Daytona 500

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Daytona 500
2013 Daytona 500 logo.jpg
VenueDaytona International Speedway
First race1959
Distance500 miles (805 km)
Previous names

First Annual 500 Mile International Sweepstakes (1959)
Second Annual 500 Mile International Sweepstakes (1960)
Daytona 500 by STP
Daytona 500 by Dodge
Daytona 500 by Toyota

Daytona 500
(1961–1990, 1994–2000, 2002–2006, 2008–present)
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Daytona 500
2013 Daytona 500 logo.jpg
VenueDaytona International Speedway
First race1959
Distance500 miles (805 km)
Previous names

First Annual 500 Mile International Sweepstakes (1959)
Second Annual 500 Mile International Sweepstakes (1960)
Daytona 500 by STP
Daytona 500 by Dodge
Daytona 500 by Toyota

Daytona 500
(1961–1990, 1994–2000, 2002–2006, 2008–present)

The Daytona 500 is a 500-mile-long (805 km) NASCAR Sprint Cup Series motor race held annually at the Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Florida. It is one of four restrictor plate races on the Cup schedule.

The Daytona 500 is regarded as the most important and prestigious race on the NASCAR calendar, carrying by far the largest purse.[1] Championship points awarded are equal to that of any other Sprint Cup race. It is also the series' first race of the year; this phenomenon is virtually unique in sports, which tend to have championships or other major events at the end of the season rather than the start. Since 1995, U.S. television ratings for the Daytona 500 have been the highest for any auto race of the year, surpassing the traditional leader, the Indianapolis 500 which in turn greatly surpasses the Daytona 500 in in-track attendance and international viewing. The 2006 Daytona 500 attracted the sixth largest average live global TV audience of any sporting event that year with 20 million viewers.[2]

The event serves as the final event of Speedweeks and is sometimes referred to as "The Great American Race" or the "Super Bowl of Stock Car Racing." It is held the last Sunday in February. From 1971-2011, it was associated with Presidents Day weekend. Because of inclement weather conditions during the scheduled 2012 race, the Daytona 500 was rescheduled to Monday night, February 27, 2012. It was the first time in the 54 years of the Daytona 500 that the race was not only postponed, but ran as a night race. Due to the race starting at 7pm EST on Monday and a two hour red flag period, the race ended Tuesday, February 28 at 1am EST.[3] It was also announced that the race will stay on the last weekend of February for its 55th running, and take place on February 24, 2013.

The winner of the Daytona 500 is presented with the Harley J. Earl Trophy in Victory Lane, and the winning car is displayed, in race-winning condition, for one year at Daytona 500 Experience, a museum and gallery adjacent to Daytona International Speedway.



Course map of Daytona International Speedway

The race is the direct successor of shorter races held on Daytona Beach. This long square was partially on the sand and also on the highway near the beach. Earlier events featured 200-mile (320 km) races with stock cars. Eventually, a 500-mile (805 km) stock car race was held at Daytona International Speedway in 1959. It was the second 500-miler, following the Southern 500, and has been held every year since. By 1961, it began to be referred to as the "Daytona 500",[4] by which it is still commonly known.

Daytona International Speedway is 2.5 miles (4 km) long and a 500-mile race requires 200 laps to complete. However, the race is considered official after half its distance (100 laps or 250 miles (400 km)) have been completed. The race has been shortened four times due to rain (in 1965, 1966, 2003, and 2009) and once in response to the energy crisis of 1974. It has been extended six times (2005–2007 and 2010–2012) to allow for a green-white-checker finish.

Memorable Daytona 500s

Qualifying procedure

The qualifying procedure is unique for the Daytona 500. Some teams must race their way into the Daytona 500 field. The first row is set by a timed round of qualifying, held one week before the race. (Prior to 2003, this was two rounds; prior to 2001, it was three.) The remainder of the field is set by two separate qualifying races (these were 100 miles (160 km) from 1959–1967; 125 miles (201 km) from 1969–2004; and 150 miles (240 km), with two-lap overtime if necessary, beginning in 2005 (These races were not held in 1968 because of rain). The top two drivers from the qualifying races that are not in the top 35 in owner points are given spots on the field, and the rest is set by the finishing order of the duels, with guaranteed spots to those in the top 35. The remaining spots, 40 to 43 are filled by top qualifying times of those not already in the field from the qualifying race. If there is a previous NASCAR Champion without a spot, he will get one of those four spots, otherwise, the fourth fastest car is added to the field.

