Richard Petty will be enjoying his 80th birthday over Coke Zero 400 Powered By Coca-Cola Weekend. In order to get the celebration of “The King” started early, we’ll spend the next month recalling some of the memorable Daytona International Speedway moments in the career of the seven-time DAYTONA 500 champion.
1979 DAYTONA 500
Richard Petty always seemed to shine the brightest on the biggest stages and, to that point, there had been no stage larger than the nationally televised 1979 DAYTONA 500 -- considered by many to be the most important race in NASCAR history.
The seminal moment came during the final lap of the 500-mile event as Cale Yarborough and Donnie Allison, jockeying for the lead position, crashed side-by-side into the Turn 3 wall. Running in third and having led just 12 laps, Petty and his No. 43 STP Oldsmobile inherited the lead. Meanwhile, a fistfight ensued on the infield grass in Turn 3between Yarborough, Allison and his brother Bobby.
As is so often the case with the greats, Petty took full advantage of an opportune circumstance, crossing the finish line a car length ahead of a hard-charging Darrell Waltrip.
Although many remember “The Fight”, the impact of winning The Great American Race in front of a live national TV audience marked a new era in Petty’s career as his popularity skyrocketed and his iconic status as “The King” continued to soar.
Regardless of how the 1979 DAYTONA 500 is recalled, history books will never forget Petty’s victory --his sixth of what would become a record seven DAYTONA 500 victories.
Don’t miss out on your chance to take part in Richard Petty’s 80th celebration at the 2017 Coke Zero 400 Powered By Coca-Cola. Guarantee your seats now!