DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – The past and present will converge in the pace laps prior to the green flag for the 52nd annual Daytona 500 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race on Sunday, Feb. 14.
To mark the 50th anniversary of Junior Johnson’s victory in the “The Great American Race”, a replica Daytona 500-winning No. 27 Chevrolet as well as the 2009 Daytona 500-winning car of Matt Kenseth will take to the high banks and participate in the pace laps prior to the green flag of the Daytona 500.
“The Daytona 500 is full of tradition,” Daytona International Speedway President Robin Braig said. “We believe that saluting these Daytona 500-winning cars in the pace laps prior to ‘The Great American Race’ will become another special tradition at Daytona.”
Johnson, the first driver to use drafting on the superspeedways, claimed his only Daytona 500 win in 1960 driving for crew chief Ray Fox and owner John Masoni. The ride came together in a last-minute deal and Fox only had seven days to build the Daytona 500-winning race car.
On lap 191, Johnson was drafting Bobby Johns when, coming off of Turn 2, Johns’ car was hit with a gust of win. The air pressure popped out the rear window and put Johns in a spin. Johnson would claim the Daytona 500 by a margin of 23 seconds.
Alongside the No. 27 Chevrolet during the Daytona 500 pace laps will be the winning car from the 2009 Daytona 500 – Matt Kenseth’s No. 17 DeWalt Ford from Roush Fenway Racing.
Kenseth, who earned Roush his first NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championship in 2003, was able to deliver Roush his first Daytona 500 victory – a feat that has eluded the multi-team owner for over 20 years.
The No. 17 was inducted into “The Official Attraction of NASCAR” – Daytona 500 Experience – after its victory in 2009 and will be returned to Roush Fenway Racing on Sunday morning, Feb. 14 prior to the start of the Daytona 500.
Tickets for all of Hershey’s Milk & Milkshakes Speedweeks events, including the Daytona 500, are available on your web-enabled phone at mobile.daytonainternationalspeedway.com, online at www.daytonainternationalspeedway.com or by calling 1-800-PITSHOP.