1970 24 Hours of Daytona – Race Profile Page Seven
According to Speedway founder Bill France an estimated 35,000 racing fans were in the track at the time of the start on Saturday the 31st of January. That would have been the largest crowd for this event since it became a 24 hour race in 1966. Besides what the local Daytona newspaper called the European “Jet Set” in attendance there was a large number of college students, many of them camped out in the western part of the track. In some spectator areas foreign sports cars seemed to outnumber domestic cars and the “hippie look” seemed to be in fashion with young men sporting beards and young women with long hair wearing, despite the cold, what fashion designers back then called “micro mini-skirts.” Two young ladies in such attire attracted a gaggle of photographers who followed them around the paddock. This parade was only broken up when the young ladies ducked into a nearby rest room and stayed in there until the cold and shivering photographers decided to get something hot to drink.
The green flag fell for the 65 starters at 3 p.m. on the back straight of the 3.81 mile course. There was no chicane on the back straight in those days and this gave the faster cars a chance to get away from the rest of the pack before entering the first two turns on the infield course thus minimizing a possible traffic jam and a race-ending accident.
Despite having the pole position Andretti’s Ferrari 512S was passed by the Gulf Porsche 917’s of Siffert and Rodriguez. As they approached turn one Siffert was first, Rodriguez was second, Andretti was third locking up his brakes in the process and the Vic Elford – Kurt Ahrens Porsche-Salzburg 917K fourth and close behind Andretti.
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