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The 1960 Daytona 500 was a NASCAR Grand National Series (now Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series) stock car race that was held on February 14, 1960, at Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Florida, United States. It was the 5th race of the 1960 season, and was won by Junior Johnson in a 1959 Chevrolet.

1960 Daytona 500
Race details
Race 5 of 44 in the 1960 NASCAR Grand National Series
Track map of Daytona International Speedway.
Track map of Daytona International Speedway.
Date February 14, 1960 (1960-02-14)
Location Daytona International Speedway
Daytona Beach, Florida, U.S.
Course Permanent racing facility
2.5 mi (4.023 km)
Distance 200 laps, 500 mi (800 km)
Weather Chilly with temperatures of 61 °F (16 °C); wind speeds of 31 miles per hour (50 km/h)[1]
Average speed 124.74 miles per hour (200.75 km/h)
Pole position
Driver Cotton Owens
Most laps led
Driver Junior Johnson John Masoni
Laps 67
No. 27 Junior Johnson John Masoni


The 200 lap race started with Cotton Owens on the pole and Jack Smith joining him on the front row. Junior Johnson won the four hour race driving a 59 Chevy owned by John Masoni. A crowd of 38,775 watched as Johnson drove the number 27 to victory after starting in the 9th position.[2]

Bud Burdick, Pappy Crane, Dick Foley, Dick Freeman, Tommy Herbert, Dave Hirschfield, Bob Kosiski, Shep Langdon and Bill Lutz would retire from NASCAR after this event.[3]


In late January 1960, the CBS network sent anchorman Bud Palmer and 50 other employees to Daytona to cover the events in the first-ever televised coverage of a NASCAR event.[4] CBS announced that their CBS Sports Spectacular show would televise a couple compact car races and the Grand National Pole Position races at Daytona on January 31st. On February 13th a Modified-Sportsman race took place. NASCAR officials lined up 73 cars to take the green flag. Less than a minute and a half after the green flag flew, mayhem ensued when Dick Foley's Chevy got out of shape. While Foley was able to gather control of his car, and finish the race in tenth place, 37 other vehicles behind him crashed while attempting to avoid the confusion. Twelve cars flipped, and a total of 24 drivers were unable to continue the race. Five ambulances responded to transport 8 drivers to local hospitals. Four drivers were released that day, and four drivers were held overnight. Notable drivers Ralph Earnhardt, Wendell Scott, and Speedy Thompson were among those forced out of the race.[5] Driver Speedy Thompson was quoted as saying

It took cleaning crews and tow trucks only 39 minutes to clear the track for the restart. Marion "Bubba" Farr went on to win the record setting crash fest. He drove a 1956 Ford modified with a 1958 Lincoln engine and 6 carburetors, and finished with an average speed of 116 mph.[5]

Qualifying racesEdit

Fireball Roberts won the first 100 mile qualifying race, and Jack Smith won the second on the two and a half mile track.[6] Roberts grabbed his victory on the paved oval completing the 40 laps in 45 minutes, with two cautions in a 1960 Pontiac. Roberts started second beside Cotton Owens who won the pole with a speed of 149 mph. Owens finished second, and Fred Lorenzen rounded out the top 3 with 2 cautions for 5 laps.[7] The first caution came on lap 1 when Gene White, Dave Hirschfield, and Tommy Irwin all got together coming out of turn two. Irwin and his Ford Thunderbird took a trip into lake Lloyd located in the infield, and Irwin had to swim to safety as the car was nearly submerged. By the time the yellow flag had been displayed, Roberts had already advanced to the front of the pack, and would never relinquish the lead. The win would give Roberts his 22nd NASCAR victory. [8]
Smith and his 1960 Pontiac captured the victory from the pole with a qualifying speed of 148 mph, and completed the second race in just over 40 minutes with an average speed of 146.5 mph. There were 2 cautions; and Bobby Johns finished second with Jim Reed grabbing the third spot.[9] The first single lap caution came when John Rosteck spun on lap six, and the second caution, also a one lap slow down, came when Johnny Dodd Jr. crashed into the wall on lap 15. The dubious distinction of bringing out the first ever black flag fell to Herman "Turtle" Beam on lap 8 when officials noticed that Beam was running without his safety helmet, which he had forgotten on the starting grid. Smith set a record for the time by winning with the combination of his speed, and the minimal caution laps. The win was Smith's second of the year, and 12,500 people looked on as he and Roberts grabbed the two top spots in the qualifying races.[8]


Race day was a brisk day with a high of 61 °F (16 °C), with steady winds at 31 miles per hour (50 km/h), strong gusts, and no rain.[1] The high winds, combined with the high speeds resulted in 32 laps being run under caution, and multiple crashes. Jimmy Herbert suffered a broken arm and severe eye injury when his T-bird flipped and blew apart when he crashed into the wall on the back straightaway on lap 118. The engine went one direction, the car another, and the front end assembly took flight up to 75 feet in the air. Driving through the wreckage, Pappy Crane spun, then rolled his Chevy, but was not hurt. Also included in the attrition was George Green whose car burst into flame forcing him to leap from the car to safety, and Tom Pistone who lost control with 2 laps remaining and hit the turn 4 wall. [8] Junior Johnson took the lead with nine laps remaining when Bobby Johns spun, and Johnson went on to win the race.[4] Johns had grabbed the lead on lap 172, but the winds pulled his back window out, and he lost control.[8] The win was Johnson's first victory of the season.[10]

