Marty Robbins
Stock Car Racer and Country/Western Musician

Pictured (L-R) Larry Shankle, John Sears,
Marty Robbins

Marty Robbins' Greatest Hits
Tomorrow You'll Be Gone
I'll Go On Alone
That's All Right
Knee Deep in the Blues
Singing the Blues
A White Sport Coat
The Story of My Life
El Paso
The Hanging Tree
Big Iron
Don't Worry
Ruby Ann
Devil Woman
Ribbon of Darkness
I Walk Alone
My Woman, My Woman, My Wife
El Paso City
Among My Souvenirs
Return to Me
Some Memories Just Won't Die

This webpage is dedicated to my mother, who bought me a goldfish when I was a young boy that I dearly named Marty Robbins. Thanks mom!

Marty Robbins Career Driving Summary

Marty loved NASCAR racing and as he had the funds to do so, he raced occasionally. His cars were built and maintained by Cotton Owens. Marty Robbins always tried to run at the big race tracks (Talladega Superspeedway, Daytona International Speedway) every year, and then a smattering of the smaller races when time permitted. In 1983, one year after Robbins' death, NASCAR named the Nashville Fair Grounds race the Marty Robbins 420 in honor of him. Robbins typically ran cars bearing either number 42 or number 22. Over the years, he ran a few makes and models (Dodges or Fords) before buying a 1972 bodied Dodge Charger race car from Owens. Robbins had 6 top-ten finishes as well as a few major wrecks during the '70s and had Owens rebuild the car and update the sheet metal to the '73-'74 Charger spec, and then finally 1978 Dodge Magnum sheet metal, which he raced till the end of 1980. This car was superbly restored by Owens and donated to the Talledega Museum by his family, and was displayed there from 1983 to 2008. The car is now in private hands in Southern California and raced on the Vintage NASCAR club circuit. Marty is credited with possibly saving Richard Childress's life at the 1974 Charlotte 500 by deliberately crashing into a wall rather than t-bone Childress's car that was stopped across the track. Marty's final NASCAR race car was a 1981 Buick Regal that he rented and drove in a few races in 1981 and 1982.

In addition to his recordings and performances, Robbins was an avid race car driver, competing in 35 career NASCAR races with six top-10 finishes, including the 1973 Firecracker 400. In 1967, Robbins played himself in the car racing film Hell on Wheels. Robbins was partial to Dodges, and owned and raced Chargers and then a 1978 Dodge Magnum. His last race was in a Junior Johnson-built 1982 Buick Regal in the Atlanta Journal 500 on November 7, 1982, the month before he died. In 1983, NASCAR honored Robbins by naming the annual race at Nashville the Marty Robbins 420. He was also the driver of the 60th Indianapolis 500 Buick Century pace car in 1976.

He ran many of the big super speedway races including Talladega Superspeedway in 1972, when he stunned the competition by turning laps that were 15 mph faster than his qualifying time. Apparently, in his motel room, Robbins had knocked the NASCAR-mandated restrictors out of his carburetor. After the race, NASCAR tried to give him the Rookie of the Race award, but Robbins would not accept it, admitting he was illegal because he "just wanted to see what it was like to run up front for once."

Marty began driving late model stock cars in 1965 and continued until the month before his death. The following is a list of some of the races he competed in and how he finished.

June 5, 1965
Late model modified race 1962 Plymouth

July 20, 1966
Nashville, TN 1964 Ford #53
Started 17th, finished 25th

1968 Paul Revere 250
Daytona Beach, FL Only completed three laps due to a blown fuse.

Briston, TN Didn't finish due to blown engine.

August 17, 1968 Skyland 200
Weaverville Speedway 1966 Dodge

October 12, 1968
Charlotte, NC 250 mile Grand Touring Race

October 13, 1968 National 500
Charlotte, NC 1967 Dodge Charger
Started 22nd, finished 12th

July 3, 1970 Paul Revere 250
Daytona Beach, FL (Grand Marshall)

July 4, 1970 Firecracker 400
Daytona Beach, FL (Grand Marshall)

October 11, 1970 National 500
Charlotte, NC 1969 Dodge #42
Started 33rd, finished 32nd

May 7, 1971 Grand American 100 Lap Race
Nashville, TN drove Camaro

May 22,1971
Nashville Speedway 1967 Dodge Charger

May 30, 1971 World 600
Charlotte, NC 1969 Dodge #42, owned by Bobby Allison
Started 19th, finished 15th

June 19, 1971 Union 76 200
Nashville Speedway

July 4, 1971 Firecracker 400
Daytona Beach, FL Dodge Charger (wreck)

August 1, 1971 Dixie 500
Atlanta, GA 1969 Dodge #42
Started 17th, finished 13th

September 6, 1971 Southern 500
Darlington, SC 1969 Dodge #42
Started 18th, finished 7th
(named "Rookie of the Race")

October 10, 1971 National 500
Charlotte, NC 1969 Dodge #42
Started 15th, finished 37th

December 12, 1971 Texas 500
1971 Dodge #42 owned by Bobby Allison
Started 20th, finished 25th

March 5, 1972 Miller High Life 500
Ontario, CA 1972 Dodge #42
Started 22nd, finished 8th
(named "Sportsman of the Race")

May 7, 1972 Winston 500
Talladega, AL 1972 Dodge #42
Started 9, Finished 18th but disqualified himself for running the last 100 miles without carburetor restrictor plates. Marty also refused to accept the "Rookie of the Race" award, the money for an 18th place finish, or the Grand National Driver points. Marty was given $745 for a 50th place finish, and fined $250 by NASCAR. Lee Roy Yarbrough was given the "Rookie of the Year" award.

