The 2012 Daytona 500 is scheduled for Sunday, Feb. 26 (1 p.m. ET; FOX-TV). It's the most prestigious race in stock car racing and the first race of each NASCAR season. For those of you wanting to impress all your friends with your knowledge of the race, here are 10 facts you may not have already known.


J. Meric, Getty Images


Start Your Engines


Author James A. Michener served as the honorary starter of the 1978 Daytona 500. WWE wrestler John Cena will be the honorary starter of the 2012 race.


Chris Graythen, Getty Images


Use Caution


The Daytona 500 was completed without a single caution three times (1959, 1961 and 1962), but every race since 1962 has had at least one caution.


Great Mileage


Driver Tiny Lund won the 1963 Daytona 500 using just one set of tires.



Boat Races?


Powerboats race on Lake Lloyd, which is located in the infield of Daytona International Speedway’s 2.5-mile track.


Tom Pennington, Getty Images


Cut Short


In 1974, NASCAR shortened its races by 10 percent in response to the energy crisis taking place in the US, so racers only completed 450 miles during that year’s Daytona 500.


Matthew Stockman, Getty Images


It Pays to Win


The Daytona 500 rewards the largest total purse of any NASCAR race. The winner of the 2012 Daytona 500 will receive $1,431,325 with second place paying out $1,050,075.


Chris Graythen, Getty Images


Age Is Just a Number


The youngest Daytona 500 winner was Trevor Bayne in 2011 at 20 years, 0 months and 1 day. The oldest Daytona 500 winner was Bobby Allison in 1988 at 50 years, 2 months and 11 days.


Jamie Squire, Getty Images


Chevy Rocks


Twenty Daytona 500 winners have driven a Chevrolet, which makes it the most successful auto manufacturer in the history of the race.


Todd Warshaw, Getty Images


Checkered Past


The car that wins the Daytona 500 is displayed in the exact condition that it won the race in for one year at the Daytona 500 Experience, a museum and gallery near the Daytona International Speedway.


Jonathan Ferrey, Getty Images


Always Remembered


Thirty-four people have died as a result of injuries sustained during various auto, motorcycle and powerboat activities at the speedway. The most well-known fatality occurred on the last lap of the 2001 race when legendary driver Dale Earnhardt died after he crashed into the track wall in Turn 3.