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A real scorcher at Daytona
Tom Archdeacon
July 16, 1979
The heat inside his car was so intense that his shoe was melting, but that didn't stop Neil Bonnett from steaming to victory in the Firecracker 400 stock-car race
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July 16, 1979

A Real Scorcher At Daytona

The heat inside his car was so intense that his shoe was melting, but that didn't stop Neil Bonnett from steaming to victory in the Firecracker 400 stock-car race

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In the final laps Bonnett concentrated his attention on Parsons who, he feared, would try to draft him near the end of the race and then at the last minute pull around and slingshot to victory.

So on the final lap Bonnett weaved through traffic in an attempt to hide from Parsons. Coming out of Turn Two into the back straightaway, Bonnett found five or six cars bunched together in front of him. He whipped inside one car, then headed back up toward the wall to get around another.

Now he saw two cars in front of him with a narrow alley between them. He squeezed straight through the opening. That hole closed, though, before Parsons could get through, and Parsons was trapped behind the slower cars until after the turn.

"As hard as I'd been running all day long," said Bonnett, "it was time to do something out of the ordinary. I made a couple of moves I'd sure never want to make again."

Bonnett beat Parsons to the finish line by two car lengths, a victory worth $21,705, the biggest check of his racing career. "A pipe fitter makes $14 an hour these days," he said. "For once, I did better than that."

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