55 years ago today, the first Daytona 500 set a high bar for drama. Lee Petty and Johnny Beauchamp battled to the finish line in a race too close to call, although Beauchamp celebrated what he thought was a win. Days later, NASCAR officials discovered — after viewing a still of just-developed news reel footage — that Petty had actually nosed the finish line first and was declared the winner. (AP)
GALLERY: 10 Memorable Daytona 500 Moments

55 years ago today, the first Daytona 500 set a high bar for drama. Lee Petty and Johnny Beauchamp battled to the finish line in a race too close to call, although Beauchamp celebrated what he thought was a win. Days later, NASCAR officials discovered — after viewing a still of just-developed news reel footage — that Petty had actually nosed the finish line first and was declared the winner. (AP)

GALLERY: 10 Memorable Daytona 500 Moments

Bobby Allison (left, in helmet) famously fights with Cale Yarborough (right) as Allison’s brother, Donnie, swings his helmet at Yarborough after the 1979 Daytona 500. Donnie Allison was leading the race on the final lap when Yarborough spun both of them into the infield. They started fighting shortly thereafter, prompting Bobby Allison to pull over and join. The incident drew great publicity for NASCAR, with many considering the 1979 500 the most important race in stock car history. (AP)
GALLERY: Classic Photos From The Daytona 500

Bobby Allison (left, in helmet) famously fights with Cale Yarborough (right) as Allison’s brother, Donnie, swings his helmet at Yarborough after the 1979 Daytona 500. Donnie Allison was leading the race on the final lap when Yarborough spun both of them into the infield. They started fighting shortly thereafter, prompting Bobby Allison to pull over and join. The incident drew great publicity for NASCAR, with many considering the 1979 500 the most important race in stock car history. (AP)

GALLERY: Classic Photos From The Daytona 500

Brad Keselowski clinched the Sprint Cup title at Homestead after five-time Cup champion Jimmie Johnson pulled out of the season-finale race because of a parts failure. The 28-year-old Keselowski claimed the first championship for longtime NASCAR owner Roger Penske and grabbed a title for car manufacturer Dodge, which is leaving the Sprint Cup series after the season. The championship was Keselowski’s first-career title. (Tom Pennington/Getty Images)
GALLERY: 2012 Sprint Cup Winners

Brad Keselowski clinched the Sprint Cup title at Homestead after five-time Cup champion Jimmie Johnson pulled out of the season-finale race because of a parts failure. The 28-year-old Keselowski claimed the first championship for longtime NASCAR owner Roger Penske and grabbed a title for car manufacturer Dodge, which is leaving the Sprint Cup series after the season. The championship was Keselowski’s first-career title. (Tom Pennington/Getty Images)

GALLERY: 2012 Sprint Cup Winners

Kasey Kahne, driver of the No. 5 Farmers Insurance Chevrolet, races past the checkered flag to win the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series LENOX Industrial Tools 301 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway on Sunday in Loudon, N.H. (Tom Pennington/Getty Images for NASCAR)
MARTIN: Wild cards, pit problems and other thoughts from LoudonMcCARTNEY: Who will nab the top seed in the Chase for the Cup?GALLERY: Best Shots of Every 2012 Sprint Cup Winner | Standings

Kasey Kahne, driver of the No. 5 Farmers Insurance Chevrolet, races past the checkered flag to win the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series LENOX Industrial Tools 301 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway on Sunday in Loudon, N.H. (Tom Pennington/Getty Images for NASCAR)

MARTIN: Wild cards, pit problems and other thoughts from Loudon
McCARTNEY: Who will nab the top seed in the Chase for the Cup?
GALLERY: Best Shots of Every 2012 Sprint Cup Winner | Standings