NASCAR’s most prestigious event is without doubt the Daytona 500 which is held every year at the Daytona International Speedway in Florida. The race lasts 500 miles which equates to 200 laps around the 2.5-mile track. The first ever race was back in 1959 and won by Lee Petty. In 1995, the Daytona 500 surpassed the Indianapolis 500 as the most watched auto race in the USA.
The first race back in 1959 attracted a 41,000 crowd but since then, the facilities have been upgraded to allow 101,500 to be seated comfortably, in addition to 60 luxury suites with trackside views.
The Daytona 500 is the 1st race of the year in the NASCAR series and known as the Great American Race or the Superbowl of Stock Car Racing.
Richard Petty, the son of the inaugural winner Lee Petty, has the record number of Daytona 500 wins with 7 wins to his name. Cale Yarborough is 2nd on the all-time wins with 4 wins to his name. Not surprisingly, Petty Enterprises have the most team wins with 9 to their name, followed closely by Hendrick Motorsports on 8 wins. As far as car makers go, 24 Chevrolets have won the race to Ford’s 17. The Petty family have 8 wins and the Allison family (Bobby and Davey) have 4 wins. In 1988, Bobby Allison won the race with his son Davey coming second.
In 2022, Austin Cindric became the second youngest ever winner of the Daytona 500 (Trevor Bayne was the youngest ever in 2011). Who will win the Daytona 500 in 2023? It will all be revealed on February 19th 2023.