Icountdown To Daytona:/I 44 Days

RacingOne counts down the days to the 2006 Daytona 500 with a look back at some of the history throughout the years thanks to Motorsports Images and Archives.

Today we remember the 1959 race and a special piece of "equipment" used in the race

One of Daytona International Speedway's most famous elements is Lake Lloyd, which sits in the infield of the mammoth speedway. But not everyone was happy about the decision to include a lake in the track's landscape when Daytona opened its gates for the 1959 Daytona 500.

Chicago area star "Tiger" Tom Pistone was part of the inaugural race's field back in 1959, but was hesitant to take part in the 500 because of Lake Lloyd's presence. The diminutive Pistone could not swim and was afraid of winding up at the bottom of the lake if an accident during the race wound up in a watery finish.

To combat the problem, Pistone concocted a makeshift oxygen tank and mask that he bolted into his car, just in case his fear of winding up in the lake came true. Thankfully it was never put into use, but "Tiger" Tom earned his place as a Daytona legend never the less.

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