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Sports Memories: Fireball Roberts 1

Posted on July 02, 2009 by Dean Hybl

Fireball Roberts won the first Forecracker 400

Fireball Roberts won the first Forecracker 400

Much fanfare is being made this week regarding the 25th anniversary of Richard Petty’s record setting victory in the 1984 Firecracker 400. While Petty is certainly worthy of being honored, let’s also not forget the accomplishments of the man who won the first Firecracker race 50 years ago: Glenn “Fireball” Roberts.

When the Daytona International Speedway opened in 1959, the big summer race at the speedway was originally scheduled to be an open wheel (Indy car) race. However, after a flurry of accidents at an April event, open wheel racing was permanently barred from the track.

That left an opening for a second NASCAR event to go with the season opening Daytona 500.

Originally called the Firecracker 250, the race was 100 laps until being expanded to the current 400 miles (160 laps) in 1963.

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