Sunday 18th March 1979
Buddy Baker broke a long dry spell, winning the NASCAR Grand National ‘Atlanta 500’ in Harry Ranier’s Olds. It was Baker’s first GN win since May 2, 1976. Baker took the lead from a sputtering Bobby Allison with 24 laps left, taking the checkered 18 seconds ahead of Allison’s Bud Moore Ford that had lost a cylinder. The race was marred by the death of Dennis Wade, jackman for rookie Dave Watson. Wade died when struck on pit road by Watson’s out of control car. Watson was leading the race at the time of the accident. The Wisconsin short track ace withdrew immediately and never made another GN start.