On This Day in Trans Am History: July 3, 1984
July 3, 2020
July 3, 1984
Willy T. Ribbs recreated the Midnight Ride of Paul Revere at Daytona International Speedway, winning the Paul Revere 250 Trans Am Series presented by Pirelli race in only his second start for Jack Roush.
The unique two-heat event started late at night on the eve of July 4 and entertained the fans coming to see that day’s NASCAR Winston Cup Series Firecracker 400, won by Richard Petty in front of President Ronald Reagan for his historic 200th – and final – victory.
Ribbs was at the wheel of Jack Roush’s No. 64 Roush Protofab Motorcraft Mercury Capri for the second time in the Daytona race. A winner of five races in Neil DeAtley’s No. 28 Budweiser Chevrolet Camaro in 1983, Ribbs left that team on the morning of the season-opening race at Road Atlanta and sat out the four events of the season. He teamed up with Roush at Detroit in late June, finishing second behind eventual series champion Tom Gloy.
The Daytona race was run in two 22-lap heats. Gloy won the pole in the No. 7 7-Eleven Mercury Capri with a lap of 1:54.721, and was joined on the front row by Ribbs. Gloy led the opening four laps before giving way to Bob Lobenberg in the No. 55 Huffaker STP Sun of a Gun Pontiac Trans-Am. Ribbs took over on lap eleven, and beat Gloy by 18.046 seconds.
Greg Pickett took third in Roush’s No. 63 Capri, followed by rookie Wally Dallenbach Jr. in the No. 98 Colorado Connection Camaro and Lobenberg.
Ribbs started heat two on the pole and led 12 laps. David Hobbs paced six circuits in DeAtley’s No. 1 Budweiser Corvette, while teammate Darin Brassfield led the final four laps and took the checkered flag in the No. 3 Budweiser Corvette, 19 second ahead of Gloy. Ribbs was third, followed by Lobenberg and Jim Miller in the No. 50 MTI Vacations Pontiac Trans-Am.
Ribbs was then declared overall winner of the event. He went on to win the next race at Brainerd and ended the year with four victories, placing third in the final standings despite the late start.
This marked the second and final appearance of Trans Am at the Paul Revere 250. Parnelli Jones won the opening race on July 4, 1967, in a Bud Moore Mercury Cougar. The event then ran under NASCAR and then IMSA sanction through 1983. Following the 1984 Trans Am, it ran two years as a motorcycle race. It was mothballed through 2000, when it was brought back for nine years as part of the Grand-Am Rolex Series.