A Look Back In TSS History - Surprise Winners
Talladega Superspeedway has seen its fair share of predictable race winners. Richard Petty, Darrell Waltrip, Dale Earnhardt, Bobby Allison, David Pearson, Cale Yarborough, the legends of NASCAR, all won at NASCAR’s Most Competitive Track. But not every driver to grace Gatorade Victory Lane has carried the title NASCAR Champion, some didn’t even carry the title “race winner” until they crossed paths with destiny at ‘Dega. Take Dick Brooks for example.
Without a car to race and with barely a dollar to his name, Dick Brooks arrived at Talladega Superspeedway in the spring of 1973 hoping for a miracle. The 1969 NASCAR Rookie of the Year had fallen on hard times and was in desperate need of some good luck. He would find it by way of Jimmy Crawford and the No.22 Plymouth. Because of a NASCAR ban, Crawford was unable to drive his own car at Talladega and needed a substitute wheelman. In stepped Brooks.
While the majority of the race was a trying experience for Brooks, who several times fell off the lead lap because of slow pit stops, the final 13 laps would present him with his greatest challenge. In front of the journeyman driver stood a larger than life racer and a wily veteran; the “gentle giant” Buddy Baker and the “silver fox” David Pearson.
Fortune would smile on Brooks that day, as Baker’s car began smoking and Pearson also suffered mechanical woes in the closing laps. With both competitors down on power, Brooks would wheel the No.22 to the finish line, scoring his first and only win in NASCAR Sprint Cup Series competition.
Drivers who also scored their first and only NASCAR Sprint Cup Series victory at Talladega Superspeedway include: Richard Brickhouse (1969), Lennie Pond (1978), Ron Bouchard (1981), Bobby Hillin Jr. (1986) and Phil Parsons (1988).
Davey Allison (1987) and Ken Schrader (1988) earned their first NASCAR Sprint Cup Series victories at Talladega Superspeedway and went on to earn multiple career victories. Brian Vickers (2006) won his first Cup race at Talladega and is still an active driver.
Race fans can experience part of Talladega’s history this fall, during the 40th running of the AMP Energy 500 weekend, Oct. 3-5. Visit www.talladegasuperspeedway.com or call 1-877-Go2-DEGA. For our hearing impaired guests, please call TDD 1-866-ISC-TRAK (1-866-472-8725). Tickets also are available in person by visiting the Talladega Superspeedway Ticket Office from 8 a.m. - 4 p.m. CDT, Monday- Friday.