| February 15, 1976 (1976-02-15)|
Daytona International Speedway
Daytona Beach, Florida, U.S.
Permanent racing facility
2.5 mi (4.023 km)
200 laps, 500 mi (804.672 km)
Temperatures reaching up to 77 °F (25 °C); wind speeds approaching 14 miles per hour (23 km/h)
152.181 miles per hour (244.912 km/h)
In the 1976 Daytona 500, the 18th running of the event, Richard Petty was leading on the last lap when he was passed on the backstretch by David Pearson. Petty tried to turn under Pearson coming off the final corner, but did not clear Pearson. The contact caused the drivers to spin into the grass in the infield just short of the finish line. Petty's car did not start, but Pearson was able to keep his car running and limp over the finish line for the win. Many fans consider this finish to be the greatest in the history of NASCAR. The end of the race was televised live on American network ABC.
1976 Daytona 500 Wikipedia
USAC stock car racer Ramo Stott won his only career NASCAR pole position. There was a major speed discrepancy between cars in their qualification runs. Top teams were qualifying in the 178 miles per hour (286 km/h) to 179 miles per hour (288 km/h) range and a few teams qualified in the 186 miles per hour (299 km/h) range. Two of the teams who qualified in the 186 miles per hour (299 km/h) range were disqualified after NASCAR inspectors found suspicious extra fuel lines. Some teams attributed these lines to performance-enhancing nitrous oxide. One driver later admitted that he deliberately qualified slower to let the time from "offending" teams stick out.
An accident on lap 112 involving Johnny Ray and Skip Manning ended Ray's racing career.