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Daytona 500 - Race Notes

How to Make the Field for the Daytona 500

  • One round of NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series timed qualifying will be held on February 13th. Each team will run two laps with the best time of the two setting the qualifying time. The two fastest qualifiers set positions one and two and are the only guaranteed starters, filling the front row for the Daytona 500.
  • The Gatorade Duels, the 150-mile qualifying races held on February 17th, will determine starting positions for the Daytona 500 beyond the front row. In the event of cancellation, the field will be set according to the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series Rule Book.
  • The eligible highest ranked 35 in 2004 car owner points will be assigned to Gatorade Duel races based on their standing in the 2004 final car owner points. Odd-numbered owner points will compete in the first Gatorade Duel led to the green by the Bud Pole winner; even-numbered owners will compete in the second. The only exception is that the fastest qualifier will compete in the first Gatorade Duel and the second fastest will complete in the second, regardless of 2004 owner point standings. Owners who failed to finish in the top-35 of the 2004 car owner points will be assigned to a Gatorade Duel based on qualifying times the highest qualifying owner to the first Duel; the next to the second and alternating through the remaining entries.
  • Finishing positions in the Gatorade Duels will determine starting positions in the Daytona 500. First the front-row qualifiers will be removed from the equation. The eligible highest ranked 35 in car owner points plus the two highest finishing non-top 35 teams will be lined up in the odd-number starting positions based on their finish in the first Duel. The eligible highest ranked 35 in car owner points plus the two highest finishing non-top 35 teams will be lined up in the even-number starting positions based on their finish in the second Duel.
  • The remaining positions will be filled based on qualifying times beginning with the next available position.
  • The 43rd starting position will be assigned to any car owner who has a past NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Champion as the driver who does not make the race by any other method providing the driver competed in the 2004 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup season. If the 43rd position remains unused it will be assigned to the next highest qualifying time.

    Daytona 500 Tidbits

  • Thirty-one different drivers have won the Bud Pole for the Daytona 500.
  • Only seven of the 31 Daytona 500 pole winners have won the pole more than once: Buddy Baker and Cale Yarborough and Bill Elliott (four); Fireball Roberts and Ken Schrader (three); Donnie Allison and Dale Jarrett (two).
  • Seven Daytona 500 winners have won by a margin of one lap or more, most recently by David Pearson in 1976.
  • Only three drivers have won the Daytona 500 Bud Pole in their rookie season: Loy Allen - 1994 (sixth career race), Mike Skinner - 1997 (16th career race) and Jimmie Johnson - 2002 (fourth career race).
  • In 1963, Johnny Rutherford was the fastest qualifier in his first NASCAR race attempt, but the Daytona 500 Bud Pole went to the driver winning a special 25-mile race (Fireball Roberts).
  • Tony Stewart was second fastest in 1999 Daytona 500 qualifying, his career-first NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series race.
  • Bobby Allison won the 1978 Daytona 500 from the 33rd starting position, the deepest in the field that a Daytona 500 race winner has started.
  • Twenty-nine drivers have won the Daytona 500.
  • Richard Petty leads all other drivers with seven Daytona 500 victories.
  • Dale Jarrett leads all other active drivers with three Daytona 500 victories.
  • Three drivers have won consecutive Daytona 500s: Richard Petty (1973 and '74), Cale Yarborough (1983 and '84) and Sterling Marlin (1994 and '95).
  • The winner of the Daytona 500 has gone on to win the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Championship seven times: Lee Petty (1959), Richard Petty (1964, '71, '74, '79), Cale Yarborough (1977) and Jeff Gordon (1997).

    How Important is Track Position in the Daytona 500?
    Twenty-six of the 46 Daytona 500s have been won from a top-five starting position. Nine have been won from the Bud Pole, including two of the last six: Jeff Gordon (1999) and Dale Jarrett (2000). The only Daytona 500s won from outside a top-10 starting position since 1980 were Derrike Cope (12th - 1990), Michael Waltrip (19th - 2001) and Ward Burton (19th - 2002).

    Daytona 500 Bud Pole Update
    There have been 14 different Bud Pole winners in the last 15 Daytona 500s. Dale Jarrett (1995 and 2000) is the only repeat Bud Pole winner since 1990.

    Daytona 500 Update
    Four of the last nine Daytona 500s have ended under caution: 2003, 2000, 1998 and 1997. The other five have all had a margin of victory of less than three-tenths of a second:
    0.273 (2004)
    0.193 (2002)
    0.124 (2001)
    0.128 (1999)
    0.120 (1996)

    Daytona 500 Winless

  • Dale Earnhardt was the most celebrated non -winner of the Daytona 500 until his victory in 1998 (20 attempts).
  • Several other drivers have also been trying to win the 500 for many years. Ricky Rudd has gone 27 races without a Daytona 500 victory. Other drivers with 20 or more races without a victory in the season opener: Terry Labonte - 26 Kyle Petty - 23 Rusty Wallace - 22 Mark Martin, Ken Schrader - 20
  • The most Daytona 500s all-time without a victory was Dave Marcis (33 races).

