Ahead of the 64th running of the Daytona 500, who are the drivers with most wins in the famed event? Who leads the way, and which of the current crop has the most wins?
The 2022 Daytona 500 is the first proper race of the NASCAR season with the all-new Next-Gen Cup car.
It’s the biggest redesign of Cup machinery perhaps ever, introduced with the aim of closing the field together and improving racing and NASCAR’s relevance to potential manufacturers.
For the first time, the Next-Gen car will be put under the strain of a full, flat-out race, and on NASCAR’s biggest stage to boot.
40 drivers will start the Daytona 500 with the hopes of crossing the line first – or being one of the last standing by avoiding the shunts that will happen.
But who has the most wins in Daytona 500 history? Which driver leads the way and who on the 2022 grid has the most?
The driver with most Daytona 500 wins
Of the previous 63 runnings of the Daytona 500, 40 different drivers have claimed the chequered flag.
Lee Petty did it first in 1959 while Michael McDowell is the defending race winner, having claimed it by inches in 2021 after leading when the caution was thrown for the fiery last lap shunt.
While Lee Petty only claimed a single win in the race, his son Richard holds the record for the most Daytona 500 wins.
At some point, Richard Petty has probably held every single NASCAR record.
1,184 starts from 1958-1992, 200 wins, seven Cup championships the list goes on.
Petty claimed seven Daytona 500 wins, which is comfortably the most of any driver.
Richard Petty Daytona 500 wins
- 1964 – Petty Enterprises
- 1966 – Petty Enterprises
- 1971 – Petty Enterprises
- 1973 – Petty Enterprises
- 1974 – Petty Enterprises
- 1979 – Petty Enterprises
- 1981 – Petty Enterprises
Such was his dominance of the race, by the time he claimed his sixth win in 1979, only one other driver had more than one – Cale Yarborough.
Petty’s old sparring partner, Yarborough sits second on the list with four wins in 1968, 1977, 1983, 1984.
Their 11 wins between them accounts for 17.4% of all Daytona 500s in history.
Bobby Allison (1978, 1982, 1988), Dale Jarett (1993, 1996, 2000) and Jeff Gordon (1997, 1999, 2005) are also three time winners.
Leading the current crop
Another three-time winner and the active driver with the most Daytona 500 wins is Denny Hamlin.
Edging out now teammate Martin Truex Jr in 2016, Hamlin doubled up in 2019 – just weeks after the death of owner Joe Gibbs’ son, J.D.
In 2020, Hamlin nudged Ryan Blaney into Ryan Newman, causing the #6’s frightening accident in sight of the line.
Hamlin was entirely blameless – but in winning back-to-back races became the first to do so since Sterling Marlin in 1994, 1995.
Famously, Dale Earnhardt came up with every single way to possibly lose the Daytona 500 in his long career.
He would claim success in 1998 – his only Daytona 500 win at the wheel of the iconic #3.
Dale Earnhardt Jr won in 2004, three years after Sr was killed on the final lap in 2001.
Jr would double up in 2014 for his second win, joining the likes of Jimmie Johnson, Matt Kenseth and winner of that 2001 race Michael Waltrip as a two-time winner.
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