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.
It was one of the most exciting finishes in Daytona 500 history - Denny Hamlin won his first 500 by holding off Martin Truex Jr. by less than a nose on the final lap. It was team owner Joe Gibbs' first win in 23 years.
Matt Kenseth, Hamlin's teammate, was leading on the last lap before Hamlin got a run on the outside lane and squeezed by setting the stage for a photo finish with Truex. Hamlin won by a little more than a yard and .011 seconds. It was the closest finish in the race's history.
In his first race with new crew chief Mike Wheeler he not only captured his first 500 but also placed himself in the Chase for the Sprint Cup. He had finished in the top 5 here three of the past four years.
"This was a team victory. My teammates did an amazing job all day working together, all the Toyotas," said Hamlin. "I don't know where that came from. I can't even figure out what I did. It just all came together, and I got a great push from Kevin Harvick. This wouldn't have happened without all the Toyotas sticking together. I'm so happy to get this victory for Joe Gibbs Racing."
|2004||Dale Earnhardt Jr.||156.345||$1,495,070||Chevrolet|
|2014||Dale Earnhardt Jr.||145.29||$1,506,363||Chevrolet|
* NASCAR has stopped disclosing winnings in Sprint Cup box scores because of its new charter system, whose financial details are emerging.
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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