Derrike Cope became the fourth driver to make the Daytona 500 his first NASCAR victory. The others were Tiny Lund (1963), Mario Andretti (1967) and Pete Hamilton (1970).No TV in Cope's hometown
KIRO-TV, the CBS affiliate in Seattle (near Cope's hometown of Spanaway, Wash.), was showing the Charlotte Hornets-Seattle SuperSonics NBA game Sunday instead of the Daytona 500, then followed with a movie.
Cope said he father was in Daytona Beach in December for testing, but not for the race on Sunday. "He had to drive 100 miles south to see it," Cope said.
When the race ended, KIRO was flooded with so many phone calls that it halted the film after 30 minutes and showed the Daytona 500 in its entirety.
Petty, too, came up flat
Richard Petty, who seemed primed to challenge for an eighth Daytona 500 victory after a solid fifth-place performance in his qualifying race last Thursday, was an early casualty Sunday.
He got sideways in turn 2 in the 25th lap, flattened all four tires, had to be towed to the pits and lost 12 laps to the leaders. He finished 34th and won $22,840.
"We had a right rear tire go down. I started to feel it but it went down quick and there wasn't anything I could do," Petty said. "It spun and blowed out all the other tires."
Schrader doesn't earn bonus
By failing to win the Daytona 500 race as well as the pole, Ken Schrader failed to collect the $212,8000 Unocal Challenge bonus. The bonus, with the addition of $7,600, will be $220,400 next week at Richmond, Va.
But Gant collects $10,000
Among the other bonuses handed out in the race, Harry Gant collected $10,000 for leading at the halfway point. He completed his 100th lap driving toward his pit. Lake Speed had been leading going into the 100th lap, but he ran out of gas in the backstretch and Gant passed him.
Foyt falls victim to fumes
A.J. Foyt, made woozy by fumes, dropped out in the 115th lap. "I'm so dizzy I can't see," he said. "The fumes of the glue in my (new) helmet got me drunk. I just got so dizzy I thought I'd better park it before I hurt myself of somebody else. I don't know how anybody can take drugs and drive." He wound up 36th.
Bartow's Wilson finishes 30th
Rick Wilson of Bartow, the only Floridian in the race, was 30th at the end, dropping out with seven laps to go when a cylinder gave way.
"We made a crucial last stop (in the 169th lap) and after that nothing worked out. With 10 laps to go the motor let loose," Wilson said.
Cooper released from hospital
Ron Cooper of Statham, Ga., who suffered a concussion during the 23-car pileup in Saturday's Goody's 300-mile Grand National stock car race, was released from Halifax Medical Center Sunday after being held overnight for observation.
No mishaps for "movie cars'
The two "movie cars" driven by Greg Sacks and Tommy Ellis were withdrawn from the Daytona 400 in the 41st lap. The cars, being used in the filming of the Tom Cruise motion picture Days of Thunder, generally stayed at the rear of the field or away from it entirely, pitting for fuel or film while other cars were racing and staying on the track while most of the competitors were in the pits.
A few drivers had expressed concerns that the presence of the movie cars might increase the chances of a crash or other incidents, but there were none.
For the right to shoot in and around Daytona's Speed Weeks activities, Paramount contributed $2,400 per car to the purse and paid a fee to NASCAR. The cars, a pair of new Chevrolet Luminas numbered 51 and 18, were provided by Rick Hendrick, owner of Hendrick Motorsports.
Cruise took part in the filming Sunday and mingled with the crowd at times.