1973 24 Hours of Daytona – Race Profile and Photo Gallery Page Nine
According to estimates at the time there were 29,500 fans in attendance with most of them in the infield. The sights, sounds and smells in the infield can be quite mesmerizing. The sight of young girls in shorts hawking programs, the smell of steak cooking and the sounds of loud music could be heard over the growls of race cars. Young and old traversed the infield on bicycles and motorcycles with a dog or two running loose while one person had a cat on a leash.
Added to that mix were Army recruiters trying to sign up some cannon fodder for Vietnam despite the fact that a cease-fire had been signed with North Vietnam a week earlier. Even the Boy Scouts were present. They had the concession on recyclables and came prepared to collect cans and bottles tossed on the ground by the assembled throng.
Also in the infield were members of Porsche and Corvette clubs that had set up corrals for their respective club members. Both corrals were fenced off with a guard at the front entrance. “One must keep out the riff-raff mustn’t one.”
The heavy rains Thursday and Friday turned the eastern end of the infield into a mud bog that was slow-churned by a series of trucks and cars with some getting really stuck in the mud. An enterprising teenager from Daytona’s Seabreeze High School was there to pull out stuck cars, for a price, with his Jeep CJ5. Seems that he made gas money every weekend doing same for tourists who got their cars stuck in the soft sands of Daytona Beach.
With only two laps completed the Canadian Porsche 908/02 was in the pits to change a faulty wheel. From then on it was one thing after another but they would eventually finish the race 148 laps behind the winning car.
At lap nineteen Mark Donohue’s Porsche Carrera made an early pit stop for a quick tire change. Donohue told his crew that one of the wheels was out of balance and as it turned out some of the other cars shod with street radials had to pit for the same reason. The tire manufacturers at the track were having problems doing a proper speed balance on the shaved-down street tires.
Also in the pits at the same time was the Chevron B21 Ford of Hugh Kleinpeter, Jim Gammon and Tom Shelton. Their transmission was giving them headaches but they would carry on until forced to retire after 241 laps.