Daytona 500-mile Race. Standard Saloons (February 27th)
The banked track race on the Daytona Speedway was stopped five miles short of the full 500 miles, due to rain. Despite delays with tyre trouble, Richard Petty won at a remarkable average speed of 160.627 m.p.h. At one stage in the race pit stops had dropped Petty to 20th place, but, lapping continuously at new lap record speeds, he cut through the field to win by over one lap. His final lap record was 176.817 m.p.h., driving a “hemi-head” Plymouth V8.
This was the big race in which Ford had hoped to field their overhead camshaft 7-litre V8-cylinder engine, but it was turned down by the N.A.S.C.A.R. and U.S.A.C. Homologation Committee, as recounted in the February Motor Sport.
Of the 50 starters only 17 were running at the end of the 500 miles and most cars had to stop five times for fuel or tyres. There were seven Chrysler-powered cars in the first ten finishers, which must have disturbed the Ford empire.
1st : R. Petty (1966 Plymouth V8)-198 laps-3 hr. 04 min. 54.0 sec. 258.5 k.p.h. 160.627 m.p.h.
2nd: C. Yarborough (1966 Ford V8) -197 laps.
3rd : D. Pearson (Dodge V8) -196 laps.
4th : F. Lorenzen (Ford V8) -196 laps.
Fastest lap.—R. Petty (1966 Plymouth V8). 284.5 k.p,h. 176.817 m.p.h.