles per hour (13 km/h)|
|Average speed||79.185 miles per hour (127.436 km/h)|
|Most laps led|
|Driver||Cale Yarborough||Junior Johnson & Associates|
|No. 11||Cale Yarborough||Junior Johnson & Associates|
|Television in the United States|
The 1978 Old Dominion 500 was a NASCAR Winston Cup Series (now Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series) race that took place on September 24, 1978, at Martinsville Speedway in Martinsville, Virginia. This race was the 28th to be held as a part of what is now known as the First Data 500.
By 1980, NASCAR had completely stopped tracking the year model of all the vehicles and most teams did not take stock cars to the track under their own power anymore.
Martinsville Speedway is one of five short tracks to hold NASCAR races. The standard track at Martinsville Speedway is a four-turn short track oval that is 0.526 miles (0.847 km) long. The track's turns are banked at eleven degrees, while the front stretch, the location of the finish line, is banked at zero degrees. The back stretch also has a zero degree banking.
Five hundred laps were done on a paved oval track spanning 0.525 miles (0.845 km) for a grand total of 262.5 miles (422.5 km). The complete time of the race was three hours, nineteen minutes, and fifty-four seconds. There were four cautions given out by the NASCAR officials for nineteen laps.Cale Yarborough defeated Darrell Waltrip by three car lengths; taking home his sixth and final Cup victory at Martinsville. Yarborough was on a tear here in the second half of the 1970s, this win marked his fourth win over the course of the prior five Martinsville races. Notable speeds recorded in both the qualifying session and the race were: 79.185 miles per hour (127.436 km/h) as the average speed and 86.558 miles per hour (139.302 km/h) as the pole position speed. Twenty thousand people attended this live race.
Chevrolet vehicles would dominate the starting grid of the event with multi-car teams dominating the lineup. By the late 1970s, it had become prohibitively expensive for a single person to own a NASCAR team. A series of oil crises in addition to changing sponsorship needs started to bring in the age of the multi-car team and the slow decline of the independent owners.
Harry Gant would lead a NASCAR Cup Series race for the first time in his career. However, he would only run ninety laps before having to leave the race due to an engine problem. Terry Labonte's third career start nets him his third career top-10 finish. This would cause him to be relegated to a 28th-place finish and only $1,070 in prize winnings ($4,014.68 when considering inflation). Total winnings for this race were $101,430 ($380,569.50 when considering inflation) and Cale Yarborough took the majority of the winnings with an easy $24,950 paycheck ($93,613.42 when considering inflation).
Herb Nab was Pond's chief mechanic for the sole qualifying run that managed to get him the pole position for the event along with an extremely rare silver trophy. Other crew chiefs who fully participated in the race were Darrell Bryant, Junie Donlavey, Buddy Parrott, Jake Elder, Kirk Shelmerdine, Dale Inman, Walter Ballard, Tim Brewer, and Bud Moore.
|1||54||Lennie Pond||Chevrolet||Harry Ranier|
|2||43||Richard Petty||Chevrolet||Petty Enterprises|
|3||88||Darrell Waltrip||Chevrolet||DiGard Racing|
|4||72||Benny Parsons||Chevrolet||L.G. DeWitt|
|5||27||Buddy Baker||Chevrolet||M.C. Anderson|
|6||11||Cale Yarborough||Oldsmobile||Junior Johnson|
|7||5||Neil Bennett||Chevrolet||Rod Osterlund|
|8||21||David Pearson||Mercury||Wood Brothers|
|9||15||Bobby Allison||Ford||Bud Moore|
|10||12||Harry Gant||Chevrolet||Kennie Childers|
* Driver failed to finish race
+ Driver is deceased