NASCAR Daytona 500
By Kelly S. Croslis – Sports
For 53 years racing fans have flocked to Daytona, Florida for the running of the Daytona 500.
The Daytona race kicks off the NASCAR season and is often the rookie’s first chance at the big time. This year’s race was a classic example of what can happen when things go right and wrong.
The 2011 Daytona 500 was won by a newcomer, Trevor Bayne, who had turned 20 years old only the day before. His first ever NASCAR race, he probably hoped to simple finish the race and keep up with the veterans, but when the checkered flag was waved, he was first to drive across the line and straight into the records books. Was it luck that brought Bayne his win, with more than 18 cautions held during the race and several accidents that eliminated many of the top name drivers, his chances increased with each lap?
What has brought so much attention to this young driver, besides winning the Daytona 500 during his first attempt, was his declaration that he would be giving part of his winnings to orphanages he is involved with in other countries. Other than the win, this single acknowledgement has brought the young driver a lot of publicity and people wondering what more he is capable of at such a young age.
Begun in 1959, the Daytona 500 has brought drivers and race fans to the sun and sand of Florida for the beginning of one of the longest seasons in sports. The race was originally held on a square track which ran between the sand and the highway; it wasn’t until a stock car track was built in 1959 that it became an “official” race and the most anticipated race of the season. First televised in 1979, the race was available to race fans around the world, with the 2011 race reaching 15.6 million fans on TV and more than 180 thousand in the stands.
There is no way to know what will come next for this year’s young drivers and the veterans that were put out of the race due to accidents, but with eight more months of races ahead, anything is possible.
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