June 25, 1972 Lone Star 500
Byan, TX 1972 Dodge #42
Started 10th, finished 40th

September 4, 1972 Southern 500
1971 Dodge #42
Started 21st, finished 9th

October 22, 1972 American 500
1972 Dodge #42
Started 34th, finished 26th

February 18, 1973 Daytona 500
Daytona Beach, FL 1972 Dodge #42
Started 37th, finished 34th

June 10, 1973 Alamo 500
1973 Dodge Charger #42
Started 10th, finished 29th

July 4, 1973 Firecracker 400
1973 Dodge Charger #42
Started 36th, finished 8th

August 12, 1973 Talladega 500
1973 Dodge Charger #42
Started 10th, finished 36th

August 25, 1973 Nashville 420

Septembe 1973 Mid-America Stock Car Racing Assn. 300
1-70 Speedway, Kansas City, MO

May 4, 1974 Winston 500
1973 Dodge Charger #42
Started 15th, finished 15th

June 16, 1974 Motorstate 400
1974 Dodge #42
Started 22, finished 5th

July 20, 1974
Nashville Speedway, "Marty Robbins Appreciation Night"

August 11, 1974 Talladega 500
1973 Dodge #42
Started 16th, finished 9th

October 6, 1974 National 500
Charlotte, NC 1974 Dodge #42
Started 42nd, finished 42nd
Trying to avoid hitting stalled cars, Marty hit the wall at 160 mph. Marty's injuries resulted in 37 stitches on his face, two broken ribs and broken tailbone.

February 16, 1975 Daytona 500
1974 Dodge #42
Started 28th, finished 39th (wreck)

May 5, 1975 Winston 500
1974 Dodge #42
Started 17, finished 31
After a wreck that resulted in a ruptured gas tank and a fire, Marty said he was going to retire from racing.

February 1976 Daytona 500
(Commentator for radio broadcast)

May 30, 1976 Indianapolis 500
(Marty drove the pace car)

October 15-17, 1976 World Cup 400
1-70 Speedway, Odessa, MO
Drove Freddy Fryar's Chevy Nova

June 9, 1977 CAM 2 Motor Oil 400
Michigan 1974 Dodge #42
Started 33rd, finished 13th

August 7, 1977 Talladega 500
1974 Dodge #42
Started 28th, finished 38th
(engine froze during a pit stop)

October 16, 1977 First Marty Robbins World Open 500
Nashville, TN Freddy Fryar qualified Marty's car for him.

August 6, 1978 Talladega 500
1978 Dodge Magnum #42
Started 38, finished 18th

June 17, 1979 Gabriel 400
1978 Dodge Magnum #42
Started 29th, finished 35th

July 4, 1979 Firecracker 400
Daytona Beach, FL
Marty began using the numbers "6" or "36" at this point, as he allowed Kyle Petty to use #42.

August 5, 1979 Talladega 500
1979 Dodge Magnum #36
Started 40th, finished 32nd

August 19, 1979 Champion Spark Plug 400
1978 Dodge Magnum #6
Started 33rd, finished 37th

May 4, 1980 Winston 500
1978 Dodge Magnum #6
Started 36th, finished 33rd

August 23, 1980Missouri 100
Completed 92 laps, won $280

July 4, 1980 Firecracker 400
1978 Dodge Magnum #79
Started 31st, finished 30th

August 3, 1980 Talladega 500
1978 Dodge Magnum #6
Started 37th, finished 13th

October 5, 1980 National 500
Charlotte, NC Chevrolet #6
Started 30th, finished 32nd

August 2, 1981 ARCA Race
1978 Dodge Magnum, finished 35th

July 4, 1982 Firecracker 400
Daytona Beach, FL Buick Regal #22
Started 31st, finished 37th

November 7, 1982 Atlanta Journal 500
Hampton, GA Buick Regal #22
Started 36th, finished 33rd

Marty Charges to the Front...

One of the most interesting anecdotes of the 1972 season involves Dodge driver and noted country and western star Marty Robbins. Robbins competed on the NASCAR circuit from time to time in addition to his regular competition at the Nashville Fairground track, followed by his rush across town for his regular appearance on the late Grand Old Opry Saturday Night Show. It seems that at the May 7, 1972 "Winston 500" at Talladega, Marty Robbins' Dodge Charger ran extremely well. As a matter of fact, uncharacteristically, he was running with the leaders and regularly passing cars that he ordinarily did not pass. Late in the race Robbins' car was clocked at 188 MPH, which was about 14 MPH faster than he had qualified.

After the race, the story goes, Marty went up to one of the NASCAR officials and told him that something had to be wrong with his car--it ran too fast. Robbins then suggested that the official check his carburetor. When the carburetor was checked, it was found to be illegal, and Marty's car was disqualified. According to Greg Fielden, the lost purse cost Robbins about $1300, about which he laughed, "It was worth it. In fact, I'd have paid that much money for a picture of Joe Frasson's face when I passed him." Frasson's Dodge finished sixth, one lap off the pace in that race.

Joe Frasson was also apparently quite a character in his own right. He even made an appearance at Volunteer Speedway, the three-eighthes mile dirt track in Bulls Gap, Tennessee, where he produced a very vivid and memorable image as he walked around the pits in his characteristic black felt slouch hat. However, at Bulls Gap on the night he ran there, his car was not competitive with the track regulars.

Incidentally, in that same event in which Marty Robbins' Dodge "ran so well", NASCAR fans saw the first Winston Cup appearance of super star to be Darrell Waltrip.

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