In a series of news releases of memories from key figures who witnessed Richard Petty’s historic 200th win, crew chief Buddy Parrott lookis back on that day.

DAYTONA BEACH , Fla. – This is the first in a series of news releases of memories from key figures who witnessed Richard Petty’s historic 200th and final NASCAR win on July 4, 1984 at Daytona International Speedway.

This year’s Coke Zero 400 Weekend Powered By Coca-Cola on July 2-4 will mark the 25th anniversary of Richard Petty’s 200th NASCAR win in the Independence Day holiday classic with President Ronald Reagan in attendance.

Daytona International Speedway is celebrating the 25th anniversary of win No. 200 with a number of special activities including having Petty pace the 43-car field of the Coke Zero 400, appearances throughout the weekend by Petty, displays of race-winning Petty cars and a special $43 ticket.

Buddy Parrott served as Petty’s crew chief on the No. 43 STP Pontiac for his 200th win. He looks back on that day from his vantage point atop the pit box:

On the memories from that day

“The main thing that sticks out in my mind still is that the President was there and Richard did a heck of a job driving the car and the crew did a great job pitting the car. It was a great win.”

What was the buzz about winning No. 200 entering the 1984 mid-summer classic?

“There was no pressure like that involved. Ralph Salvino (head of STP Racing) every once in a while, he would say it would be good to get this 200th out of the way. We won the race in Dover that set this all up, No. 199. Ralph would every once in a while, ‘Buddy, it sure would be nice to win that race.’ Having said that, I knew we were going to Richard Petty’s race track. Richard owns Daytona. He knew how to win. He had the luck of the Irish down there. There was no pressure.”

On the speculation of the big engine from DiGard Racing in the No. 43 car

“Everybody said it was big motor and all that. It was a perfect engine. It wasn’t a great big motor. It was our time. It was Richard’s time to win his 200th and it was his last one.”

On meeting President Reagan during the post-race picnic

“They put us all back in the back and they had black plastic all over the fence where people couldn’t see in and we had a picnic that afternoon. The Secret Service walks Robert and Carolyn (Yates) and Judy and I and Mike Curb and his wife in there to meet the President. When they (introduced) me to the President, he had a big chicken leg from Kentucky Fried Chicken and he was getting ready to take a big bite of chicken and he looked up and they introduced me. I’ve told everybody, ‘I’m the only person in the world that the President laid his chicken down, wiped his hands off and shook my hand.’ It was a big deal and I’ve got a picture. It was a great time.”

Tickets for the Coke Zero 400 Weekend Powered By Coca-Cola and the 51st annual Coke Zero 400 on Saturday night, July 4 are available online at or by calling 1-800-PITSHOP.


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