    Track Milestones

  • Bob Welborn won the first NASCAR NEXTEL Cup (Grand National) race at Daytona International Speedway, the 100-mile qualifying race for the inaugural Daytona 500 on Feb. 22, 1959.
  • Lee Petty won the inaugural Daytona 500 on Feb. 22, 1959.
  • Fireball Roberts won the first 400-mile race at Daytona, the 1963 Firecracker 400.
  • The 125-mile qualifying races changed from points to non-points races in 1972.
  • Richard Petty won his 200th NASCAR NEXTEL Cup race at Daytona International Speedway on July 4, 1984.

    Qualifying Update
    The same driver has won both Bud Poles at Daytona in three of the last eight seasons: Mike Skinner (1997), Bobby Labonte (1998) and Dale Jarrett (2000).

    Track Update
    A driver has won back-to-back races at Daytona three times since Bobby Allison won the 1987 Firecracker 400 and the 1988 Daytona 500: Jeff Gordon (1998 Pepsi 400 and 1999 Daytona 500), Dale Jarrett (1999 Pepsi 400 and 2000 Daytona 500) and Michael Waltrip (2002 Pepsi 400 and 2003 Daytona 500).

    Manufacturer Update
    Chevrolet has won 13 of the last 20 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup races at Daytona (65 percent). Ford won six races while Dodge claimed the other victory.

    The Money

  • The posted awards for the Daytona 500 are $17,623,980.
  • The NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Leader Bonus is worth $10,000 for the Daytona 500.
  • The MBNA Lap Leader Bonus is worth $5,000 for the Daytona 500.

    Notebook (Excludes 125-Miler qualifiers)

  • There have been 92 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup races at the Daytona International Speedway since the track hosted its first race in 1959: 46 were 500 miles, 42 were 400 miles and four were 250 miles. There were also 23 qualifier races that were point races (1959-1971).
  • Greg Biffle is the defending Bud Pole winner for the Daytona 500.
  • There have been 44 different Bud Pole winners at Daytona.
  • Cale Yarborough leads all drivers with 13 Bud Poles at Daytona.
  • Sterling Marlin leads all active drivers with four Bud Poles at Daytona.
  • Bill Elliott won the 1988 Pepsi 400 from the 38th starting position, the deepest in the field that a Daytona race winner has started.
  • There have been 40 different race winners in the 92 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup races at Daytona.
  • Dale Earnhardt Jr., is the defending champion of the Daytona 500.
  • Thirteen of 92 races at Daytona have been won from the Bud Pole. Thirteen have also been won from the second-starting position giving 26 race winners from the front row (28 percent).
  • Jeff Gordon (2004 Pepsi 400) is the most recent driver to win at Daytona from the Bud Pole.
  • A driver has swept both races at Daytona only four times: Fireball Roberts (1962), Cale Yarborough (1968), Lee Roy Yarbrough (1969) and Bobby Allison (1982).
  • There have been six caution-free NASCAR NEXTEL Cup races at Daytona: 1959 Daytona 500, 1959 Firecracker 250, 1960 Firecracker 250, 1961 Daytona 500, 1961 Firecracker 250 and 1962 Daytona 500.

    Would You Believe?
    Sterling Marlin has led 589 laps in 45 races the most among active drivers. Jeff Gordon has led 440 laps in 24 races, the second most among active drivers. Dale Earnhardt Jr., is third among active drivers having led 276 laps in just 10 races at the famed superspeedway.

    Track Update
    Dale Jarrett has posted nine top-10 finishes, including three victories, in his 18 races at Daytona since joining the No. 88 Robert Yates Racing team. His victory in the 1996 Daytona 500 was the first NASCAR NEXTEL Cup race for the No. 88 team. However, he has posted only three top-10 finishes in the last eight races at Daytona all in the last four races.

    Update of the Week
    Jeff Gordon won back-to-back races at Daytona in July 1998 and February 1999 and won there again in July 2004. His best finish in the nine races there until his 2004 Pepsi 400 victory was eighth in the 2003 Daytona 500.

    How Important is Track Position?
    Sixteen of the 30 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup races at Daytona since 1990, have been won from a top-five starting position. Only six of those races were won from outside the top 10:
    Derrike Cope (1990 Daytona 500)
    Dale Jarrett (1999 Pepsi 400 12th)
    Michael Waltrip (2001 Daytona 500 19th)
    Dale Earnhardt Jr. (2001 Pepsi 400 13th)
    Ward Burton (2002 Daytona 500 19th)
    Greg Biffle (2003 Pepsi 400 30th)

     

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