1977 Daytona 500
|Race 2 of 30 in the 1977 NASCAR Winston Cup Series|
Track map of Daytona International Speedway.
|Date||February 20, 1977|
Daytona International Speedway|
Daytona Beach, Florida, U.S.
Permanent racing facility|
2.5 mi (4.023 km)
|Distance||200 laps, 500 mi (804.672 km)|
|Weather||Temperatures of 73.9 °F (23.3 °C); wind speeds up to 24.1 miles per hour (38.8 km/h)|
|Average speed||153.218 miles per hour (246.580 km/h)|
|Qualifying race winners|
|Duel 1 Winner||Richard Petty||Petty Enterprises|
|Duel 2 Winner||Cale Yarborough||Junior Johnson & Associates|
|Most laps led|
|Driver||Cale Yarborough||Junior Johnson & Associates|
|No. 11||Cale Yarborough||Junior Johnson & Associates|
|Television in the United States|
Jim McKay |
(16.0 million viewers)
First Daytona 500 starts for Janet Guthrie, Ricky Rudd, Ron Hutcherson, Elliott Forbes-Robinson and Bobby Wawak. Only Daytona 500 start for Sam Sommers. Last Daytona 500 starts for Bob Burcham, Terry Ryan, Walter Ballard, Salt Walther, Ramo Stott, Ed Negre, and Jim Hurtubise.
Cale Yarborough won his second Daytona 500 and it would lead to his second straight Winston Cup title, and Donnie Allison won his second pole position for this event. Janet Guthrie made history at this race as the first female NASCAR Cup Series driver; getting a 12th place finish in the process.
Bobby Wawak bailed out of his car while it was still moving and on fire on lap 3. Seconds later the car slammed the inside wall by the entrance to pit road. This would result in the first Top 10 finish for Jimmy Means, the final Top 10 finish for Bob Burcham, and the last Top 5 finish for the late Coo Coo Marlin.
Jim Vandiver would retire from the NASCAR Winston Cup Series after this race. Richard Petty started the race 7/8ths from pit lane in last-place. He caught a break with the caution for Wawak's fire then proceeded to work his way through the field back into contention only to later blow the engine and drop out. Donnie Allison blew, a tire at the start/finish line on lap 88, and was forced to limp into the pits, where his team discovered too much damage had been done, so they pulled the car out of the race.
Defending Daytona 500 David Pearson also had mechanical issues. The Silver Fox led two laps but like Petty, his #21 Purolator Mercury was sidelined with a blown engine before the 3/4ths mark. USAC Champ Car racer Salt Walther's last NASCAR Cup start ended in a backstretch crash. A gust of wind caught Walther's self-owned #4 Chevrolet and caused him to lose it triggering a three-car incident that also included Buddy Baker and Dave Marcis. Baker recovered to finish third but Salt was done for the day.