We're down to 62 days until the 2017 Daytona 500 on Feb. 26th on FOX. In honor of being officially under the nine-week mark until the Great American Race, let's look back at Fireball Roberts win over Richard Petty in the 1962 Daytona 500.
After struggling in the 500 for several seasons, Fireball Roberts tasted sweet redemption in 1962 as he defeated Richard Petty by 27 seconds to claim the victory.
To understand how sweet that win was for Roberts, his struggles from 1959 to 1961 in the 500 tell the whole story.
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In 1959, a fuel pump failure caused Roberts to exit the race early, finishing 45th out of 59 cars. In the next season, an engine failure was the culprit cutting the day short after 50 laps.
The most heartbreaking moment came in 1961 when Roberts had a dominant car that finally seemed like it would get the job done.
After leading 170 laps, Roberts once again lost an engine. This time it came with 13 laps to go, giving the victory to Smokey Yunick's other car in the race, the No. 20 Pontiac driven by Marvin Panch.
In 1962, Roberts finally had a car that didn't fail him, which was all he needed. He battled Joe Weatherly, Junior Johnson, and Richard Petty all race with the three cars trading the lead. Roberts steadily found ways to hold his rivals off and led the most laps.
Roberts passed Petty with 50 laps to go and never looked back, winning his first and only Daytona 500.
The bright career of Fireball Roberts was tragically cut short in the 1964 World 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway when he died after an accident at the track.