The Daytona 500 is only only one away, and we’re counting down the days until the NASCAR season begins at Daytona International Speedway with memorable moments at the most prestigious race in the sport.
Prior to the 1985 Daytona 500, Bill Elliott had three straight close calls at the iconic race. He finished in the top 5 three straight times from 1982 and 1984, including a runner-up finish in 1983.
The 1985 Daytona 500 was a different story for Awesome Bill from Dawsonville. During qualifying, Elliott won the pole with a speed of 205.114. He dominated most of the race, and he nearly lapped the rest of the field before he had to pit late in the race.
NASCAR officials forced him to pit for nearly two minutes to fix a broken headlight assembly, and the pit stop sent him to third place. But Elliott quickly made up for lost time, and he made his way back to the front and survived a late caution flag to win for the first time at the Daytona 500.
Later that year, Elliott became the first driver to win the Winston Million. The award went to any driver who won three of the four Grand Slam races in a year. Elliott won the Daytona 500, and he later won at Talladega and at Darlington to win the $1 million award.
It took 12 years for another driver to accomplish that feat when Jeff Gordon won three of the four races in 1997.
Elliott won his second Daytona 500 two years later in 1987.
This weekend, his son, Chase, will look to return the No. 9 to Victory Lane at the Daytona 500.