45 days to Daytona: Allison, Petty oldest champions at age 45

BY Tom Jensen • January 12, 2017

It’s getting closer: The 2017 Daytona 500 on FOX is now just 45 days away and we can’t wait.

The countdown number of 45 brings us to two heavyweights of stock-car racing, a pair of NASCAR Hall of Fame members who both left huge marks on the sport.

In 1983, Bobby Allison became the oldest driver to ever win the championship in what is now known as the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series: Allison was 45 years, 11 months and 17 days old when he claimed the title.

And in 1959, at the age of 45, Petty family patriarch Lee Petty won 11 races, making him the oldest driver to ever lead NASCAR’s top series in victories in a single season. Petty also won a championship that year, his third and final NASCAR title, though he was a few months shy of Allison’s age at championship time.

Of course, both men also have a history in the Daytona 500.

Petty famously won the first Daytona 500 in 1959, in a photo finish that wasn’t decided until three days after the race ended.

Allison won the Great American Race three times — in 1978, ’82 and most famously in ’88, when he and son Davey wound up 1-2 in one of the most memorable Daytona 500 finishes of all time.

Tune into FOX on Feb. 26 to see what kind of drama this year’s 500 will produce.

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