Thirty-three-year-old Benny Parsons -- one of the most popular figures in United States motor racing -- won the 500 stock car event at Daytona, Florida, on Sunday (16 February), three months after he almost retired from the sport altogether.
GV PAN Cars around race circuit (2 shots)
CU PULL BACK TO SV Pitmen listening to radio
GV Cars colliding and careering off track (2 shots)
CU One of eliminated drivers timing lap
SV AND GV Car of favourite, Richard Petty (No. 43) pulls into pit and men working on car
GV "Hard Luck" Buddy Baker in car no. 15 around track
GV Crowd watches and David Pearson (No. 21) in lead moves up behind lapped cars (3 shots)
GV Pearson crashes onto inside of track
GV Benny Parsons (No. 72) leads and receives winners flag
GV Results board
GV Parson coasting into pits after winning
TRANSCRIPT: STONE: "The biggest crowd in speedway history -- one hundred and ten thousand -- jammed the two and a half mile Tri-Oval, as Nascars forty fastest machines were turned loose in the chase for three hundred thousand dollars.
The race was only five minutes old when a quarter of the field was wiped out in the fourth turn. With the starters still tightly bunched, Marty Robinson-- car number forty-two -- lost control and the resulting scramble left sheet metal and glass twisted and strewn over the major portion of the speedway. It brought out the first of several caution flags that held the average speed under one-hundred-fifty-four miles per hour. But despite the extent of that crash, there were no serious injuries.
Poll-sitter, Donny Alison soon joined the spectators. Car number eighty-eight went behind the wall with electrical problems.
Favourite, Richard Petty, quickly grabbed the lead, looking for his sixty Daytona 500 crown. But his famous number forty-three Dodge was overheating -- a problem that cost him any chance of victory.
"Hard Luck" Buddy Baker -- who has a history of running faster than anyone else until his car gives out -- did it again. Baker was lapping the field until distributor failure shut down his Ford at three hundred and sixty miles.
That left David Pearson -- who had won more Grand National events than anyone but Petty. But the Daytona 500 has always eluded him. The only real threat was in car number seventy-two -- Benny Parsons -- a one hundred to one shot -- who was making up time by drafting Petty.
Pearson held a shrinking lead with two laps to go when he ducked inside a slower car on the back stretch -- and lost it. Broadsiding at one-hundred-ninety miles per hour -- an error that dropped the Mercury from first all the way to fourth.
Benny Parsons then coasted across the finish line a full lap ahead of Bobby Alison and five miles up on Cale Yarborough.
The former Detroit cab driver picked up nearly fifty thousand dollars for his efforts. And for this day, at least, became number one on the fast cars circuit."
Initials CL/2230 CL/2256
SPORT: MOTOR RACING
This film is accompanied by a commentary by Television News Incorporated Reporter Phil Stone.
Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
Background: Thirty-three-year-old Benny Parsons -- one of the most popular figures in United States motor racing -- won the 500 stock car event at Daytona, Florida, on Sunday (16 February), three months after he almost retired from the sport altogether.
Parsons' surprise victory came after leader David Pearson spun his Mercury only three laps from the finish line -- a mistake which put him back into fourth place. Favourite Richard Petty -- who had won the Daytona 500 five times before -- dropped out half way through the race when his car began overheating.
Ten of the forty cars in the race were eliminated after only five minutes after a mass collision on the fourth turn. The crash littered the track with mangled metal and glass, and slowed down the average race speed to 154 miles per hour (248 kilometres per hour).
Victory in the race brought Benny Parsons almost 50,000 U.S. dollars (GBP21,000 sterling).