DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. -- Lee Petty of Randelman, N.C., reigned today as winner of the 500-mile NASCAR stock car race sweepstakes, but he had to wait three days to make it official.
Johnny Beauchamp of Harlan, Iowa, was at first declared winner of Sunday's classic. However, protests from men in the pit area forced NASCAR President Bill France to withhold a final decision until films of the close finish could be studied.
An absence of photo-finish facilities complicated matters and officials had to pour over films and still shots of the race to determine Petty's victory. They finally declared Petty the winner Wednesday.
The pictures showed Petty's 1959 Oldsmobile in front of Beauchamp's 1959 Ford Thunderbird as the cars zoomed past the finish line. Petty's average winning the time was 135.521 mph, a new 500-mile record for stock cars.
Petty, who didn't file an official protest, said "I slept good because I know I had won it."
His dreams were money-makers as there is a difference of about $11,000 in prize money between first and second place.