1971 Twin 125s (lost footage of NASCAR Daytona 500 qualifying races; 1971)

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1971twin125s1.jpg

Pete Hamilton and A.J. Foyt racing during the Daytona 500, a day after their Twin 125s duel.

Status: Lost

The 1971 Twin 125s are two races at the Daytona National Speedway that served as qualifying events for the 1971 Daytona 500. Both occurred on 11th February, where the first race was won by Pete Hamilton in a 1971 Plymouth, while David Pearson in a 1969 Mercury was victorious in the second. These were the last Twin 125s that awarded points.

Background[edit | edit source]

The Twin 125s are unique races on the NASCAR Cup Series schedule. They consist of two qualifying heats that determine the majority of the 40 competitors for the Daytona 500.[1] It would also allow for the racers to analyse how their vehicles performed during the heats and modify them accordingly for the main event.[2] The 1971 Twin 125s would mark an end of an era dating back to 1959, where the races awarded points in the championship. From the 1972 Twin 125s onwards, they did not award points, because as part of an overhaul of the NASCAR Winston Cup Series, events now needed to reach at least 400km to officially count on the Winston Cup schedule.[3]

The Races[edit | edit source]

Prior to the Twin 125s, two had already qualified for the Daytona 500, with A.J. Foyt winning the pole position in a 1969 Mercury after achieving the best time trial performance of 182.744 mph,[4][5] ahead of Bobby Isaac in a 1971 Dodge.[6] In the first Twin 125s race, Hamilton was victorious and claimed $1,300 in prize money, ahead of Foyt and fellow 1971 Plymouth driver Richard Petty. Foyt did lead 33 of the 50 laps, but Hamilton successfully passed his opponent on the final lap and held on to win in a race with no cautions.[7] As for the second race, Pearson won to claim the $1,200, ahead of Buddy Baker in a 1971 Dodge, and Dick Brooks in a 1969 Dodge. In a race where the first position was primarily contested between Pearson and Baker, Pearson overtook his opponent on lap 45, and held on to claim victory.[8]

With the starters and race order decided, the 1971 Daytona 500 commenced on 14th February. It saw Petty ultimately claim victory after overtaking Baker on Lap 182, remaining ahead of the pack for the final 18 laps. Baker and Foyt finished second and third respectively, with Pearson fourth. Hamilton retired on lap 157 after experiencing engine issues.[6]

Availability[edit | edit source]

Footage of the 1971 Twin 125s has been confirmed to exist. According to NASCAR on TV, 25 minutes of highlights for both races were broadcast on ABC's World Wide of Sports on 13th February 1971, alongside a few other sports.[9] However, according to YouTuber Austin LaPlante, who created various playlists of NASCAR broadcasts, no footage of these races are currently publicly accessible on YouTube or on any other platform.[10]

See Also[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]