How old is the track?
Daytona International Speedway as we know it today first opened in 1959. Before that, races were held on the beach at what used to be the Daytona Beach Road Course. Those early beach races were instrumental in helping NASCAR establish itself and gain popularity in the early days.
Who won the first Daytona 500?
Yes, we’re talking about the father of NASCAR legend Richard Petty. He won that first race in dramatic fashion too, crossing the line side-by-side three-abreast in a photo finish. It was actually three days after the race when officials finally determined Petty had won.
Who has the most Daytona 500 wins?
Richard’s dad may have won the first race at the new speedway, but son Richard would go on to claim the Daytona 500 trophy seven times through a very long, successful NASCAR career. Fun extra fact: Richard Petty was also in the first Daytona 500 with his dad, but finished near the back of the pack after losing an engine early on.
How big is Daytona International Speedway?
The race track itself is just a small part of the entire speedway complex. At 180 acres, the infield section is large enough to have its own lake, and two complete Disneylands would fit inside the confines of the tri-oval track.
How many laps to finish the race?
Less-familiar race fans often think the Daytona 500 means the cars do 500 laps of the track. 500 is actually the distance, which of course is 500 miles. It takes 200 laps of the 2.5-mile circuit to complete the race, though it could be cut short due to weather or even extended a few extra laps to ensure green-flag racing to the end. Depending on crashes and caution flags, the race typically spans around three hours from start to finish.
How steep are the banked corners?
Technically, Daytona is a tri-oval speedway with its sharpest turns having a banking of 31 degrees. The front stretch "tri" portion peaks at the start-finish line with a banking of 18 degrees.
Who's driven the fastest?
During his qualifying run for the 1987 Daytona 500, Ford driver Bill Elliott turned a lap of 42.78 seconds at an average speed of 210.36 mph (338 km/h). The following year NASCAR instituted the restrictor plate rule for Daytona, reducing engine horsepower to keep speeds down. As such, “Million Dollar Bill” could well hold this record for a long time.
How many people attend the race?
Usually over 100,000
Attendance obviously varies, but the speedway has a capacity for 101,500 people and the Daytona 500 usually sells out, or gets pretty darned close.
How much money does the winner get?
Varies, but is usually over $1 million
As with attendance, prize money can also vary because NASCAR dishes out cash for more than just winning. Also, NASCAR doesn’t generally release such information anymore, but taking the top spot at the Daytona 500 usually nets the winning team a cool million-dollar payday. In 2015, the total winnings for all teams topped $18 million.
12 / 12