22/2/1959

the inaugural Daytona 500 won by Lee Petty's in a photo finish with Johnny Beauchamp.

The inaugural Daytona 500 ended in a photo finish. Lee Petty's Olds and Johnny Beauchamp's T-Bird split the lapped Chevy of Joe Weatherly as all three crossed the finish line. Beauchamp, the Harlan, Iowa IMCA star, was declared the unofficial winner and went to victory lane. It took newsreel footage viewed 61 hours later for Bill France to declare Petty the victor. The race was also open to Convertibles with Joe Lee Johnson's Chevy the highest placed ragtop in 16th. 7 drivers swapped the lead 33 times in the caution free event at an average speed of 135.521 mph.

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