TDIH: February 22, 1970


Driving for Petty Enterprises, Pete Hamilton wins the twelth annual Daytona 500. This was the first career victory for the 1968 Rookie of the Year, it also gave the Plymouth Superbird a win in it’s debut race. He would start the day in ninth, with his teammate Richard Petty right behind him in eleventh. Petty’a day would come to an early end, when on lap eight his 426 Hemi let go in a cloud of blue smoke. Polesitter Cale Yarborough, driving the #21 Mercury for the Wood Brothers, would suffer the same fate, loosing his engine on the 32nd lap after leading 26. Having led a few laps early in the race, Hamilton would find his way back to the front with nine laps remaining.  When the caution waved with 15 to go, Hamilton chose to pit for new tires, while then-leader David Pearson elected to stay out. With fresh rubber, he would chase down the #17 Holman-Moody Ford, finally making the pass through turn one. Now in second, Pearson would wait until lap 198 to make his move. Utilizing a slingshot, he would get alongside Hamilton, but unable to complete the pass when his car got loose, leaving him to gather it up and save from spinning. Hamilton would eventually finish three car lengths ahead of Pearson, the only two drivers on the lead lap. The #40 7-Up Plymouth would see victory twice more in 1970, with Hamilton becoming the first driver to sweep both races at Talladega. Petty meanwhile would win 18 events, finishing an eventual 4th in the final points.


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