1978 Daytona 500
|Race 2 of 30 in the 1978 NASCAR Winston Cup Series season|
Daytona International Speedway
|Date||February 19, 1978|
|Location||Daytona International Speedway|
|Course||Permanent racing facility
2.5 mi (4.02336 km)
|Distance||200 laps, 500 mi (804.672 km)|
|Weather||Temperatures reaching as high as 73.9 °F (23.3 °C); wind speeds approaching 9.9 miles per hour (15.9 km/h)|
|Average speed||159.73 miles per hour (257.06 km/h)|
|Driver||Cale Yarborough||Junior Johnson & Associates|
|Qualifying race winners|
|Duel 1 Winner||A. J. Foyt||A. J. Foyt Enterprises|
|Duel 2 Winner||Darrell Waltrip||DiGard Motorsports|
|Most laps led|
|Driver||Buddy Baker||M.C. Anderson Racing|
||Bud Moore Engineering|
|Television in the United States|
|Announcers||Jim McKay, and Jackie Stewart|
(20.9.1 million viewers)
It began with what looked like a runaway victory for Richard Petty who brought a brand new Dodge Magnum to the race. Starting in sixth place, Petty quickly took the lead and would lead 32 out of the first 60 laps, all of which were run under green flag conditions, resulting in the first 60 laps being run at an average speed of nearly 180 MPH. But on the 61st lap, Petty cut a left rear tire, causing him to spin out, collecting him, as well as long-time rival David Pearson and Darrell Waltrip.
Track conditions were problematic that day, due to heavy rains during the week. On the 70th lap, just after the restart, Benny Parsons suffered a blown left rear tire, causing him to spin out. Behind him, A.J. Foyt, the winner of the 1972 Daytona 500, was caught in the aftermath and flipped several times in the turn one infield. That left the race to three drivers, but Cale Yarborough, who sat on the pole, ran into minor engine problems and Buddy Baker was to have his typical late-race misfortunes. Enter Bobby Allison, for whom the Daytona 500 prior to the 1978 race was not kind to him, in fact he came to the race with a 67-race winless streak, which dated back to the 1975 Southern 500 at Darlington, but with 11 laps remaining, he pushed his boxy 1977 bodied Bud Moore Ford Thunderbird around Buddy Baker to take the lead and never look back as he captured his first Daytona 500 win.
It was the worst starting position that a driver has won the event, until 2007 when Kevin Harvick started one spot back than Allison. Then again in 2009 with Matt Kenseth as he was sent to the rear and started in 42nd because of it. This Daytona 500 had the first race of a French NASCAR driver Claude Ballot-Léna.
- 15-Bobby Allison
- 11-Cale Yarborough
- 72-Benny Parsons
- 53-Ron Hutcherson
- 90-Dick Brooks
- 2-Dave Marcis
- 27-Buddy Baker
- 9-Bill Elliott
- 6-Ferrel Harris
- 54-Lennie Pond
- "Weather of the 1978 Daytona 500". The Old Farmers' Almanac. Retrieved 2013-06-25.
- NASCAR.COM - Daytona Countdown: '78 - Jan 21, 2005
- "1978 Daytona 500 race information". Racing Reference. Retrieved 2013-06-25.