In the Pits- KSR
Ten things you didn’t know about the Daytona 500
The 2008 Sprint Cup season will officially roar to life Feb. 17 with the 50th running of the Daytona 500. The Daytona 500 will cap a series of 2008 warm-up events at Daytona, including the Budweiser Shoot-out (Feb. 9) and Gatorade Duel (Feb. 14).
Everyone knows the Daytona 500 is NASCAR’s biggest, richest and most prestigious race. And everyone knows that the upcoming historic 50th running of “the Great American Race” is the most anticipated event in motorsports history. Here are 10 things you probably didn’t know about the Daytona 500:
1. In 1959, the inaugural Daytona 500 was run caution-free.
2. The 1967 Daytona 500 was the only NASCAR win for Mario Andretti.
3. Tiny Lund won the 1963 Daytona 500 on one set of tires. His pit crew, the famous Wood Brothers, did not have to change a single tire all day.
4. Paul Bass drove an Edsel convertible in the first Daytona 500. It was the only appearance of an Edsel in NASCAR competition.
5. The 1974 Daytona 500 was actually the “Daytona 450.” NASCAR cut the distance of their races by 10 percent early in the season due to America’s energy crisis.
6. In 1989, Darrell Waltrip won the Daytona 500 in his 17th attempt. He drove car #17 that day and pitted in stall number 17.
7. Upon seeing the mammoth Daytona International Speedway while preparing for the first Daytona 500, driver Jimmy Thompson said, “There have been other tracks that separated the men from the boys. This is the track that will separate the brave from the weak after the boys are gone.”
8. Curtis Turner’s ’67 Daytona 500 pole speed of 180.831 mph was the first time a NASCAR driver qualified at over 180 mph.
9. Jimmie Johnson, Loy Allen Jr. and Mike Skinner all won the pole for the Daytona 500 in their rookie seasons.
10. A total of six drivers have scored their first NASCAR Sprint Cup win in the Daytona 500. They are Tiny Lund (1963), Mario Andretti (1967), Pete Hamilton (1970), Derrike Cope (1990), Sterling Marlin (1994) and Michael Waltrip (2001).
One more thing you might not know about the race: A 2008 Corvette Z06, the Official Pace Car of the Daytona 500, has more horsepower than the NASCAR Sprint Cup race cars it will pace. The 505-horsepower Corvette’s special “anniversary gold” appearance features a striking paint scheme with an exotic array of stunning hues of gold, red, blue and white. The graphics scheme is accented with unique, gold iridescent-coated wheels.
The 2008 Corvette Z06, Official Pace Car of the Daytona 500