While a lot has changed since that very first DAYTONA 500 in 1959, much of the experience, the excitement and the thrill still stands. The cars, the drivers and the seating might be different, but the track, the traditions and the history remain the same.
Travel back in time and compare THEN versus NOW as we look forward to celebrating the 60th running of the DAYTONA 500!
A lot has changed in sixty years as Daytona International Speedway, known as the "World Center of Racing", has also grown into the world's only motorsports stadium.
The DAYTONA 500 has produced some of racing's most exciting finishes since its inception in 1959. 58 years later Denny Hamlin beats Martin Truex Jr. to the checkered flag by 0.010 seconds in the closest finish in DAYTONA 500 history.
Gatorade Victory Lane is the place where every driver dreams of celebrating. While the elation hasn't changed in 60 years, one DAYTONA 500 champion that didn't get his victory lane moment is was Lee Petty. After the photo finish in 1959, Johnny Beauchamp (pictured) was originally declared the winner and he celebrated in victory lane. It wasn't until 3 days later, after reviewing several photos, that Bill France Sr. declared Lee Petty the 1959 DAYTONA 500 champion.
The tools and technology may have changed, but one thing will always remain the same; the planning, adjustments and prep work that take place in the NASCAR garages.
Preliminary events to the DAYTONA 500 have always been part of the Speedweeks tradition, including the convertible series race (pictured below) as one of two qualifying races for the 1959 DAYTONA 500. 59 years later, the Can-Am Duel still carries this tradition.
No matter if it's 1959 or 2017, watching cars roar through the high banks never gets old.
The cars and driver attire have changed, but the excitement of getting ready to race in the DAYTONA 500 will put a smile on anyone's face.
Here we see a driver's last moments before heading out to take the green flag. The grid is set for 1959 DAYTONA 500 and 2017 DAYTONA 500.