Daytona 500 guide, Daytona 500 race

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No other sport kicks off its season like NASCAR does.

The “Super Bowl of Stock Car Racing” is held annually at the Daytona International Speedway. It is one of four restrictor plate races of the NASCAR season.

What’s unique about the Daytona 500 is that the event is held at the beginning of the stock car season, while most other sports hold their biggest events at the conclusion of their seasons.

The Daytona 500 is a 200-lap, 500-mile NASCAR SPRINT Cup Series race that carries the biggest purse for the winners. As far as the season standings go, the 500 is just another race. But its participants know that the event holds significant importance as far as national exposure.

Since 1995, U.S. television ratings for the Daytona 500 have been the highest for any auto race of the year, good enough to trump the former king of races, the Indy 500.

Qualifying for the race is a unique process in itself, and the qualifying procedure has changed significantly throughout the years. The latest change came in 2005 when NASCAR decided that the top 35 teams from the previous season – in regard to owner points – are guaranteed a spot in the 500 the next season. The first row is decided by a round of time trials, usually held a week before the race.

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

Kevin Harvick won in 2007, remarkably starting 34 spots back from the pole position. It was the furthest a winning driver has ever started from the pole position. Harvick won with an average speed of 149.333 and he only led four laps out of the 202-lap race.

The 2008 Daytona 500 will take place Sunday, February 17 at 3:20pm ET. It will be the 50th running of the event.

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Daytona 500 Official Track Website
Track info, event news and much, much more can be found at the Daytona 500’s Official Track Website.
Find everything from driver information, stats and latest news on stock car racing at NASCAR’s official website

Britannica - Daytona 500
Cool history of this iconic race.

Visit Florida
Info from Florida travel organization.


After 20 years of trying, Dale Earnhardt finally made his dream a reality in the 1998 Daytona 500 as he crossed the finish line ahead of the field.

This is classic. Relive the last lap of the 1979 Daytona 500. A race that saw Richard Petty win his sixth Great American Race, and the fight that launched stock car racing to new heights.

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