| Firecracker 400|
| July 4, 1977 (1977-July-04)|
Daytona International Speedway, Daytona Beach, Florida
Permanent racing facility
2.500 mi (4.023 km)
160 laps, 400 mi (643 km)
Hot with temperatures approaching 90.9 °F (32.7 °C); wind speeds up to 12 miles per hour (19 km/h)
The 1977 Firecracker 400 was a NASCAR Winston Cup Series racing event that took place on July 4, 1977, at Daytona International Speedway in the American community of Daytona Beach, Florida.
By 1980, NASCAR had completely stopped tracking the year model of all the vehicles and most teams did not take stock cars to the track under their own power anymore. Only manual transmission vehicles were allowed to participate in this race; a policy that NASCAR has retained to the present day.
1977 Firecracker 400 Wikipedia
A racing grid of 41 drivers competed in this race; including Belgian driver Christine Beckers and Italian driving sensation Lella Lombardi. Out of this 160-lap racing event, D.K. Ulrich would be credited with the last-place finish due to an engine problem on the fourth lap. Janet Guthrie be the only American-born female driver on the grid; the rest of the American drivers were male. While A.J. Foyt, Cale Yarborough, Richard Petty and Darrell Waltrip would monopolize the opening laps of the race, Donnie Allison and Richard Petty would fight it out for supremacy in the crucial final laps. Lombardi and Beckers being invited to race as basically a publicity stunt by the powers that be in NASCAR at the time. The idea apparently was to pit the three women against each other on the track.
Richard Petty would go on to defeat Darrell Waltrip by almost 18 seconds in front of a live audience of 65,000 people. Engine and steering problems knocked most of the drivers out of the race before it could be finished. Neil Bonnett would qualify for the race with a solo qualifying speed of 187.191 miles per hour (301.255 km/h) while the actual speed of the race averaged around 147.216 miles per hour (236.921 km/h).
There was two-hour rain delay about two laps before halfway, too. Actually, there was a storm covering from the tri-oval over turns one and two for about two hours while turns three and four were in sunshine due to the incessant hot and humid weather of Florida during the summer months.
Most of the vehicles at this event were Dodge or Chevrolet with some Ford vehicles and a single entry by a Matador vehicle. Winnings for this race ranged from $19,075 ($75,388.67 when adjusted for inflation) for the winner to a meager $1,390 for the last-place finisher ($5,493.59 when adjusted for inflation). Ramo Stott would retire from professional stock car racing after this event.