by Doug Schellinger
1969 National 500 at Charlotte
After the Drivers vs. Bill France walkout at Talladega, the first real test for the new Charger Daytona came at the Charlotte Motor Speedway, in October 1969.

Fords took the first two rows in qualifying.  Cale Yarborough put the Wood Brothers Spoiler II on the pole at 162.162 mph.   Cale was followed by the Torino Talladegas of Richard Petty, Donnie Allison and Lee Roy Yarbrough (no relation to Cale)  The fastest of the still under development Daytonas were Buddy Baker,  Bobby Allison and Charlie Glotzbach.

In the race, just as at Talladega, the tires proved to be the deciding factor.  Still coming to grips with rubber that wasn't quite up to the task of handling the Daytona's rear downforce, the Dodge teams ran very strong but still struggled with blistering tires.   Pole sitter Cale Yarborough led early, but dropped out with a blown Shotgun 429 engine.  Donnie Allison dominated the race, leading 161 of the 334 laps.   Donnie took turns leading with Bobby Allison and Buddy Baker up front the rest of the time, but tire troubles slowed the winged Dodges. 

When it was all over,  the brothers Allison finished 1-2 with Donnie out front.   Baker and Glotzbach were third and fourth, still on the lead lap.   David Pearson was fifth, two laps down.    

Notables in the did not finish catagory were Richard Petty, Lee Roy Yarbrough and Bobby Isaac, all retiring with engine failures. 

photo: FoMoCo Archives