On this day in 1959, Lee Petty won the first ever Daytona 500 and took home $19,000 in prize money.
Lee Petty in Palm Beach, 1953
Scene from the inaugural Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway, 1959
Before the big race moved inland to an asphalt track and became an American classic, drivers fulfilled their need for speed on the beaches of Central Florida.
The crowd assembles… (January 1952)
Gentlemen, start your engines! (ca. 1910)
Everybody gets pole position (January 14, 1905)
And they’re off! (February 1952)
Into the turn… (February 1952)
Watch out for wrecks! (February 1952)
And the winner is… Edward Knowles Rayson! (1947)
Richard Petty and friends (February 1971)
What’s your favorite Daytona 500 photo? Share it with us in the comments.