1960 Daytona 500 (partially found footage of NASCAR Grand National Series race; 1960)

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Program for the race.

Status: Partially Found

The 1960 Daytona 500 was the 5th race of the 1960 NASCAR Grand National Series. Occurring on 14th February at the Daytona International Speedway, the race would ultimately by won by Junior Johnson in a 1959 Chevrolet, claiming his sole win at the event. The event is also historic for being televised by CBS, becoming the first major NASCAR race to be broadcast.

Background[edit | edit source]

The 1960 Daytona 500 was the 2nd running of the event, with the annual race typically lasting 500 miles in length.[1] Since its inception in 1959, the Daytona 500 has become the most prestigious race on the Cup Series calendar, including being defined as "The Great American Race", offering the largest prize pot and generally defining a driver's career.[2] The race would be one of four 1960 Grand National races at Daytona International Speedway to award points.[3] The others included the Firecracker 250, which occurred on 4th July was won by Jack Smith in a 1960 Pontiac;[4] and the Twin 100s,[5][6] which also helped determine who qualified and the starting order for the Daytona 500.[7]

Prior to the race, qualifying commenced with Cotton Owens winning the pole position in a 1960 Pontiac with a speed of 149.892 mph.[1] The Twin 100s then commenced; Fireball Roberts led from start to finish in a 1960 Pontiac to claim $1,000 in prize money in the first race, ahead of Owens, with 1960 Ford driver Bob Burdick taking third.[8][5] In the second race, Jack Smith also dominated the entire duration of the event in a 1960 Pontiac to claim the $1,000.[6] Bobby Johns finished second in a 1959 Pontiac, with 1960 Chevrolet driver Jim Reed taking third.[8][6] The starting order for the Daytona 500 was therefore decided, with Smith lining up ahead of Roberts in second and third respectively, after Smith posted a higher average speed.[1][5][6] Meanwhile, Junior Johnson started 9th out of 68 competitors, after finishing fifth in the first Twin race.[1][5] Johnson was not considered a favourite to win, with Roberts, Buck Baker, and Richard and Lee Petty being deemed the most likely to be victorious heading in.[9]

The Race[edit | edit source]

With the starting order decided, the 1960 Daytona 500 commenced on 14th February.[1] Roberts achieved a strong start, taking the lead on the first lap and holding onto it for the first 19.[8][1] Smith took over for the next eight, losing it to Johnson on lap 29.[1] The race's early stages was generally an open competition for the lead until Tom Pistone moved into the first position on lap 55 and held it for 26 consecutive laps.[1][8] A few laps beforehand, Roberts retired following an engine failure.[1][8] Additionally, this Daytona 500 would become notorious for some of its crashes, caused mainly from hind winds coming in from the nearby beach.[10][9] Among those included George Green, whose 1958 Chevrolet caught fire, forcing him to make a hasty retreat.[9][10][1] He escaped injury, but Tommy Herbert was not so lucky following a serious crash after 118 laps in a 1960 Ford.[10][9][1] After smashing into the back straightaway, the car broke apart with its engine pulling free and the front end assembly taking flight.[9][10] Pappy Crane meanwhile rolled his 1959 Chevrolet trying to avoid the accident.[10][1] Crane escaped injury, but Herbert suffered a broken hand and an eye injury.[9]

On lap 81, Rex White in a 1960 Chevrolet ended Pistone's time as the leader.[1] However, Johnson would move past into the first position on lap 90, defending it for 45 consecutive laps.[1] Then, 1960 Plymouth driver Richard Petty impressed by taking the lead off of Johnson, leading until lap 164 before his father Lee moved ahead, also in a 1960 Plymouth.[8][1] Lee Petty was unable to maintain it for long though, with Johns making a move on lap 170.[8][1] He maintained it until lap 192, when Johnson achieved the final lead change.[1] It came under unusual circumstances, when a wind event caused Johns' rear window to blow, causing the car to spin.[9][8][10] While his car proved undamaged aside from the rear window, it caused Johns to lose his seven second lead over Johnson.[8][10] Johnson was able to achieve the final lead overtake, with some speculating that Johnson, who is credited for discovering drafting, had found the principle during this race.[8][9] He started to build a sizeable gap to Johns for the remaining laps, crossing the line with a 23-second lead to claim victory and $19,600 in prize money.[8][10][1] Johns held on to finish second, with Richard pipping his father to third.[1]

