Richard Petty, Larry McClure, Richard Childress and Leonard Wood remember "The Great American Race" as the 50th running of the Daytona 500 approaches.
50th Daytona 500 Winning Owners Notes and Quotes
Richard Petty, representing Petty Enterprises, nine-time winners of the Daytona 500
ON WINNING HIS FIRST DAYTONA 500
"When you win any of them, it's a great deal. I always looked at Daytona as it's been three of four months since we ran a Cup race. Everybody gets all enthused and it's the biggest thing going. If you win Daytona, you're a winner for the rest of the year, whether or not you show up the rest of the year. That was the significance of Daytona. I was fortunate as Daytona was growing up, and as NASCAR was growing up, Richard Petty was growing up. So we all grew up together. It was always a big deal for me but it's a big deal for anybody. At Daytona, you start out a winner and you are a winner all year long."
ON THE COT RUNNING AT THE 50TH DAYTONA 500 NEXT YEAR
"We use to go down there. We went down there 1959, 60, 70, 80 or whatever. Every year we had a different car. We didn't go to wind tunnel. We didn't test. We just took the cotton-picking thing down there, put it on the race track and went out and ran with what we had. I don't see it being any different now. It's just everybody's is making more complicated than it has been."
Larry McClure, three-time winners of the Daytona 500
ON ENGINE BUILDER RUNT PITTMAN
"I always had him so I don't know how it was chasing him. He did always have a really good motor. You really put a lot of effort, time and detail into Daytona and Talladega. I think with Runt always had a toothpick in his mouth and he always trying to figure out a way to get a little bit of an upper hand. I think he gave us an edge. I think we had a really good car. Tony Glover did a very nice job for us and we had some good drivers there with Ernie Irvan and Sterling Marlin. Old Runt, I certainly miss him. I wish he was here today. He gave us an edge."
WINNING TWO IN A ROW
It's a big deal. Richard did it. Cale Yarborough did it. In 1995, we got to the race track and our car made a different sound. When we unloaded the car and went around the track one time. I thought we had a pretty good edge. It was tremendous for us. We hadn't won many races. We were not in Charlotte. We were in Virginia. It gave us a lot of credibility as a race team. I might add here sitting on this stage with these three gentlemen makes me feel good."
Richard Childress, two-time winners of the Daytona 500
ON WINNING WITH DALE EARNHARDT IN 1998
"I was a kid when I went and watched Richard race and the Wood Brothers. The first time that I went to Daytona in 1965 I was working with Wayne Smith. I was standing and watching Leonard and Glen. They were my heroes. Being there with those guys was phenomenal. The Daytona 500 is NASCAR's Super Bowl. We just start season with the Super Bowl. To win it, it starts your whole season out. The 1998 win with Dale was special because we won the Daytona 499 about four times and could never seem to put it together. To watch the look and hear Dale's voice. Going into that day, we knew we had a really good shot like so many other times and fortune just smiled on us that day. To see Dale's career with the Daytona 500 by it was very special and to be part of it was very special. It's a moment that I'll never forget."
ON THE IMPACT OF THE CAR OF TOMORROW ON THE 50TH DAYTONA 500
"I think back to when we had the big Monte Carlos, Plymouths and Dodges and stuff we were running back in 1980. We went to smaller cars and they said it wasn't going to work. We went to the 110-inch wheel base car. They did look a little odd. I think we'll get the same thing here. Once we get to racing them, everybody is going to get use to them. They are going to be race cars. They are going to have No. 43, No. 21, or No. 29 or whatever."
ON TRYING TO WIN THE DAYTONA 500 FOR SO MANY YEARS
"Our biggest deal was that we had so many close calls. You wonder what you had to do to pull it off. From running out of gas, to cutting a tire on
the last lap to getting beat on the last lap. A lot of things happen. To finally pull it off, it was a huge victory for us."
Leonard Wood, Wood Brothers, four-time winners of the Daytona 500
"I would like to mention the first one that we won which is probably one of the most exciting ones. You're down there for four weeks so are current driver Marvin Panch had qualified the car. Somebody wanted him to driver a sports car. He came down the backstretch and back off of it and it got loose and got away from and caught fire. Tiny Lund (and a few others) was coming through the tunnel and saw this thing burning upside down. They picked the car up and dragged Marvin out. Of course Tiny gets in and wins the race. It's sort of a Cinderella story. It was very exciting and emotional at the same time."