||This article needs additional citations for verification. (February 2011)|
|Venue||Daytona International Speedway|
|Distance||500 miles (805 km)|
First Annual 500 Mile International Sweepstakes (1959)
(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 first Daytona 500 was held in 1959, coinciding with the opening of the speedway, and since 1982, it has been the season-opening race of the Cup series.
The Daytona 500 is regarded as the most important and prestigious race on the NASCAR calendar, carrying by far the largest purse. 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.
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." All 55 Daytona 500s since the first race in 1959 have been held in the month of February. From 1971-2011, it was associated with Presidents Day weekend, taking place on the third Sunday in February. For 2012, the race was moved forward a week, to the last Sunday of February, but because of inclement weather conditions on February 26, the day the 2012 Daytona 500 was supposed to be held, that race was postponed until the evening of Monday, February 27, and it wasn't until the 2013 Daytona 500, which was held on February 24 of that year, that the race took place on the last Sunday of February for the first time.
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. Jimmie Johnson is the race's defending champion after winning it in 2013.
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", 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
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. In 2005, a new television contract was signed, which made FOX the sole broadcaster of the Daytona 500 for eight years, from 2007 to 2014. In 2012, eight more years were added to the contract, giving FOX every Daytona 500 from 2015 to 2022 as well, for a total of at least sixteen straight Daytona 500s.
The installation of the lighting system at Daytona International Speedway in 1998, as well as the implementations of the television packages in 2001 and 2007, respectively, have resulted in the race starting and ending much later than it did in the race's early years. The race started at 12:15 pm EST from 1979 until 2000. The start time was moved to 1:00 pm EST from 2001 to 2004, 2:30 pm EST in 2005 and 2006, and 3:30 pm EST from 2007 to 2009, all 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. Every Daytona 500 between 2006 and 2010, as well as the 2012 race, ended under the lights. The changing track conditions caused by the onset of darkness in the closing laps in these years forced the crew chiefs to predict the critical car setup adjustments needed for their final two pit stops. The 2007 race was the first Daytona 500 to go into in prime-time, ending at 7:07 pm EST. 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 2012 race was also scheduled to start at 1:00 pm EST on Sunday, February 26, but heavy rain in the area caused the race to be postponed to 7:00 pm EST on Monday, February 27, making it the first Daytona 500 to be postponed to a Monday, as well as the first Daytona 500 to be run as a night race. Due to a two-hour red flag period after a jet dryer fire on the track with 40 laps remaining, the race did not end until about 12:40 am EST on Tuesday, February 28. The 2013 race marked a return to the race's past tradition of ending in the late afternoon, as it ended at about 4:40 pm EST, the race's earliest ending time since 2004.
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
|Distance||Race Time||Average Speed
|First Annual 500 Mile International Sweepstakes|
|1959||February 22||Lee Petty||Petty Enterprises||Oldsmobile||42||15th||$19,050||200||500 (805)||3:41:22||135.521||Report|
|Second Annual 500 Mile International Sweepstakes|
