I Dream of Daytona

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I Dream of Daytona
(Photo by Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images for NASCAR)

Even if you don't know a stock car from a K-car, you've heard of the Daytona 500—"The Great American Race"—the biggest motorsports event of the year.

Daytona wasn't always the Super Bowl of racing, and if the brass at CBS hadn't opted to broadcast all 200 laps, all three-and-a-half hours worth (a brazen decision at the time), on Feb. 18, 1979, NASCAR would have remained a regional racing phenomenon, a Southern-state touchstone,not the second biggest sport in America after football.

In this slideshow are some of the most harrowing, heartwarming, and hard-charging Daytona 500 moments caught on film.

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