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Harley J. Earl Trophy: Wikis


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Harley J. Earl Trophy on display at the Daytona 500 Experience.

The Harley J. Earl Trophy is the trophy presented to the winner of NASCAR's premier event, the Daytona 500. It is named after influential automobile designer Harley Earl, who served as the second commissioner of NASCAR, has been known as the so-called "father of the Corvette" and designer of the Firebird I prototype that adorns the trophy.

The permanent trophy is housed at Daytona 500 Experience, a museum adjacent to the Daytona International Speedway. It stands about four feet tall, and five feet wide, and is in the same triangluar "tri-oval" shape of Daytona International Speedway. Winners of the Daytona 500 through 1997 received the Harley Earl Award, a wooden trophy, approximately three feet tall, adorned with silver figurines.

Starting in 1998, to celebrate the 40th running, individual winners of the Daytona 500 have been presented with a miniature replica of the Harley J. Earl Trophy, which was recreated by John Lajba, a sculptor from Omaha, Nebraska. For every trophy he creates, it takes six weeks of 12-hour days to painstakingly handcraft the Firebird I car before it gets plated in silver. The first replica trophy, won in 1998 by Dale Earnhardt was originally on a marble base, but has since been switched to an acrylic stand, making it lighter.

For the 2008 Daytona 500, the 50th anniversary of the first race, the replica of the trophy, given to winner Ryan Newman, was plated in gold rather than silver.

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