1978 Daytona 500

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1978 Daytona 500
Race details
Race 2 of 30 in the 1978 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 February 19, 1978 (1978-02-19)
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)[1]
Average speed 159.73 miles per hour (257.06 km/h)
Pole position
Driver 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
Laps 76
No. 15 Bobby Allison Bud Moore Engineering
Television in the United States
Network ABC's WWOS
Announcers Jim McKay and Jackie Stewart
Nielsen Ratings 11.8/33
(20.9.1 million viewers)

The 1978 Daytona 500, the 20th running of the event, was the second race of the 1978 NASCAR Winston Cup season. It was held on February 19 at Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Florida. Defending winner Cale Yarborough won the pole and Bobby Allison won the race.


It began with what looked like a runaway victory for Richard Petty who brought a brand new Dodge Magnum to the race.[2] Starting in sixth place, Petty quickly went out in front and led 32 out of the first 60 laps, all ran under green. The first 60 laps were run at an average speed of nearly 180 mph.[2] But on the lap 61, Petty cut a left rear tire and spun out, collecting long-time rival David Pearson and Darrell Waltrip.[2]

Track conditions were such a problem that day, due to heavy rains during the week. Just after the restart on lap 70, Parsons blew a left rear tire and spin out. Behind him, 1972 race winner A.J. Foyt was caught up and flipped several times in the turn 1 infield. That left the race to three drivers, but 1977 race winner and polesitter Cale Yarborough ran into minor engine problems and Buddy Baker was to have his typical late-race misfortunes. Bobby Allison, for whom last year's race was not kind to him, entered the race with a 67-race winless streak, which dated back to the 1975 Southern 500 at Darlington. With 11 laps remaining, he drove his Bud Moore Ford Thunderbird around Baker to take the lead and never look back as he captured his first Daytona 500 win.[2]

It was the worst starting position that a driver has won the event, until 2007 when Kevin Harvick started one spot back than Allison.[2] This occurred again in 2009 with Matt Kenseth as he was sent to the rear and started in 42nd.[2] This Daytona 500 was the first race with French NASCAR driver Claude Ballot-Léna.[2]

Top ten finishers[3][edit]

  1. Bobby Allison – #15
  2. Cale Yarborough – #11
  3. Benny Parsons – #72
  4. Ron Hutcherson – #53
  5. Dick Brooks – #90
  6. Dave Marcis – #2
  7. Buddy Baker – #27
  8. Bill Elliott – #9
  9. Ferrel Harris – #6
  10. Lennie Pond – #54


  1. ^ "Weather of the 1978 Daytona 500". The Old Farmers' Almanac. Retrieved 2013-06-25. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g NASCAR.COM - Daytona Countdown: '78 - Jan 21, 2005
  3. ^ "1978 Daytona 500 race information". Racing Reference. Retrieved 2013-06-25.