Diversity in the “Great American Race,” Daytona 500
Since the first Daytona 500 was held in 1959, there have been several drivers of Hispanic descent who have taken part in the “Great American Race.” The first race saw two drivers from Peru make the field. Raul Cilloniz and Eduardo “Chi-Chi” Dibos, both from Lima, Peru, finished 12th and 48th, respectively. Sports car ace Pedro Rodriguez from Mexico City made the field on two occasions with his best finish being a 13th in 1971. Christian Fittipaldi from Sao Paulo, Brazil came home 35th in 2003.
Bogota, Colombia’s Juan Pablo Montoya will be starting his seventh Daytona 500 in 2012. Montoya achieved his best “500” finish last year with a sixth. Aric Almirola, from Tampa, Fl. will be looking for his second Daytona 500 start with his new ride in the Richard Petty Motorsports Ford. He previously raced in “500” in 2009 finishing 30th after an impressive 11th place starting spot in an Earnhardt Ganassi Chevrolet.