FACTORY ARMS RACE, 1969-’ 70
year was won by a Dodge Daytona.
By the late summer of 1969, the aero
wars were at full intensity. In the Ford camp,
David Pearson drove for Holman-Moody,
Cale Yarborough for the Wood Brothers,
and Donnie Allison for Banjo Matthews,
while the aforementioned Petty and
LeeRoy Yarbrough were in the mix, too.
In ’ 69, the winged Daytonas made a
strong visual statement: Bobby Allison
championship ahead of fellow Dodge driver
Bobby Allison. For good measure, Isaac
would later set 28 speed records on the
Bonneville Salt Flats in his winged Daytona.
By 1970, Chrysler had also lured Petty
Enterprises back in the Mopar fold. Petty’s
teammate, Pete Hamilton, was the
surprise winner of that year’s Daytona
500 and the first of the two Talladega
races in a Petty Blue No. 40 Superbird,
with Petty’s brother, Maurice, serving as
crew chief. “We really felt that car was a
big part of the Petty stable,” says Richard.
The King himself won 18 of the 40 races
he ran that season, using the Superbird
on big, aero-heavy tracks and the
standard Roadrunner on shorter tracks.
“This is a car that helped bring
NASCAR into a new era of racing,” says
Petty of the Superbird. “This was the first
racecar and not a stock car. It had the big
wing and it looked like a rocket ship – that
was my reaction when I first saw it from
Plymouth. It introduced aerodynamics
and just advanced the sport at that time.
It was so ahead of its time back then.”
NOSE TO TAIL MAKEOVER
But according to Wood Brothers
Racing co-founder Leonard Wood, the
Fords and Mercurys were still plenty fast.
A high-rise rear wing and add-on nose extension
were the most-obvious additions to the Dodge/
Plymouth aero cars, but smaller details abounded.
It wasn’t the winningest Superbird, but Richard
Petty’s blue No. 43 has become synonymous
with NASCAR’s outlandish aero car era.
As decreed by NASCAR, factories had to sell the cars
they raced. In ’ 69, 503 Dodge Charger Daytonas
(ABOVE) were sold, at a book price of $3,993.
PETTY’S ROCKET SHIP
ONE FOR THE ROAD...
TOP LEFT) Talladega’s
inaugural race, in Sept.
1969, was boycotted
by many top drivers
over tire concerns at
(No. 99) took Charlie
Daytona to the win;
ready for the 1970
Daytona 500, Bobby
Isaac’s Dodge and
lead the field; Donnie
Allison dominated the
1970 World 600 at
Charlotte in Banjo
Matthews’ Ford Torino
Wood Bros. Mercury
Cyclone II pits at the
1970 Talladega 500.
“[The Plymouth Superbird]
was the first racecar and
not a stock car. It looked
like a rocket ship”
drove the Coca-Cola sponsored No. 22
Daytona for Mario Rossi, Paul Goldsmith
ran for owner Ray Nichels, and Buddy
Baker piloted a Ray Fox-owned entry.
The most feared entry of them all,
however, was the bright orange No. 71
K&K Insurance Daytona owned by Nord
Krauskopf and driven by Bobby Isaac. In
1969-’ 70, Isaac won an incredible 28
races and 32 poles, taking the 1970