Skip to content

Everything you’ve ever wanted to know about the Daytona 500 (well, almost)

Feb 23, 2014, 10:21 AM EDT

Richard Petty has won the most Daytona 500s (seven). Getty Images

So many things have happened over the 55-year history of the Daytona 500 that you could write a book about all the highs, lows and in-betweens.

You say you can’t get enough of information and minituae about the Great American Race?

Well, the folks from NASCAR’s statistics department have you covered. Here’s everything (well, almost) you’ve ever wanted to know about the Daytona 500:

* The 2014 edition will be the 56th running of the Daytona 500.

* Although the first Daytona 500 was held in 1959, it has been the season-opener only since 1982.

* 523 drivers have competed in at least one Daytona 500; 311 in more than one.

* 35 drivers have won a Daytona 500.

* 10 drivers have won more than one Daytona 500, led by Richard Petty with seven victories.

* The 10 drivers who have won the Daytona 500 more than once: Richard Petty (seven), Cale Yarborough (four), Bobby Allison (three), Dale Jarrett (three), Jeff Gordon (three), Bill Elliott (two), Matt Kenseth (two), Jimmie Johnson (two), Sterling Marlin (two) and Michael Waltrip (two).

* A driver has won back-to-back Daytona 500s three times. Richard Petty (1973-74), Cale Yarborough (1983-84) and Sterling Marlin (1994-95).

* Active Daytona 500 winners and the number of NSCS starts in their careers when they won: Jeff Gordon won his third Daytona 500 on his 402nd career start (2005). Gordon also posted his second Daytona 500 win on his 190th career start (1999). Jimmie Johnson posted his second Daytona 500 win on his 400th career start (2013) and Matt Kenseth won his second Daytona 500 on his 437th career start (2012). Michael Waltrip posted his second Daytona 500 win on his 535th career start (2003).

* Seven drivers posted their career-first victory with a win in the Daytona 500: Tiny Lund (1963), Mario Andretti (1967), Pete Hamilton (1970), Derrike Cope (1990), Sterling Marlin (1994), Michael Waltrip (2001) and Trevor Bayne (2011).

* Three other drivers posted their career-first victory in (points-paying) qualifying races: Johnny Rutherford (1963), Bobby Isaac (1964) and Earl Balmer (1966).

* Lee Petty, who won the inaugural Daytona 500, and Trevor Bayne, 2011 Daytona 500 champion, are the only two drivers to win the Daytona 500 in their first appearance.

* Dale Earnhardt leads the series in runner-up finishes in the Daytona 500 with five; Dale Earnhardt Jr. leads all active drivers with four.

* Dale Earnhardt had 12 top fives in his 23 Daytona 500 starts, more than any other driver. Dale Earnhardt Jr., Mark Martin and Terry Labonte lead all active drivers in Daytona 500 top-five finishes with six.

* Dale Earnhardt and Richard Petty each posted a series leading 16 top 10s in the Daytona 500. Terry Labonte and Mark Martin lead all active drivers in Daytona 500 top-10 finishes with 12; followed by Michael Waltrip with nine.

* Only 12 drivers have an average finish of 10th or better in the Daytona 500, five of those competed in the Daytona 500 only once.

* Clint Bowyer has an 11.9 average finish in nine appearances, the best of the active drivers who have competed in more than one Daytona 500.

* 28 of the 35 drivers who have won the Great American Race, participated in at least two Daytona 500s before visiting Victory Lane.

* Dale Earnhardt competed 19 times before winning his only Daytona 500 (1998), the longest span of any of the 35 race winners.

* Six drivers made 10 or more attempts before their first Daytona 500 victory: Dale Earnhardt (19), Buddy Baker (18), Darrell Waltrip (16), Bobby Allison (14), Michael Waltrip (14) and Sterling Marlin (12).

* The driver with the all-time most Daytona 500 starts without a victory is Dave Marcis with 33 races; the active drivers with the most starts without a Daytona 500 win is Terry Labonte (31 races), Mark Martin (29 races), Joe Nemechek (18) and Tony Stewart (15).

