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Some sweet theft at Daytona
Kim Chapin
March 03, 1969
A perennial runner-up in big-time stock-car racing, Lee Roy Yarbrough stole past the leader in the richest 500-mile race with just vroom to go
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March 03, 1969

Some Sweet Theft At Daytona

A perennial runner-up in big-time stock-car racing, Lee Roy Yarbrough stole past the leader in the richest 500-mile race with just vroom to go

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The lead changed hands several times during the first three-quarters of the 500 but, thanks to a variety of mechanical ills, by the 170th lap of the 200-lap race the only challengers were Yarbrough and Glotzbach. Both made their last pit stops between the 181st and 186th laps. As they hooked up again, Glotzbach led Yarbrough by nearly eight seconds. Five laps later the margin was 3.1 seconds; with three laps left, one second. When they took the white flag for the last lap they were .3 of a second apart.

Because of the high speeds, it is impossible, at least improbable, that a car can get past another equally fast car between the fourth turn and the finish line, and so Lee Roy made his move at the entrance to the third turn.

"We were coming up on a slow car driven by J. D. McDuffie, which I knew hadn't raced here before," Lee Roy said, "and I hoped and prayed he had learned one thing here this afternoon—to look in his rearview mirror." Lee Roy moved beneath McDuffie, praying and hoping McDuffie wouldn't move down on him, because Glotzbach was forced to go high around McDuffie on the other side. Earlier in the race Glotzbach had pulled the same thing on Lee Roy, and Lee Roy had gently kissed the wall. But both cars held control this time, and although Glotzbach tried, he was unable to get past Yarbrough during the last 1,200 feet to the finish. No. 2 was finally No. 1, and he had a $38,950 winner's purse to prove it.

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