Monday, February 27, 2012

February 27 - This day in Petty history - part 1

1966 - Starting from the pole, Richard Petty scores his 42nd career victory and his second Daytona 500 - the only multi-time winner in the race's eight years. The race ends under caution two laps early because of rain.

Source: Motor Racing Programme Covers
Petty won his first Daytona 500 - and his first superspeedway race overall - two years earlier. Because of a NASCAR racing boycott by Chrysler Corporation for much of 1965, the factory-supported Petty team skipped the 1965 race but returned in 1966.

Photo and headline courtesy of Jerry Bushmire
NASCAR was fortunate in that era to have some coverage of the race featured on ABC's Wide World of Sports. Races weren't broadcast live and were aired on a heavily-edited basis a week or two - or more - later. Considering most NASCAR races were not aired, the Daytona 500 was one of the two most prominent races on the schedule partially because of the TV coverage.

A couple of things I find interesting in this brief recap of the race's highlights are:
  • In the video's intro remarks, ABC's Curt Gowdy refers to the race as the World Series of Stock Car Racing. Baseball was still America's national pastime in the 1960s. In the late 1970s - and pretty much even today, the race is referred to as the Super Bowl of Stock Car Racing. In 1966, the Super Bowl was still a year away from its first edition.
  • For some reason, Petty's crew painted the 43 on the roof off-center. See it around the 5:15 mark.

I found it interesting too that Chris Economaki looked like Vaughan, John Ritter's character in Slingblade.

If you are a real junkie for old school NASCAR video, here are links to a 4-part, extended version recap of the race.

1966 Daytona 500 - part 1
1966 Daytona 500 - part 2
1966 Daytona 500 - part 3
1966 Daytona 500 - part 4
Article courtesy of Jerry Bushmire
Somehow, someway, a newspaper editor 'discovered' the lost Petty child - Tom. Shunned by his racing parents and siblings, he went on to a life of rock-and-roll. As an adult, he sang such racing-related songs as Breakdown, You Wreck Me, I Won't Back Down, and Runnin' Down A Dream.

Photo - including Kyle Petty not Tom - courtesy of Jerry Bushmire


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