1973 24 Hours of Daytona – Race Profile and Photo Gallery Page Seven
It had been reported later in a number of publications that, prior to the start of the ’73 race, Peter Gregg informed Roger Penske that he should ask his mechanics to check the flywheel bolts on the 911 Carrera RS Penske got from the Porsche factory. Gregg’s mechanics had taken their Porsche apart and found the flywheel to be loose on the Brumos car. These same published reports indicated that, “Penske felt it was a pre-race ploy and ignored the advice.” As the race results would show that decision to ignore Gregg’s advice might have been ill-advised.
In recent years the Daytona 24 had been blessed with a huge entry of GT cars much to the delight of American racing fans who came to Daytona hoping to see some American iron take a trophy or two. Among the GT favorites in 1973 were the Corvettes of John Greenwood, Tony De Lorenzo, Dave Heinz and Jerry Thompson as well as almost a dozen Z28 Camaros.
The Corvettes and Camaros would be dueling with over a dozen Porsche 911’s as well as four well-prepared Ferrari Daytonas. The four Ferrari Daytona 365GTB/4’s were entered by Luigi Chinetti’s North American Racing Team (NART). Chinetti’s son Luigi, Jr. would be diving one of the cars along with Bob Grossman. Other NART drivers included Jean-Claude Andruet, Claude Ballot-Léna, Arturo Merzario, Jean-Pierre Jarier, François Migault and Milt Minter.
The competition at Daytona in 1973 wasn’t relegated to just cars and drivers. Tire companies B.F. Goodrich and Goodyear had several cars shod with street radial tires. An overall or class win with those tires could be an advertising bonanza for either company. What the tire companies were not saying in their pre-race press releases is that these so-called “street” tires had been shaved down to almost half their tread depth. The Greenwood Corvettes, Penske Porsche and a NART Ferrari were all running on these special tires.
The additional practice/qualifying session on Saturday morning saw the now repaired Joest 908/03 on the track and all three drivers qualified. However the car would have to accept placement in the back of the pack. Also on the track were the two Gulf Mirages for final adjustments but noticeably absent was the Matra and the Lola T282. The absence of the Lola surprised many when it was learned how few laps they had actually taken in practice.