Our 2019 NASCAR Daytona 500 race and travel packages include excellent Daytona 500 race tickets, your choice of hotels in Daytona Beach, Altamonte Springs, St. Augustine or Orlando, track transportation to Daytona International Speedway by deluxe buses, breakfast daily at most of our hotels, Knowledgeable and Professional Tour Representatives on site at the hotels and on our buses, Informative Tour Booklets with all the details prior to the race, Ticket Holders/Lanyards, Welcome gifts, and much more. We offer several options such as FanZone Passes, and race scanners to enhance your Daytona 500 experience.
The 2019 NASCAR racing season begins at Daytona International Speedway with the running of the 61st “Great American Race,” the Daytona 500. Daytona International Speedway and it is a must see facility!
The Daytona 500 is regarded as the most important and prestigious race on the NASCAR calendar, carrying by far the largest purse Championship points awarded are equal to that of any other Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race. It is also the series’ first race of the year; this phenomenon is virtually unique in sports, which tend to have championships or other major events at the end of the season rather than the start.
Sunday’s Daytona 500 marks the end of an era in modern NASCAR. Over 30 years after restrictor plates were put in the engines of Cup Series cars at Daytona and Talladega, Sunday will be the final race with restrictor plates. When NASCAR heads to Talladega later in the year and Daytona in July, the cars will have tapered spacers in the engines instead of restrictor plates.
“Tapered spaces are still restrictor plates,” Kyle Busch noted.
OK, so maybe the change from plates to spacers isn’t all that significant. But for longtime NASCAR fans, Sunday’s race is the end of an era.
NASCAR implemented restrictor plates in 1988 after a frightening crash involving Bobby Allison, who flew into the catchfence at Talladega in 1987. That year, Bill Elliott’s pole speed for the Daytona 500 was over 210 mph and he set the NASCAR record for fastest lap at Talladega a couple months later with a pole lap of 212.809 mph.
Allison took flight in that spring Talladega race. After his car blew a tire early in the race it flew into the fence near the start/finish line. Thankfully, the back end of Allison’s car hit the fence and he didn’t flip multiple times as he was entangled in the fencing.
NASCAR slowed the cars down for the final two races at Daytona and Talladega that season but did so with temporary measures. Plates were implemented for the 1988 Daytona 500 (won fittingly by Allison) and they worked in throttling the speed of the field. Ken Schrader’s pole speed didn’t break 194 MPH.
Plates work by limiting the airflow to an engine. The lack of airflow chokes down horsepower and prevents cars from accelerating anything close to how they would with full air intake.
While the plates were immediately successful in limiting the dangerous speeds teams were reaching at Daytona and Talladega, that’s not the only reason they’ve hung around so long. Since cars with plates couldn’t accelerate away from each other, the addition of restrictor plates created closer racing with bigger packs at Daytona and Talladega and heightened the importance of the draft. There’s a reason why the term “plate racing” makes you think of 30 cars lined up in a pack just feet away from each other.
It also didn’t hurt that a guy named Dale Earnhardt was exceptional at navigating the draft and excelling with restrictor plates. Earnhardt won 13 races at Daytona and Talladega. Only two of those victories came before NASCAR mandated the use of restrictor plates after Allison’s crash.
Three of Earnhardt’s final five victories came at Talladega, including his final win in the fall of 2000. That race, considered by many NASCAR fans to be the greatest final laps of Earnhardt’s career, saw Earnhardt go from 18th to first in the final five laps.
Earnhardt’s drive was made possible by rules changes that NASCAR implemented earlier in that season after cries of boring racing during the Daytona 500. The series instituted a standard shock rule for the 2000 Daytona 500 that led to qualifying races that were snoozers and a Daytona 500 that featured the fewest lead changes (nine) since 1971.
In response to the complaints — led by Earnhardt — NASCAR made changes that included a wicker on the roofs of cars to help drivers pass easier with the aid of the draft. That Talladega race had 49 lead changes, the most in 11 years. Earnhardt wasn’t a fan of the changes either — he made sure to note that in victory lane — but there’s no denying he wouldn’t have been able to make that type of drive at Daytona earlier in the year.
The same rules setup was in place at Daytona in 2001 as the race featured 49 lead changes. Earnhardt was killed in a head-on crash with the wall on the final lap of the race. That November, NASCAR changed the rules (but kept the plates) for the 2002 races at Daytona and Talladega.