* Kevin Harvick‘s 0.020-second margin of victory over Mark Martin in the 2007 Daytona 500 is the 12th-closest overall since the advent of electronic timing in 1993, and the closest in a Daytona 500.

* Nine of the 55 Daytona 500s (16.3%) have been won from the Coors Light pole. The last to do so was Dale Jarrett in 2000. Jeff Gordon is the only active driver to accomplish the feat (1999).

* Cale Yarborough (1968, 1984) and Bill Elliott (1985, 1987) are the only two drivers to win the Daytona 500 from the Coors Light pole more than once.

* 16 of the 55 Daytona 500s (29.0%) have been won from the front row.

* 27 of the 55 Daytona 500s (49.0%) have been won from a top-five starting position.

* 40 of the 55 Daytona 500s (72.7%) have been won from a top 10 starting position.

* Matt Kenseth won the Daytona 500 from the 39th starting position in 2009, the deepest a race winner has started.

* Five reigning NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champions have gone on to win the Daytona 500 the following season: Lee Petty (1959), Richard Petty (1973), Cale Yarborough (1977), Jeff Gordon (1999) and Dale Jarrett (2000).

* Five drivers have won the Daytona 500 and the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championship in the same season, Richard Petty has done it four times: Jimmie Johnson (2006, 2013), Jeff Gordon (1997), Richard Petty (1964, 1971, 1974, 1979), Cale Yarborough (1977) and Lee Petty (1959).

* Danica Patrick on Sunday, Feb. 19, 2013 became the first female in NASCAR Sprint Cup Series history to win a Coors Light pole for the Daytona 500 posting a speed of 196.434 mph.

* Janet Guthrie previously held the record for top starting position by a female NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver, starting ninth twice in 1977 – at Talladega Superspeedway on Aug. 7, 1977, and at Bristol Motor Speedway on Aug. 28, 1977.

* In 2012, Danica Patrick became the third female driver to compete in a Daytona 500 joining Janet Guthrie and Shawna Robinson.

Follow me @JerryBonkowski

Latest Posts
  1. F1 2014 mid-season report: Grading the drivers so far

    Aug 1, 2014, 12:00 PM EDT

    F1 Grand Prix of Hungary Getty Images

    In part two of our mid-season report, we look at the drivers: who has excelled and who has floundered in 2014?

  2. Chip Ganassi to be honored for achievements in his racing career

    Aug 1, 2014, 11:34 AM EDT

    ToyotaCare 250 Getty Images

    Multi-motorsports team owner Chip Ganassi will be honored August 7 in Corning, N.Y., for more than a quarter-century of contributions to the auto racing world.

  3. Austin Dillon goes from hot asphalt to cold steel on ice

    Aug 1, 2014, 11:15 AM EDT

    Jeff Foxworthy's Grit Chips 300 - Qualifying Getty Images

    Austin Dillon isn’t skating through his rookie season in Sprint Cup. Everything he achieves, he earns. But Dillon did try skating of a different kind and took to it like a natural.

  4. Hunter-Reay fastest in first IndyCar practice at Mid-Ohio

    Aug 1, 2014, 11:07 AM EDT

    Iowa Corn Indy 300 - Day 1 Getty Images

    The American goes P1 with a lap of 1 minute, 6.5316 seconds in the No. 28 Andretti Autosport Honda.

  5. F1 2014 mid-season report: Grading the teams so far

    Aug 1, 2014, 11:00 AM EDT

    F1 Grand Prix of Monaco Getty Images

    We grade the eleven teams for their seasons so far as F1 embarks on its summer break.

  6. Poll: Would you like to see timed races in NASCAR?

    Aug 1, 2014, 10:10 AM EDT

    Would you like to see the Daytona 500 become the 3.5 Hours of Daytona? Take our poll below on whether NASCAR should consider switching to timed races. Would you like to see the Daytona 500 become the 3.5 Hours of Daytona? Take our poll below on whether NASCAR should consider switching to timed races.

    Should NASCAR consider shifting to a format that features timed races instead of hundreds of miles or laps? Let’s get your take in our poll.

