Daytona 500: A Spring Ritual in America
Roberto Carlos Alvarez-galloso | 17 Feb 2008
Two Hours before the start of the 2008 Daytona 500, I decided to write a reflection which deald with history and the fun that is associated with motorsport racing.
The Daytona 500 got it start as the Great American Race after World War II. The USA was booming and recovering from the effects of The Great Depression and World War II. The USA started to have a feel good attitude with the advent of stars like Elvis Presley and Rock and Roll. It was inevitable that the same was going to happen to the automotive industry in spite of attempts by the state to ban Motor Sport Racing.
The Daytona 500 was born as a result of the efforts of NASCAR [The National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing Incorporated] and started its first race on the twenty second of February 1958 with the participation of fifty nine cars competing to win $67,650 [a big chunk of money in the late 1950's] after crossing two hundred laps. The actual winner of the first Daytona 500 was Lee Petty and history was made with the first Daytona 500 and the initiation of the Petty Racing Dynasty which continues to this day. Examples of the Petty Dynasty have been Richard Petty and Kyle Petty. There were other racing dynasties such as the Earnhardt and Waltrip Dynasty.
Many have criticized this hallowed game after the death of Dale Earnhardt but the people who see NASCAR and the Daytona 500 could have cared less. Daytona 500 has boasted a Who's Who of those who were Grand Marshall such as James Garner [Actor], George Wallace [Governor of Alabama from 1963 to 1967, 1971 to 1979, and 1983 to 1987], George Bush [The First George Bush of the Persian Gulf War], Richard Petty, John Travolta, Alejandro Orfila [Argentine Ambassador to the United States of America], George W. Bush [the current US President until January 2009] and Nicholas Cage. The Daytona 500 have also included a Who's Who of those who sang the National Anthem of the United States of America such as the Osmond Brothers, Diamond Rio, Mariah Carey, Lee Ann Rimes, Vanessa Williams, and Fergie.