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1971 Daytona 500

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Title: 1971 Daytona 500  
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Subject: Richard Petty, Daytona 500, 1971 in sports, A. J. Foyt, Restrictor plate, Keith Jackson, Cale Yarborough, Benny Parsons, LeeRoy Yarbrough, Tiny Lund
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1971 Daytona 500

The 1971 Daytona 500, the 13th running of the event, was a NASCAR Winston Cup Series (now Sprint Cup Series) event held on February 14, 1971 at the Daytona International Speedway spanning 500 miles (800 km) on a paved oval track. All of the racing action commenced during daytime hours and ended prior to dusk since there was no lighting available until at least the 1998 season. It was considered to be the first Daytona 500 in the Winston Cup era of NASCAR. During this time, Richard Petty (the winner of the race[1] and the eventual winner of the 1971 NASCAR Winston Cup Series championship) was becoming one of the most winningest veterans on the NASCAR circuit.[2]

Racing information

Manufacturers and statistics

The manufacturers that were involved on the twelfth running of the Daytona 500 included Chevrolet,[1] Mercury,[1] Ford,[1] Plymouth,[1] and Dodge.[1] All the vehicles were manufactured directly from the same Detroit factories that made normal passenger automobiles as opposed to the specialized stock car production facilities of today (which are mostly made in South Carolina). Out of the 500 miles it takes to make a complete race, the average speed achieved at the 1971 Daytona 500 was 144.462 miles per hour (232.489 km/h).[3] Today's Sprint Cup vehicles can only go up to 185 miles per hour (298 km/h) at today's Daytona 500 races[4] and the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series pickup trucks can do up to 190 miles per hour (310 km/h)[4] (and they don't need restrictor plates due to their horsepower disadvantage). As a result, the NASCAR trucks have the capability to go faster than the Sprint Cup cars.[4]

Overall, the maximum qualifying speed for the 1971 Daytona 500 time trials was more than 190 miles per hour (310 km/h). Forty cars were lined with legends like A. J. Foyt and David Pearson eventually acquiring top five finishes at the end of this prestigious race.[1]

Race results

Note: All participants were born in the United States of America except for Pedro Rodríguez.

  1. Richard Petty (race time: 3 hours, 27 minutes, 40 seconds)
  2. Buddy Baker (10 seconds behind)
  3. A. J. Foyt (less than 1 lap behind)
  4. David Pearson (1 lap behind)
  5. Fred Lorenzen
  6. Jim Vandiver (2 laps behind)
  7. Dick Brooks
  8. Jim Hurtubise(3 laps behind)
  9. James Hylton
  10. Bobby Isaac
  11. Ramo Stott (5 laps behind)
  12. Joe Frasson (6 laps behind)
  13. Pedro Rodríguez
  14. Elmo Langley(7 laps behind)
  15. Freddy Fryar (8 laps behind)
  16. Bill Champion (9 laps behind)
  17. Cecil Gordon (13 laps behind)
  18. Bobby Allison
  19. Marv Acton (14 laps behind)
  20. Coo Coo Marlin(16 laps behind)
  21. Tommy Gale (17 laps behind)
  22. Larry Baumel (21 laps behind)
  23. Ben Arnold
  24. Frank Warren (22 laps behind)
  25. Dave Marcis* (27 laps behind)
  26. Donnie Allison* (30 laps behind)
  27. Bill Dennis* (38 laps behind)
  28. Pete Hamilton* (43 laps behind)
  29. John Sears* (74 laps behind)
  30. Bill Seifert* (89 laps behind)
  31. Henley Gray* (107 laps behind)
  32. Red Farmer* (109 laps behind)
  33. Cale Yarborough* (139 laps behind)
  34. LeeRoy Yarbrough†* (155 laps behind)
  35. Benny Parsons†* (161 laps behind)
  36. Friday Hassler†* (162 laps behind)
  37. Neil Castles* (176 laps behind)
  38. Maynard Troyer* (191 laps behind in his Cup Series debut)
  39. Tiny Lund†* (193 laps behind)
  40. Ron Keselowski* (199 laps behind)

