1967 Firecracker 400 (partially found footage of NASCAR Grand National Series race; 1967)

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1967firecracker4001.jpg

Cale Yarborough took his first win for the Wood Brothers at the event.

Status: Partially Found

The 1967 Firecracker 400 was the 28th race of the 1967 NASCAR Grand National Series. Occurring on 4th July at the Daytona International Speedway, the race would ultimately be won by Cale Yarborough, with Ford achieving a clean sweep as the top four were driving 1967 Fords. The race was noted for a very close finish between Yarborough, Dick Hutcherson and Darel Dieringer.

Background[edit | edit source]

The 1967 Firecracker 400 was the ninth running of the event, with its name a reference to the fact it was held on the United States' Independence Day.[1] It was also the fourth 1967 NASCAR Grand National Series event to be held at Daytona International Speedway,[2] after the Twin 125s and the Daytona 500, which in 1967 occurred on 26th February and was won by Mario Andretti.[3] The Firecracker 400 also has ties to the modern Coke Zero Sugar 400 race, having dropped the Firecracker name in 2019.[1]

Heading into the event, LeeRoy Yarborough aimed to break the qualifying record for the Firecracker 400 that he set the year before.[4] Such was the level of competition aiming to compete in the event, including NASCAR's top stars and USAC competitors like Andretti and A. J. Foyt, many drivers believed that the 180mph target would need to be broken to take pole.[4] Qualifying commenced on 2nd July, with Dieringer winning the pole position with an average speed of just under 180mph at 179.802mph, ahead of Cale Yarborough and Richard Petty in a 1967 Plymouth.[5][6] David Pearson in a 1967 Ford, Andretti, and four other drivers also successfully qualified for the race at this stage.[7] A qualifying race to determine the final 20 starters for the race occurred the day after, with Frank Warren in a 1966 Chevrolet winning the race and $200 in prize money ahead of 1965 Plymouth driver Bobby Wawak and Roy Mayne in a 1966 Chevrolet.[8]

The Race[edit | edit source]

With the racers and starting order decided, the 1967 Firecracker 400 occurred on 4th July. Buddy Baker, who qualified 5th in a 1967 Dodge, shot into the lead on the first lap. He remained in contention for the first position until retiring on lap 17 following a suspension failure. The race featured 41 lead changes, primarily between Cale Yarborough, Dieringer, Pearson, and Bobby Isaac in a 1967 Dodge. Pearson led the most laps at 56, and also led the most consecutive laps at 19 from lap 105-123, before being overtaken by Dieringer.[6] Aside from Pearson leading from 136-139, the race primarily centred on a duel between Dieringer and Yarborough, with frequent overtakes from the 140th lap onwards. Then, on lap 157, Hutcherson took the lead from Yarborough, but the latter was able to reassume the lead on the final lap to take victory and $15,725 in prize money. Hutcherson finished second ahead of Dieringer, with Pearson in fourth, thus achieving a clean sweep for Ford.[9][6]

The race notably marked Yarborough's first win for the Woods Brothers,[10] later winning the 1968 Daytona 500 with the team.[11] Also of note was that the race featured Gary Bettenhausen spinning down the backstretch on lap 3, where his 1966 Ford ended up on a dirt embankment that caused it to end up upside down. He ultimately escaped uninjured.[12]

Availability[edit | edit source]

Some footage of the race remains publicly accessible. This includes a 3 minute and 20 second video detailing the finish of the race, as well as a mostly silent eFootage clip showcasing a crash featuring Andretti, the restart of the race, and the drivers reaching the chequered flag.

However, according to NASCAR on TV, 1 hour of highlights were broadcast by ABC on 8th July 1967, as part of its Wide World of Sports along with Queen Cup polo matches.[13] The footage is currently not publicly available, although Racing-Reference claims that highlights were uploaded onto YouTube at some point by TheRacer120, which could have contained the ABC coverage.[14] However, the video has since been taken down.

Gallery[edit | edit source]

Video[edit | edit source]

The final laps of the race.


Images[edit | edit source]

See Also[edit | edit source]

External Link[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. 1.0 1.1 Forbes detailing the origin of the Firecracker 250, and its reporting on its 2019 name change. Retrieved 13 Jan '22
  2. Racing-Reference detailing the 1967 NASCAR Grand National Series calendar. Retrieved 13 Jan '22
  3. Racing-Reference detailing results for the 1967 Daytona 500. Retrieved 13 Jan '22
  4. 4.0 4.1 Daytona Beach Morning Journal reporting on Yarborough's aim to break his Firecracker qualifying speed record. Retrieved 13 Jan '22
  5. The New York Times reporting on Dieringer winning the pole position. Retrieved 13 Jan '22
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 Racing-Reference detailing the start order and results of the race. Retrieved 13 Jan '22
  7. The New York Times reporting on other drivers who qualified for the race. Retrieved 13 Jan '22
  8. Ultimate Racing History detailing results of the qualifying race. Retrieved 13 Jan '22
  9. The New York Times reporting on Yarborough winning the race and the Ford clean sweep. Retrieved 13 Jan '22
  10. Florida Stock Cars stating the race was Yarborough's first win for the Woods Brothers. Retrieved 13 Jan '22
  11. Racing-Reference detailing Yarborough's win at the 1968 Daytona 500 for the Woods Brothers. Retrieved 13 Jan '22
  12. The Fastlane providing photos of Bettenhausen's crash. Retrieved 13 Jan '22
  13. NASCAR on TV detailing ABC's coverage of the race. Retrieved 13 Jan '22
  14. Racing-Reference listing video clips of the race, including a now-taken down video consisting of highlights uploaded by TheRacer120. Retrieved 13 Jan '22