Post-race, Johnson donated his winnings to charity.[8] His car owner John Masoni justified the decision with "we're in this racing game for fun, not profit".[8] The 1960 edition of the Daytona 500 is known for being the slowest instance of the event, with an average speed of around 124 mph.[8][10][1] The resulting crashes at the event also forced NASCAR to cancel 100 mile events at the Palmetto Speedway in Miami, and Hollywood Speedway in Hallandale, to give teams more time to prepare their vehicles.[8]

Availability[edit | edit source]

While it was not the first NASCAR event to be televised, with some of the proceeding Daytona races being televised by CBS, the 1960 Daytona 500 holds the distinction of being the first major NASCAR race to be broadcast.[11] According to NASCAR on TV, up to an hour of the race was televised by CBS as part of its CBS Sports Spectacular, although it is unknown when the broadcast occurred.[12] This broadcast has yet to publicly resurface, and just like the 1960 Daytona races, there is the possibility that it could have been wiped.[13] However, the possibility of the broadcast remaining in kinetoscope form remains.[13]

Nevertheless, all Daytona 500s have at least some footage that is publicly available courtesy of the DVD set Daytona 500: 50 Years The Greatest American Race.[14] Additionally, over 17 minutes of coverage from Dynamic Films is also available to view.

Gallery[edit | edit source]

Videos[edit | edit source]

Dynamic Films coverage of the race.
Race highlights.
Further footage (please note the crash at the 2:35 mark actually came from the Sportsman race held a day prior).

See Also[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. 1.00 1.01 1.02 1.03 1.04 1.05 1.06 1.07 1.08 1.09 1.10 1.11 1.12 1.13 1.14 1.15 1.16 1.17 1.18 1.19 Racing-Reference detailing qualifying and race results for the event. Retrieved 11 Apr '22
  2. Sportskeeda detailing the Daytona 500 and its importance to NASCAR. Retrieved 11 Apr '22
  3. Racing-Reference detailing the 1960 NASCAR Grand National calendar. Retrieved 11 Apr '22
  4. Racing-Reference detailing the results of the 1960 Firecracker 250. Retrieved 11 Apr '22
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 Racing-Reference detailing the results of the first Twin 100s race. Retrieved 11 Apr '22
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 Racing-Reference detailing the results of the second Twin 100s race. Retrieved 11 Apr '22
  7. Draftkings Nation detailing the purpose of the Twin races. Retrieved 11 Apr '22
  8. 8.00 8.01 8.02 8.03 8.04 8.05 8.06 8.07 8.08 8.09 8.10 8.11 8.12 8.13 8.14 RacersReunion providing a detailed account of the qualifying races and the 500 itself. Retrieved 11 Apr '22
  9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 9.3 9.4 9.5 9.6 9.7 The Early Laps of Stock Car Racing detailing the race, the incidents, and Johnson's usage of drafting to win. Retrieved 11 Apr '22
  10. 10.0 10.1 10.2 10.3 10.4 10.5 10.6 10.7 10.8 Gold Thunder providing an account of some of the incidents that occurred during the race. Retrieved 11 Apr '22
  11. The Nuts and Bolts of NASCAR noting the 1960 Daytona 500 was broadcast by CBS after the proceeding Daytona races. Retrieved 11 Apr '22
  12. NASCAR on TV detailing the CBS broadcast of the race. Retrieved 11 Apr '22
  13. 13.0 13.1 Archived Racing-Reference detailing how the broadcast could have been wiped, or that a kinetoscope may still exist of it. Retrieved 11 Apr '22
  14. Daytona 500: 50 Years The Greatest American Race 2008 containing highlights of the race. Retrieved 11 Apr '22