On the heels of Trevor Bayne's stunning win in the Daytona 500, the iconic No. 21 Wood Brothers car is once again the talk of the NASCAR world. Back in 1973, the No. 21 snatched the headlines at Atlanta, with David Pearson sweeping both of the season's races.
The sweep of both 1973 races at Atlanta puts Pearson among elite company as just five drivers have swept both races in a single season at AMS. But to accomplish the sweep, Pearson had to outduel another NASCAR legend not once, but twice in 1973 – Cale Yarborough.
In the spring race, the Atlanta 500, Pearson and Yarborough dominated, combining to lead all but 19 laps. After exchanging the lead throughout the race, Pearson was better in the end, passing Yarborough with 58 laps remaining to win. Yarborough, meanwhile, faded to finish fifth with Bobby Isaac finishing second.
In that season's fall race, the Dixie 500, Yarborough and Pearson again set the standard, combining to lead 288 of 328 laps. Pearson, however, blistered the field in the race's final half, taking the lead at the halfway point and never giving it up, winning by a margin of more than a lap ahead of Yarborough, who finished second ahead of Donnie Allison.
Yarborough's string of second-place finishes ended the next spring with an Atlanta victory – one of seven career wins at AMS. Pearson finished his career with four Atlanta wins with the final one being in 1976.
Thanks to legends such as Pearson and Yarborough, iconic moments for all that have seen NASCAR at Atlanta Motor Speedway through the years have been burned into the memories of countless fans. More of those moments for some of the best fans in NASCAR will be at Atlanta Motor Speedway this Labor Day weekend when NASCAR Night Racing Returns to Atlanta!