It had been 100 years and a couple of weeks since the American Civil War had ended, but Dick Hutcherson was made so mad by the end of the May 2, 1965 race at Bristol Motor Speedway, he felt the need to invoke it.
“I may be a damn Yankee, but I’ll always believe I won this race. No one will ever convince me I didn’t,” Hutcherson said according to “Forty Years of Stock Car Racing: Big Bucks and Boycotts.”
“I think Robert E. Lee’s grandson was scoring the race,” he added.
They were strong remarks for Hutcherson, who was a native of Iowa.
The cause of his anger was that Junior Johnson, a native of North Carolina, had been declared the winner of the 500-lap race on the half-mile track. Hutcherson was scored as finishing second.
Johnson had gone a lap-and-a-half down when he lost a tire 265 laps into the race. Then he needed relief from Fred Lorenzen for 147 laps. After returning to the race, Johnson spent 117 laps making up time and then took the lead with 62 laps to go.
Hutcherson believed he had a one-lap lead before Johnson’s final driver change and a two-lap lead afterward.
“At the finish, Johnson was just barely back in the lead lap,” Hutcherson said.
After going over the scoring cards with NASCAR’s chief scorer, Joe Epton, Hutcherson’s co-owner, Ralph Moody, was content with the results.
Also on this date:
1954: Herb Thomas won a Grand National race at Langhorne (Pa.) Speedway by one lap for his fifth win in the first 10 races of the season. The top five was swept by drivers in Hudson Hornets.
1971: After Buddy Baker passed Donnie Allison 11 laps from the finish and Allison’s engine expired a lap later, Baker went on to claim the win at Darlington by seven laps over Dick Brooks. According to “Forty Years of Stock Car Racing: Big Bucks and Boycotts,” the race was the final one for the pairing of David Pearson and the Holman-Moody team. They split over a dispute about how much appearance money Pearson would receive for the May 16 race at Talladega.
1982: With drafting help from Terry Labonte, Darrell Waltrip passed Benny Parsons on the last lap to win the Winston 500 at Talladega.
1993: In a two-lap shootout following a red flag for rain at Talladega, Ernie Irvan went from fourth to first to claim the win. As the field approached the checkered flag, contact from Dale Earnhardt sent Rusty Wallace into a violent tumble that gave him a broken wrist, a concussion and a chipped tooth.