The 1960 race was is remembered as being the slowest Daytona 500 race in history, as Johnson averaged just 124 mph over the 500 miles.[11]


There were so many cars destroyed or damaged during the 500 that NASCAR officials felt compelled to cancel a couple races that were scheduled for the following weekend. Palmetto Speedway and Hollywood Speedway both lost their scheduled 100 mile events due to the carnage at Daytona.[5][8]

Race winner Junior Johnson went on to achieve multiple accolades in the following years; including being inducted into the International Motorsports Hall of Fame in 1990 and being selected as one of NASCAR's 50 Greatest Drivers in 1998. On February 4, 2010, NASCAR announced that Johnson would be Grand Marshal for the 50th anniversary of his 1960 victory.

Part of Johnson's duties as Grand Marshal would be to utter the immortal words "Gentleman, start your engines" at the 52nd running of the Daytona 500 on February 14, 2010.[12]

Official resultsEdit

The race lasted 4:00:30, with an average speed of 124.74 mph.

  1. Junior Johnson
  2. Bobby Johns
  3. Richard Petty
  4. Lee Petty
  5. Johnny Allen
  6. Ned Jarrett
  7. Curtis Turner
  8. Fred Lorenzen
  9. Rex White
  10. Emanuel Zervakis
  11. Bud Burdick
  12. Tom Pistone
  13. Bob Welborn
  14. Jim Reed
  15. Bob Potter
  16. Darrell Dake
  17. Whitey Gerken
  18. Buck Baker
  19. Banjo Matthews
  20. Shep Langdon
  21. Jimmy Pardue
  22. Larry Frank
  23. Jack Smith
  24. Wilbur Rakestraw
  25. Joe Caspolich
  26. Gene White
  27. Ken Johnson
  28. David Pearson
  29. Gene Marmor
  30. Brownie King
  31. G. C. Spencer
  32. Herman Beam
  33. Reb Wickersham
  34. L.D. Austin
  35. Dick Joslin
  36. Mel Larson
  37. Paul Parks
  38. Arnold Gardner
  39. Herb Tillman
  40. Cotton Owens
  41. Joe Weatherly
  42. Dick Dixon
  43. Roy Tyner
  44. Bob Kosiski
  45. Tommy Herbert
  46. Marvin Panch
  47. Jim Whitman
  48. Johnny Sudderth
  49. Harold Smith
  50. Pappy Crane
  51. Tiny Lund
  52. Elmo Langley
  53. Bill Lutz
  54. Parnelli Jones
  55. George Green
  56. Red Farmer
  57. Fireball Roberts
  58. Bob Duell
  59. Elmo Henderson
  60. Bob Burdick
  61. Dick Foley
  62. Speedy Thompson
  63. Dave Hirschfield
  64. Joe Lee Johnson
  65. Charley Griffith
  66. Burrhead Nantz
  67. Sal Tovella
  68. Dick Freeman


  1. ^ a b "Weather of the 1960 Daytona 500". The Old Farmers' Almanac. Retrieved June 25, 2013.
  2. ^ "1960 Daytona 500". Retrieved August 15, 2009.
  3. ^ "1960 Daytona 500". Race Database. racermetrics. Retrieved October 5, 2019.
  4. ^ a b Auto editors of Consumer Guide. "1960 NASCAR Grand National Recap". HowStuffWorks, Inc ; Publications International, Ltd. p. 1. Retrieved August 15, 2009.
  5. ^ a b c d Fielden, Greg (1993). Forty Years of Stock Car Racing: The Superspeedway Boom 1959-1964 (5th ed.). USA: Garfield Press. pp. 53-55 of 319. ISBN 0-9621580-1-1.
  6. ^ staff. "1960 Grand National Results". Racing Reference Info. NASCAR Digital Media, LLC. Retrieved October 4, 2019.
  7. ^ staff. "1960 Daytona 500 Qualifier #1". Racing Reference Info. Digital Media, LLC. Retrieved October 4, 2019.
  8. ^ a b c d e Fielden, Greg (1993). Forty Years of Stock Car Racing: The Superspeedway Boom 1959-1964 (5th ed.). USA: Garfield Press. pp. 57-60 of 319. ISBN 0-9621580-1-1.
  9. ^ staff. "1960 Daytona 500 Qualifier #2". Racing Reference Info. Digital Media, LLC. Retrieved October 4, 2019.
  10. ^ 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. 224 of 576. ISBN 0-681-27587-1.
  11. ^ Harris, Mike (February 15, 1988). "Bobby Allison outduels his son: Time is third slowest for Daytona 500". The Lewiston Daily Sun. Retrieved April 4, 2013.
  12. ^ "1960 Daytona 500 Champion Junior Johnson Named Grand Marshal For 52ND Annual Daytona 500". Daytona International Speedway. Retrieved April 7, 2013.