It was the 1979 Daytona 500, the first national televised 500-mile (800km) race that was my introduction to Daytona International Speedway.
Like so many other NASCAR fans, attending a race at DIS was No. 1 on my to-do list.
It wasn't until 1996 that I achieved that goal. It wasn't for the 500, but rather the Nationwide's Goody's Headache Powder 300, and it was still exciting just to be in the stands.
At that time, the Daytona sold out in hours. I was on the waiting list for tickets but heard it was rumored to be several years long, and it's not like it is today.
It wasn't until 1998 that I learned how truly magnificent Daytona really is all lit up at night, and it was well worth the wait.
You see, I made history. I actually was in attendance for the first night race at Daytona and can't believe it's been 12 years now.
Traditionally, the race has always been held on July 4th weekend and always honored our soldiers, past and present, prior to the night race.
The race start was 10:00 a.m., NASCAR tried to beat the heat and the afternoon thundershowers.
Well let's get onto my 11 picks of drivers that could win the 2010 Coke Zero 400. I couldn't eliminate one to make it only 10 picks, so there's a bonus pick.
While I have no actual order to my picks, I'm going out on a limb with my actual pick to win the race; it would be his first win at the track.
It'll be the last slide, then I added two other picks—one that fans would be happy to see finally happen and the other is for the Ford fans.
Just missing the cut are Jeff Burton, Denny Hamlin, Carl Edwards, Greg Biffle, and Juan Pablo Montoya.
I also used the combined statistics for this, but didn't consider the Bud Shootout or the Gatorade Duel results in compiling these driver picks.