The Fall race at Charlotte Motor Speedway is often overshadowed by the Coca-Cola 600 and the All-Star Race, but there have been a few occasions when the second race date at the track provides a memorable finish. The 1972 National 500 was one of those races.
David Pearson would put his Wood Brothers Mercury on the pole, with Buddy Baker joining him on the front row. In what would be the final race that the Wood Brothers entered two cars, A.J. Foyt qualified third, followed by Bobby Allison and Bobby Isaac to round out the top-five.
Pearson led the first three laps before Baker took over out front. Isaac would join the fray a handful of laps later and the three drivers swapped the lead amongst themselves multiple times over the first 96 laps. Allison finally made his way to the lead a lap later and it would be the Allison-Baker show from then on out.
Allison and Baker led all but nine of the final 238 laps of the race as Allison pulled out to a nearly 15 second lead late in the event. Allison looked to have the race in hand before Richard Petty blew a tire with 16 laps to go bringing out the caution and giving Baker, who was running in second, a chance to catch up and give him a run for his money.
When the green flag flew with 10 laps to go, it was down to Allison and Baker, the two dominant cars of the day, with the lead swapping between the two nearly every other lap as the laps wound down and the checkered flag grew nearer.
Allison finally got the upper hand with four laps remaining, but Baker wasn’t quite through with him yet as he tried to set up a pass off Turn 4 on the last lap and beat him back to the finish. However, Baker’s slingshot pass got foiled by a car several laps down running in his lane, giving Allison a two-car length lead as they crossed the line.
The two Wood Brothers entries piloted by Pearson and Foyt finished two laps down in third and fourth, with Butch Hartman finishing fifth.
The win would be Allison’s ninth win of the season and his third win at Charlotte between the 1971 and 1972 season. If not for his runner-up finish in the 1972 World 600, Allison would have had four straight wins at the track.