The Beauty of Daytona

The risk of speed.  The glory of victory.  The beauty of Daytona.

With speed, there is always an inherent risk.  Every driver knows the possibility he or she faces every time they turn a lap.  The level of danger going 200 miles per hour is clear, particularly on a circuit where cars run together in traffic tighter than at rush hour in Los Angeles.  The resulting accidents can be aesthetically spectacular.  Often, the drivers walk away, but occasionally they don’t.  So why accept the stakes?

Glory.  The opportunity for immortality.  The chance a driver can see his name, etched in silver, on a trophy of black stone.  A trophy where names like Cope and Bayne and Hamilton sit beside names like Petty and Earnhardt and Gordon, beneath a machine as iconic as the Firebird.  This prize is the greatest triumph a racer can chase.

This clash of peril and prestige takes place just five miles from the world’s most famous beach.  It was that beach where the search for speed began over one hundred years ago, and where a visionary had a dream in 1948 that became the spectacle we celebrate this day.  But head to that beach this morn, and it truly is the calm before the roar of this afternoon’s storm.

But in this beautiful backdrop, is the glory worth the risk?

The 42 men and one woman in pursuit of today’s prize will answer with a pronounced proclamation:

Yes.

Why?

For the risk of speed.  For the glory of victory.  For the beauty of Daytona.

 

 

Daytona 500 Champions
1959 Lee Petty
1960 Junior Johnson
1961 Marvin Panch
1962 Fireball Roberts
1963 Tiny Lund
1964 Richard Petty
1965 Fred Lorenzen
1966 Richard Petty (2)
1967 Mario Andretti
1968 Cale Yarborough
1969 Lee Roy Yarbrough
1970 Pete Hamilton
1971 Richard Petty (3)
1972 A.J. Foyt
1973 Richard Petty (4)
1974 Richard Petty (5)
1975 Benny Parsons
1976 David Pearson
1977 Cale Yarborough (2)
1978 Bobby Allison
1979 Richard Petty (6)
1980 Buddy Baker
1981 Richard Petty (7)
1982 Bobby Allison (2)
1983 Cale Yarborough (3)
1984 Cale Yarborough (4)
1985 Bill Elliott
1986 Geoffrey Bodine
1987 Bill Elliott (2)
1988 Bobby Allison (3)
1989 Darrell Waltrip
1990 Derrike Cope
1991 Ernie Irvan
1992 Davey Allison
1993 Dale Jarrett
1994 Sterling Marlin
1995 Sterling Marlin (2)
1996 Dale Jarrett (2)
1997 Jeff Gordon
1998 Dale Earnhardt
1999 Jeff Gordon (2)
2000 Dale Jarrett (3)
2001 Michael Waltrip
2002 Ward Burton
2003 Michael Waltrip (2)
2004 Dale Earnhardt Jr.
2005 Jeff Gordon (3)
2006 Jimmie Johnson
2007 Kevin Harvick
2008 Ryan Newman
2009 Matt Kenseth
2010 Jamie McMurray
2011 Trevor Bayne
2012 Matt Kenseth (2)
2013 Jimmie Johnson (2)
2014 Dale Earnhardt Jr. (2)

2015 Daytona 500 Starting Lineup
Row 1:  Jeff Gordon, Jimmie Johnson
Row 2:  Dale Earnhardt Jr., Matt Crafton*
Row 3:  Joey Logano, Carl Edwards
Row 4:  Tony Stewart, Greg Biffle
Row 5:  Clint Bowyer, Martin Truex Jr.
Row 6:  Kevin Harvick, Ryan Blaney
Row 7:  Kasey Kahne, Reed Sorenson
Row 8:  Jamie McMurray, Mike Wallace
Row 9:  Landon Cassill, Justin Allgaier
Row 10:  Cole Whitt, Danica Patrick
Row 11:  Paul Menard, Ryan Newman
Row 12:  Michael McDowell, Regan Smith^
Row 13:  J.J. Yeley, David Gilliland
Row 14:  Michael Annett, David Ragan
Row 15:  Kyle Larson, Austin Dillon
Row 16:  Ty Dillon, Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
Row 17:  Aric Almirola, Michael Waltrip
Row 18:  Matt Kenseth, Johnny Sauter
Row 19:  Trevor Bayne, Sam Hornish Jr.
Row 20:  Brad Keselowski, A.J. Allmendinger
Row 21:  Casey Mears, Denny Hamlin
Row 22:  Bobby Labonte
Failed to qualify:  Alex Bowman, Brian Scott, Jeb Burton, Justin Marks, Josh Wise, Ron Hornaday Jr., Joe Nemechek
*substituting for Kyle Busch

^substituting for Kurt Busch

Advertisements

6 thoughts on “The Beauty of Daytona

  1. Pingback: Stiles on Sports’ Best of 2015 | Stiles On Sports

  2. Pingback: Column: The Greatest 64 Days in Sports | Stiles On Sports

  3. Pingback: A Trip to the Beach | Stiles On Sports

  4. Pingback: Top 10 Underrated Daytona 500s – Stiles On Sports

  5. Pingback: A Bad Weekend for the Buschs – Stiles On Sports

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s