Prior to 2005, after the top two cars were set, the top 14 cars in the qualifying races advanced to the field, and then between six (1998–2003), eight (1995–97, 2004), or ten (until 1994) fastest cars which did not advance from the qualifying race were added, and, since 1976, between one and seven cars were added by previous year's points performance and or championship, except for 1985, when no such car was eligible for a provisional starting spot, the only time that happened in the Daytona 500 from when the provisional was added in 1976 through 2004.


The Daytona 500 was the first 500-mile (800 km) auto race to be televised live flag-to-flag on network television when CBS aired it in 1979, continuing to air until 2000. From 2001 to 2006, the race alternated between FOX and NBC under the terms of a six-year, $2.48 billion NASCAR television contract, with FOX broadcasting the Daytona 500 in odd-numbered years (2001, 2003, 2005) and the Pepsi 400 in even-numbered years (2002, 2004, 2006), with NBC broadcasting the opposite race in that year. Starting in 2007, FOX became the exclusive home of the Daytona 500 under the terms of NASCAR's new television package.

A byproduct of both the track's 1998 lighting system and both the 2001 and 2007 television packages has been later start times. The race started at 12:15 pm (EST) from 1979 until 2000. The start time was moved to 2:30 pm (EST) for the convenience of west coast viewers. The 2005 race ended at sunset for the first time in its history, and the 2006 race ended well after sunset. The changing track conditions caused by the onset of darkness in the closing laps force the crew chiefs to predict the critical car setup adjustments needed for their final two pit stops. Since then, all races have ended after dark, with the 2007 race ending in prime time, at 7:07 pm (EST). However, in 2010, the race moved back to a 1:00 pm start time, which should have resulted in it ending in daylight; however, two red flags caused by track surface issues led to long delays that pushed the race to 7:34 PM EST, pushing the race into prime-time for the second time.

The television ratings for the Daytona 500 have surpassed those of the larger Indianapolis 500 (which has much larger physical attendance and international attendance) since 1995, even though the 1995 race was available in far fewer homes than the year before. Then-broadcaster CBS had lost well-established VHF (channels 2–13) affiliates in major markets as a result of the Fox affiliate switches of 1994. As an example, new affiliates WDJT in Milwaukee and WGNX in Atlanta — both cities that are home to NASCAR races — and WWJ in Detroit, close to Michigan International Speedway, were on the UHF band (channels 14–69), meaning that they had a significantly reduced broadcast area compared to former affiliates WITI, WAGA-TV, and WJBK, respectively. WDJT was not available in many Wisconsin markets by the time the Daytona 500 took place.

List of Daytona 500 winners

For NASCAR Grand National winners at Daytona from 1949–1958, see Daytona Beach & Road Course.
Mario Andretti, born in Italy, is the only driver to win the race not from the United States.

