Daytona 500: Fast Facts Every NASCAR Fan Needs

The Daytona 500 is finally here, NASCAR fans. The first race of the season, also known as the Great American Race, sees the winner takes a huge stride towards winning the Cup Series Championship. It's also a race where NASCAR legends solidify their places in history, just as Richard Petty, Jeff Gordon, Dale Earnhardt and Dale Earnhardt Jr. have done in the past.

This year's race will be difficult to predict as there a few drivers who could end up at victory lane when it's all said and done. But one driver fans will have their eyes on is Ryan Newman, who was involved in a fiery crash in last year's Daytona 500. Newman was sent to the hospital but was released a couple of days later.

How to watch the Daytona 500

  • What: Daytona 500
  • Date: Sunday, February 14, 2021
  • Time: 2:30 p.m ET
  • Location: Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Florida
  • TV: Fox
  • Online Stream: FuboTV (Get a free trial)

"On so many levels, I feel so lucky," Newman said in an interview with the TODAY show in March. "You look at the crash; you think that's spectacular in a bad way. You look at the car afterward, you think about all the things of what happened right for me to be sitting here."

Another driver fans will keep their eye on his Chase Elliott. The 25-year-old won the Cup Series Championship last year but finished 17th in the Daytona 500. He's looking to make history on Sunday, becoming the first reigning Cup Series since Dale Jarrett in 2000 to win the Daytona 500. Here's a look at some fast facts NASCAR fans need to know about the Daytona 500.

What was the first Daytona 500?

The first Daytona 500 took place in 1959 and was called the First 500 Mile NASCAR International Sweepstakes in Daytona. It was the first race held at the 2.5-mile Daytona International Speedway.

Why is it called the Daytona 500?

The Daytona 500 last 500 miles and it takes 200 laps to complete. However, there have been times the race has lasted longer than 500 miles, specifically the 2020 version, as the race lasted 522.5 miles (209 laps).

Lee Petty Daytona 500
(Photo: RacingOne / Contributor, Getty)

Who was the first Daytona 500 winner?

Lee Petty defeated Johnny Beauchamp to win the first Dayton 500 in 1959. He is the patriarch of the Petty racing family and won 54 NASCAR Cup Series races in his career.

Who has won the most races?

Speaking of the Petty family, Lee Petty's son, Richard, won the Daytona 500 seven times (1964, 66, 71, 73, 74, 79, 81). The younger Petty went on to become of the most successful drivers of all time.

Where is the Daytona 500 held?

Daytona International Speedway has always been the home of the Daytona 500. The venue can hold as many as 125,000 fans and hosts other racing events throughout the year.

Which company owns the most winning cars?

Thanks to the Petty Family, Petty Enterprises has won the Daytona 500 a record nine times. Hendrick Motorsports is right behind Petty with eight and Wood Brothers Racing has recorded five Daytona 500 wins.

Richard Petty Daytona 500
(Photo: Daniel Shirey / Contributor, Getty)

Who has competed in the most races?

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Dave Marcis holds the record for most Daytona starts (33) and the most consecutive starts (32). However, Marcis never won the race as his best finish was third in 1976.

How much are tickets?

For the 2021 Daytona 500, ticket prices start at $211 with an average price of $593, according to Vivid Seats. This year's race will only have 30,000 fans due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Who won last year's race?

Denny Hamlin won the 2020 Daytona 500 and he also won it in 2019 and 2016. He's looking to make NASCAR history on Sunday, becoming the first person to win the event three consecutive years.