|1960||February 24||Junior Johnson||John Masoni||Chevrolet||27||9th||$19,600||200||500 (805)||4:00:30||124.74||Report|
|1961||February 26||Marvin Panch||Smokey Yunick||Pontiac||20||4th||$21,050||200||500 (805)||3:20:32||149.601||Report|
|1962||February 18||Fireball Roberts||Jim Stephens||22||Pole||$24,190||3:10:41||152.529||Report|
|1963||February 24||Tiny Lund||Wood Brothers Racing||Ford||21||12th||$24,550||3:17:56||151.566||Report|
|1964||February 23||Richard Petty||Petty Enterprises (2)||Plymouth||43||2nd||$33,300||3:14:23||154.334||Report|
|1965||February 14||Fred Lorenzen||Holman-Moody||Ford||28||4th||$27,100||133*||332.5 (535)||2:22:56||141.539||Report|
|1966||February 27||Richard Petty (2)||Petty Enterprises (3)||Plymouth||43||Pole||$28,150||198*||495 (797)||3:04:54||160.927||Report|
|1967||February 26||Mario Andretti†||Holman-Moody (2)||Ford||11||12th||$48,900||200||500 (805)||3:24:11||146.926||Report|
|1968||February 25||Cale Yarborough||Wood Brothers Racing (2)||Mercury||21||Pole||$47,250||3:23:44||143.251||Report|
|1969||February 23||LeeRoy Yarbrough||Junior Johnson & Associates||Ford||98||19th||$38,950||3:09:56||157.95||Report|
|1970||February 22||Pete Hamilton||Petty Enterprises (4)||Plymouth||40||9th||$44,850||3:20:32||149.601||Report|
|1971||February 14||Richard Petty (3)||Petty Enterprises (5)||43||5th||$45,450||3:27:40||144.462||Report|
|1972||February 20||A.J. Foyt||Wood Brothers Racing (3)||Mercury||21||2nd||$44,600||3:05:42||161.55||Report|
|1973||February 18||Richard Petty (4)||Petty Enterprises (6)||Dodge||43||7th||$36,100||3:10:50||157.205||Report|
|1974||February 17||Richard Petty (5)||Petty Enterprises (7)||2nd||$39,650||180*||450 (724)||3:11:38||140.894||Report|
|1975||February 16||Benny Parsons||L.G. DeWitt||Chevrolet||72||32nd||$43,905||200||500 (805)||3:15:15||153.649||Report|
|1976||February 15||David Pearson||Wood Brothers Racing (4)||Mercury||21||7th||$46,800||3:17:08||152.181||Report|
|1977||February 20||Cale Yarborough (2)||Junior Johnson & Associates (2)||Chevrolet||11||4th||$63,700||3:15:48||153.218||Report|
|1978||February 19||Bobby Allison||Bud Moore Engineering||Ford||15||33rd||$56,300||3:07:49||159.73||Report|
|1979||February 18||Richard Petty (6)||Petty Enterprises (8)||Oldsmobile||43||13th||$73,900||3:28:22||143.977||Report|
|1980||February 17||Buddy Baker||Ranier-Lundy||28||Pole||$102,175||2:48:55||177.602‡||Report|
|1981||February 15||Richard Petty (7)||Petty Enterprises (9)||Buick||43||8th||$90,575||2:56:50||169.651||Report|
|1982||February 14||Bobby Allison (2)||DiGard Motorsports||88||7th||$120,360||3:14:49||153.991||Report|
|1983||February 20||Cale Yarborough (3)||Ranier-Lundy (2)||Pontiac||28||8th||$119,600||3:12:20||155.979||Report|
|1984||February 19||Cale Yarborough (4)||Ranier-Lundy (3)||Chevrolet||Pole||$160,300||3:18:41||150.994||Report|
|1985||February 17||Bill Elliott||Melling Racing||Ford||9||$185,500||2:54:09||172.265||Report|
|1986||February 16||Geoffrey Bodine||Hendrick Motorsports||Chevrolet||5||2nd||$192,715||3:22:32||148.124||Report|
|1987||February 15||Bill Elliott (2)||Melling Racing (2)||Ford||9||Pole||$204,150||2:50:12||176.263||Report|
|1988||February 14||Bobby Allison (3)||Stavola Brothers Racing||Buick||12||3rd||$202,940||3:38:08||137.531||Report|
|1989||February 19||Darrell Waltrip||Hendrick Motorsports (2)||Chevrolet||17||2nd||$184,900||3:22:04||148.466||Report|
|1990||February 18||Derrike Cope||Whitcomb Racing||10||12th||$188,150||3:00:59||165.761||Report|
|Daytona 500 by STP|
|1991||February 17||Ernie Irvan||Morgan-McClure Motorsports||Chevrolet||4||2nd||$233,000||200||500 (805)||3:22:30||148.148||Report|
|1992||February 16||Davey Allison||Robert Yates Racing||Ford||28||6th||$244,050||3:07:12||160.256||Report|
