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Since the first NASCAR race at Daytona International Speedway in 1948, a vast selection of common cars played a major role in helping drivers achieve fame and fortune. The parade of NASCAR vehicles has ranged from automobiles driven by the average citizen to some of the most popular muscle cars in American automotive history. 

The 1950s
In 1951, Marshall Teague drove a Hudson Hornet to the finish line for the win after completing 39 laps at Daytona Beach. By today’s standards, the vehicle appears cumbersome. But, back in the day, the six-cylinder was considered a lightweight vehicle that put heavier competitors equipped with eight-cylinder engines to shame. The Hornet also helped Herb Thomas win in the same year. Tim Flock, Herb Thomas drove Hornets to win in future years. 

The 1960s
In order to make the Ford Torino more aerodynamically efficient, the 7.0-liter eight-cylinder engine equipped vehicle underwent renovations. The front end was elongated, and a flat grille was installed. Beneath the grille was a flatter bumper. The car was dubbed Talladega in commemoration of a new speedway. In 1969, LeeRoy Yarbrough drove the car to victory at the Daytona 500. David Pearson and Richard Petty also chose and drove the Talladega to numerous victories. 

The 1970s
The Charger was first introduced in 1966. Equipped with an eight-cylinder engine, the cars quickly began appearing in NASCAR races. However, the third generation of Chargers introduced in the 70s drew the attention of Richard Petty. He drove a blue and red Charger adorned with STP emblems from 1972 through 1977. The newest models featured a shape that was likened to a coke bottle. Former body creases were replaced by swoops. The grille was divided in two and bordered by rounded headlights. The rear sloped downward to the deck, which boasted a ducktail spoiler. 

The 1980s
The idea of driving a Monte Carlo SS in NASCAR races appealed to some and drew skepticism among others. Few believed that the Chevy could match the performance power of the Ford Thunderbird. Engineers added a rear glass spoiler on the edge of the trunk to enhance stability. Thus, the Monte Carlo SS Aerodeck was born. Dale Earnhardt drove the yellow/blue car in the 1986 Daytona 500. Although he did not win that race, he experienced victory in five others and gained 11 more the following year.