DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – Richard Petty, who notched his first victory as a car owner since 1999 last weekend in Sonoma, Calif., will be celebrating a huge milestone moment in his career during the upcoming Coke Zero 400 Weekend Powered By Coca-Cola on July 2-4 at Daytona International Speedway – his 200th and final NASCAR win as a driver.
Daytona International Speedway and Petty will pay tribute to the 25th anniversary of Petty’s 200th win with a number of special activities including having Petty pace the 43-car field of the Coke Zero 400 in a replica No. 43, appearances throughout the weekend by Petty, displays of race-winning Petty cars and a special $43 ticket.
Here are 10 interesting facts behind the 1984 mid-summer classic that proved to be one of the landmark moments in the history of NASCAR:
• After taking the checkered flag, Petty didn’t go to Victory Lane right away. Instead, he went to the press box first to meet up President Ronald Reagan.
• Once Richard Petty did manage to make it to Victory Lane to celebrate his 200th win, the skies opened up and rain began to fall.
• Doug Heveron in the No. 01 Chevrolet brought out the final caution that suddenly set up the one-lap dash to the finish between Cale Yarborough and Petty.
• President Reagan stayed after the race and had a picnic with drivers and teams. On the menu that day was Kentucky Fried Chicken. President Reagan gave the starting command while flying to Daytona Beach on board Air Force One and became the first President of the United States to attend a NASCAR race.
• Harry Gant in the No. 33 Skoal Bandit Chevrolet finished second to Petty. Many fans assumed it was Yarborough, but he pulled on to pit road a lap early assuming the race was over and actually settled for third place.
• The No. 43 Pontiac that Petty used to win his 200th race now belongs to the Smithsonian Institution in Washington D.C.
• Owner of Petty’s 200th winning car was record producer Mike Curb and his crew chief was Buddy Parrott.
• The power plant under hood for Petty that day was an engine from DiGard Racing and built by the legendary Robert Yates.
• Petty, driver of the No. 43, earned just over $43,000 for winning the race
• The driver who finished last in the 1984 400-mile race – Lake Speed.
Tickets for the Coke Zero 400 Powered By Coca-Cola on Saturday night, July 4 start at $40. Tickets are available on your web-enabled phone at mobile.daytonainternationalspeedway.com, online at www.daytonainternationalspeedway.com or by calling 1-800-PITSHOP.