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Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Children now allowed in garage on raceday; Daytona 500 by the numbers

This year is all about change, and another change was announced this week by NASCAR – one that will make a lot of children happy.

A revision in NASCAR’s garage access policy allows an adult with approved access, either via annual credential (hard card) or a single event license, to bring their children in the NASCAR Sprint Cup, NASCAR Nationwide and NASCAR Camping World Truck Series garages on race days. The policy is in effect only during the “cold” pre-race period. Each child will be issued a special credential. There is no minimum age requirement.

”NASCAR offers the best behind-the-scenes access in all of sports and this gives young people the opportunity to experience this excitement up close and personal,” said Steve O’Donnell, NASCAR senior vice president of track operations. “The thrill of being in the NASCAR garage on race day cannot be duplicated and we’re looking forward to having our young fans participate in this race-day experience.”

In addition, the dress code for the garage area has been relaxed, and now allows shorts, open-toed shoes, sleeveless blouses and skirts/dresses.

This is a very cool change, and makes NASCAR even more accessible to fans than it already is. I know a lot of young fans will be looking forward to this season even more now.

Daytona 500 by the numbers
-- The 2011 edition will be the 53rd running of the Daytona 500.
-- Although the first Daytona 500 was held in 1959, it has been the season-opener only since 1982.
-- 514 drivers have competed in at least one Daytona 500; 304 in more than one.
-- 34 drivers have won a Daytona 500.
-- Eight drivers have won more than one Daytona 500, led by Richard Petty, with seven victories.
-- The eight drivers who have won the Daytona 500 more than once: Richard Petty (seven), Cale Yarborough (four), Bobby Allison (three), Dale Jarrett (three), Jeff Gordon (three), Bill Elliott (two), Sterling Marlin (two) and Michael Waltrip (two).
-- Fred Lorenzen posted a top-10 finish in eight of his nine Daytona 500s, the best percentage of drivers who have competed in more than two Daytona 500s.
-- Dale Earnhardt finished in the top 10 in 16 of his 23 Daytona 500s.
-- Dale Earnhardt and Richard Petty each had 16 top 10s in the Daytona 500, more than any other driver.
-- Dale Earnhardt had 12 top fives in the Daytona 500, more than any other driver.
-- Only 12 drivers have an average finish of 10th or better in the Daytona 500, five of those competed in the Daytona 500 only once.
-- Clint Bowyer has an 11.2 average finish in five appearances, the best of the active drivers who have competed in more than one Daytona 500.
-- Other than Lee Petty, who won the inaugural Daytona 500, no driver has ever won in his first appearance.
-- 28 of the 34 drivers who have won, participated in at least two Daytona 500s before visiting Victory Lane.
-- Dale Earnhardt competed 19 times before winning his only Daytona 500 (1998), the longest span of any of the 34 race winners.
-- Six drivers made 10 or more attempts before their first Daytona 500 victory: Dale Earnhardt (19), Buddy Baker (18), Darrell Waltrip (16), Bobby Allison (14), Michael Waltrip (14) and Sterling Marlin 12).
-- The most Daytona 500s all-time without a victory was Dave Marcis (33 races).
-- Mark Martin (26) leads active drivers without a victory.
-- Six drivers posted their career-first victory with a win in the Daytona 500: Tiny Lund (1963), Mario Andretti (1967), Pete Hamilton (1970), Derrike Cope (1990), Sterling Marlin (1994) and Michael Waltrip (2001).
-- Three other drivers posted their career-first victory in (point-paying) qualifying races: Johnny Rutherford (1963), Bobby Isaac (1964) and Earl Balmer (1966).
-- A driver has won back-to-back Daytona 500s three times. Richard Petty (1973-74), Cale Yarborough (1983-84) and Sterling Marlin (1994-95).
-- Kevin Harvick’s 0.020-second margin of victory over Mark Martin in the 2007 Daytona 500 is the 10th-closest overall since the advent of electronic timing in 1993, and the closest in a Daytona 500.
-- 26 of the 52 Daytona 500s have been won from a top-five starting position.
-- Matt Kenseth won the Daytona 500 from the 39th starting position in 2009, the deepest a race winner has started.
-- Nine have been won from the pole. The last to do so was Dale Jarrett, in 2000.
-- 16 Daytona 500s have been won from the front row.

-- Groundbreaking for Daytona International Speedway was Nov. 25, 1957. The soil underneath the banked corners was dug from the infield of the track and the hole filled with water. It is now known as Lake Lloyd.
-- The first NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Daytona was a 100-mile qualifying race for the Daytona 500 on Feb. 20, 1959.
-- Richard Petty won his 200th career race on July 4, 1984 at Daytona.
-- Lights were installed in the spring of 1998. However, the race was delayed until October that year due to thick smoke from wildfires. The second Daytona race has been held under lights ever since.

-- There have been 127 NASCAR Sprint Cup races since the track hosted its first race in 1959: 52 have been 500 miles, 48 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.
-- Fireball Roberts won the first 400-mile race at Daytona, the 1963 Firecracker 400.
-- 52 drivers have posted poles at Daytona.
-- Cale Yarborough leads all drivers with 12 poles at Daytona.
-- Bill Elliott leads all active drivers with five poles at Daytona.
-- 54 drivers have won 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 14 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 Kevin Harvick in last year’s Coke Zero 400.

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