1975 Firecracker 400 (lost footage of NASCAR Winston Cup Series race; 1975)

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1975firecracker4001.jpg

Richard Petty celebrating his victory at the event.

Status: Lost

The 1975 Firecracker 400 was the 16th race of the 1975 NASCAR Winston Cup Series. Occurring on 4th July at the Daytona International Speedway, the race would ultimately be won by Richard Petty in a 1974 Dodge, ending The King's winless streak at the event.

Background[edit | edit source]

The 1975 Firecracker 400 was the 17th running of the event, with its name a reference to the fact it was held on the United States' Independence Day.[1] It was also the second 1975 NASCAR Winston Cup Series event to be held at Daytona International Speedway,[2] after the Daytona 500, which in 1975 occurred on 16th February and was won by Benny Parsons in a 1975 Chevrolet.[3] The Firecracker 400 also has ties to the modern Coke Zero Sugar 400 race, having dropped the Firecracker name in 2019.[1]

Prior to the race, qualifying commenced with Donnie Allison winning the pole position in a 1975 Chevrolet at a speed of 185.827 mph.[4] Behind him was Buddy Baker in a 1975 Ford, with David Pearson in a 1973 Mercury third.[4] Richard Petty, who had turned 38 two days before the race, qualified only 13th,[4] but was nevertheless determined to win his first Firecracker 400 event. Indeed, despite having won five Daytona 500s previously, Petty was seemingly cursed to never win at the sister event,[5] having also finished in second place three consecutive times from 1971 to 1973.[6]

The Race[edit | edit source]

With the starting order decided, the 1975 Firecracker 400 occurred on 4th July.[4] Baker shot into the lead on lap 1, and prior to lap 69, only faced brief challenges from Allison, Parsons, and A.J. Foyt in a 1975 Chevrolet.[4] By lap 69, Baker was overtaken by Pearson, although he would resume the lead on lap 78.[4] However, Petty successfully moved up the field, and on lap 85, briefly took the lead, although again Baker was able to win back the first position, holding onto it for another 40 laps.[4] From then on, it became a three-way duel between Baker, Petty, and Pearson, but the latter was forced to retire after retaking the lead on lap 141 following an oil line failure.[4]

On lap 148, the battle between the former teammates concluded when Petty slipped by to assume the first position, driving his Dodge low on the first turn compared to the Ford riding the high wall.[5] Ultimately, Baker was unable to challenge The King for the lead, allowing Petty to finally break his winless streak at the Firecracker 400 event, crossing the line ahead of Baker by 2.36 seconds.[5] He claimed between $17,185-$19,935 in prize money, making him only around $10,162 short of achieving $2 million in career earnings.[5][4] David Marcis in a 1974 Dodge finished third.[4][5]

Availability[edit | edit source]

According to NASCAR on TV, 45 minutes of highlights were broadcast by ABC on 12th July 1975 as part of its Wide World of Sports alongside the World Lumberjack Championships.[7] However, this broadcast has yet to resurface, and as of the present day, no footage of the race is publicly accessible. Nevertheless, a few photos of the event are publicly viewable.

Gallery[edit | edit source]

Images[edit | edit source]

See Also[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]