Richard Petty refused to race due to NASCAR driver safety concerns

Given the concerns NASCAR drivers currently have about safety with the use of a Gen 7 race car in the Cup Series, conditions are very similar to a time in NASCAR’s 53-year history when another safety issue was in the headlines.

During the second weekend of September 1969, the Talladega Superspeedway, then known as the Alabama International Motor Speedway, was set to open to the public at the Talladega 500. It was to be the largest and fastest highway on the then 54-race NASCAR schedule. And still.

The race turned into a confrontation between Bill France Sr., NASCAR founder and track builder, and the drivers who participated in the Cup Series, then known as the Grand National Division. But it is the events leading up to the race that make it so memorable.

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