1962-1963 NASCAR Grand National Series (partially found footage of NASCAR qualifying sessions and races; 1962-1963)
The 1962 and 1963 NASCAR Grand National Series were respectively the 14th and 15th seasons of NASCAR's top-level stock car series. Both championships were won Joe Weatherly, having edged out Richard Petty in each. Five television broadcasts are known to have occurred during this time period, including the 1962 Daytona 500, Firecracker 250, and Southern 500; and the 1963 Daytona 500 and Firecracker 400. The 1963 Richmond 250's qualifying session was also aired by WRVA-TV.
1962 Daytona 500
The 1962 Daytona 500 was the 5th race of the 1962 NASCAR Grand National Series. Occurring on 18th February at the Daytona International Speedway, the race would ultimately be won by polesitter Fireball Roberts in a 1962 Pontiac at a record speed for a 500-mile event. His victory would be declared later than usual because of a protest made against him made by Lee Petty.
It was the 4th running of the event, with the annual race typically lasting 500 miles in length. 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. The race would be one of four 1962 Grand National races at Daytona International Speedway to award points. The others included the 1962 Firecracker 250, and the Twin 100s, which also helped determine who qualified for the Daytona 500, as well as its starting order.
Prior to the race, qualifying commenced with Roberts winning the pole position in a 1962 Pontiac with a speed of 156.999 mph. The Twin 100s then commenced; in the first, a duel between Roberts and 1960 Daytona 500 winner and 1962 Pontiac driver Junior Johnson commenced, with both trading the lead numerous times. Roberts would ultimately be victorious and gain $1,000 in prize money after Johnson was forced to pit for fuel. In second and third were the 1962 Pontiac drivers Jack Smith and Cotton Owens respectively. Johnson finished fifth out of 25 competitors. Post-race, Roberts stated he was frustrated that Johnson decided to stay back rather than lead more, as he wanted the benefit of the draft so that fuel could be saved. In the second race, a multicar crash occurred which took out polesitter and 1961 Pontiac driver Dartel Dieringer. Post-caution, Banjo Matthews led in his 1962 Pontiac until fellow 1962 Pontiac driver Joe Weatherly achieved a lead change on lap 12. Matthews would ultimately retire after 30 laps because of a fuel pump issue, while Weatherly won the race and the $1,000, ahead of the 1962 Ford of Nelson Stacy and 1962 Chevrolet driver Rex White.
With the starting order decided, the 1962 Daytona 500 commenced on 18th February. Weatherly took the lead on the first lap, before dropping it to Roberts in the second. Johnson briefly led on lap 4, only for Roberts to retake it a lap later and hold it for 11 more. Aside from a brief lap led by Cotton Owens, the battle for the lead primarily centred around Roberts, Johnson, and Richard Petty in a 1962 Plymouth, with the trio swapping the lead several times. Johnson would retire after 72 laps however, following an engine failure. Elsewhere, Buck Baker crashed his 1962 Chrysler after 89, suffering minor injuries in the process.
While the Pontiacs had superior horsepower, Petty was able to take advantage of his Plymouth's compact nature. While Fireball would dominate, including leading from lap 89 to 112, Petty would persist, even holding the first position from laps 131 to 149. Ultimately though, Roberts maintained control of the race, achieving the winning overtake on lap 151, and successfully defending it for the remaining laps. He extended his lead by the end to a margin of 27 seconds to claim victory and $24,190 in prize money. His average speed of 152.529 mph set a word record for a 500-mile race. Petty would finish second, with Weatherly taking third. Post-race, Lee Petty, father of Richard and owner of Petty Enterprises, filed a protest alleging that Fireball should be disqualified because his pit crew exceeded the maximum allowed number of six. NASCAR officials reviewed the claim, but dismissed it three days later on the grounds that it was hearsay, particularly when Lee Petty was unable to provide photographic proof he stated showed Roberts was violating the rule.
1962 Firecracker 250
The 1962 Firecracker 250 was the 29th race of the 1962 NASCAR Grand National Series. Occurring on 4th July at the Daytona International Speedway, the race would ultimately be won by 1962 Pontiac driver Fireball Roberts. Roberts became the first driver to win the Daytona 500 and Firecracker 250 in the same year.
It was the fourth running of the event, with its name a reference to the fact it was held on the United States' Independence Day. The Firecracker 250 also has ties to the modern Coke Zero Sugar 400 race, having dropped the Firecracker name in 2019.
Prior to the race, qualifying occurred, with Banjo Matthews winning the pole position after breaking the two-lap time trial record in his 1962 Pontiac. Bobby Johns and Johnny Allen, also in 1962 Pontiacs, qualified second and third respectively, ahead of Roberts in fourth. Richard Petty, driving a 1962 Plymouth, qualified 11th. Heading into the event, his goal was to win the race for his two-year-old son, Kyle.
