The Alabama Gang with Bobby and Donnie Allison and Red Farmer gathered at Talladega Superspeedway for a 50th running of the Daytona 500 press conference.
On the 1979 Daytona 500 finish with Cale Yarborough. Would you do it over again?
"If I had to do it over, and I know what I know now, I would have done something different. But to be perfectly honest, it caught me by surprise. It caught everybody by surprise because how many times in the 50 years they run the Daytona 500 have you seen the leader and the second-place car wreck coming off of Turn 2. Turn 4 yes. I expected something to happen down there.
"People don't realize and I'm not going to sit here and dwell on it but I never watched a car behind me in my mirror. For some reason or another, I looked up in that corner of my mirror and I saw him going down and I said, 'You are not going to get under me on the back straightaway' and the rest is history.
"If you had been in that appeal we had and saw that film, you would have a change in opinion too. Cale Yarborough hit me in the back bumper before we ever hit side-by-side. I told Bill France Jr. that day after the race was over with when he told me that I should let Cale had the apron because when he got in the corner, he would have to had to back off.' I said, 'Billy, I didn't run into the apron, he hit me in the back bumper first.'
"Well, the film came from Jacksonville, Fla. When I went to the appeal, they had five films. It was the third film and when they showed that, they backed it up and I asked them to stop. They showed it forward one frame at a time and after the first contact, I said stop the film. I will never forget if I lived to be 200 years old what happen, Les Richter stood up and said why did we not see this film?"
"I don't think he would have done the same thing because if had done it, NASCAR would have fined him about $50,000."
"I wouldn't have cared if I would have won the race."
On missing the Daytona 500 victory in his career
"I ran awful good at Daytona. I ran really good here (Talladega). I couldn't win it. I won the Firecracker Daytona. I won the Busch race at Daytona but I couldn't win the 500. It really, really worked on me. The only place that got me as bad as that was Darlington.
"The Daytona 500, in '74, I blew the tire out with a 19-second lead with 12 laps to go. Richard had a problem earlier and we were the class of the field that day. I felt like I could have won that race even if Richard had not had a problem. 1969, I was by far the fastest car there and broke a push rod and I didn't win that race and then the '79.
"It does stick in my craw. It's a hard pill to swallow. Cale and I are acquaintances. We talk a lot. He did what he thought he had to do and I did what I thought I had to do and he wrecked me and that's all there is to it."