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FEB 11, 2020 | Ford Performance Staff

What You Need To Know About The Daytona 500

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DAYTONA - The 2020 NASCAR Cup Series season kicks off on Sunday with the 62nd Annual Daytona 500.  Ford has won The Great American Race a total of 15 times with the most recent triumph coming in 2017 when Kurt Busch took the checkered flag in Stewart-Haas Racing’s Ford debut.  It will also mark the second Daytona 500 start for Mustang after it debuted one year ago in NASCAR’s top series.  The race is scheduled for 2:30 p.m. Eastern time (Fox TV, MRN Radio and SiriusXM Radio)

There will be two newcomers and one returnee to the Ford Cup roster this season as Chris Buescher, Cole Custer and John Hunter Nemechek give three of Ford’s major teams a different look in 2020.  Buescher, who won the NASCAR XFINITY Series title with Ford and Roush Fenway Racing in 2015, returns to that organization to drive the No. 17 Mustang for car owner Jack Roush.  Custer and Nemechek will be part of a stout Sunoco Rookie of the Year class as both drivers move up from the NASCAR XFINITY Series.  Custer will takeover the No. 41 Mustang for Stewart-Haas Racing while Nemechek takes the wheel of the No. 38 Front Row Motorsports Ford.

This year’s Daytona 500 is scheduled to take place on February 16, which is the same date Davey Allison won on in 1992.  Driving the famous No. 28 Texaco Havoline Ford Thunderbird for NASCAR Hall of Famer Robert Yates, Allison led 98 of the final 103 laps and beat Morgan Shepherd, driving for the Wood Brothers, to checkered flag as Ford swept the top four spots in the finishing order.  Geoffrey Bodine was third for NASCAR Hall of Fame owner Bud Moore while driver/owner Alan Kulwicki was fourth.

Ford won the Daytona 500 for the first time on Feb. 24, 1963 when Tiny Lund took the Wood Brothers to Victory Lane and completed a script that would have made Hollywood envious.  Lund didn’t have a ride for the 500, but was at the track watching Marvin Panch test a Maserati when the car went out of control, flipped upside-down and started on fire.  Lund, along with four others, rushed to the scene and eventually pulled Panch to safety.  Panch, who was the primary driver for the Wood Brothers, was unable to race in the 500 due to his injuries, so the team tabbed Lund as a substitute.  Lund defied the odds by winning the race on one set of tires to give Ford and the Wood Brothers their first win in “The Great American Race.”

When Ford won the Daytona 500 on Feb. 27, 2012 with Matt Kenseth, it marked his second victory in three years.  But while Kenseth will be remembered for becoming the ninth multiple winner of “The Great American Race,” the weekend will forever be remembered for a series of unforeseen events.  For the first time in its 54-year history the race had to be postponed until Monday due to rain.  As lingering showers persisted the next day, NASCAR officials decided to make it a primetime event for the first time.  The race was building to a climax when caution came out on lap 157.  During the ensuing caution, something broke on Juan Pablo Montoya’s car and sent it careening into a jet dryer that was working on the track.  An explosion ensued and resulted in a red flag that lasted more than two hours as officials repaired the track.  There were no major injuries, but the incident resulted in one of the more memorable photos ever taken as driver Brad Keselowski used his cell phone to post a shot from his vantage point on the backstretch.  Kenseth eventually held off Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Roush Fenway teammate Greg Biffle on a green-white-checker finish to win. 

Ford has won the Daytona 500 a total of 15 times after Kurt Busch took the checkered flag for Stewart-Haas Racing in its debut event with the manufacturer in 2017.  That Cinderella story marked Ford’s fourth Daytona 500 win in a seven-year period, a streak that started with another Disney-type story when Trevor Bayne became the youngest Daytona 500 winner in 2011.  The victory was even more memorable because it came one day after his 20th birthday and in only his second career NASCAR Cup Series start for the Wood Brothers.

Joey Logano survived an intense final 10 laps, including a green-white-checkered finish, to give Ford a sweep of Daytona Speedweeks by winning the 57th running of the Daytona 500.  The win came on the heels of Tyler Reddick winning the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series and Ryan Reed taking the checkered flag for the first time in the NASCAR XFINITY Series event.  It also capped an undefeated month of racing at Daytona for Ford, which also won the season-opening Rolex 24 Hours.  In the end, Logano used a push from Clint Bowyer to get in front of the pack, but when caution came out with three laps to go for an accident involving Justin Allgaier, the field bunch back up for the deciding restart.  As the leader, Logano opted for the outside line and that proved to be the right decision as he got ahead of Denny Hamlin on the inside and stayed in front until the caution came out on the final lap to officially end the race.

1963 – Tiny Lund (Wood Brothers)
1965 – Fred Lorenzen (Holman-Moody)
1967 – Mario Andretti (Holman-Moody)
1969 – LeeRoy Yarbrough (Junior Johnson)
1978 – Bobby Allison (Bud Moore)
1985 – Bill Elliott (Harry Melling)
1987 – Bill Elliott (Harry Melling)
1992 – Davey Allison (Robert Yates)
1996 – Dale Jarrett (Robert Yates)
2000 – Dale Jarrett (Robert Yates)
2009 – Matt Kenseth (Jack Roush)
2011 – Trevor Bayne (Wood Brothers)
2012 – Matt Kenseth (Jack Roush)
2015 – Joey Logano (Roger Penske)
2017 – Kurt Busch (Stewart-Haas)

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