1965 Daytona 500 (partially found footage of NASCAR Grand National Series race; 1965)

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Program for the race.

Status: Partially Found

The 1965 Daytona 500 was the 4th race of the 1965 NASCAR Grand National Series. Occurring on 14th February at the Daytona International Speedway, the race would ultimately be won by Fred Lorenzen in a 1965 Ford, with the race being shortened to 133 laps because of rain.

Background[edit | edit source]

The 1965 Daytona 500 was the 7th 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 1965 Grand National races at Daytona International Speedway to award points.[3] The others included the Firecracker 400, which occurred on 4th July and was won by A.J. Foyt in a 1965 Ford;[4] and the Twin 100s,[5][6] which also helped determine who qualified for the Daytona 500, as well as its starting order.[7]

Prior to the race, qualifying commenced with Darel Dieringer winning the pole position in a 1964 Mercury with a speed of 171.151 mph.[1] The Twin 100s then commenced; in the first, Ned Jarrett led the first 31 laps, before he was overtaken by fellow 1965 Ford driver Bobby Johns.[8][5] Dieringer then moved into the first position on lap 35, and would duel with Jarrett for the win, forcing the latter high on the final turn to claim $1,000 in prize money.[8][5] Jarrett finished second, with Johns taking third.[5] Jarrett would then claim post-race that he could have potentially forced Darel down the track to claim victory, but decided not to because he "doesn't race like that."[8]

In the second event, a massive crash occurred on the opening lap, when Rud Eulenfield spun his 1963 Ford and was collected by 12 other cars.[8][6] Some ended up being flipped over, while Buck Baker suffered broken ribs as a result of his 1965 Oldsmobile being involved in the crash.[8] Following this, a duel between Lorenzen and Junior Johnson's 1965 Ford occurred with several lead changes, Earl Balmer also being involved in the action by leading from laps 25 to 26.[8][6] Johnson won the race and the $1,000 after passing Lorenzen on the final lap, Lorenzen holding on to finish second, with Marvin Panch finishing third, also in a 1965 Ford.[6][8] Most of the final field for the 500 would consist of Fords, with some Mercurys also present, with Chrysler having boycotted the season due to the new regulations that forbid its Hemi engine.[9][10][8] Almost half of the field also consisted of rookies.[9][8] Lorenzen meanwhile aimed to replicate his 1963 season success, while also setting the goal of surpassing the $113,000 he earned.[10]

The Race[edit | edit source]

With the starting order decided, the 1965 Daytona 500 commenced on 14th February.[1] Johnson shot into the lead, and defended it for the first 27 laps.[1][8] During this time period, 15 of the 43 runners would retire due to a variety of component failures.[9][8][1] Nevertheless, some have suspected that because each driver received at least $1,000, some of the retiring drivers committed a start and park tactic.[8][1] Meanwhile, Johnson retired from the lead after a tyre blew,[1] resulting in his Ford crashing into the outside wall.[8] The resulting debris needed 14 caution laps to be cleared up,[1] while Johnson had to hospitalised as he suffered from a cut to his eye.[8] Panch took over as the race leader, defending it for 41 laps only for Lorenzen to take the lead on lap 69.[8][1] Panch re-took it on lap 79, where on lap 81 rain forced a caution period for 23 laps.[1][8]

When the race resumed on lap 104, Panch maintained the lead until Johns briefly led on lap 113.[1] Panch moved back into the first position a lap later however, before Lorenzen made the final lead change on lap 119.[1] Lorenzen and Panch continued to duel until a collision between them occurred as Panch tried an overtake on the high side, causing the latter to spin.[11][8] Lorenzen claimed he was unable to see Panch because of the massive downpour, the crash resulting in the latter being forced to pit.[8] Panch ultimately refused to blame Lorenzen for the crash, dropping to sixth in the race.[8][1] Lorenzen continued to lead, albeit with a car whose fender was bent and rubbing against a tyre.[11] He was encouraged to drive on by his crew chief, Herb Nab, on the suspicions that heavy rain would bring proceedings to an end.[11] This proved correct on lap 133, when the extent of rain forced NASCAR officials to wave the red flag,[1] and the race did not restart because rain continued to occur for the next three hours.[8][11] Thus, Lorenzen was declared the winner, his 20th victory, earning $27,100 in prize money.[8][1][9] Dieringer overtook Johns prior to the red flag to finish second, with Johns finishing third, both drivers a lap down from Lorenzen.[1][9][8]

Availability[edit | edit source]

According to NASCAR on TV, 45 minutes of highlights were televised by ABC on 27th February 1965, alongside speed-skating.[12] This broadcast has yet to publicly resurface. 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.[13] Additionally, footage from the VHS set called The Golden Era of Racing is also available to view.

Gallery[edit | edit source]

Videos[edit | edit source]

Highlights of the race.
Race highlights from The Golden Era of Racing.

See Also[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]