TDIH: February 18, 1962


After a blown engine ended his day a year earlier, Fireball Roberts returned in 1962 to win the Daytona 500 in commanding fashion. He would lead 144 of 200 laps, and cross the line nearly 30 seconds ahead of Richard Petty. The pair would be the only two drivers on the lead lap, with Joe Weatherly finishing third one lap behind. This win would cap off a succesful week at Daytona for Fireball, having won the American Challenge Cup on the 10th, and the first 100 mile qualifying event for the Daytona 500 on the 16th. While the Challenge Cup was an exhibition race open to 1961 winners, the pair of qualifiers did award points towards the championship. He returned to the track on the 4th of July, claiming victory in the Firecracker 250, his third and final win of the season. Despite only running 19 of 53 events during the year, Fireball would finish eighth in the final standings, with the title going to Joe Weatherly.


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