Daytona 500: An Official History


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With roots dating back to the earliest days of motor racing, the Daytona 500 isn’t just America’s most popular automobile race—it is an American institution. No other race is as widely followed by stock-car racing fans, and no driver’s record is fully complete without a 500 victory.

When Lee Petty and Johnny Beauchamp roared side by side to the checkered flag in the inaugural race in 1959, they established a tradition of ultra-competitive racing that continues today. In this first official history of the Daytona 500, author Bob Zeller tells the complete story of more than forty years of close-quarters racing at the 2.5-mile Daytona International Speedway. With year-by-year chapters, he captures the competition, drama, and distinctive personalities of the racers. All of the great drivers are here, from Richard Petty, whose career at Daytona included an unrivalled seven 500 victories, to Dale Earnhardt, whose relentless pursuit of a Daytona 500 trophy would last decades until his triumph in 1998.

The book also explains how changes in automotive technology, NASCAR rules, and competitive tactics have kept Daytona at the forefront of the racing world. Richly illustrated with hundreds of colorful photographs from the ISC Publications—Archives, Daytona 500: The Official History is the definitive record of the premier event in stock car racing.