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1979 Firecracker 400

The 1979 Firecracker 400 was a NASCAR Winston Cup Series racing event that took place on July 4, 1979, at Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Florida.

1979 Firecracker 400
Race details
Race 17 of 31 in the 1979 NASCAR Winston Cup Series season
Track map of Daytona International Speedway.
Track map of Daytona International Speedway.
Date July 4, 1979 (1979-July-04)
Official name Firecracker 400
Location Daytona International Speedway, Daytona Beach, Florida
Course Permanent racing facility
2.500 mi (4.023 km)
Distance 160 laps, 400 mi (643 km)
Weather Hot with temperatures of 93.9 °F (34.4 °C); wind speeds of 12 miles per hour (19 km/h) with 0.28 inches (7.1 mm) of rain reported within 24 hours of the racing event[1]
Average speed 172.89 miles per hour (278.24 km/h)
Attendance 45,000
Pole position
Driver Ranier Racing
Most laps led
Driver Neil Bonnett Wood Brothers Racing
Laps 77
No. 21 Neil Bonnett Wood Brothers Racing
Television in the United States
Network ABC
Announcers Keith Jackson

Race reportEdit

There were 41 drivers on the starting grid of this race; Bruce Hill was credited with the last-place finish due to an engine problem on the first lap.[2] Fifteen drivers would fail to finish the race with problems varying from engine trouble, blown tires, and crashes.[2] Claude Ballot-Léna from France would make his final NASCAR Cup Series appearance here; winning $1,130. ($3,900.86 when adjusted for inflation).[2][3] His race ended on lap 83 of 160 with engine problems.[2]

Forty-five thousand fans were in attendance. The average speed was a record 172.89 miles per hour (278.24 km/h).[2] The green flag waved at 10 a.m. Buddy Baker earned the pole position during qualifying with a speed of 193.196 miles per hour (310.919 km/h).[2] Darrell Waltrip would become a frequent contender for the first-place position along with Buddy Baker and Neil Bonnett.[2] Bonnett would go on to defeat Benny Parsons by a single second.[2]

Terry Labonte went head on into the outside wall in one of the corners just past the halfway point and was sliding back down the track when Bobby Allison suddenly spun sideways and clobbered the #44 right in the door.[2] Neither driver was hurt but the heavy crash put both drivers out of the race.

Notable crew chiefs who participated in the race include Buddy Parrott, Joey Arrington, Kirk Shelmerdine, Darrell Bryant, Dale Inman, Harry Hyde, Waddell Wilson, Bud Moore, Tim Brewer, and Jake Elder.[4]

A souvenir program was sold for $3 USD ($10.36 when adjusted for inflation). Kyle Petty attempted to qualify for this race, but crashed during qualifying. He would make his NASCAR debut at Talladega.


Grid No. Driver Manufacturer Owner
1 28 Buddy Baker Oldsmobile Harry Ranier
2 21 Neil Bonnett Mercury Wood Brothers
3 27 Benny Parsons Oldsmobile M.C. Anderson
4 41 Grant Adcox Oldsmobile Herb Adcox
5 11 Cale Yarborough Oldsmobile Junior Johnson
6 88 Darrell Waltrip Oldsmobile DiGard
7 67 Buddy Arrington Dodge Buddy Arrington
8 51 A.J. Foyt Oldsmobile A.J. Foyt
9 30 Tighe Scott Buick Walter Ballard
10 44 Terry Labonte Buick Billy Hagan

Finishing orderEdit

Standings after the raceEdit

Pos Driver Points[2] Differential
1   Darrell Waltrip 2720 0
2   Bobby Allison 2587 -133
3   Richard Petty 2522 -198
4   Cale Yarborough 2500 -220
5   Dale Earnhardt 2342 -378
6   Benny Parsons 2237 -483
7   Joe Millikan 2221 -499
8   Terry Labonte 2009 -711
9   J.D. McDuffie 1997 -723
10   Richard Childress 1983 -737


  1. ^ Weather information for the 1979 Firecracker 400 at The Old Farmer's Almanac
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j 1979 Firecracker 400 racing information at Racing-Reference
  3. ^ 1979 Firecracker 400 racing results at Race-Database
  4. ^ 1979 Firecracker 400 crew chiefs at Racing Reference
Preceded by
1979 Gabriel 400
NASCAR Winston Cup Series Season
Succeeded by
1979 Busch Nashville 420
Preceded by
Firecracker 400 races
Succeeded by