StartWinner's Prize
DistanceRace TimeAverage Speed
LapsMiles (Km)
First Annual 500 Mile International Sweepstakes
1959February 22Lee PettyPetty EnterprisesOldsmobile4215th$19,050200500 (805)3:41:22135.521Report
Second Annual 500 Mile International Sweepstakes
1960February 24Junior JohnsonJohn MasoniChevrolet279th$19,600200500 (805)4:00:30124.740Report
Daytona 500
1961February 26Marvin PanchSmokey YunickPontiac204th$21,050200500 (805)3:20:32149.601Report
1962February 18Fireball RobertsJim Stephens22Pole$24,1903:10:41152.529Report
1963February 24Tiny LundWood Brothers RacingFord2112th$24,5503:17:56151.566Report
1964February 23Richard PettyPetty Enterprises (2)Plymouth432nd$33,3003:14:23154.334Report
1965February 14Fred LorenzenHolman-MoodyFord284th$27,100133*332.5 (535)2:22:56141.539Report
1966February 27Richard Petty (2)Petty Enterprises (3)Plymouth43Pole$28,150198*495 (797)3:04:54160.927Report
1967February 26Mario AndrettiHolman-Moody (2)Ford1112th$48,900200500 (805)3:24:11146.926Report
1968February 25Cale YarboroughWood Brothers Racing (2)Mercury21Pole$47,2503:23:44143.251Report
1969February 23LeeRoy YarbroughJunior Johnson & AssociatesFord9819th$38,9503:09:56157.950Report
1970February 22Pete HamiltonPetty Enterprises (4)Plymouth409th$44,8503:20:32149.601Report
1971February 14Richard Petty (3)Petty Enterprises (5)435th$45,4503:27:40144.462Report
1972February 20A.J. FoytWood Brothers Racing (3)Mercury212nd$44,6003:05:42161.550Report
1973February 18Richard Petty (4)Petty Enterprises (6)Dodge437th$36,1003:10:50157.205Report
1974February 17Richard Petty (5)Petty Enterprises (7)2nd$39,650180*450 (724)3:11:38140.894Report
1975February 16Benny ParsonsL.G. DeWittChevrolet7232nd$43,905200500 (805)3:15:15153.649Report
1976February 15David PearsonWood Brothers Racing (4)Mercury217th$46,8003:17:08152.181Report
1977February 20Cale Yarborough (2)Junior Johnson & Associates (2)Chevrolet114th$63,7003:15:48153.218Report
1978February 19Bobby AllisonBud Moore EngineeringFord1533rd$56,3003:07:49159.730Report
1979February 18Richard Petty (6)Petty Enterprises (8)Oldsmobile4313th$73,9003:28:22143.977Report
1980February 17Buddy BakerRanier-Lundy28Pole$102,1752:48:55177.602‡Report
1981February 15Richard Petty (7)Petty Enterprises (9)Buick438th$90,5752:56:50169.651Report
1982February 14Bobby Allison (2)DiGard Motorsports887th$120,3603:14:49153.991Report
1983February 20Cale Yarborough (3)Ranier-Lundy (2)Pontiac288th$119,6003:12:20155.979Report
1984February 19Cale Yarborough (4)Ranier-Lundy (3)ChevroletPole$160,3003:18:41150.994Report
1985February 17Bill ElliottMelling RacingFord9$185,5002:54:09172.265Report
1986February 16Geoffrey BodineHendrick MotorsportsChevrolet52nd$192,7153:22:32148.124Report
1987February 15Bill Elliott (2)Melling Racing (2)Ford9Pole$204,1502:50:12176.263Report
1988February 14Bobby Allison (3)Stavola Brothers RacingBuick123rd$202,9403:38:08137.531Report
1989February 19Darrell WaltripHendrick Motorsports (2)Chevrolet172nd$184,9003:22:04148.466Report
1990February 18Derrike CopeWhitcomb Racing1012th$188,1503:00:59165.761Report
Daytona 500 by STP
1991February 17Ernie IrvanMorgan-McClure MotorsportsChevrolet42nd$233,000200500 (805)3:22:30148.148Report
1992February 16Davey AllisonRobert Yates RacingFord286th$244,0503:07:12160.256Report
1993February 14Dale JarrettJoe Gibbs RacingChevrolet182nd$238,2003:13:35154.972Report
Daytona 500
1994February 20Sterling MarlinMorgan-McClure Motorsports (2)Chevrolet44th$258,275200500 (805)3:11:10156.931Report
1995February 19Sterling Marlin (2)Morgan-McClure Motorsports (3)3rd$300,4603:31:42141.710Report
1996February 18Dale Jarrett (2)Robert Yates Racing (2)Ford887th$360,7753:14:25154.308Report
1997February 16Jeff GordonHendrick Motorsports (3)Chevrolet246th$377,4103:22:18148.295Report
1998February 15Dale EarnhardtRichard Childress Racing34th$1,059,8052:53:42172.712Report
1999February 14Jeff Gordon (2)Hendrick Motorsports (4)24Pole$1,172,2463:05:42161.551Report
2000February 20Dale Jarrett (3)Robert Yates Racing (3)Ford88$1,277,9753:12:43155.669Report
2001February 18Michael WaltripDale Earnhardt, Inc.Chevrolet1519th$1,331,1853:05:26161.783Report
2002February 17Ward BurtonBill Davis RacingDodge2219th$1,389,0173:29:50130.810Report
2003February 16Michael Waltrip (2)Dale Earnhardt, Inc. (2)Chevrolet154th$1,419,406109*272.5 (439)2:02:08133.870Report
2004February 15Dale Earnhardt, Jr.Dale Earnhardt, Inc. (3)83rd$1,495,070200500 (805)3:11:53156.341Report
2005February 20Jeff Gordon (3)Hendrick Motorsports (5)2415th$1,497,150203*507.5 (817)3:45:16135.173Report
2006February 19Jimmie JohnsonHendrick Motorsports (6)489th$1,505,1203:33:26142.734Report
Daytona 500 presented by Toyota
2007February 18Kevin HarvickRichard Childress Racing (2)Chevrolet2934th$1,510,469202*505 (813)3:22:55149.333Report
Daytona 500
2008February 17Ryan NewmanPenske Championship RacingDodge127th$1,543,045200500 (805)3:16:30152.672Report
2009February 15Matt KensethRoush Fenway RacingFord1739th1$1,536,388152*380 (612)2:51:40132.816Report
2010February 14Jamie McMurrayEarnhardt Ganassi RacingChevrolet113th$1,514,649208*520 (837)3:47:16137.284Report
2011February 20Trevor BayneWood Brothers Racing (5)Ford2132nd$1,463,8103:59:24130.326Report
2012February 27/28*Matt Kenseth (2)Roush Fenway Racing (2)174th$1,589,387202*505 (813)3:36:02140.256Report