|1993||February 14||Dale Jarrett||Joe Gibbs Racing||Chevrolet||18||2nd||$238,200||3:13:35||154.972||Report|
|1994||February 20||Sterling Marlin||Morgan-McClure Motorsports (2)||Chevrolet||4||4th||$258,275||200||500 (805)||3:11:10||156.931||Report|
|1995||February 19||Sterling Marlin (2)||Morgan-McClure Motorsports (3)||3rd||$300,460||3:31:42||141.71||Report|
|1996||February 18||Dale Jarrett (2)||Robert Yates Racing (2)||Ford||88||7th||$360,775||3:14:25||154.308||Report|
|1997||February 16||Jeff Gordon||Hendrick Motorsports (3)||Chevrolet||24||6th||$377,410||3:22:18||148.295||Report|
|1998||February 15||Dale Earnhardt||Richard Childress Racing||3||4th||$1,059,805||2:53:42||172.712||Report|
|1999||February 14||Jeff Gordon (2)||Hendrick Motorsports (4)||24||Pole||$1,172,246||3:05:42||161.551||Report|
|2000||February 20||Dale Jarrett (3)||Robert Yates Racing (3)||Ford||88||$1,277,975||3:12:43||155.669||Report|
|2001||February 18||Michael Waltrip||Dale Earnhardt, Inc.||Chevrolet||15||19th||$1,331,185||3:05:26||161.783||Report|
|2002||February 17||Ward Burton||Bill Davis Racing||Dodge||22||$1,389,017||3:29:50||130.81||Report|
|2003||February 16||Michael Waltrip (2)||Dale Earnhardt, Inc. (2)||Chevrolet||15||4th||$1,419,406||109*||272.5 (439)||2:02:08||133.87||Report|
|2004||February 15||Dale Earnhardt, Jr.||Dale Earnhardt, Inc. (3)||8||3rd||$1,495,070||200||500 (805)||3:11:53||156.341||Report|
|2005||February 20||Jeff Gordon (3)||Hendrick Motorsports (5)||24||15th||$1,497,150||203*||507.5 (817)||3:45:16||135.173||Report|
|2006||February 19||Jimmie Johnson||Hendrick Motorsports (6)||48||9th||$1,505,120||3:33:26||142.667||Report|
|Daytona 500 presented by Toyota|
|2007||February 18||Kevin Harvick||Richard Childress Racing (2)||Chevrolet||29||34th||$1,510,469||202*||505 (813)||3:22:55||149.333||Report|
|2008||February 17||Ryan Newman||Penske Championship Racing||Dodge||12||7th||$1,543,045||200||500 (805)||3:16:30||152.672||Report|
|2009||February 15||Matt Kenseth||Roush Fenway Racing||Ford||17||39th1||$1,536,388||152*||380 (612)||2:51:40||132.816||Report|
|2010||February 14||Jamie McMurray||Earnhardt Ganassi Racing||Chevrolet||1||13th||$1,514,649||208*||520 (837)||3:47:16||137.284||Report|
|2011||February 20||Trevor Bayne||Wood Brothers Racing (5)||Ford||21||32nd||$1,463,810||3:59:24||130.326||Report|
|2012||February 27/28*||Matt Kenseth (2)||Roush Fenway Racing (2)||17||4th||$1,589,387||202*||505 (813)||3:36:02||140.256||Report|
|2013||February 24||Jimmie Johnson (2)||Hendrick Motorsports (7)||Chevrolet||48||9th||$1,525,275||200||500 (805)||3:08:23||159.25||Report|
† – Andretti was born in a part of Italy that is now in Croatia, but became a naturalized American citizen. He remains the only foreigner to win the race.
‡ – 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:
- 1965: 332.5 miles (133 laps) because of rain.
- 1966: 495 miles (198 laps) because of rain.
- 1974: 450 miles (180 laps) Race scheduled for 90% distance in response to the energy crisis; scoring began on lap 21.
- 2003: 272.5 miles (109 laps) because of rain.
- 2009: 380 miles (152 laps) because of rain.
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.
- 2005 and 2006: 507.5 miles (203 laps)
- 2007 and 2012: 505 miles (202 laps)
- 2010: 520 miles (208 laps) (two attempts — Lap 203 and Lap 207; This was the first time a NASCAR Sprint Cup race used the green-white-checker format 2 times to finish a race)
- 2011: 520 miles (208 laps); two attempts
Only one race has been rescheduled from its original date.
- 2012: Rescheduled from February 26 to February 27 at 12:00 noon and later rescheduled to start at 7:00 PM because of rain. (This marks the first time the Daytona 500 was moved to Monday, and the first night-time Daytona 500 race.) 
