Ford Performance NASCAR: Ned Jarrett Remembers 14-Lap Victory at Darlington

Third Installment

Ned Jarrett Marches Toward 1965 NASCAR Grand National Championship With Record 14-Lap Victory at Darlington

  • Ned Jarrett won the 1965 Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway by a NASCAR-record 14 laps as only 15 of the 44 cars in the race that day made it across the finish line.
  • Jarrett led the final 39 laps en route to his 12th victory of the season.
  • Even though there were still 10 races remaining in the season, the win all but guaranteed Ford’s first series championship.

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DEARBORN, Mich., Sept. 2, 2015 – Ask any driver to make a list of the five races they would like to win more than any other on the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series circuit and the Southern 500 at Darlington would likely be a unanimous choice.

No track tests a driver’s skill more than “The Lady in Black”, and that was particularly evident on Sept. 6, 1965 when a field of 44 cars took to the track for 364 laps.

“One of the goals that I had set for myself when I started Grand National Racing, which is what it was called back then, was to win the Southern 500 in Darlington,” said Ned Jarrett, who was in position to win the 1965 series championship thanks to 11 victories and 34 top-five finishes at that point in the season.  “It was on a track that was built for speeds of about 70 or 80 miles an hour and here we were at that time running about 140-145 miles an hour, but that was one of the goals I set for myself.”

The race appeared to be a battle between Fred Lorenzen and Darel Dieringer as the two combined to lead 256 of the first 325 laps, but that’s when attrition started to take its toll.  Lorenzen lost an engine with 45 laps to go while Dieringer suffered a similar fate and was forced to the garage with 19 laps remaining.

Jarrett was the main beneficiary as he passed Dieringer with 39 laps left and set sail on his record finish.

“We ran good during the race and led some laps and then things began to turn our way in the last 100 miles or so,” recalled Jarrett.  “I had no idea how far ahead we were, but I know the Ford officials that were there came down and camped in my pits, and they knew how much of a lead I had and they tried to get the crew to bring me in.

“We didn’t have radio communications back then, so they just wrote on the black board for me to pit,” continued Jarrett.  “I knew we didn’t need to pit, but they knew the car was overheating, so I kept going because something told me stronger than the officials of Ford and my own pit crew that I needed to stay out there and keep going.”

The result was a win for the record books as Jarrett took the checkered flag by 14 laps over second-place finisher Buck Baker.  Dieringer, despite finishing only 345 laps, still managed to finish third as only 15 cars finished the event.

“Our goal was reached in a fashion that that record will never be broken,” said Jarrrett.  “Today’s races are too close for that to happen.”

Even though there were still 10 races remaining in the season, the win all but guaranteed Ford’s first series championship.

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About Ford Motor Company

Ford Motor Company, a global automotive industry leader based in Dearborn, Michigan manufactures or distributes automobiles across six continents. With about 187,000 employees and 62 plants worldwide, the company’s automotive brands include Ford and Lincoln. The company provides financial services through Ford Motor Credit Company. For more information regarding Ford and its products worldwide, please visit www.corporate.ford.com.


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