Dale Earnhardt Jr., Mario Andretti and comedian Jeff Foxworthy are among the 10 celebrity finalists in the competition to design the 50th anniversary Daytona 500 ticket.

To commemorate the milestone of NASCAR’s most prestigious race on Feb. 17, 2008, Daytona International Speedway has created “Celebrity Tickets for Charity,” asking a long list of celebrities from sports, music, movies and TV to come up with a unique design.

A blue-ribbon panel made up of members of the NASCAR community will vote and the winning design will be announced July 7 at Daytona. All original celebrity artwork will be auctioned online to benefit The Jeff Gordon Foundation. . .

Besides 2004 Daytona winner Earnhardt, 1967 winner Andretti and Foxworthy, the finalists include 2007 winner Kevin Harvick, 1961 winner Marvin Panch, extreme sports star Tony Hawk, Fox Sports broadcaster Mike Joy, CMT TV host Katie Cook and two youngsters, 7-year-old Derek Wynne entering for 2006 winner Jimmie Johnson and 17-year-old Patrick McRae, entering for team owner Rick Hendrick. (More)

The Daytona 500 is a 200-lap, 500 mile (805 km) NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series race held annually at the Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Florida. It is one of four restrictor plate races on the Cup schedule. In 2008, the race will celebrate its 50th running.

The Daytona 500 is widely regarded as the most important and prestigious race on the NASCAR calendar, carrying by far the largest purse. Championship points awarded are equal to that of any other NEXTEL Cup race. It is also NASCAR’s first race of the year; this phenomenon is virtually unique in sports, which tend to have championships or other major events at the end of the season rather than the start. Since 1995, U.S. television ratings for the Daytona 500 have been the highest for any auto race of the year, surpassing the traditional leader, the Indianapolis 500. The 2006 Daytona 500 attracted the sixth largest average live global TV audience of any sporting event that year with 20 million viewers.

2008 Race: The 50th Running
The 2008 Daytona 500 will mark the 50th running of “The Great American Race”, and is scheduled to be run on Sunday, February 17, 2008, celebrating the Golden Anniversary of the first race run in 1959, won by Lee Petty. The Harley J. Earl Trophy, which goes to the winner of the race, will be plated in gold instead of silver to commemorate this event. The race is scheduled to be the first Daytona 500 run using NASCAR’s Car of Tomorrow, which was introduced in 2007, and become standard as of 2008.

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Daytona 500 winners Kevin Harvick, Jimmie Johnson and Mario Andretti, sitcom star Jason Lee, TV host Kelly Ripa, and action sport legend Tony Hawk, among others, have put their artistic talents to the test to help commemorate the 50th running of NASCAR’s crown jewel stock car race, the 2008 Daytona 500. Daytona International Speedway (DIS) has launched its “Celebrity Tickets for Charity” competition, where the design of the most sought-after ticket in motorsports history were chosen from submissions provided by celebrities, with fans having a voice in the decision. Those fans chose ten designs – four from past race winners – and a blue ribbon panel made up of NASCAR’s family will select the winner and announce it prior to the running of the Pespi 400 on July 7, 2007.

Thanks to www.nascar.com, www.wikipedia.com, www.signonsandiego.com and www.ticketliquidator.com

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