Dave Despain on Assignment: Building the Daytona 500 UPDATE A reminder that this program will be shown tonight on SPEED.
02/08/08 This special will be shown on Sunday, February 10, 6:00 pm - 7:00 pm ET and replayed the morning of the Daytona 500 on February 17, 10:00 am - 11:00 am ET on SPEED.
Dave Despain on Assignment: Building the Daytona 500
Junior Johnson: "That place is ungodly exciting once they drop that flag."
Q: Which driver bolted an oxygen tank into his car for fear of ending up in Daytona's infield lake -- Lake Lloyd?
As race fans celebrate the 50th running of the Daytona 500 next month, Dave Despain and his crew will take SPEED™ audiences behind some of the lesser known stories from The Great American Race with a special one-hour program entitled Dave Despain on Assignment: Building the Daytona 500. The show will premiere Feb. 10 at 6 p.m. ET and re-air the morning of the Daytona 500, Feb. 17 at 10 a.m. ET.
While the season-opening crown jewel of NASCAR is loaded with signature moments … David Pearson vs. Richard Petty in 1976, the Allison-Yarborough melee caught on TV in 1979, Dale Jarrett winning with his father, Ned, calling the race, Darrell Waltrip’s “Icky Shuffle” in 1989 and Dale Earnhardt earning his first and only Daytona 500 win in 1998, this special will concentrate on the event’s formative years, 1959-1963, answering more obscure questions, including:
• Which driver wore a life vest due to his fear of drowning in Lake Lloyd?
• Which driver won the 500 without ever changing tires?
• Which track inspired the construction of Daytona International Speedway?
• Who drove a seven-day old car to victory in the 500?
Among those interviewed for the special:
Daytona 500 winners Richard Petty (1964, ’66, ’71, ’73, ’74, ’79, ‘81), Junior Johnson (1960) and Marvin Panch (1961); Daytona 500 winning crew chiefs Leonard Wood (1963) and Ray Fox (1960); former drivers “Tiger” Tom Pistone, Bobby Johns, Rex White, Johnny Allen and Curtis “Crawfish” Crider; NASCAR historian Buz McKim; motor sports journalists Chris Economaki and Bud Palmer; and “Lightnin’ Epton, who has worked the Daytona ticket window since 1959.
Said Petty about his first visit to Daytona: “For a 21-year-old kid, it was like a whole different world … You just could not believe it was as big as it was.”
SPEEDtv.com, which re-launches in widescreen format Feb. 6, will offer highlights and clips from the special.
And if you’ve taken the time to read to the bottom of this press release, here is the answer to the question posed in the headline: “Tiger” Tom Pistone … he couldn’t swim … he also had a life jacket in the car.
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