ESPN Classic Televising Six Classic Daytona 500 Races
In advance of the 50th running of the Daytona 500 on Feb. 17, ESPN Classic will be televising six of the best Daytona 500 races of all time every Monday at 2 p.m. ET starting Jan. 7.
During the period, ESPN.com's NASCAR page will feature a poll where viewers can log on to choose their favorite Daytona 500 from the six. Then, on Saturday night, Feb. 16, the night before the 2008 version of NASCAR’s biggest race, ESPN Classic will show the top five races as chosen by the fans in their order of preference, starting at 10 p.m.
The six races are:
1976 - On the last lap, David Pearson and Richard Petty wreck together while running first and second, both are the only cars on the lead lap. Pearson gets his car moving first and goes on to win the 500 at a snail's pace. Petty finishes second, a lap down, after he is penalized for having his car pushed across the finish line.
1979 - The first live, flag-to-flag live televised Daytona 500, drawing a huge audience as it is shown on a day when much of the Northeast was paralyzed by a snowstorm. Donnie Allison and Cale Yarborough wreck late in the race while leading, propelling Richard Petty to victory. Donnie's brother Bobby and Yarborough fight in the infield. The race helped accelerate NASCAR to a national phenomenon.
1990 - Dale Earnhardt is all but the 500 winner when he blows out a tire in turn 3 of the last lap, leading to an unlikely Daytona 500 victory for Derrike Cope. Cope cruised by Earnhardt to win the 500, his first career NASCAR win, and one of only two in his career, the other coming later that season.
1998 - Dale Earnhardt Finally Wins - After years of heartbreak and bad luck, Dale Earnhardt finally wins the biggest race on the NASCAR schedule. Every crew member for all 43 teams lines up along pit road to congratulate Earnhardt.
1999 - Jeff Gordon pulls a risky pass by Rusty Wallace with 11 laps to go, almost driving through the grass and getting into the back of the lapped and crash-damaged car of Ricky Rudd. Wallace gives him room, possibly preventing a wreck and Gordon holds off defending-champion Dale Earnhardt for the win.
2007 - After the two best cars driven by Kurt Busch and Tony Stewart crashed early in the race, the race continues to take more twists. Cars are shuffled and reshuffled, culminating in a last lap "big one," which took out many contenders, including Kyle Busch and a sliding, flaming Clint Bowyer. Mark Martin, a part-time driver who was a NASCAR star but never won a championship or a Daytona 500, is nosed out by Kevin Harvick by inches at the finish line. Closest 500 finish with electronic scoring.