Posted By Pete Pistone
Jack Hege, believed to be the only person to have attended every Daytona 500, will see his streak end this year because of a broken left arm suffered in April that has not healed properly and required surgery in December. Hege, who lives in Lexington, N.C., first went down to Daytona in 1958, witnessing the final race on the beach course. He enjoyed the experience so much that he returned the following year when the race moved to Daytona International Speedway and the first Daytona 500 was held.
Hege, who turns 84 on Feb. 9, just kept going back to Daytona after that, telling me three years ago that "I've never known any other home except Daytona."
He even delayed knee surgery to attend last year's Daytona 500 to keep his streak alive. Hege still has his ticket to the 1959 Daytona 500 he attended. Two years ago, NASCAR honored Hege by seating him among the celebrities for the drivers meeting before the race and introducing him to the competitors in honor of his Daytona 500 streak.
Hege was injured when he fell backward and tried to catch himself in April. He continued to suffer complications from the injury and had surgery in December. His arm is in a sling and still has screws in the bone.
(Full story at the 2/1 Virginian Pilot)