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1976 daytona 500 Associated Press
Associated Press

When it comes to epic race finishes, the 1976 Daytona 500 is considered by racing experts and fans alike to be among the greatest in not only NASCAR history, but motorsports as a whole.

This iconic race is particularly memorable, because it pitted late NASCAR legend David Pearson against Richard Petty, whose seven Cup Series championships ties him only with Dale Earnhardt and Jimmie Johnson.

Known as the “Silver Fox” for his slyness on the race track, Pearson would end up going head-to-head against “The King” on February 15, 1976, making for an intense installment of the Great American Race that no one would ever forget.

Remembering the 1976 Daytona 500

It was a wreck involving Johnny Ray and Skip Manning on lap 112 (which unfortunately ended Ray’s racing career) that would serve as the precursor to the final-lap drama that was to follow at Daytona International Speedway. As soon as that green flag was back out, history was in the making.

While A.J. Foyt held the distinction for most laps led at 66, Pearson and Petty were two laps ahead of anyone else when they came down the stretch.

With Petty ahead of Pearson by a nose, the Silver Fox pulled some last-lap trickery by passing the King on the backstretch. Petty tried to return the favor, but instead of completely clearing Pearson’s car, the two made contact, and eventually ended up on the infield grass.

They were only yards aways from the finish line.

Pearson was somehow able to get his car to restart and slug across the finish line at only 30 MPH, while his ride was hardly in racing condition.

“For a minute, I thought I was going to become the first driver to win the Daytona 500 backwards,” said Pearson immediately following the race.

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Crazy, right? This is why old-school NASCAR was simply the best!

1976 Daytona 500 Results

1. David Pearson — Wood Brothers Racing — No. 21 Mercury
2. Richard Petty — Petty Enterprises — No. 43 Dodge
3. Benny Parsons — DeWitt Racing — No. 72 Chevrolet
4. Lennie Pond — Elder-Ranier — No. 54 Chevrolet
5. Neil Bonnett (also owner) — No. 12 Chevrolet
6. Terry Ryan — WAM Racing — No. 81 Chevrolet
7. J.D. McDuffie — McDuffie Racing — No. 70 Chevrolet
8. Terry Bivins — Moyer Racing — No. 63 Chevrolet
9. Richard Childress — Richard Childress Racing — No. 3 Chevrolet
10. Frank Warren — Warren Racing — No. 79 Dodge
11. Buddy Arrington — Arrington Racing — No. 67 Dodge
12. Salt Walther — Walther Racing — No. 4 Chevrolet
13. Ed Negre — Negre Racing — No. 8 Dodge
14. Joe Frasson — Frasson Racing — No. 18 Chevrolet
15. Jackie Rogers — Viglione Racing — No. 60 Chevrolet
16. Jim Hurtubise — Junior Miller Racing — No. 95 Chevrolet
17. Joe Mihalic — Viglione Racing — No. 61 Chevrolet
18. Cecil Gordon — Gordon Racing — No. 24 Chevrolet
19. D.K. Ulrich — J.R. DeLotto (Owner) — No. 40 Chevrolet
20. Roy Smith — Dick Midgley Motorsports — No. 29 Chevrolet
21. Coo Coo Marlin — Cunningham-Kelley — No. 14 Chevrolet
22. A.J. Foyt — Ellington Racing — No. 28 Chevrolet
23. James Hylton — Hylton Engineering — No. 48 Chevrolet
24. Jimmy Lee Capps — David Lee Sellers (Owner) — No. 26 Chevrolet
25. Bobby Allison — Penske Racing South — No. 2 Mercury
26. Ramo Stott — Norris Reed (Owner) — No. 83 Chevrolet
27. Dave Marcis — K&K Insurance Racing — No. 71 Dodge
28. John Ray — Clay Blackwell (Owner) — No. 10 Chevrolet
29. David Sisco — Sisco Racing — No. 05 Chevrolet
30. Skip Manning — Harris Racing — No. 82 Dodge
31. Dick Skillen — Goffco — No. 78 Chevrolet
32. Darrell Waltrip — DiGard Motorsports — No. 88 Chevrolet
33. Buddy Baker — Bud Moore Engineering — No. 15 Ford
34. David Hobbs — DeWitt Racing — No. 73 Chevrolet
35. Tighe Scott — Ballard Racing — No. 30 Chevrolet
36. Bruce Hill — Hill Racing — No. 47 Chevrolet
37. Tom Williams (also owner) — No. 38 Chevrolet
38. Dick May — Hiram Handy (Owner) — No. 33 Chevrolet
39. Earl Ross — DeWitt Racing — No. 52 Chevrolet
40. Jimmy Means — Means Racing — No. 5 Chevrolet
41. Dick Brooks — Donlavey Racing — No. 90 Ford
42. Cale Yarborough — Junior Johnson & Associates — No. 11 Chevrolet

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This post was originally published on November 13, 2018.

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