1979 Daytona 500 picked as NASCAR’s most memorable race

1979 Daytona 500 picked as NASCAR’s most memorable race

DAYTONA Beach, Fla. (AP) — Just take a trip via Daytona Intercontinental Speedway’s major tunnel and pics of some of the most celebrated activities in observe history line the partitions.

A person can not be missed.

It reveals Cale Yarborough, helmet in hand, prepared to unload on Bobby Allison and ignite a muddy, bloody slugfest in the 1979 Daytona 500 that turned the remarkably anticipated initially dwell flag-to-flag broadcast of a race into a spectacle that stamped NASCAR on the countrywide sports map.

Who had been these great ol’ boys on Television fighting as an alternative of racing?

The seminal second legitimized the Daytona 500 in a flash — additional like in a punch — and abruptly even classic adhere-and-ball lovers had been buzzing about NASCAR and the brawl that altered it all.

The struggle was a viral clip prior to this kind of a term was even a detail and it’s stood for 44 a long time close to the top of the quick checklist of most talked about, dissected and still-just cannot-imagine-it times about NASCAR’s initial 74 several years.

As part of the celebration of NASCAR’s 75th season, The Linked Press interviewed 12 veteran contributors to the field on matters ranging from the best motorists to essential worries ahead.

With large names, a throwdown and a nation of viewers, the 1979 Daytona 500 was the winner in the AP study as the most unforgettable race for its purpose as perhaps the most pivotal market-changer in NASCAR heritage.

“While there are dozens of likely honorable mentions, this just one seems to be replayed in spotlight films far more than any other, which will help it qualify as most memorable in addition to most pivotal,” stated longtime Motor Racing Community announcer Winston Kelly.

Amid the other races mentioned have been Dale Earnhardt’s breakthrough 1998 Daytona 500 victory and Richard Petty’s 200th acquire in 1984 in the July Daytona race attended by President Ronald Reagan. Heck, Edsel Ford, prolonged-time executive at the enterprise that bears the title of his terrific-grandfather Henry Ford, couldn’t slim it down to just just one.

“I would say that any race that a Ford Motor Co. products gained is my most unforgettable race,” Ford stated.

All appropriate nominees. But the 1979 Daytona 500 race — it was Petty’s sixth get in the crown jewel race — was a thing specific. More than 15 million men and women watched the race and all its aftermath. It stood as the greatest-rated NASCAR race until eventually 2001.

The mayhem was triggered early in the race when Yarborough arrived up on brother Bobby and Donnie Allison and tapped Bobby’s rear bumper, sending all three vehicles careening by way of a muddy infield. All three motorists recovered, and Yarborough and Donnie Allison eventually battled for the direct in advance of spinning out.

Yarborough later explained Bobby Allison had slowed down to block him, then claimed Donnie knocked him into the grass. Bobby Allison had stopped his motor vehicle close to the crashed cars to see if Donnie wanted a journey back to the garage. Yarborough confronted him by way of his window.

“He ran towards me and started out yelling at me,” Bobby informed the AP in 2019 for a 40th-anniversary remembrance. “And then he hit me in the experience with his helmet, which genuinely surprised me. I still had my seatbelts on. I experienced my helmet on, and that shielded me a minimal bit, but it lower my nose and my lips.

“By then, blood was dripping in my lap. I have either acquired to get out of the vehicle and cope with this or run from him the relaxation of my daily life. So I received out of my automobile and he went to beating on my fists with his nose.”

When Yarborough and Allison traded haymakers in the Florida solar, it was actually a snowstorm that aided broaden the race’s publicity.

The Daytona 500 was broadcast reside in its entirety for the very first time, reaching marketplaces that knew very little, if nearly anything, about stock auto racing. There was a blizzard that pressured a massive part of the nation inside of. Metropolitan areas were shut down, and TVs were turned on.

Deb Williams, an AP panelist now in her fourth ten years of racing coverage, was pressed into support in her first year composing for UPI. She viewed the race on Tv set at her parents’ home in North Carolina — snow blanketed the household outside — and afterwards wrote the story from the Raleigh bureau about followers that experienced banded jointly to pay out Donnie Allison’s $6,000 good.

“There was just so a great deal raw emotion of components that people today saw for the very first time,” reported Williams, who is masking her 29th Daytona 500 this calendar year, for Autoweek.

And not for the last.


AP NASCAR at 75 voting panel: Edsel Ford, long-time Ford government Tony Gibson, retired NASCAR crew chief Jeff Gordon, four-time NASCAR champion Denny Hamlin, three-time Daytona 500 champion Rick Hendrick, founder of Hendrick Motorsports Jimmie Johnson, seven-time NASCAR winner Winston Kelley, executive director of the NASCAR Corridor of Fame Steve O’Donnell, Chief Operating Officer for NASCAR Richard Petty, NASCAR Corridor of Fame driver Lyn St. James, a single of nine ladies who have certified for the Indianapolis 500 Deb Williams, award-profitable NASCAR journalist Eddie Wooden, co-operator of Wood Brothers Racing.


An AP Visuals blog site on Daytona’s background: https://apimagesblog.com/historical/2020/1/31/from-sand-to-speedway-motor-racing-at-daytona


AP automobile racing: https://apnews.com/hub/vehicle-racing and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports