Countdown to Daytona: 21

February 03, 2013, Reid Spencer, NASCAR Wire Service,

There are 21 days left before the Feb. 24 Daytona 500; hence, today’s number is 21.

OK, we’re fudging a little bit, because today’s number actually is 21.053. That’s the all-time career-best winning percentage posted by Herb Thomas, the first two-time champion in what is now the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series and a member of the NASCAR Hall of Fame Class of 2013. Thomas won 48 of his 228 starts, narrowly edging Tim Flock (20.856 percent) in that statistical category. Thomas’ career was truncated by a 1956 wreck at the Cleveland County Fairgrounds in Shelby, N.C., where Speedy Thompson knocked him into the fence and ended Thomas’ run at a third championship.