Daytona 500 History
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In 1949, NASCAR president Bill France Sr. had the idea of racing the cars that people actually drove on the street - family sedans. Since no other racing organization had seized the idea,
Early on in Daytona 500 history, strictly Stock cars had the windows intact. Ropes and aircraft harnesses were used as seat belts. Then roll bars were mandated in 1952 – they were neither required nor often installed for the races.
As the popularity of racing grew, so did the production of vehicles for the NASCAR races. The first official Strictly Stock Division race had nine models in the line up- Buick, Cadillac, Chrysler, Ford, Hudson, Kaiser, Lincoln, Mercury and Oldsmobile. The production of these cars and the popularity of this sporting event started the Daytona 500 history.
The Daytona 500 history began on February 22, 1959. The first Daytona 500 race was a 100-mile NASCAR Convertible Division race in 1959. In the first Daytona 500 race, fans were treated to something that each year still brings millions of fans to NASCAR races --close competition. Coming down the stretch passing Joe Weatherly on the final lap was Lee Petty and Johnny Beauchamp. Both cars where neck and neck at the finish line and officials announced Beauchamp the winner as the cars crossed the finish. For three days, after reviewing photographs and video of the race, on February 25, 1959, Lee Petty was announced the winner of the first Daytona 500.
The Daytona 500 was the first 500 mile race to be televised in its entirety in1979; this is when the Daytona 500 history began as a televised sport.
The Daytona 500 is the most watched motorsports event in the world with stadium attendance and television viewing combined. Estimated attendance for the Daytona 500 is 200,000 and more than 25 million viewers tune in to watch this spectacular sporting event.
The Daytona 500 also has the biggest total payout in prize money for a motorsports event in the
Besides the financial aspect of winning the Daytona 500, the victory can also elevate a driver’s status in the sport. Jeff Gordon was the youngest driver in Daytona 500 history to win at the age of 25.
Other Daytona 500 History Facts
Richard Petty holds the record for the most wins in Daytona 500 history- 7.
Another Daytona 500 History factoid: The race holds the record for the most cars crashed at once in a sporting event. On February 13, 1960, on the second lap in a 73 car 250 mile race, 38 cars crashed into one another.
Jeff Gordon was the youngest driver in Daytona 500 history to win at the age of 25
All except five races where 500 miles long:
- 1965: 322.5 miles(129 laps) due to rain
- 1966: 495 miles(198 laps) due to rain
- 1974: 450 miles(180 laps) due to energy crisis
- 2003: 272.5 miles(109) due to rain
- 2005: 507.5 miles (203 laps) Green-white checker rule.
Come and attend the races and watch Daytona 500 history being made. “This is the Daytona 500,” said driver Jimmy Spencer. “It’s the biggest race of the year. It’s the biggest crowd, biggest TV audience. It’s the biggest everything.”
You win some, lose some, and wreck some. ~ Dale Earnhardt