The Daytona 500 Has Seen Both Texas & Arizona Win The Big Race
Since 1959, over 60 drivers have won The Great American Race, the Daytona 500. And of those 60 plus race car drivers, we have seen at least 2 winners represent both Texas & Arizona respectively.
The first one was Houston Texas's A.J. Foyt.
When it comes to iconic race car drivers, A.J. is absolutely one of the greatest. Among his greatest accomplishments, including winning the Indianapolis 500 4 times in his career, is winning the Daytona 500 back in 1972.
During the race, A.J. would compete against the giants of NASCAR: Richard Petty, Bobby Allison, Cale Yarborough, Benny Parsons amongst many others.
The race would only see 13 different lead changes with A.J. getting the win in the end. It would be the only time that he would win a Daytona 500. You can see some other great race drivers from the state of Texas here.
Nearly 50 years later, we would see the first, and so far only, winner from Arizona win a Daytona 500: Phoenix's Michael McDowell.
Since 2007, Michael McDowell had a solid career in NASCAR, he would come close but would never be able to get a win. For the longest time, he would be known mostly for his insane wreck in Texas in 2008.
For a while he would get closer & closer but that first win would always elude him. That was until the 2021 Daytona 500.
Thanks to a crash on the last lap, Michael would end up leading the pack when the caution came out, ending the race. This would be his first NASCAR victory & he would become the 8th driver to win their first race during the Daytona 500.
So far A.J. Foyt is the only driver from Texas to win a Daytona 500 & Michael McDowell is the only Arizona driver to win a Daytona 500.
However, with more drivers from both states in NASCAR today, it's possible we'll see another winner in Victory Lane.