Author Topic: Atlanta Int. Raceway 1968 Camaro RS/SS Conv. Pace Car for NASCAR Atlanta 500  (Read 999 times)

SMKZ28

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A white 1968 Camaro RS/SS convertible was used as the pace car for the Atlanta 500 NASCAR Grand National event held at the Atlanta International Raceway in Hampton, Georgia on Sunday, March 31, 1968.  Cale Yarborough won the event in his Wood Brothers Mercury Cyclone.

The only photographic evidence I could find appeared in a section of an old automotive themed television show called Car and Track.  The color footage from the show gave a split second shot of the Camaro coming down pit lane after the field got the green flag following a caution period.  I have copies of these 1960's/1970's television programs on VHS from when they were rebroadcast by Speedvision back in the 1990's but I was able to find the portion concerning the 1968 Atlanta 500 posted on Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WwelbscvAIA  The Camaro pace car can be briefly seen in pit lane at 6:05. 

Unlike the previous NASCAR Camaro pace car graphics at Daytona, Bristol, and North Carolina the Atlanta car seems to lack the large red and black striping on the sides or hood.

If anyone has better pictures of the Camaro that paced this particular event please share.

SMKZ28

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While looking for more images of the Camaro that paced the 1968 Atlanta 500 I came across a photo from the event that shows a different 1968 Camaro convertible parked on the front stretch during a caution period.  You can see the Camaro with its convertible top in the up position parked in front of the Ford pickup truck.  The interesting thing about the Camaro is that it has different lettering on the side that does not coincide with this particular race at Atlanta Motor Speedway.  It seems to have the date MAY 26 written on the rear quarter panel.  This date coincides with the World 600 NASCAR Grand National event at Charlotte Motor Speedway which was almost two months in the future.  They must have had this car at the race track to back up the other pace car or just to advertise one of the more prestigious upcoming NASCAR events.  The site where I found this picture has disabled picture downloading so click on the link to see it: http://racersreunion.com/ray-lamm/gallery/8148/26-yarbrough   The picture shows Lee Roy Yarbrough getting work done to his Mercury in the pits.  He did not run the #26 at Charlotte or the second race at Atlanta later in the year, so I know for a fact that this picture was taken during the 1968 Atlanta held on March 31, 1968.

The same view can be seen in the Car and Track footage at 5:44.  (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WwelbscvAIA)  Not quite sure why the Camaro and the truck are on the race track like that during a caution period.

SMKZ28

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I found pictures of the souvenir program, race ticket and buttons from the 1968 Atlanta 500 at worthpoint.com