70 Days until the Daytona 500

In Sprint Cup Series competition the #70 car has started 748 races and has  0 wins, 1 pole, 14 top 5s, 118 top 10s, and 311 DNFs.

 

  • After attending his first race in Bowman Gray Stadium at the age of ten, J.D.McDuffie was inspired to become a race car driver. He started 623 of his 653 career races in car #70 without ever winning a race or finishing on the lead lap.

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McDuffie made his NASCAR Winston (Sprint) Cup Series debut in 1963 at the Rambi Speedway near Myrtle Beach, South Carolina driving Curtis Turner’s old 1961 Ford. Though McDuffie was an expert dirt track racer, he never had similar success on asphalt tracks.

 

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His first last-place finish came at the 1963 Pickens 200. In 1978, McDuffie won the pole position for the Delaware 500. In the 1988 Daytona 500 qualifying race, McDuffie received second- and third-degree burns in an accident after he raced without fireproof gloves because they were stolen before the race.

McDuffie is still the record holder for the most starts in NASCAR’s top touring series without recording a win. His 653 starts rank him 21st in all-time starts. McDuffie held the series record for the most last-place finishes with 32 until Joe Nemechek surpassed him in 2014.

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McDuffie was involved in an accident on the fifth lap of the 1991 Budweiser at The Glen race at Watkins Glen International. On the straight between the esses and the loop-chute, at 170 mph, McDuffie collided with Jimmy Means after suffering a mechanical failure. McDuffie’s left front wheel spindle broke off of the car, causing him to lose brakes and hit Means in the right front. This left him no way of stopping the car or steering it, and to further complicate matters, there was no gravel trap in the corner that McDuffie was headed toward. As a result, McDuffie skidded across the grass and hit the outside retaining wall and tire barrier with such force that the car shot into the air, rotated, and then came to rest upside-down. Means also crashed into the same corner but was able to slow his vehicle down before the impact; his car went under McDuffie’s as it was in mid-air. Means, a fellow independent racer, suffered only minor cuts and bruises in the accident, and got out of his car to check on J.D. After peering into McDuffie’s car, he began frantically signaling for assistance, and a host of medical personnel and track workers rushed to the scene. The race was delayed for two hours as McDuffie was removed from his car and his Pontiac was removed from the infield. Also, the wall that McDuffie and Means struck had to be repaired. As the cars got back on the track and cruised under yellow flag conditions, the media attention turned to Chip Williams, NASCAR’s PR director, who disclosed that McDuffie had lost his life in the accident. He had died instantly from head and brain injuries. The direct cause of death was a basilar skull fracture caused by rapid head movement to the right.

WARNING: The following video contains material that may not be suitable for all audiences.

 

McDuffie’s crash, along with a sports car accident the same year involving Tommy Kendall, directly lead to Watkins Glen adding a bus stop chicane and more gravel traps in an attempt to increase safety.

 

  • Johnny Sauter started the #70 car 44 times for Gene Haas from 2006-2008.

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  • Other notable names in #70
    • Tony Raines, 10 starts
    • Jeremy Mayfield, 7 starts
    • Cotten Owens, 4 starts
    • Jason Leffler, 3 starts
    • Buck Baker, 1 start
    • Rex White, 1 start
    • Wendell Scott, 1 start
    • Ralph Earnhardt, 1 start
    • Ken Schrader, 1 start
    • Max Papis, 1 start
    • Mike Skinner, 1 start
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