The 1973 Daytona 500 was held February 18th. Link to TMC Racing History Minute:
One of the preliminary events of 1973 Speedweeks was the ARCA Royal Triton 300 held on February 11, 1973. The race attracted some high profile drivers such as Red Farmer, Ron Hutcherson, Iggy Katona, and Andy Hampton.
Another driver entered was N.D. Copley, father of RR member David Copley.
Also entered was Jim Scott - son of RR member Jim Scott- in a very cool, Petty-bluish looking Plymouth Barracuda.
Ron Hutcherson won the pole - perhaps to the surprise of only a few. Hutcherson could always hustle a car around Daytona. Later, he built cars for A.J. Foyt who also got around Daytona and Talladega very fast.
One driver - Charlie Blanton - wasn't expected to have much of a say in the outcome of the race. Yet back home in Gaffney SC, the town sent the winning dirt track racer south to do the folks proud on the 2-1/2 mile superspeedway.
When I think of Gaffney, I think of the unmistakable big peach alongside the interstate - or as we frequently refer to it : The Big Ol' Butt.
But Gaffney loves it some peaches and was rightfully proud of Blanton headed for the big track. He and teammate Mike Humphries prepared matching Camaros for the 300.
Blanton didn't make much of a splash in qualifying. He could only muster the 18th best time out of 43 starters. And he was down enough after practice and qualifying, he thought about pulling a "start and park" and then just heading for home.
But he opted to stay, belted in, took the green, and pulled off pit road with the field to take the green. Hutcherson leveraged his top starting spot to take an early lead. He led the first 26 laps before exiting the race with an engine problem. Farmer, Katona and Dr. Don Tarr then mixed it up for the middle stages of the race.
The race had a couple of anxious moments with a rollover by Jeff Harr...
... and a wreck and fire by Tony Schiller's Chevelle.
Despite being slow in practice, Blanton began to settle in and work his way through traffic.
And by lap 94 of the 120-lap race, the scoreboard showed the results of Blanton's persistence. He was shown in P1 and leading second place Farmer.
Charlie Blanton held on the rest of the way and won the race by TWO LAPS over second place finisher Farmer. Upon being dragged out of the car by his excited crew, he declared winning the race was "more fun than picking cotton".
The Gaffney paper was excited about Blanton's win. And apparently the paper had a circulation small enough to know everyone. A full page of photos was run in the paper two days after Blanton's win - including some pictures of people captioned only with their first names.
|1||18||Charlie Blanton||1973 Camaro|
|2||2||Red Farmer||1972 Ford|
|3||7||Kenny Reiter||1973 Dodge|
|4||13||Jim Tobin||1972 Dodge|
|5||14||Ralph Young||1971 Ford|
|6||4||Len Blanchard||1971 Mercury|
|7||23||Danny Byrd||1971 Ford|
|8||10||A. Arnold||1973 Camaro|
|9||34||Mike Humphreys||1973 Camaro|
|10||5||Verlin Eaker||1972 Chevelle|
|11||33||Wayne Trinkle||1972 Chevrolet Nova|
|12||30||Frank Sandlin||1972 Chevelle|
|13||11||Earl Ross||1973 Chevrolet|
|14||28||Tom Dooley||1972 Chevelle|
|15||6||Iggy Katona||1970 Dodge|
|16||22||Don Tarr||1970 Dodge|
|17||8||Harold Fair||1971 Ford|
|18||19||N.D. Copley||1972 Ford|
|19||25||Jim Scott||1973 Plymouth|
|20||21||Bobby Watson||1971 Mercury|
|21||36||Charlie Paxton||1971 Mercury|
|22||15||Jeff Haar||1973 Camaro|
|23||9||Tony Schiller||1972 Chevelle|
|24||3||Buck Newland||1971 Ford|
|25||29||Fred Lamp||1972 Camaro|
|26||1||Ron Hutcherson||1971 Mercury|
|27||17||Charlie Roberts||1971 Ford Thunderbird|
|28||42||Blackie Wangerin||1971 Ford|
|29||38||Hubert West||1972 Chevrolet|
|30||27||Dave Dayton||1973 Camaro|
|31||39||Bob Thomas||1973 Camaro|
|32||24||Delmar Clark||1972 Ford|
|33||16||Freddie Holbert||1971 Ford|
|34||12||Robert Wales||1972 Dodge|
|35||20||Andy Hampton||1972 Chevrolet|
|36||43||Bill Clemons||1973 AMC Javelin|
|37||40||Dick Maffett||1970 Plymouth|
|38||41||Dick Smith||1973 Camaro|
|39||35||David Sisco||1973 Chevrolet|
|40||31||Mickey Flora||1970 Dodge|
|41||26||Buddy Medlock||1971 Ford|
|42||32||Bill Shirey||1970 Plymouth|
|43||37||Tom Culbertson||1971 Ford|
Schaefer: It's not just for racing anymore.
updated by @tmc-chase: 02/11/17 01:47:58PM