† – Andretti was born in a part of Italy that is now in Croatia, but became a naturalized American citizen.
‡ – Record for fastest Daytona 500 at 177.602 mph (285.823 km/h) set by Buddy Baker in 1980.
1 – Originally started 39th, but had to go back to the 43rd position due to changing to a backup car after crashing in the qualifying races. A driver who crashes during the qualifying race and goes to a backup car, or after 2003, changes an engine between the first practice after the qualifying race and the Daytona 500, is relegated to the rear of the field.

The following races have been shortened:

The following races have been lengthened because of the green-white-checker finish. Note that from 2004 through 2009, only one attempt was permitted in Sprint Cup Series racing. Starting in 2010, a maximum of three attempts are permitted.

Only one race has been rescheduled from its original date.

Pole position holders

Race winner records

Prerace ceremonies before the 2008 Daytona 500.

Multiple victories

Consecutive victories

Winners from the pole position

Family winners

Winners as both driver and owner

Won Daytona 500 and Sprint Unlimited in same year

Won Daytona 500 and Budweiser Duel in same year

Daytona 500 winners born outside of United States

Drivers whose first NASCAR Cup Series win was the Daytona 500

Youngest and oldest winners of the Daytona 500

Drivers who have won both the Daytona 500 and the Indianapolis 500

Multiple victories (teams/owners)


  1. ^ "Culture, Class, Distinction"Bennett, Tony. Culture, Class, Distinction. Routledge (2009) Disaggregating cultural capital. English translation ISBN 0-415-42242-6 (hardcover).
  2. ^ "World’s most watched TV sports events: 2006 Rank & Trends report". Initiative. 2007-01-19. Archived from the original on 2007-02-08. Retrieved 2007-01-30.
  3. ^ a b Blount, Terry (2012-02-28). "Bizarre moments dominate Daytona 500 weekend". ESPN. Retrieved 2012-02-28.
  4. ^ 1959, 1960, and 1961 Daytona 500 Programs

External links