The Daytona 500 It's the most prestigious race of Nascar's Sprint Cup Series. Its winner receives the biggest purse. And, because it's the first Nascar race of the season, it generates the most excitement among fans. The Daytona 500 has quite correctly been compared with the World Series and Super Bowl all wrapped up in one.
Historically, races of varying distances had been held on Daytona Beach and adjacent roads until the first 500 mile race was held at Daytona International Speedway in 1959. By 1961, the race was being referred to as the Daytona 500. The legendary track is 2.5 miles (4 km) long; therefore, a 500-mile race requires 200 laps to complete.
Customarily, the winner of the Daytona 500 is presented with the Harley J. Earl Trophy, and the winning car is displayed, in race-winning condition, for one year at Daytona 500 Experience, a museum and gallery adjacent to the Speedway.
Jimmie Johnson, racing in his 400th career Sprint Cup start, was back in the field for most of the race. He emerged from the pack with 16 laps to go and seized control with 10 to go, racing past Keselowski on the final restart. A caution with six laps to go for debris bunched up the field, but Johnson held on staving off a last lap charge by Dale Earnhardt, Jr. who wound up second.
"I had a lot of confidence those final few laps, leading the train," Johnson said. "I knew just how fast this car was."
Mark Martin took third and Keselowski fourth. Greg Biffle and Danica Patrick had entered the final lap in second and third place respectively before both dropped back in the field. Patrick finished eighth, becoming the first woman to finish in the top ten at Daytona. She blamed inexperience for the late fall, saying "I didn't know what to do, exactly" in the final scramble. Johnson, however, said that Patrick looked "really comfortable" all race. "She held a great wheel, was smooth, took advantage of runs when she had them.
This was Johnson's first Daytona 500 win with regular crew chief Chad Knaus, as he won the 2006 Daytona 500 with Darian Grubb and Knaus on suspension. It was also the first time since that win in 2006 that he had finished better than 27th in the Daytona 500.
|2004||Dale Earnhardt Jr.||156.345||$1,495,070||Chevrolet|
NASCAR Drivers: Bios, Apparel and Merchandise(click on driver to visit spotlight page)
Dale Earnhardt Jr. Bio, Apparel and Fan Gear - His father, the late Dale Earnhardt, Sr., was a seven-time Winston Cup (presently the Nextel Cup) champion. His grandfather, Ralph Earnhardt, has been selected as one of NASCAR's 50 best all-time drivers. His maternal grandfather, Robert Gee, was a well known NASCAR fabricator and mechanic. It's no exaggeration to say Dale Earnhardt, Jr. was born with racing in his blood...
Dale Earnhardt Sr. Bio, Apparel and Fan Gear - Born into a racing family in Kannapolis, North Carolina on April 29, 1951 - his dad, Ralph Earnhardt, has been named one of the 50 greatest NASCAR drivers of all time - Dale Earnhardt began driving in local events when he was 14 years old. At 24, two years after his father died of heart failure while working on his race car, he debuted on the NASCAR circuit...
Carl Edwards Bio, Apparel and Fan Gear - On March 19th and 20th of 2005 Carl Edwards made NASCAR history at the Atlanta Motor Speedway in Hampton, Georgia, by recording his first Busch Series win and his first Nextel Cup Series win during the same weekend. On Saturday, he won the Busch Series Aaron's 312, and on Sunday he edged out Jimmie Johnson by .02 seconds to win the Nextel Cup Golden Corral 500...
Jeff Gordon Bio, Apparel and Fan Gear - He was already driving at age 4 1/2 and had won his first Quarter Midget Championship by age 8. At age 9 he was competing with and beating drivers twice his age. Obviously, this kid, Jeff Gordon, had a future in racing...
Kevin Harvick Bio, Apparel and Fan Gear - In 1980, as a reward for successfully completing kindergarten with highest honors (summa cum laude), Kevin Harvick was given a go-kart by his parents. Soon after, on the local tracks of Bakersfield, California, his racing career was launched. From the onset, his talents, dedication and determination were obvious. In ten years of driving on the go-cart circuit, he captured seven National and two Grand National Championships...
Jimmie Johnson Bio, Apparel and Fan Gear - Like many NASCAR stars, Jimmie Johnson got into racing young, very young. Born September 17, 1975, he started racing motorcycles at age 5. At age 8 he won the 60cc class championship. He competed in several off-road leagues including SODA and SCORE International both of which named him Rookie of the Year...
Kasey Kahne Bio, Apparel and Fan Gear - Like many of our NASCAR all-star driver, Kasey Kahne (born April 10, 1980) began his competitive driving as a boy, racing on the dirt tracks of Washington State. In 1994, in a car maintained by his father, he won four micro-midget events. He graduated quickly from Micro Midgets to Mini-Sprints and captured the Hannigan Speedway championship in 1996 with 11 wins in 14 starts...
Matt Kenseth Bio, Apparel and Fan Gear - Matt Kenseth's (born March 10,1972) successful racing career can be traced back to a deal he struck with his father when he was 13 years old. His dad would buy him a race car and drive it himself until Matt reached the age of 16. Meanwhile, Matt would work on the car and keep it running...
Tony Stewart Bio, Apparel and Fan Gear - After a slow start, in 2005, that saw him in 10th place following the Pocono in June with only 6 top-ten finishes and 8 finishes in 15th or worse, Tony Stewart went on an amazing tear that earned him his second Nextel Cup championship. At one point during his charge, he won 5 of 7 races and ended the year with 19 top-nine finishes in his last 22 races...
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