Did You Know THIS About the Daytona 500?
NASCAR fans, here are 4 fast facts to add to your trivia arsenal.
Unlike most other sports, in NASCAR, the biggest race of the year kicks off their season. We are less than a month away from the Daytona 500, also known as The Great American Race. NASCAR fans it is time to pack up the car, or the camper van, get your tailgating recipes in order, and head on down to Florida for a weekend full of great racing. Or if you can’t make it all the way down to the track, this is a great excuse to have a party. Checkered flag party décor anyone?
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Either way, along with a shirt and a hat adorning your favorite driver’s number, you’re going to need to brush up on your racing trivia. And this storied event provides a plethora of fun facts.
Did you know…
The Winner’s Prize
While NASCAR now has a playoffs format and a champion is crowned at the end of the season, one of the most coveted honors in motorsports remains winning the Daytona 500. But the trophy itself has as much history behind it as the race does. The Harley J. Earl Daytona 500 trophy is instantly recognizable. Small plaques brandishing previous winners’ names adorn a large black cylinder shape, topped with a silver Corvette. You probably know what it looks like, but do you know that the man it is named for, Harvey J. Early built the first-ever concept car, was NASCAR’s second commissioner, and is also known as the “Father of the Corvette.”
Watersports and Motorsports Collide
Daytona International Speedway is so large that there is even a lake in the infield. That’s right, a lake. So naturally, competition inspires competition. Back in 2009, during another major race the Daytona International Speedway hosts every year—the Rolex 24, Roy Ogletree earned a Guinness world record for Most miles traveled by Jet Ski in a 24-hour period. He achieved this feat by clocking 900 laps or 1,080 miles! We’re dizzy just thinking about it.
For every race, the field of drivers is lead onto the track by the pace car and there is often a high-profile driver behind the wheel. For the Daytona 500, the stakes are even higher. Brad Paisley once had the coveted role of ceremonial pace car driver. But what about the car itself? Did you know that the Pontiac Grand-AM has served as the pace car more than any other make and model? It has clinched the starring role 13 times.
Darrell Waltrip, Lucky Number 17, and the “Ickey Shuffle”
On February 17th, in car No. 17, on his 17thattempt, three-time NASCAR champion Darrell Waltrip finally won the Great American Race. When he victoriously climbed out of his race car, Waltrip performed a dance dubbed the “Ickey Shuffle” in victory lane and then spiked his helmet like a football. It was the only time in his career he claimed this coveted title.