Darrell Ingham/Allsport

Blast From the Past: Check Out More Than 60 Years of NASCAR Fans at the Daytona 500


Since its inaugural race in 1959, the Daytona 500 has been the premier race in NASCAR.

We could go on for pages about iconic moments at the Great American Race from over the years. You have Tiny Lund's win in 1963, dubbed the "Miracle in Daytona." There was the first start-to-finish televised Daytona 500 in 1979, where Richard Petty won for the sixth time and Cale Yarborough and the Allison brothers infamously brawled on the infield.

How about when Bobby Allison became the oldest Daytona 500 winner in '88, or the "Dale and Dale Show" in '93? Jeff Gordon's win and the Hendrick Motorsports 1-2-3 sweep in 1997 was a moment for the books.

But, NASCAR goes beyond the competition on the track. It's a sport defined by its hardcore fans. While drivers and owners will become memorialized with spots in the NASCAR Hall of Fame, the fans have been there since the beginning. And, nothing shows their dedication to the sport like their love for Dale Earnhardt.


In 1998, Dale Earnhardt won his first Daytona 500. Just three years later, at the very same race, Earnhardt tragically died. Since that day, NASCAR fans have raised up three fingers in honor of his No. 3 Chevrolet. It's a tradition that lives on at every Daytona 500, whether at the 2011 Daytona 500 where Trevor Bayne made history, or the 2021 Daytona 500 when NASCAR was getting back into the swing of things post-pandemic.

NASCAR fans are truly the lifeblood of the sport, and since nothing gets us going like some good old fashioned nostalgia, let's take a look back at a few of the best fan photos from over the years.

1959 Daytona 500

fans watching the 1959 daytona 500

Photo by ISC Images & Archives via Getty Images

1965 Daytona 500

fans watching 1965 daytona 500

Photo by ISC Archives/CQ-Roll Call Group via Getty Images

1975 Daytona 500

fans in victory lane at 1975 daytona 500

Photo by ISC Images & Archives via Getty Images

1981 Daytona 500

fans tailgating at 1981 daytona 500

Photo by Robert Alexander/Getty Images

1982 Daytona 500

nascar fans drinking beer at 1982 daytona 500

Photo by Robert Alexander/Getty Images

1987 Daytona 500

fans tailgating at 1987 daytona 500

Photo by Robert Alexander/Getty Images

1991 Daytona 500

nascar fans waving american flags in 1991

Photo by George Tiedemann/Sports Illustrated via Getty Image

1992 Daytona 500

fans at the 1992 daytona 500 with long live the king sign

Photo by George Tiedemann /Sports Illustrated via Getty Images

1996 Daytona 500

nascar fans on top of motorhome at 1996 daytona 500

Photo by Darrell Ingham/Allsport

1998 Daytona 500

dale earnhardt celebrates with fans after winning 1998 daytona 500

Photo by ISC Archives/CQ-Roll Call Group via Getty Images

2001 Daytona 500

fans watching cars race at 2001 daytona 500

Photo by Brian Cleary/Getty Images

2004 Daytona 500

fans leaning on dale earnhardt sign at 2004 daytona 500

Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images

2011 Daytona 500

fans tailgating before 2011 daytona 500

Photo by John Harrelson/Getty Images for NASCAR

2014 Daytona 500

nascar fan wearing dale earnhardt hat

Photo by Jonathan Ferrey/NASCAR via Getty Images

2021 Daytona 500

fan holding up three fingers in honor of dale earnhardt at 2021 daytona 500

Photo by AP Photo/Chris O'Meara

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READ MORE: Richard Petty and Lee Petty Both Made History at the Daytona 500

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