The Daytona 500 is considered the most prestigious and exciting race in the NASCAR Cup Series. It has been the season-opening race since 1982 and has a rich history dating back to 1959. Over the years, the Daytona 500 has produced many historical moments that have been etched in the minds of NASCAR fans. Here are the last 15 memorable moments in the Daytona 500.
2020 – Denny Hamlin wins back-to-back Daytona 500s
Denny Hamlin became the first driver to win back-to-back Daytona 500s since Sterling Marlin in 1994-95. Hamlin edged out Ryan Blaney in a photo finish, winning by just 0.014 seconds.
2018 – Austin Dillon wins in the No. 3 car
Austin Dillon won the Daytona 500 in the No. 3 car, the same number that his grandfather Richard Childress and Dale Earnhardt Sr. drove to victory at Daytona. It was the first time the No. 3 car had won the race since Earnhardt in 1998.
2016 – Denny Hamlin wins his first Daytona 500
Denny Hamlin won his first Daytona 500 in a thrilling finish, passing Martin Truex Jr. on the final lap. Hamlin won by just 0.010 seconds, the closest finish in Daytona 500 history.
2014 – Dale Earnhardt Jr. wins his second Daytona 500
Dale Earnhardt Jr. won his second Daytona 500, ten years after his first victory in the race. The win was emotional for Earnhardt, who had struggled with concussions and missed half of the 2012 season.
2013 – Danica Patrick becomes the first woman to win the pole position
Danica Patrick became the first woman to win the pole position for the Daytona 500. She finished in eighth place, the highest finish by a woman in the race.
2012 – Trevor Bayne wins his first Daytona 500
Trevor Bayne won his first Daytona 500 in only his second Cup Series start. Bayne, who was 20 years old at the time, became the youngest driver to win the race.
2011 – Trevor Bayne and David Ragan make history
Trevor Bayne and David Ragan made history by becoming the youngest front row in Daytona 500 history. Bayne won the pole position and Ragan qualified second.
2007 – Kevin Harvick wins in the closest finish in Daytona 500 history
Kevin Harvick won the Daytona 500 in the closest finish in the race’s history, edging out Mark Martin by just 0.020 seconds.
2004 – Dale Earnhardt Jr. wins his first Daytona 500
Dale Earnhardt Jr. won his first Daytona 500 in a race that was emotional for many fans. It was the first race at Daytona since his father, Dale Earnhardt Sr., was killed in a crash in 2001.
2001 – Michael Waltrip wins his first Daytona 500
Michael Waltrip won his first Daytona 500 in a race that was overshadowed by the death of Dale Earnhardt Sr. Waltrip’s victory was bittersweet, as he had been a close friend of Earnhardt’s.
1998 – Dale Earnhardt Sr. wins his first Daytona 500
Dale Earnhardt Sr. won his first Daytona 500 after 20 years of trying. The victory was emotional for Earnhardt, who had come close to winning the race many times before.
1993 – Dale Jarrett wins in the No. 18 car
Dale Jarrett won the Daytona 500 in the No. 18 car, which was owned by Joe Gibbs Racing. The win was the first for both Jarrett and Gibbs at Daytona.
1990 – Derrike Cope wins in an upset
Derrike Cope won the Daytona 500 in a stunning upset, taking the lead after Dale Earnhardt Sr. blew a tire on the final lap. Cope’s victory was his first in the Cup Series.
1988 – Bobby Allison wins in the fastest Daytona 500 ever
Bobby Allison won the Daytona 500 in the fastest race in the history of the event. The race featured a record average speed of 177.602 mph.
1984 – Cale Yarborough and Donnie Allison fight on the track
Cale Yarborough and Donnie Allison got into a fight on the track after they crashed on the final lap of the race. The fight was one of the most memorable moments in Daytona 500 history and helped to increase the popularity of the race.
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In conclusion, the Daytona 500 has produced many memorable moments over the years. From close finishes to emotional victories, the race has captured the hearts of NASCAR fans around the world. These 15 moments represent just a small part of the rich history of the event and serve as a reminder of why the Daytona 500 is considered one of the greatest races in all of the motorsports.