Friday, February 23, 2024

1969- Yarbrough Wins Daytona 500

Lee Roy Yarbrough is joined by his wife Gloria after winning the Daytona 500.

Daytona Beach, Fla. (February 23, 1969) - Sheer determination and skill brought Lee Roy Yarbrough his biggest payoff in eight years of big-time stock car racing. But pit crews will debate for a long time whether a tire change might have made the difference between the winner and second-place Charlie Glotzbach in the Daytona 500 Sunday.

In the background of the mechanical controversy were two former champion drivers – Junior Johnson, who prepared Yarbrough’s 1969 Ford Talladega, and Cotton Owens, who did the same with Glotzbach’s 1969 Dodge Charger 500.

Yarbrough, who was runner-up in both the Daytona 500 and Firecracker 400 at Daytona International Speedway last year, passed Glotzbach one mile from home and finished a car length in front.

“I was going flat out, and I couldn't slingshot past him off the fourth turn,” Glotzbach said.

Yarbrough, giving his account of the final laps, said, “I actually caught him on the lap before but decided to wait till the last lap, where he could not gain enough momentum to pass me back.”

They waged a two-car duel through the last 100 miles after Donnie Allison - who led 87 of the 200 laps around the 2.5-mile high-banked track - brushed the wall and lost some of his speed.

The crucial tire change came 50 miles before the finish. Yarbrough pitted 21 seconds. In addition to fueling, the changed the left rear tire. Glotzbach was in the pit only 18 seconds, just for fuel.

When both cars went into the final laps, it appeared the three-second difference had won the race for Glotzbach, the comparative newcomer from Georgetown, Ind. But Yarbrough steadily closed in.

After he got past a dangerous situation just before passing, Glotzbach, he had the tiny speed margin that brought him $38,950 in prize money compared to $18,425 for Glotzbach.

That dangerous situation cropped up when the two cars overtook a slower one on the backstretch.

“I went past him on one side and Charlie on the other side,” Yarbrough recalled. "I just hoped he was experienced enough to look in his rear view mirror and wouldn’t just move over the other way when he saw the first car come by.”

He was…

Aerodynamic design of the Talladega model was credited for faster speeds, and Yarbrough actually set a race record of 157.950 miles per hour. It wiped out the 154.334 mark set by Richard Petty in 1966.

Ford took the next two places behind Glotzbach. Donnie Allison of Hueytown, Ala., finished third, one lap back, and collected $13,275. A.J. Foyt of Houston was fourth and got $5,800. Buddy Baker of Charlotte, N.C., who started a Dodge on the pole, came home fifth for $10,050.

Results –

1. Lee Roy Yarbrough
2. Charlie Glotzbach
3. Donnie Allison
4. A.J. Foyt
5. Buddy Baker
6. David Pearson
7. Benny Parsons
8. Richard Petty
9. Andy Hampton
10.Ray Elder
11.Vic Elford
12.Richard Brickhouse
13.Friday Hassler
14.Jabe Thomas
15.James Hylton
16.Neil Castles
17.Dave Marcis
18.Bill Seifert
19.Frank Warren
20.Elmo Langley
21.George Bauer
22.Dub Simpson
23.Bill Champion
24.Henley Gray
25.Don Tarr
26.E.J. Trivette
27.Cecil Gordon
28.Buddy Arrington
29.Wendell Scott
30.Bobby Isaacs
31.Wayne Smith
32.Richard Brooks
33.Ramo Stott
34.Ben Arnold
35.Earl Brooks
36.Swede Savage
37.Dick Johnson
38.Cale Yarborough
39.J.D. McDuffie
40.Bobby Johns

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