• Tue. Mar 28th, 2023

Five memorable NASCAR summer Daytona moments

ByBrenden Martin

Aug 26, 2022
Dale Jr celebrates at Daytona

Photo courtesy of Chris Graythen | Getty Images

NASCAR’s premier summer event heads back to where the season started, Daytona International Speedway. While the venue is known for its historic 500-mile season-opener every February, the summer race has delivered many memorable moments. Here are five memorable moments from revisits to Daytona.

1. Dale Earnhardt Jr. wins in his father’s famed No. 3 car. (2010 Nationwide [now, Xfinity] Series)

Daytona will always be remembered for being the place where NASCAR lost one of its biggest icons, Dale Earnhardt Sr., in a fatal crash at the end of the 2001 Daytona 500. The weight of that moment is still felt at the track, and that weight was as heavy as ever when his son, Dale Earnhardt Jr., won in his father’s immortalized No. 3 blue and yellow Wrangler car in the 2010 Subway Jalapeno 250.

2. Jaime McMurray passes Kyle Busch on the outside for a photo finish (2007 Cup Series)

Daytona has a long history of photo finishes, whether they be in the 500 or the shorter summer race. The Pepsi 400 in 2007 epitomized that “it ain’t over till it is over”. Kyle Busch looked to have a Daytona win in the bag when he came out of Turn 4 with the lead on the inside, that is until Jaime McMurray found a burst of speed on the outside to claim the win in a photo finish.

3. Kyle Busch turned trying to block Tony Stewart off the final turn (2009 Cup Series)

When it comes to the final laps at superspeedways, being the leader may not be the most advantageous position to be in. Kyle Busch learned that the hard way back in 2007 and learned an even harder way in 2009 when he ran up the track to block Tony Stewart off the last turn only to get turned into the wall, triggering a massive crash where Busch endured three massive impacts. The move prompted Busch to call for Stewart to be black flagged and for his victory to be voided.

4. The King reaches the mountaintop with his 200th and final win (1984 Cup Series)

The winningest driver in NASCAR history, Richard Petty, earned his 200th career NASCAR victory at the sport’s most iconic track. The way Petty got to No. 200 on July 4, 1984, was emblematic of this era of racing. In a heated battle with Cale Yarborough for the lead in the final laps, the yellow flag came out, prompting the two to race to the checkered flag as was done under the current rules. Petty just beat Yarborough by the slimmest of margins. Petty won the race under caution, bookending the most complete career NASCAR has and will probably ever see.

5. Dale Jr. uses lessons learned from his father to win his first Daytona race (2001 Cup Series)

NASCAR was only months removed from losing Dale Earnhardt Sr. in the Daytona 500, and now it returned to the site of his death with the summer race that year. Needless to say, emotions were high when none other than his son, Dale Earnhardt Jr. raced through the gauntlet and went from sixth to first in the last six laps on his way to conquer the superspeedway that changed his life forever the last time he was there. He didn’t let the haunted memories of the track own him. He showed that his bloodline is the one that owned the track with a win in his father’s memory.