With the starting order decided, the 1962 Firecracker 250 occurred on 4th July. Roberts made a great start, taking the lead on the first lap. However, he would be quickly passed by Matthews, and for the first 73 laps, Matthews and Johns would primarily duel for the lead, contributing to eight of the 14 lead changes. On lap 6, Petty crashed out, bringing out the first caution. On lap 34, the other caution occurred when a multicar crash involving the Pontiacs of Joe Weatherly and LeeRoy Yarbrough, and the Fords of Fred Lorenzen and Nelson Stacy, forcing all out of the race. Matthews was still leading by lap 73, but after holding out 32 consecutive laps, he retired after experiencing an engine failure. From that point, Johns and Roberts duelled, only for the latter to retire on lap 82 following transmission issues.
With Johns also out, Roberts' only challenger appeared to be fellow 1962 Pontiac driver Junior Johnson. Ultimately, Roberts held out for the remaining laps to claim victory and $9,850 in prize money. Johnson was the only other driver on the lead lap, with Marvin Panch in a 1962 Ford finishing third two laps down from the leaders. For Roberts, this would be his second Firecracker victory, later winning the expanded Firecracker 400 in 1963. He was also the first driver to win both the Daytona 500 and Firecracker 250 in the same year.
1963 Richmond 250
The 1963 Richmond 250 was the 15th race of the 1963 NASCAR Grand National Series. Occurring on 7th April at the Atlantic Rural Fairgrounds, the race would ultimately be won by Joe Weatherly in a 1963 Pontiac, capitalising when long-term leader and 1963 Chevrolet driver Junior Johnson suffered an engine failure. While the race was not televised, it is known that WRVA-TV aired footage of the qualifying session.
It was the 3rd running of the event, with the annual race typically lasting around 250 laps or around 125 miles in length. It was one of two 1963 Grand National races at Atlantic Rural Fairgrounds, the other being the Capital City 300, which occurred on 8th September and was won by Ned Jarrett in a 1963 Ford. The race also has ties to the modern Toyota Owners 400, having been expanded to 400 laps since 1976, and having dropped the Richmond title since 1984.
Prior to the race, qualifying commenced with Rex White winning the pole position in a 1962 Chevrolet with a speed of 69.151 mph. Directly behind him was 1963 Dodge driver David Pearson, with Joe Weatherly lining up third out of 25 competitors. Meanwhile, 1963 Ford drivers Fred Lorenzen and Fireball Roberts were considered some of the favourites to win, but only qualified 15th and 9th respectively. A few months before the race, it is known that Richmond promoter Paul Sawyer drove the Richmond pace car to the 1963 Riverside 500 to advertise the April event.
With the starting order decided, the 1963 Richmond 250 commenced on 7th April. Pearson shot into the lead on the opening lap, holding it until Weatherly passed him on lap 5. Weatherly could only hold onto his lead for five laps though, before Junior Johnson passed him for the first position on lap 10, controlling the early stages by leading 61 consecutive laps. Weatherly retook it on lap 71, leading 11 consecutive laps before again being passed, this time by Jim Paschal in a 1963 Plymouth. Paschal led 48 laps only to retire due to a differential failure, handing the lead to Johnson, who defended the first position for another 34 laps. Pre-race favourites Roberts and Lorenzen retired after 70 and 80 laps respectively, both because of engine failures.
Johnson briefly lost the lead to Pearson, but retook it six laps later on lap 170. From then onwards, the battle for the lead became a duel between Johnson and Weatherly, with the latter successfully achieving an overtake on lap 187. Johnson retook the lead on lap 191, before dropping it back to Weatherly in what would be the final lead change on lap 208. Nevertheless, Johnson remained in contention, only being two seconds away from the leader. Suddenly, on lap 244, Johnson's engine failed, causing him to spin out and hit a fence, though he ultimately escaped uninjured. This brought out the caution flag that lasted until the final lap, enabling Weatherly to claim victory and $2,400 in prize money. Jarrett finished second, while White took third.
1963 Firecracker 400
The 1963 Firecracker 400 was the 29th race of the 1963 NASCAR Grand National Series. Occurring on 4th July at the Daytona International Speedway, the race would ultimately be won by Fireball Roberts in a 1963 Ford. This was the first Firecracker race to be expanded from 250 to 400 miles. It was also the fourth 1963 NASCAR Grand National Series event to be held at Daytona International Speedway, after the Twin 125s and the Daytona 500, which in 1963 occurred on 24th February and was won by Tiny Lund.
