In 1969 the Aero Wars started off with a bang and ended in 1970 with a volley of bangs. At the beginning of the year, it was the 1969 Dodge Charger 500 showing up at Daytona expecting to disappear into the Florida sunset with all the marbles. Ford drivers had a different idea. The 1969 Ford Talladega powered by a 427 cubic inch engine had been secretly in development for months. When it arrived at the Daytona racetrack the MOPAR folks were arguably shaking in their boots.
The race was on and the Talladega beat the 500. The Dodge Boys were not happy and the Aero Wars were on. The first battle had been won but the war was yet to be fought. As the year went on, Ford put the recently homologated Boss 429 monster semi-Hemi engine into the Talladega. Next came the Boss 429 powered Mercury Cyclone Spoiler II which further hurt the pride of the MOPAR clan.
Richard Petty in a Ford Talladega, the only year he raced a Ford.
When everyone showed up at Talladega, MOPAR had the much-anticipated reply to the Ford Aero Cars. It was the long-nosed, big winged Dodge Daytona. But that was not the big story. The tire wars were. The cars were going close to 200 MPH and destroying the special race tires. Fearing for their safety, virtually all regular big-name drivers loaded up their race cars and went home. Bill France changed the rules for the first Talladega race and invited all the other, lesser class cars to run the race to fill out the field. Richard Brickhouse in the new 1969 Dodge Charger Daytona went on to win the controversial race with very little real competition.
By the time the next race came around, the tire problems were a thing of the past and the Aero Wars were on. Following Talladega was at Columbia and won by Bobby Isaac, then came Martinsville won by Richard Petty, next came North Wilkesboro won by David Pearson. As the battles were fought everyone had their chance but it was David Pearson in his blue and gold Talladega that won the NASCAR Championship and the Aero War in 1969. Richard Petty finished a close second in the Championship in his Petty Blue Talladega the only year he raced a Ford.