The Nextel Cup Series heads to the World Center of Racing this weekend for NASCAR’s Superbowl at Daytona International Speedway. The Daytona 500 is the first race of the 2007 Nextel Cup season and will be broadcast live on Sunday, February 18th at 2 p.m. ET on FOX, with radio coverage by MRN affiliates nationwide. Competitors will make 200 circuits for 500 miles around the 2.5-mile superspeedway in their quest for the checkered flag.
Records and Facts
Bill Elliott holds the record for the fastest lap at Daytona International Speedway, posting a qualifying lap with a speed of 210.364 mph to win the pole for the 1987 running of the Daytona 500. Elliott is tied with Cale Yarborough and Buddy Baker for the record for the most poles at DIS with four. Jeff Burton was the polesitter for last year’s event.
Baker holds the fastest race record time at Daytona. He attained the record of two hours, 48 minutes, 22 seconds with an average speed of 177.602 mph on February 17, 1980 in the Daytona 500.
Bobby Allison is the oldest driver to grace Daytona’s victory lane. He was 50 years, two months, 11 days old when he won the Daytona 500 on February 14, 1988. The youngest winner at Daytona is Jeff Gordon. Gordon was 25 years, six months, 12 days old when he won the Daytona 500 on February 16, 1997.
The closest margin of victory at DIS came in 1959 when Lee Petty defeated Johnny Beauchamp by tw0 feet on February 22nd in the Daytona 500. The greatest margin of victory came in 1973 when Richard Petty defeated Bobby Isaac by two laps on February 18th in the Daytona 500.
The 1974 Daytona 500 is on the record for having the most lead changes in a Cup event at DIS when participants exchanged the top spot 60 times. The 2006 Daytona 500 is on record for having the most different leaders at 18. The 1972 Daytona 500 has the record for the fewest lead changes (three) in a Cup race at DIS, with only Richard Petty, Allison and race winner AJ Foyt taking turns at the front of the field.
More incentive to win
The total purse for the Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway is $18,391,423, a $355,788 increase from last year.
Grand Marshal (Gives the command to start engines): Actor Nicolas Cage
Honorary Starter/Wave Green Flag: Former Nextel Cup and Busch Series driver and Craftsman Truck Series analyst Phil Parsons
National Anthem: The multi-platinum genre bending country music duo Big & Rich
Pace Car Driver: Hall of Fame baseball legend Cal Ripken Jr.
“I couldn’t be happier with my crew. I really like all of the guys around me and we’re all really focused on the racecar and motivated to go out and win another of these [Daytona 500s]. It’s a race we all look forward to for months and months, and I’ll be glad to get in the racecar and let it all hang out.” – Dale Earnhardt Jr.
“You couldn’t ask for more as a rookie coming to Daytona for your first time. It’s a pleasure to be a part of it and I’m really looking forward to Sunday and the Daytona 500.” – David Gilliland after winning the pole for the Daytona 500
“You’re still going to need to have a good car, and you still have to make the right decisions, make the right moves late in the race and have the right people with you. The only way you are going to do all that is to have the right car.” – Kasey Kahne