1968 Daytona 500

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1968 Daytona 500
Race details
Race 4 of 49 in the 1968 NASCAR Grand National Series season
Track map of Daytona International Speedway showing mainly the speedway.
Track map of Daytona International Speedway showing mainly the speedway.
Date February 25, 1968 (1968-02-25)
Location Daytona International Speedway
Daytona Beach, Florida, U.S.
Course Permanent racing facility
2.5 mi (4.023 km)
Distance 200 laps, 500 mi (804.672 km)
Weather Temperatures hovering around 59 °F (15 °C); wind speeds up to 20.8 miles per hour (33.5 km/h)[1]
Average speed 147.251 miles per hour (236.978 km/h)
Pole position
Driver Wood Brothers Racing
Most laps led
Driver Cale Yarborough Wood Brothers Racing
Laps 76
No. 21 Cale Yarborough Wood Brothers Racing

The 1968 Daytona 500 was a NASCAR Grand National Series (now Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series) race held on February 25, 1968, at Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Florida. Cale Yarborough won the race from the pole.


The event was won by Cale Yarborough driving a 1968 Mercury. Yarborough drove his #21 to victory in just over 3 hours and 23 minutes after starting the race on the pole. There were 11 caution flags which slowed the race for 60 laps, a track record at the time that remained so until 2005.[2] Yarborough squeaked out the victory by less than a second over LeeRoy Yarbrough.[3] The win was Yarborough's first victory of the season[4] and his first victory in the "Great American Race".

This was also the only Daytona 500 where the grid was set exclusively by qualifying times. The 125-mile qualifying races were not held due to inclement weather.

First Daytona 500 starts for Andy Hampton, Buddy Arrington, Bill Seifert, Dave Marcis, Earl Brooks, Dick Johnson, Dr. Don Tarr, and Dub Simpson. Only Daytona 500 starts for Al Unser, Bob Senneker, Butch Hartman, Larry Manning, Rod Eulenfeld, Charles Burnett, Don Biederman, Stan Meserve, and Bud Moore. Last Daytona 500 starts for Darel Dieringer, Clyde Lynn, Sam McQuagg, Mario Andretti, Sonny Hutchins, Bob Cooper, Jerry Grant, Paul Lewis, Roy Tyner, and H. B. Bailey.[2]

Al Unser led a lap in this one; it became the only time that he led a NASCAR race in his career.[2] Dub Simpson earned a dubious distinction by becoming the only driver ever to fail to complete a lap in the race.[2] This was also Bob "The Sneaker" Senneker's best career NASCAR finish, where he finished in 13th place.[2] Richard Petty and his "mysterious" black vinyl roof actually ran pretty good and led the race until James Hylton blew a tire and ended up in the turn 1 wall. A piece of debris from Hylton's car hit Petty's and knocked the roof loose starting a day of troubles for Richard's team because of their experiment. Petty would finish the race two laps behind the drivers on the lead lap.[2]

The transition to purpose-built racecars began in the early 1960s and occurred gradually over that decade. Changes made to the sport by the late 1960s brought an end to the "strictly stock" vehicles of the 1950s.


  1. ^ Weather information for the 1968 Daytona 500 at Old Farmers Almanac
  2. ^ a b c d e f "1968 Daytona 500". racing-reference.info. Retrieved 2009-08-15.
  3. ^ Auto editors of Consumer Guide. "1968 NASCAR Grand National Recap". HowStuffWorks, Inc ; Publications International, Ltd. p. 1. Retrieved 2009-08-16.
  4. ^ Fleischman, Bill; Al Pearce (2004). "Race Results: 1949–2002; 1960". The Unauthorized NASCAR Fan Guide: 2004. 2004 (10 ed.). 43311 Joy Rd. #414, Canton, MI, 48187: Checkered Flag Press; Visible Ink Press. pp. 226 of 576. ISBN 0-681-27587-1.
Preceded by
1968 Motor Trend 500
NASCAR Grand National Season
Succeeded by
1968 Southeastern 500