|Turner Sports Cars||Articles|
|Only once during this race was there any doubt about the outcome, and indeed it was the only moment of doubt throughout the whole week It came with the rain which started to fall on lap 15, when Larry Moulton's lead of nearly nine seconds disappeared in the smoke and dust of a spin. As Moulton got back to speed, he was caught and then passed by Phil Mason. Mason's Alfa was faster on the straight, and he led as they came through Start/Finish. But not to worry, it was the only lap Larry Moulton did not lead; he repassed the Alfa, which was not handling well in the rain, and won his first National Championship. Mason's problems with the rain also allowed last year's champion, Jack Lawrence, to pass and take second on lap 17.
Moulton established his superiority in qualifying, settin a new qualifying record on the first day. So significant was the advantage his competitors were starting to talk about the race for second. Conditions on Thursday did not allow much improvement in qualifying times. Two whose times did improve were James Knerr in an MG Midget, an increase which allowed him to hold onto second sport, and Bob Hubbard, also in a Midget, who jumped from 7th to 3rd on the grid. Hubbard's advance seemed to be partly the result of a new engine and partly a switch to Yokohama race tires. The engine was built in Raleight, North Carolina the night before and rushed to Braselton.
Lawrence nearly destroyed his Saab Sonnet in Wednesday's qualifying session. In Turn 2, the back end of the SAAB came loose and the car rolled three times. The body was a mess, three of the four corners were bent, and the tub was damaged on the left front. It took a lot of work by Lawrence's crew and volunteers from other crews to get the car repaired in time for Thrusday's session. But Lawrence was not the only one with problems. On the last lap of the warm-up, Hubbard spun on Mike Taylor's oil and hit the tire wall, and while not appearing to do any significant damage it would have its effects in the race.
At the green, Moulton took the lead immediately and stretched it each lap until the rains came. Initially, the battle for second involved Knerr, Mason, Lawrence, and Hubbard, but Hubbard's car was apparently damaged more than was suspected and he lost touch with the lead group after lap 5. Knerr spun in Turn 5 on the ninth lap and was not a factor thereafter. From then on, exceptfor lap 15, it was all Moulton, with Lawrence and Mason battling for second. - J. Michael Hemsley