NASCAR officials aren’t just motorheads, they’re also number geeks – and I mean that in a good way.
The sanctioning body’s crack statistics crew have once again put out a number of, well, numbers related to Sunday’s Daytona 500 that not only give you a great history of the Great American Race, they also show how the best of the best drivers have fared in recent years at the 2.5-mile superspeedway.
Fast Facts about the Daytona International Speedway (including Daytona 500 and Coke Zero 400):
* There have been 133 NASCAR Sprint Cup races at the fabled Daytona International Speedway since the track hosted its first race in 1959: 55 have been 500 miles, 51 were 400 miles and four 250 miles. There were also 23 qualifier races that were point races.
* Fireball Roberts won the inaugural pole at Daytona.
* Bob Welborn won the first race at Daytona, the 100-mile qualifying race for the Daytona 500.
* Lee Petty won the inaugural Daytona 500 on Feb. 22, 1959; he led 38 laps and won by 2 feet.
* Fireball Roberts won the first 400-mile race at Daytona, the 1963 Firecracker 400.
* 57 different drivers have posted poles at Daytona.
* Cale Yarborough leads all drivers with 12 poles at Daytona.
* Jeff Gordon and Mark Martin lead all active drivers with three poles at Daytona.
* 56 different drivers have won Cup races at Daytona.
* Richard Petty leads all drivers in victories at Daytona with 10.
* Jeff Gordon has six victories at Daytona, more than any other active driver.
* The Wood Brothers have won 15 races at Daytona, more than any other car owner.
* 17 full-length races at Daytona have been won from the pole; the last to do it was Jimmie Johnson in the 2013 Daytona 500.
* A driver has swept both the Daytona 500 and the July race only five times at Daytona International Speedway: Jimmie Johnson (2013), Bobby Allison (1982), LeeRoy Yarborough (1969), Cale Yarborough (1968) and Fireball Roberts (1962).
Top 10 Driver Ratings at Daytona:
No. 18 – Kyle Busch 96.9
No. 14 – Tony Stewart 93.0
No. 20 – Matt Kenseth 92.6
No. 88 – Dale Earnhardt Jr. 89.7
No. 41 – Kurt Busch 88.8
No. 48 – Jimmie Johnson 88.4
No. 24 – Jeff Gordon 87.2
No. 15 – Clint Bowyer 86.2
No. 11 – Denny Hamlin 83.7
No. 5 -Kasey Kahne 82.4
* Driver Ratings are compiled from 2005-2013 races (17 total) at Daytona.
** Ratings are compiled by combining the following categories: Wins, Finishes, Top-15 Finishes, Average Running Position While on Lead Lap, Average Speed Under Green, Fastest Lap, Led Most Laps, Lead-Lap Finish. Maximum: 150 points per race.
(Statistics and information courtesy of NASCAR)
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