Earl Ross 1974 ROY To Attend Martinsville

Martinsville, VA---Earl Ross may have only driven the NASCAR Winston Cup Series one season, but he made the best of it and is now returning to the site of his only win. Ross, 58, will attend the NAPA AutoCare 500 on Sunday which...

Martinsville, VA---Earl Ross may have only driven the NASCAR Winston Cup Series one season, but he made the best of it and is now returning to the site of his only win. Ross, 58, will attend the NAPA AutoCare 500 on Sunday which is the 25th anniversary of his 1974 win in the Old Dominion 500 at Martinsville Speedway. Ross was the 1974 NASCAR Rookie of the Year and finished eighth in the final Winston Cup standings that year. Ross from Ailsa Craig, Ontario Canada was a teammate with Cale Yarborough driving Chevrolet Monte Carlo's out of Junior Johnson's shop near North Wilkesboro, NC. The then stocky Canadian racer trailed in the rookie standings most of the season until his Martinsville win propelled him to the championship. He had a great performance during the final third of the season to hold off rookies Richie Panch, Jackie Rogers and Tony Bettenhausen. Ross finished the season with the Martinsville win, four top-fives and nine top-tens. Ross continued to race short tracks in his home country of Canada after his 1974 Winston Cup season and competed five years in the Canadian Series Cascar. He only raced a couple of times in the Winston Cup Series after 1974, including a 39th place finish in the 1976 Daytona 500, but he still cherishes that Rookie of the Year title and his win at Martinsville. "It was probably the highlight of my career. It was really special to win a Winston Cup race in my rookie year, and I will never forget it," he said. "The people at the track treated me great. I had an all Canadian pit crew and they were great. We worked out of Junior Johnson's shop down there and those people treated us great. Junior helped us a lot. He supplied us with the engines. I can't say enough about the way the people treated us down there." Ross said his win came in the first time he had ever raced at Martinsville. He didn't run in the first Martinsville race that season and only ran in 21 of the season's 30 races. Ross said he believes the competition has changed over the years. "Back then, I suppose there were maybe seven or eight cars that were capable of winning races and today there are more like 15 or 20. I image it is harder today to win a race than back then," he said. Ross said Martinsville was a tough place to win the first time out, "but I had done a lot of short track racing up here in Canada. All the tracks I went to that season, it was pretty much my first time there." Ross owns Ross Fabricating, a shop behind his home, and is doing well these days, but he still cherishes the Grandfather Clock he received as a trophy for winning the Old Dominion 500. "I still have the clock sitting right here in my home," he said. Ross will have the opportunity to meet up with another former Rookie of the Year in the NAPA AutoCare 500 pre-race ceremonies as 1971 Rookie Walter Ballard is the race Grand Marshal. Ballard is now the owner of Ballard and Sons Auto Service which is a NAPA AutoCare Center in Charlotte, N.C. Ballard 's list of career achievements in racing includes Winston Cup Rookie of the Year and earning a place in the prestigious Darlington Record Club that same year. The NAPA AutoCare 500/Goody's Body Pain 200 weekend gets underway on Friday with Bud Pole qualifying at 3 p.m. Immediately after qualifying, will be the Anderson Tractor-John Deere Allison Legacy Series race. Tickets for qualifying are $10 and children under age 12 get in free. Saturday includes second round Winston Cup qualifying at 11:15 a.m. followed by qualifying for the Goody's Body Pain 200 NASCAR Featherlite Modified Tour race. The Goody's Body Pain 200 begins at 1 p.m. Tickets are $25 for adults and $5 for children ages 6-12. The NAPA AutoCare 500 starts at 1 p.m. on Sunday. Great seats are still available for $40-$45 each. Another 8,000 unreserved seats go on sale race morning at 7:30.

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Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Junior Johnson