1964 Firecracker 400
|Race 35 of 62 in the 1964 NASCAR Grand National Series season|
Track map of Daytona International Speedway showing mainly the speedway.
|Date||July 4, 1964|
|Official name||Firecracker 400|
|Location||Daytona International Speedway, Daytona Beach, Florida|
|Course||Permanent racing facility
2.500 mi (4.023 km)
|Distance||160 laps, 400 mi (643 km)|
|Weather||Hot with temperatures approaching 93 °F (34 °C); wind speeds up to 12 miles per hour (19 km/h)|
|Average speed||151.451 miles per hour (243.737 km/h)|
|Most laps led|
|Driver||Richard Petty||Petty Enterprises|
|No. 47||A.J. Foyt||Ray Nichels|
The 1964 Firecracker 400 was a NASCAR Grand National Series (now Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series) event that was held on July 4, 1964, at Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Florida. It would become the first NASCAR Grand National Series race to take place after Fireball Roberts died two days earlier; after participating in the infamous 1964 World 600.
There were 33 American-born drivers on the official racing grid. Fred Lorenzen (employed by Holman Moody) secured his last-place finish during the parade laps because he refused to start the race. Paul Goldsmith also elected not to start the race along; making Doug Moore the "legitimate" last-place finisher due to a distributor issue on lap 1 of this 160-lap race. Reb Wickersham spun on the first lap and very nearly took out Foyt. It took just more than two and a half hours for A.J. Foyt to defeat Bobby Isaac by a single car length in front of more than 30000 live spectators. There were 19 lead changes in the race and five caution periods for 25 laps.
Rodney Williams would make his NASCAR debut in this race. A.J. Foyt would appear in various races from the 1960s through the 1990s. His most notable future wins would come at the 1972 Daytona 500 and the 1972 Miller High Life 500. Larry Frank would carry two movie cameras in his car to record all the action being taken place. Attempts to record NASCAR history had already been attempted for the 1955 Southern 500 and the 1956 Southern 500.
For the final 56 laps, Isaac and Foyt dueled for the win, exchanging the lead 15 times between the two. Sixteen notable crew chiefs witnessed this race; with Wendell Scott serving as his own crew chief.
The transition to purpose-built racecars began in the early 1960s and occurred gradually over that decade. Changes made to the sport by the late 1960s brought an end to the "strictly stock" vehicles of the 1950s; most of the cars were trailered to events or hauled in by trucks.
Top ten finishers
- Start of race: Richard Petty held the pole position as the first lap officially commenced, Paul Goldsmith and Fred Lorenzen refused to start the race
- Lap 3: Neil Castles noticed that his vehicle's fuel pump was acting up, forcing him to accept a meager 29th-place finish
- Lap 5: Oil pressure issues would end Rodney Williams' hopes of winning the event
- Lap 9: Problems involving the vehicle's distributor managed to knock out Marvin Panch from the event
- Lap 10: Reb Wickersham suddenly felt nasty vibrations coming out of his vehicle, exiting the race for safety purposes
- Lap 13: Bill McMahan had to leave the race because the oil temperature in his vehicle got too high
- Lap 17: Junior Johnson managed to blow his vehicle's engine while racing at high speeds
- Lap 35: Ned Jarrett managed to blow his vehicle's engine while racing at high speeds
- Lap 38: Oil on the track forced a caution that ended on lap 41
- Lap 40: Earl Balmer took over the lead from Richard Petty
- Lap 41: Richard Petty took over the lead from Earl Balmer before losing it to Bobby Isaac on lap 104
- Lap 44: J.T. Putney's chances of winning the race ended with a problematic valve affecting his vehicle
- Lap 62: Tiny Lund's vehicle suffered from a faulty ignition, forcing him to accept a humiliating 21st-place finish
- Lap 69: Billy Wade managed to blow his vehicle's engine while racing at high speeds
- Lap 88: Ken Spikes had a terminal crash, forcing him out of the race
- Lap 103: Wendell Scott managed to blow his vehicle's engine while racing at high speeds
- Lap 104: Bobby Isaac took over the lead from Richard Petty
- Lap 105: A.J. Foyt took over the lead from Bobby Isaac
- Lap 106: Bobby Isaac took over the lead from A.J. Foyt
- Lap 107: A.J. Foyt took over the lead from Bobby Isaac
- Lap 111: Bobby Isaac took over the lead from A.J. Foyt before losing it to A.J. Foyt on lap 120; Larry Thomas had a terminal crash
- Lap 114: Bobby Johns managed to blow his vehicle's engine while racing at high speeds
- Lap 121: Bobby Isaac took over the lead from A.J. Foyt before losing it to A.J. Foyt on lap 136
- Lap 130: Debris on the backstretch forced NASCAR to slow down the vehicle until racing was re-allowed on lap 132
- Lap 139: Bobby Isaac took over the lead from A.J. Foyt before losing it to A.J. Foyt on lap 146
- Lap 144: LeeRoy Yarbrough had to drop out of the race due to his vehicle having a faulty fuel pump
- Laps 146-148: A.J. Foyt and Bobby Isaac would take turns with the first-place position
- Lap 149: Bobby Isaac took over the lead from A.J. Foyt before losing it to A.J. Foyt on lap 156
- Lap 160: A.J. Foyt took over the lead from Bobby Isaac for the last time in this race
- Finish: A.J. Foyt was officially declared the winner of the event
- Weather information for the 1964 Firecracker 400 at The Old Farmers' Almanac
- 1964 Firecracker 400 race information at Racing Reference
- 1964 Firecracker 400 race information at Race Database
- A.J. Foyt’s top five career accomplishments at Yahoo Sports
- Stock Cars of 50s & 60s – Stock Car Memories: Darlington-Southern 500 (DVD). Topics Entertainment.
- 1964 Firecracker 400 crew chief information at Racing-Reference
|Firecracker 400 races