Just 38 days from today, the green flag will fly to start the Daytona 500 on FOX and, frankly. Frankly, we can’t wait.
A look through history reveals that the No. 38 once won a race at Daytona International Speedway in what is now known as the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series.
The date was Feb. 12, 2004, when Elliott Sadler won the second Gatorade Twin 125 from the pole in the No. 38 Robert Yates Racing Ford Taurus.
Robert and son Doug always built restrictor-plate motors that put a lot of steam under the hood and this day was no exception, as Sadler led 26 of 50 laps to win over Sterling Marlin, Jimmie Johnson, Mark Martin and Kevin Harvick.
Although it might not seem like 2004 was that long ago, just five of the 22 drivers entered in that Daytona 500 qualifying race are expected to compete in this year’s Daytona 500: Sadler, Johnson, Harvick, Matt Kenseth and Ryan Newman.
And as a footnote, just seven times in 725 points races in what is now the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series has the No. 7 found Victory Lane. Sadler won at Texas and Auto Club Speedway in 2004, the last time that car number has won a race in NASCAR’’s top division.
Before Sadler, you have to go all the way back to November 1959, when Ned Jarrett won a 200-lapper in Columbia, South Carolina. Bob Welborn won one race in 1958 and in ’57, Gwyn Staley won three. That’s it.