In 1973, Charlotte Motor Speedway president Richard Howard was looking for a way to garner more attention for World 600 at his racetrack.
Eventually, he landed on the idea of running a promotion where fans could vote on a driver to participate in the race and drive a Cup car. Whoever the fans voted for would be a teammate of Cale Yarborough, and they would drive a Chevrolet Chevelle prepared by Junior Johnson.
Fans had two months to vote in the “Name the Driver” contest, and there were 333,432 votes cast for a total of 126 drivers. The winner was South Carolina driver Billy Scott, who received 72,132 votes. The drivers who finished behind him included Charlie Blanton, Bob Burcham, Stick Elliott and Butch Harkins. Future NASCAR drivers such as J.D. McDuffie, Dick Trickle and Harry Gant finished sixth through eighth.
Scott was 37 at the time, and he admitted to trying too hard during practice when crashed on the fourth turn.
Unfortunately for Scott, the race itself didn’t go particularly well either. He had to go to the garage early in the race since his car had a broken sway bar, which wasn’t fixed after Scott’s wreck during practice.
He did manage to finish the race, though he lost 50 laps while his car was being repaired. He still finished 22nd and didn’t have any other mishaps during the race.
Charlotte Motor Speedway decided to run the promotion again the following year, and Scott won it again. He finished 24th that year.
The idea behind the promotion was pretty cool, and it would probably work if a track decided to do that today. Perhaps a team or track could run a contest like that for a regular season race in the future. It would certainly attract some fans and get them engaged for a race, and it would be a great experience for a non-Cup driver.
(h/t Racing Reference)