Saturday 26th January 1974
Cale Yarborough won the the rain postponed NASCAR Grand National “Western 500” at Riverside International Raceway, the opening round of the 1974 season. The race began on the 20 January, with 63 of 191 laps run before a downpour hit the track (Yarborough reported snow flurries on the backstretch). Rain persisted, and officials elected to complete the race the next Saturday. The race resumed under clear skies, but windy and cold. Yarborough was the only contender to pit before the rain, taking the lead when the rest pitted shortly after the restart. Yarborough went on to lead all but 6 of the last 127 laps, but running low on fuel, the motor in the Richard Howard Chevy began sputtering with 2 laps left. Yarborough held on, running completely out of gas as he crossed the line 3 seconds in front of Richard Petty’s Dodge. David Pearson finished third in the Wood Brothers Mercury. Howard team manager Junior Johnson went home after the rain and did not return. For the first time, the new NASCAR point system was used. Based on a multiple of basic prize money and number of events entered, the standing showed Yarborough with 11.025 points, Petty 6.525 and Pearson 5.025.