22 February 1959

Lee Petty wins the first Daytona 500.

The Daytona 500 is an iconic NASCAR (National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing) event that takes place annually at the Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Florida. It is considered one of the most prestigious races in the NASCAR calendar and serves as the season-opening event for the NASCAR Cup Series.

History: The first Daytona 500 was held in 1959, and it has been held every year since then. It was established by NASCAR founder Bill France Sr. as a way to showcase the new Daytona International Speedway.

Track: The Daytona International Speedway is a 2.5-mile (4.0 km) tri-oval track. It is known for its steep banking in the turns, which allows for high speeds and intense racing.

Format: The race consists of 200 laps, totaling 500 miles (805 km). It typically takes place in February, kicking off the NASCAR Cup Series season. The starting lineup is determined through a combination of qualifying races (known as the Daytona 500 Duels) and qualifying times.

Daytona 500 Week: The Daytona 500 is the culmination of a week-long series of events and activities known as Daytona Speedweeks. This includes various races and practice sessions leading up to the main event.

Prestige: Winning the Daytona 500 is considered one of the highest honors in NASCAR. It can significantly boost a driver’s career and legacy.

Traditions: The Daytona 500 is known for several traditions, including the pre-race singing of “God Bless America” and the invocation, as well as the ceremonial command for drivers to start their engines.

Memorable Moments: Over the years, the Daytona 500 has seen numerous memorable moments, including dramatic finishes, upset victories, and tragic accidents. It has been the stage for legendary drivers like Richard Petty, Dale Earnhardt, and Jeff Gordon to showcase their talents.