Monday, February 8, 2010

Daytona 500 Facts and Notes From the 51 Previous Great American Races

Compiled by Mike Forde
NASCAR Media Services

Daytona 500 Tidbits

* The 2010 edition will be the 52nd running of the Daytona 500.
* Although the first Daytona 500 was held in 1959, it has been the season-opener only since 1982.
* 510 drivers have competed in at least one Daytona 500; 300 in more than one.
* 33 drivers have won a Daytona 500.
* Eight drivers have won more than one Daytona 500, led by Richard Petty with seven victories.
* Fred Lorenzen posted a top-10 finish in eight of his nine Daytona 500s, the best percentage of drivers who have competed in more than two Daytona 500s.
* Dale Earnhardt finished in the top 10 in 16 of his 23 Daytona 500s.
* Dale Earnhardt and Richard Petty each had 16 top 10s in the Daytona 500, more than any other driver.
* Dale Earnhardt had 12 top fives in the Daytona 500, more than any other driver.
* Only 13 drivers have an average finish of 10th or better in the Daytona 500, six of those competed in the Daytona 500 only once.
* Kevin Harvick has a 12.9 average finish in eight appearances, the best of the active drivers who have competed in more than one Daytona 500.
* Other than Lee Petty, who won the inaugural Daytona 500, no driver has ever won in his first appearance.
* 27 of the 33 drivers who have won, participated in at least two Daytona 500s before visiting Victory Lane.
* Dale Earnhardt competed 19 times before winning his only Daytona 500 (1998), the longest span of any of the 33 race winners.
* Six drivers made 10 or more attempts before their first Daytona 500 victory: Dale Earnhardt (19), Buddy Baker (18), Darrell Waltrip (16), Bobby Allison (14), Michael Waltrip (14) and Sterling Marlin 12). Last year’s winner, Matt Kenseth, won it in his 10th try.
* The most Daytona 500s all-time without a victory was Dave Marcis (33 races).
* Mark Martin (25) leads active drivers without a victory. He will start on the pole for this year’s race.
* Six drivers posted their career-first victory with a win in the Daytona 500: Tiny Lund (1963), Mario Andretti (1967), Pete Hamilton (1970), Derrike Cope (1990), Sterling Marlin (1994) and Michael Waltrip (2001).
* Three other drivers posted their career-first victory in (point-paying) qualifying races: Johnny Rutherford (1963), Bobby Isaac (1964) and Earl Balmer (1966).
* Only eight drivers have won the Daytona 500 more than once: Richard Petty (seven), Cale Yarborough (four), Bobby Allison (three), Dale Jarrett (three), Jeff Gordon (three), Bill Elliott (two), Sterling Marlin (two) and Michael Waltrip (two).
* A driver has won back-to-back Daytona 500s three times. Richard Petty (1973-74), Cale Yarborough (1983-84) and Sterling Marlin (1994-95)
* Kevin Harvick’s 0.020-second margin of victory over Mark Martin in the 2007 Daytona 500 is the ninth-closest overall since the advent of electronic timing in 1993, and the closest in a Daytona 500.
* 26 of the 51 Daytona 500s have been won from a top-five starting position.
* Matt Kenseth won the Daytona 500 from the 39th starting position last year, the deepest a race winner has started.
* Nine have been won from the pole. The last to do so was Dale Jarrett in 2000.
* 15 Daytona 500s have been won from the front row.

Daytona History
* Groundbreaking for Daytona International Speedway was Nov. 25, 1957. The soil underneath the banked corners was dug from the infield of the track and the hole filled with water. It is now known as Lake Lloyd.
* The first NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Daytona was a 100-mile qualifying race for the Daytona 500 on Feb. 20, 1959.
* Richard Petty won his 200th career race on July 4, 1984 at Daytona.
* Lights were installed in the spring of 1998. However, the race was delayed until October that year due to thick smoke from wildfires. The second Daytona race has been held under lights ever since.

Daytona Notebook
There have been 125 NASCAR Sprint Cup races since the track hosted its first race in 1959: 51 have been 500 miles, 47 were 400 miles and four 250 miles. There were also 23 qualifier races that were point races.
* Fireball Roberts won the inaugural pole at Daytona.
* Bob Welborn won the first race at Daytona, the 100-mile qualifying race for the Daytona 500.
* Lee Petty won the inaugural Daytona 500 on Feb. 22, 1959.
* Fireball Roberts won the first 400-mile race at Daytona, the 1963 Firecracker 400.
* 52 drivers have posted poles at Daytona; 19 have more than one.
* Cale Yarborough leads all drivers with 12 poles at Daytona.
* Bill Elliott leads all active drivers with five poles at Daytona.
* 52 drivers have won at Daytona; 24 have won more than once.
* Richard Petty leads all drivers in victories at Daytona with 10.
* Jeff Gordon has six victories at Daytona, more than any other active driver.
* The Wood Brothers have won 14 races at Daytona, more than any other car owner.
* 16 full-length races at Daytona have been won from the pole, including last July’s Coke Zero 400, won by polesitter Tony Stewart.
* A driver has swept both races at Daytona only four times, most recently by Bobby Allison in 1982.

NASCAR in Florida
* There have been 162 NASCAR Sprint Cup races in Florida.
* 156 drivers in NASCAR’s three national series have their home state recorded as Florida.
* There have been nine race winners whose hometown is Florida in NASCAR’s three national series.

Daytona International Speedway Data
Race #: 1 of 36 (2-14-10)
Track Size: 2.5 miles
Race Length: 500 miles (200 laps)
Banking/Corners: 31 degrees
Banking/Straights: 3 degrees
Banking/Tri-Oval: 18 degrees

Driver Loop Rating at Daytona
Tony Stewart 108.2
Kyle Busch 101.0
Matt Kenseth 96.1
Jimmie Johnson 94.3
Kurt Busch 92.5
Jeff Gordon 91.9
Dale Earnhardt Jr. 87.3
Ryan Newman 85.9
Clint Bowyer 84.6
Jeff Burton 83.5
Note: Driver Rating compiled from 2005-2009 races (10 total) at Daytona.

Qualifying/Race Data
2009 pole winner: Martin Truex Jr. (188.001 mph, 47.872 seconds)
2009 race winner: Matt Kenseth (132.816 mph, 2-17-08)
Qualifying record: Bill Elliott (210.364 mph, 42.783 secs., 2-9-87)
Race record: Buddy Baker (177.602 mph, 2-17-80)

Estimated Pit Window: 36-38 laps depending on fuel mileage

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