  7. Massa expecting strong second half of 2014 for Williams

    Aug 1, 2014, 10:00 AM EDT

    Felipe Massa AP

    Brazilian driver confident that tracks such as Spa, Monza and the Circuit of the Americas will suit the FW36 car.

  8. IMSA: DeltaWing revitalizes, improves its Braselton race shop

    Aug 1, 2014, 9:15 AM EDT

    Photo: DeltaWing Racing Cars Photo: DeltaWing Racing Cars

    The DeltaWing team makes new shop upgrades as it plans for the future.

  9. Sutil: F1 more difficult with testing restrictions

    Aug 1, 2014, 9:00 AM EDT

    Hungary F1 GP Auto Racing AP

    Sauber driver believes the sport would benefit from more running outside of a grand prix weekend.

  10. Conway confirmed for Toyota FIA WEC debut at Austin

    Aug 1, 2014, 8:15 AM EDT

    ConwayTOR2 Getty Images

    Mike Conway will make long-awaited Toyota debut in FIA WEC at Austin next race.

  11. NASCAR: Ryan Ellis pokes fun at Jake Crum incident; decal later removed

    Aug 1, 2014, 7:45 AM EDT

    CrumEllis AP

    Inside joke goes a bit too far for NASCAR ahead of truck race in Pocono this weekend.

  12. Mallya up for a fight in the constructors’ championship

    Aug 1, 2014, 7:30 AM EDT

    Spanish F1 Grand Prix - Race Getty Images

    Force India owner confident of battling with Williams, Ferrari and McLaren until the end of the season.

  13. PWC: Acura TLX-GT set for debut at Mid-Ohio

    Jul 31, 2014, 9:11 PM EDT

    Photo: RealTime Racing Photo: RealTime Racing

    The Acura TLX-GT will make its debut at Mid-Ohio, later than planned but still on Honda’s home weekend.

  14. NASCAR AMERICA: Thursday round-up (VIDEO)

    Jul 31, 2014, 5:48 PM EDT

    Toyota Owners 400 - Practice Getty Images

    More analysis on Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s new crew chief, Greg Ives, took center stage on Thursday’s NASCAR AMERICA on NBCSN.

  15. WATCH LIVE: NASCAR AMERICA at 5 p.m. ET

    Jul 31, 2014, 4:59 PM EDT

    140731-NASCAR-AMERICA

    Thursday’s NASCAR AMERICA lineup…

  16. Formula E: Malaysia date moves from October to November

    Jul 31, 2014, 4:00 PM EDT

    F1 Grand Prix of Malaysia - Previews Getty Images

    Malaysian FIA Formula E round moves from October to November to accommodate prime minister’s wishes.

  17. IndyCar: A crucial weekend to commence at Mid-Ohio

    Jul 31, 2014, 2:32 PM EDT

    Honda Indy 200 At Mid-Ohio - Day 3 Getty Images

    Ryan Hunter-Reay and Simon Pagenaud look to make headway on Team Penske teammates, while Chip Ganassi Racing seeks a six-pack of Mid-Ohio wins this weekend.

  18. Hysterical video: How the British envision NASCAR

    Jul 31, 2014, 1:45 PM EDT

    nascar brits

    Anthony Richardson bills himself as the Bad British Commentator, and it definitely shows through here with his malapropisms and complete lack of understanding of the sport and world of NASCAR.

  19. What might the 2015 Sprint Cup schedule look like?

    Jul 31, 2014, 1:00 PM EDT

    Photo: Rainier Ehrhardt/Getty Images Getty Images

    There may not be wholesale changes, based upon what NASCAR chairman Brian France said recently, but next year’s Sprint Cup schedule will look different. Based upon various sources and things we’ve heard and/or read, we’re going to chime in with our ideas and why we think that way.

  20. As many as 4 more drivers can clinch Chase spot at Pocono

    Jul 31, 2014, 12:00 PM EDT

    Chase for the sprint cup logo

    With six qualifying races left, a total of 10 more spots remain to be clinched to fill out the expanded 16-driver playoff field for this year’s 10-race Chase for the Sprint Cup.