1973 Medal of Honor Firecracker 400

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1973 Medal of Honor Firecracker 400
Race details
Race 17 of 28 in the 1973 NASCAR Winston Cup Series season
Track map of Daytona International Speedway showing mainly the speedway.
Track map of Daytona International Speedway showing mainly the speedway.
Date July 4, 1973 (1973-July-04)
Location Daytona International Speedway
Course Permanent racing facility
2.500 mi (4.023 km)
Distance 160 laps, 400 mi (643 km)
Weather Temperatures between 72.9 °F (22.7 °C) and 89.1 °F (31.7 °C); wind speeds up to 11.8 miles per hour (19.0 km/h)[1]
Average speed 158.468 miles per hour (255.030 km/h)
Pole position
Driver Bobby Allison Bobby Allison
Most laps led
Driver David Pearson Wood Brothers Racing
Laps 51
No. 21
David Pearson
Wood Brothers Racing

The 1973 Medal of Honor Firecracker 400 was a NASCAR Winston Cup Series race that took place on July 4, 1973, at Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Florida, USA.

Only manual transmission vehicles were allowed to participate in this race; a policy that NASCAR has retained to the present day.


This race eventually became Marty Robbins' most iconic race during his career in NASCAR. While he would start in an absymal 36th place (out of the 40 drivers who made up the racing grid), he would put on a miraculous comeback and finish the race in eighth place, seven laps down. J.D. McDuffie ended up being the last-place finisher of this race due to an engine problem on lap 2 of 160. It took more than 160 minutes and two caution flags for David Pearson to defeat Richard Petty in front of a live audience of sixty thousand devoted stock car racing fans. Six car lengths was determined to be the distance between Petty and Pearson after the race was resolved. Bobby Allison secured the pole position for the race by driving at speeds up to 179.619 miles per hour (289.069 km/h) during the solo qualifying sessions.[2]

For the two and a half hour spectacle, the drivers averaged 158.468 miles per hour (255.030 km/h). Engine problems also took numerous other drivers out of the race. All competitors (except for Canadian-born Vic Parsons) were born in the United States. Mercury, Dodge, and Chevrolet made up the majority of the driving grid for this event. Bobby Allison, Cale Yarborough, Richard Petty, and David Pearson jointly monopolized the changes in the leadership position.[2]

The winner of the race walked away with $16,100 in prize winnings ($85,532.76 when considering inflation) while the last-place winner received just $1,270 ($6,746.99 when considering inflation). All the prize winnings from this race added up to $105,080 ($558,247.35 when considering inflation).[3]

Top twenty finishers[edit]


Preceded by
1973 Motor State 400
NASCAR Winston Cup Series races
Succeeded by
1973 Volunteer 500
Preceded by
Firecracker 400 races
Succeeded by