The Daytona 500
is a 200-lap, 500 mile, NASCAR
race held annually at the Daytona International Speedway
in Daytona Beach
. In stock car racing, it is the most important race of the year. Not only is Daytona NASCAR's biggest race, it is also the circuit's first race of the year; this phenomenon is virtually unique in sports. Since 1995, television ratings for the Daytona 500 have been the highest for any auto race of the year, surpassing the traditional leader, the Indy 500
The race used to be held on Daytona Beach itself, but was later moved to a track.
Lee Petty, founder of a famous racing family whose most renowned member was his son Richard, won the first Daytona 500 on February 22, 1959. Richard won the race a record seven times.
See also: List of Daytona 500 Winners