Countdown to Daytona: Marvin Panch wins third running of Daytona 500
The 500-hour countdown has officially begun, and now there are just 20 days until the 59th running of the Daytona 500, which takes place Feb. 26 at 2 p.m. on FOX.
In the prior 58 Daytona 500s, only one time was the race won by a driver carrying car No. 20. The year was 1961 when Pontiacs swept the top three finishing spots and five of the top six.
The race winner was Marvin Panch in a year-old No. 20 Pontiac owned and prepared by the legendary Smokey Yunick.
Panch’s teammate, Fireball Roberts, dominated the race, leading 170 laps in his 1961 Yunick Pontiac. But the engine in Roberts’ car let go after 187 laps, handing the race to Panch.
Behind Panch came Little Joe Weatherly in a Bud Moore-owned Pontiac, followed by the Ray Nichels Pontiac driven by Paul Goldsmith. Fred Lorenzen finished fourth in a Ford, followed by the Pontiacs of Cotton Owens and Jack Smith.
A couple of other footnotes related to Daytona and the No. 20:
Matt Kenseth currently carries the No. 20 on his Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota. Kenseth is a two-time Daytona 500 winner but won both of his 500s when he drove the No. 17 Ford for Jack Roush.
All told, the No. 20 has been the winning car number in 50 NASCAR Cup Series races, but only four drivers have been to Victory Lane with that number: Tony Stewart (33 wins), Kenseth (14), Joey Logano (2) and Panch (1).
Of those four, Stewart is the only one to never win the Daytona 500. Logano won it in 2015 but in the No. 22 Team Penske Ford.