1973 24 Hours of Daytona – Race Profile and Photo Gallery Page Fourteen
The accident with the errant bird no doubt scared everyone in the Brumos pits. You are holding a comfortable lead on your way to a win and this happens. No one could have predicted that. It was a miracle that Haywood hadn’t been injured by the bird strike or lost control of the car. It was to Haywood’s credit that he kept everything under control.
The unexpected bird strike on the leading car was of great concern to Norbert Singer. It was his job to see that the brand new Porsche 911 Carrera RSs finished the race and already one of them had retired. To be this close to a win and fail was unacceptable so after the car returned to the track, with Peter Gregg at the wheel, he kept a close eye on the lap charts to see what kind of lead they had and how fast the car was going.
When Singer was informed by the folks keeping the lap charts that the car had what was thought to be a comfortable lead he put out the order to the signal pit to have Gregg “SLOW” down. The signal went out but after several laps it was apparent that Gregg had ignored the order. Again the signal went out and again it was ignored.
At this point Singer made no further demands but Brumos General Manager Bob Snodgrass stepped in and talked to the signal pits by phone. The signal pits were on the straight between turns two and three and you could only communicate with them via phones set up in the pits just for this event. Finally the Brumos signal pit put out a board which read, “SINGER SAYS SLOW.” Only then did Gregg lift up on the accelerator. One must not bite the hand that feeds you.
The final hours of the race were without any further dramatics, bird strikes, accidents, blown engines and the like. There was a bit of drama in the Brumos pits when representatives of Classic Car Wax approached them with an offer they thought Brumos couldn’t refuse. If the leading Brumos Porsche would pit late in the race they would wash and wax the car in return for the princely sum of $10,000 (over $52,000 by today’s standards) along with the right to advertise same.
For several reasons Peter Gregg politely refused the offer and figuring prominently in his reasons was the fear that during the extended time in the pits, for the wash-n-wax, the car might not restart. That would spell disaster in epic proportions. To lose a race like the Daytona 24 because of a wash-n-wax would go down in automotive history and make Brumos and Peter Gregg a joke for years if not decades to come. The offer had to be declined.
When the checkered flag was waved, this time on the front straight, at 3:03 pm on Sunday the #59 red, white and blue Brumos Porsche crossed the finish line with a 22 lap lead over the Minter/Migault Daytona and 26 laps ahead of the Heinz/McClure/English Corvette. In fourth was the Porsche 911S of Bruce Jennings, George Stone and Mike Downs. Following them across the finish line was the NART Ferrari 365GTB/4 of Chinetti/Grossman/Shaw.