Multiple winners (drivers)
|# Wins||Driver||Years Won|
|7||Richard Petty||1964, 1966, 1971, 1973, 1974, 1979, 1981|
|4||Cale Yarborough||1968, 1977, 1983, 1984|
|3||Bobby Allison||1978, 1982, 1988|
|Dale Jarrett||1993, 1996, 2000|
|Jeff Gordon||1997, 1999, 2005|
|2||Bill Elliott||1985, 1987|
|Sterling Marlin||1994, 1995|
|Michael Waltrip||2001, 2003|
|Matt Kenseth||2009, 2012|
|Jimmie Johnson||2006, 2013|
Multiple winners (teams)
|# Wins||Driver||Years Won|
|9||Petty Enterprises||1959, 1964, 1966, 1970, 1971, 1973, 1974, 1979, 1981|
|7||Hendrick Motorsports||1986, 1989, 1997, 1999, 2005, 2006, 2013|
|5||Wood Brothers Racing||1963, 1968, 1972, 1976, 2011|
|3||Ranier-Lundy||1980, 1983, 1984|
|Morgan-McClure Motorsports||1991, 1994, 1995|
|Robert Yates Racing||1992, 1996, 2000|
|Dale Earnhardt, Inc.||2001, 2003, 2004|
|Junior Johnson & Associates||1969, 1977|
|Melling Racing||1985, 1987|
|Richard Childress Racing||1998, 2007|
|Roush Fenway Racing||2009, 2012|
Multiple winners (manufacturers)
|# Wins||Manufacturer||Years Won|
|22||Chevrolet||1960, 1975, 1977, 1984, 1986, 1989, 1990, 1991, 1993, 1994, 1995, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2001, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2010, 2013|
|13||Ford||1963, 1965, 1967, 1969, 1978, 1985, 1987, 1992, 1996, 2000, 2009, 2011, 2012|
|4||Plymouth||1964, 1966, 1970, 1971|
|Dodge||1973, 1974, 2002, 2008|
|3||Mercury||1968, 1972, 1976|
|Oldsmobile||1959, 1979, 1980|
|Pontiac||1961, 1962, 1983|
|Buick||1981, 1982, 1988|
Pole position holders
Race winner records
- Two consecutive victories
Winners from the pole position
- 1962 Fireball Roberts
- 1966 Richard Petty
- 1968 Cale Yarborough
- 1980 Buddy Baker
- 1984 Cale Yarborough
- 1985 Bill Elliott
- 1987 Bill Elliott
- 1999 Jeff Gordon
- 2000 Dale Jarrett
Winners as both driver and owner
- Lee Petty
- Owner/driver: 1959
- Junior Johnson
- Driver: 1960
- Owner: 1969, 1977
- Richard Petty
- Owner/driver: 1964, 1966, 1971, 1973, 1974, 1979, 1981
- Owner: 1970
- Dale Earnhardt
- Driver: 1998
- Owner: 2001
- Jeff Gordon
- Driver: 1997, 1999, 2005
- Owner: 2006, 2013
Won Daytona 500 and Sprint Unlimited in same year
Won Daytona 500 and Budweiser Duel in same year
- 1962 Fireball Roberts (also won Daytona 500 pole position)
- 1977 Cale Yarborough
- 1984 Cale Yarborough (also won Daytona 500 pole position)
- 1985 Bill Elliott (also won Daytona 500 pole position)
- 1988 Bobby Allison
- 1995 Sterling Marlin
- 1998 Dale Earnhardt
- 2004 Dale Earnhardt Jr.
- 2012 Matt Kenseth
Daytona 500 winners born outside of United States
Drivers whose first NASCAR Cup Series win was the Daytona 500
- 1963 Tiny Lund
- 1967 Mario Andretti
- 1970 Pete Hamilton
- 1990 Derrike Cope
- 1994 Sterling Marlin (Only driver that first two career victories were the Daytona 500, 1994 & 1995)
- 2001 Michael Waltrip
- 2011 Trevor Bayne (First rookie to win Daytona 500; won the race in his first attempt)
Youngest and oldest winners of the Daytona 500
- Youngest: Trevor Bayne - 2011 (age 20 years, 1 day)
- Oldest: Bobby Allison - 1988 (age 50 years, 73 days)
Drivers who have won both the Daytona 500 and the Indianapolis 500
- "Culture, Class, Distinction"Bennett, Tony. Culture, Class, Distinction. Routledge (2009) Disaggregating cultural capital. English translation ISBN 0-415-42242-6 (hardcover).
- "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.
- Blount, Terry (2012-02-28). "Bizarre moments dominate Daytona 500 weekend". ESPN. Retrieved 2012-02-28.
- 1959, 1960, and 1961 Daytona 500 Programs