Prior to the race, qualifying commenced with Junior Johnson winning the pole position in a 1963 Chevrolet. Two qualifying races commenced, where in the first race, it was a battle between Jim Paschal's 1963 Chevrolet and Fred Lorenzen's 1963 Ford. Paschal had led 18 of the 20 laps, but Lorenzen ultimately overtook his opponent near the end of the race, holding on for the remaining two laps to claim victory and $1,000 in prize money. In the second race, Johnson and Roberts were primarily in contention, with Johnson ultimately coming out on top by leading three-quarters of the race, earning the $1,000 ahead of Roberts. The New York Times also noted how a few former motorcycle racers, including Paul Goldsmith, were due to compete in the race, with Goldsmith having qualified 6th.
With the starting order decided, the 1963 Firecracker 400 occurred on 4th July. Paschal's move into the lead on the first lap symbolised the frequency of lead changes, with 39 in total occurring over the 160 laps. Indeed, the four best performers in the qualifying races routinely overtook each other until lap 61, when Paschal retired following a piston failure. 50 laps later, Johnson retired from the lead, also due to a piston failure. With the exception of a few laps led by Marvin Panch and Lund in 1963 Fords, the race was primarily between Roberts and Lorenzen. On lap 155, after leading 45 consecutive laps, Roberts was overtaken by Lorenzen, kickstarting a highly competitive ending for the event, cumulating in Roberts overtaking Lorenzen on the final lap to claim victory by a few inches and earning $11,600 in prize money. Panch finished a close third, the only other driver on the lead lap.
This would be Roberts' second consecutive win at the event, and his third overall, having also won the 1959 race. Ultimately, this would prove to be Roberts' final Firecracker event, as he passed away two days before the 1964 race from his injuries sustained at the 1964 World 600.
The television coverage of the 1962 Southern 500 and 1963 Daytona 500 remains publicly available. The broadcasts of the missing events are detailed by NASCAR on TV. 45 minutes of highlights from the 1962 Daytona 500 were televised by ABC on 24th February 1962, alongside speed-skating. ABC also broadcast 45 minutes of highlights for the 1962 Firecracker 250 on 15th July 1962, as part of a double-header with the British Open Golf Championship. This broadcast has yet to publicly resurface, and just like early NASCAR broadcasts like CBS' coverage of the 1960 Daytona 500, there is the possibility that it could have been wiped. However, the possibility of the broadcast remaining in kinetoscope form remains. 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. Additionally, footage from the VHS set called The Golden Era of Racing is also available to view. No footage of the 1962 Firecracker 250 is known to have survived.
While the 1963 Richmond 250 itself was untelevised, a 8mm film consisting of 2 minutes and 20 seconds of race footage was uploaded to YouTube by DanObx64 on 10th March 2011. While the title does say "Richmond raceway 1964", analysis of the footage by RacersReunion member Dave Fulton confirms it recorded the 1963 event.Additionally nascarman History detailed in his video Top 10 LOST NASCAR TV Broadcasts that local Richmond, Virginia television station WRVA-TV presented live coverage of the qualifying session that occurred hours before the race. However, no clips of the broadcast are known to have survived.
Meanwhile, Racing-Reference states some footage of the 1963 Firecracker 400 may have been included as part of a Historic Films video showcasing classic NASCAR racing at the Daytona International Speedway. While the 25 minutes of footage does not exclusively contain the race, with some clips coming from Daytona 500 races according to the Descriptive Log, it is likely a few fragments can be viewed in the video, albeit without sound. A Fleetwood Records field recording of the event also exists. Additionally, NASCAR on TV states that 45 minutes of highlights were televised on 6th July 1963 as part of ABC's Wide World of Sports, being broadcast alongside the All England Tennis Championships. This coverage is not known to have survived.
