February 17, 2008 marks the 50th running of the Daytona 500 on the high-banked Daytona International Speedway in Daytona, Florida. The first Daytona 500 was won by Lee Petty on February 22nd, 1959.
I’ve read that former NASCAR driver Jimmy Thompson remarked, “There have been other tracks that separated the men from the boys. This is the track that will separate the brave from the weak after the boys are gone.”
When Bill France was asked why he had the turns banked at 31°’s he quipped, “Because they couldn’t lay asphalt any steeper.”
Daytona International Speedway is one-of-a-kind.
In the same vein of looking back at the history of this race, James, a friend of mine, had the great idea of exploring the past drivers of NASCAR history matched up with their car number. He will share with us some of the history and interesting tidbits of information about the drivers that raced the cars numbered 50 through 0. James will post one a day as we all count down these last 50 days to the 50th running of the Daytona 500.”