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Evolution Of A Daytona 500 Stock Car

Wednesday, February 6, 2008


  • True 'stock' cars -- modified for safety.
  • Note roll bar and headlight covers, but door and hood are bound shut.
  • Convertibles race in NASCAR for two seasons.
  • Manufacturers in the sport include, Ford, Chevrolet, Dodge, Pontiac, Oldsmobile, Plymouth, Mercury, Hudson, Buick, Chrysler, Porsche, Aston Martin, Austin Healey, MG, Citroën, Alpha-Romeo and Triumph.

    (Photo Credit: Richard Petty 1959 Daytona 500 / RacingOne Multimedia)

  • Factory car’s headlights still present, but covered.
  • Driver’s seat evolves to a single-seat designed to protect the driver.
  • Windshield is still stock windshield.

    (Photo Credit: Cale Yarborough 1968 Daytona 500 / RacingOne Multimedia)

  • High wing added to provide rear down force, improving handling.
  • Internal roll cage is more obvious.
  • Engines reach maximum of 7,000 RPM.

    (Photo Credit: Bobby Isaac 1971 Daytona 500 / RacingOne Multimedia)

  • Major safety enhancements include window net and windshield made of Lexan.
  • Debut of decals vs. hand-painted numbers.
  • Hood pins used to prevent the hood from blowing open at high speed.
  • Sponsor 'paint schemes' become more creative.

    (Photo Credit: Bill Elliott 1987 Daytona 500 / RacingOne Multimedia)

  • Roof flaps help keep cars from going airborne in reverse spins.
  • Spoiler improves aerodynamics.
  • Windshield “tear offs” provide clear driver view.
  • Cars fully 'wrapped' with special vinyl for decals, numbers and headlights.

    (Photo Credit: Dale Earnhardt 1998 Daytona 500 / RacingOne Multimedia)

  • Adjustable front splitter and rear wing improve aerodynamics and stability.
  • HANS device keeps driver’s head and neck restrained, with carbon seat providing extra safety.
  • Engine maximum nearly 10,000 RPM.
  • Four manufacturers in the top three series: Chevrolet, Ford, Dodge and Toyota.

    (Photo Credit: Tony Stewart 2008 Daytona testing / Sam Greenwood / Getty Images for NASCAR)

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