- ↑ 1.00 1.01 1.02 1.03 1.04 1.05 1.06 1.07 1.08 1.09 1.10 1.11 Racing-Reference detailing qualifying and race results for the 1962 Daytona 500. Retrieved 12 Apr '22
- ↑ Sportskeeda detailing the Daytona 500 and its importance to NASCAR. Retrieved 12 Apr '22
- ↑ Racing-Reference detailing the 1962 NASCAR Grand National calendar. Retrieved 12 Apr '22
- ↑ 4.00 4.01 4.02 4.03 4.04 4.05 4.06 4.07 4.08 4.09 4.10 4.11 4.12 4.13 Racing-Reference detailing the results of the 1962 Firecracker 250. Retrieved 12 Apr '22
- ↑ 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 Racing-Reference detailing the results of the first Twin 100s race. Retrieved 12 Apr '22
- ↑ 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 Racing-Reference detailing the results of the second Twin 100s race. Retrieved 12 Apr '22
- ↑ Draftkings Nation detailing the purpose of the Twin races. Retrieved 12 Apr '22
- ↑ 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 8.15 8.16 RacersReunion detailing the Twin 100s and the 500 itself. Retrieved 12 Apr '22
- ↑ 9.0 9.1 Daytona Beach Morning Journal reporting on Roberts' 1962 Daytona 500 win being called under question following the protest being filed (article found on Bench-Racing). Retrieved 12 Apr '22
- ↑ 10.0 10.1 Spartanburg Herald reporting on Roberts world record 1962 Daytona 500 win being called under question following the protest being filed (article found on Bench-Racing). Retrieved 12 Apr '22
- ↑ 11.0 11.1 Daytona Beach Morning Journal reporting on Lee Petty's protest being dismissed, giving Roberts the 1962 Daytona 500 win (article found on Bench-Racing). Retrieved 12 Apr '22
- ↑ 12.0 12.1 The New York Times reporting on Roberts being declared the winner of the 1962 Daytona 500 after NASCAR officials dismissed Lee Petty's protest. Retrieved 12 Apr '22
- ↑ 13.0 13.1 Forbes detailing the origin of the Firecracker 250, and its reporting on its 2019 name change. Retrieved 4 Jan '22
- ↑ The New York Times reporting on Matthews winning the pole position for the 1962 Firecracker 250. Retrieved 4 Jan '22
- ↑ RacersReunion containing a news clip reporting that Petty aimed to win the 1962 Firecracker 250 for his son. Retrieved 4 Jan '22
- ↑ The New York Times reporting on Roberts winning the 1962 Firecracker 250. Retrieved 4 Jan '22
- ↑ Bleacher Report noting Roberts' success at the Firecracker events, and how he became the first driver to win the Daytona 500 and Firecracker 250 in the same year. Retrieved 4 Jan '22
- ↑ 18.00 18.01 18.02 18.03 18.04 18.05 18.06 18.07 18.08 18.09 18.10 18.11 18.12 18.13 18.14 Racing-Reference detailing qualifying and race results for the 1963 Richmond 250. Retrieved 18 Apr '22
- ↑ 19.0 19.1 Racing-Reference detailing the 1963 NASCAR Grand National Series calendar. Retrieved 18 Apr '22
- ↑ Racing-Reference detailing the results of the 1963 Capital City 300. Retrieved 18 Apr '22
- ↑ The New York Times Stats detailing the history of Atlantic Rural Fairgrounds (now Richmond Raceway) Cup Series races since 1975. Retrieved 18 Apr '22
- ↑ 22.0 22.1 22.2 22.3 22.4 22.5 22.6 RacersReunion detailing the 1963 Richmond 250 and confirming the video was from the that race. Retrieved 18 Apr '22
- ↑ 23.0 23.1 23.2 23.3 23.4 23.5 23.6 Associated Press reporting on Weatherly winning the 1963 Richmond 250 (article found on RacersReunion). Retrieved 18 Apr '22
- ↑ RacersReunion detailing Paul Sawyer advertising the 1963 Richmond 250 at the 1963 Riverside 500. Retrieved 18 Apr '22
- ↑ Racing-Reference detailing results for the 1963 Daytona 500. Retrieved 12 Jan '22
- ↑ 26.0 26.1 26.2 26.3 26.4 26.5 26.6 26.7 26.8 Racing-Reference detailing the start order and results of the 1963 Firecracker 400. Retrieved 12 Jan '22
- ↑ Ultimate Racing History detailing results of the first 1963 Firecracker 400 qualifying race. Retrieved 12 Jan '22
- ↑ Ultimate Racing History detailing results of the second 1963 Firecracker 400. Retrieved 12 Jan '22
- ↑ The New York Times reporting on several former motorcycle racers competing at the 1963 Firecracker 400. Retrieved 12 Jan '22
- ↑ The New York Times reporting on Roberts winning the 1963 Firecracker 400. Retrieved 12 Jan '22
- ↑ 31.0 31.1 Bleacher Report noting Roberts winning the Firecracker event three times, and that he passed away two days before the 1964 race. Retrieved 12 Jan '22
- ↑ NASCAR on TV detailing the ABC broadcast of the 1962 Daytona 500. Retrieved 12 Apr '22
- ↑ NASCAR on TV detailing ABC's broadcast of the 1962 Firecracker 250. Retrieved 4 Jan '22
- ↑ 34.0 34.1 Archived Racing-Reference detailing how the broadcast could have been wiped, or that a kinetoscope may still exist of it during the early era of NASCAR broadcasts. Retrieved 12 Apr '22
- ↑ Daytona 500: 50 Years The Greatest American Race 2008 containing highlights of the 1962 Daytona 500. Retrieved 12 Apr '22
- ↑ Racing-Reference claiming highlights of the 1963 Firecracker 400 were included in a Historic Films video. Retrieved 12 Jan '22
- ↑ 37.0 37.1 Historic Films providing footage of the 1963 Firecracker 400. Retrieved 12 Jan '22
- ↑ NASCAR on TV detailing the ABC broadcast of the 1963 Firecracker 400. Retrieved 12 Jan '22