Dick May, NASCAR relief driver extraordinaire
Posted 22 September 2012 - 06:51
He would be considered purely a journeyman driver like so many other "independent" drivers of the era,
except for his ability at short notice to relieve another driver in NASCAR races. He was the "pinch reliever" of his era
(to borrow a baseball term).
If his relief appearances were added to his starts, he would have chalked up over 500 appearances.
His high point as a relief driver came in the 1975 Mason-Dixon 500 at the Dover Downs International Speedway.
After quaifying 25th, May quit his own car after 43 laps, and did relief stints for 4 other drivers.
It was in a team's interest to do this. The starting driver of a car would be credited with any points if the car finished,
and apparently May was a very "kind" driver who would always bring a car to the finish once he took over.
I have one unanswered question though - why did May take over so many cars during his career?
Was NASCAR racing in the 70's physically demanding, and many drivers were unable to complete a full race
due to fatigue or other factors?
Or did team managers decide that if their car was uncompetitive on a particular day, they would give their regular
driver a break and employ May's services?
Were there any other NASCAR drivers of the same era who specialised in relief driving?
Posted 22 September 2012 - 07:49
But I'm guessing that lugging around something that weighs as much as a truck for hours on end without aircon would indeed be physically demanding.
Posted 22 September 2012 - 08:20
Posted 22 September 2012 - 13:00
Lets face it nobody in NASCAR years ago worked on fitness like they do now.
Posted 22 September 2012 - 14:17
Posted 22 September 2012 - 19:52
One other thing with the Mason-Dixon 500...it was held over 2 days.
When was that?
I think I missed the last M-D 500 that actually carried the name (1978? - it was the CRC Chemicals 500 or something like it by my time near the M-D line. I do recall the Dover Downs 500s took 4 hours to complete, being, I think, the shortest track (1 mile) to host a full 500 mile GN race.
Posted 22 September 2012 - 21:16
1975, a mist rolled in and so most of the race was held on the Monday.
When was that?
Posted 01 November 2012 - 05:13
If a driver retired early from the race, did they let the other teams know that they were available to relieve another driver if so required?
Posted 01 November 2012 - 09:17
Posted 01 November 2012 - 10:39