† Driver is known to be deceased
* Driver failed to finish race

Race sponsors

Post-race summary

Winnings and championship potential

The winner's purse for the 1971 Daytona 500 was considered to be $45,450 in American dollars ($264,670.62 when inflation is taken into effect).[1] Even the last place finisher received $1,000 ($5,823.34 with inflation) in take-home pay.[1] Richard Petty would go on to win four more Daytona 500 races after this one (1973, 1974, 1979, and 1981).[2] There were seven cautions involving forty-four laps of yellow flag racing and zero laps of red flag racing.[1]


Attendance for the 1971 Daytona 500 reached 80,000 spectators;[1] outnumbering the maximum attendance possible at Soldier Field by 18,500 people. Expansion in the next eighteen years would bring attendance up to 180,000 people (even when considering the increased television and Internet coverage that today's NASCAR Sprint Cup races experience). ABC's Wide World of Sports televised the race during an era where televised NASCAR programming was restricted due to its mostly regional appeal with citizens of the Southern United States. Commentary was done by the legendary Chris Economaki who did the Daytona 500 races in the 1970s. NASCAR would not see a significant growth in their "northern audience" until at least the 1990s. Today, NASCAR can be found nearly seven days a week through digital satellite television channels like ESPN, Speed, and TNT from Hawaii to Maine (while their Canadian counterpart TSN makes the events accessible for cable and satellite customers from British Columbia to Newfoundland).

Darrell Waltrip often complained in his early racing career that NASCAR should have been televised more. It could be said that Darrell Waltrip would have accomplished racing as a young man in the 1990s as opposed to the more company-oriented days of the 1970s. He would race in the next year's Permatex 300 Sportsman race for his first Daytona start in a car once driven by Mario Andretti. Often, it was only the Daytona 500 and a few major Grand National/Winston Cup events that were televised during the 1970s and 1980s when NASCAR was predominantly a "Southern sport."

End of a tradition

Most of the vehicles utilized during that running of the Daytona 500 were manufactured between 1969 and 1971.[1] Since each and every driver was still expected to compete in the same passenger vehicle that he commuted to the race course in, not all drivers had the same model year of vehicle. Deviation of up to two or three model years was expected because parity wasn't enforced by NASCAR during that era and different teams had different budgets from each other.

This tradition would finally end at all NASCAR events where passenger stock cars were involved because of the 1973 oil crisis. In the ensuing panic, homologation rules would finally be discontinued, allowing vehicles that are specifically designed for racing (i.e., not street legal). Detroit's role in the sport would later be relegated to engine parts and decals as seen by the looks of today's "stock car" automobiles. Famous drivers that raced in this running of the Daytona 500 included Coo Coo Marlin (father of Sterling Marlin and grandfather of Steadman Marlin),[1] Donnie Allison,[1] Bobby Allison,[1] Cale Yarborough,[1] and Benny Parsons.[1] Out of the forty racers competing in the 1971 Daytona 500, thirty-nine were American and only one was Mexican. The only Mexican competitor (who would finish in thirteenth place) would have an asphalt racing course named after him after he died six months later in Germany during an open wheel race (along with his older brother Ricardo Rodríguez).

On a side note, Dick Brooks would be the final driver to make a competitive run with a winged vehicle. After this race, NASCAR would return to the rear spoiler until 2008 where it failed again. Eventually, the rear spoiler was reinstated again in the middle of the 2010 NASCAR season.



External links

  • Donnie Allison's Starting Position for the 1971 Daytona 500
Preceded by
1970 Daytona 500
Daytona 500 races
Succeeded by
1972 Daytona 500
Preceded by
1971 Motor Trend 500
NASCAR Winston Cup Season
Succeeded by
1971 Miller High Life 500
Preceded by
1970 Georgia 500
Richard Petty's Career Wins
Succeeded by
1971 Richmond 500
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