NOTE### - any date in PINK and BOLD is an event pre-NASCAR - but is associated to bringing about the sport of NASCAR.
LOTS of History in August - Much of it because of the Talladega races, and many drivers had their first or only win in the Talladega 500.
1918 – Eddie Pagan’s birthday
1932 – Bobby Isaac’s birthday
1951 – Bob Keselowski’s birthday
1951 – Altamont-Schenectady Fairgrounds hosted it’s first Cup event on the NY ½ mile dirt track. Fonty Flock won the pole and would claim the win on this date. Herb Thomas finished second, with Lee Petty, Perry Smith, and Jerry Morese making up the top five finishers. This would be the best career finishes for Smith and also for Morese. Jim Reed would run his first Cup race and wheel his 1951 Ford to an 18th place finish.
1954 – Oakland stadium in Oakland, CA would host final Cup event. The track hosted three Cup events. This race was 300 laps around a ½ mile dirt track. Marvin Panch would start on the pole, and would be the only person who could keep up with Danny Letner. Letner went on to win the first of his two Cup wins, with Panch finishing second. Allen Adkins finished third, with Ben Gregory, and Lloyd Dane fourth and fifth.
1959 – Bob Welborn would win the pole for this race held at Rambi Raceway in Myrtle Beach, SC. Welborn had an issue with his tank, and was out after only five laps. Meanwhile, Ned Jarrett pushed his 1957 Ford from it’s ninth place starting position, into the lead, and went on to win by over a lap. This was Jarrett’s first Cup win. Jim Paschal , Tommy Irwin, Glen Wood, and Joe Weatherly made up the top five finishers. Jarrett had purchased the car only a couple of days earlier with a postdated check that wouldn't clear the bank until the Monday after the race.
1960 – Ryan Newman’s birthday
1982 – Darrell Waltrip becomes the first driver to win the Talladega 500 twice . Entering the race, 13 different drivers had won the 13 previous runnings of the midsummer classic at the world's fastest speedway.
2010 – Greg Biffle grabbed the win at the Sunoco Red Cross 500 at Pocono PA breaking a 64 race win-less streak. Elliott Sadler escapes injury a gruesome crash that is so violent it tears the motor out of the car.
2016 – Rookie of the Year candidate Chris Buescher would pull of an upset win here at Pocono Raceway and qualify for the 2016 Chase. It was the first win for the unhearlded rookie driving for a small under funded team. The race rained out on Sunday and had to be pushed back until Monday. Weather was only marginally better Monday but at least it was dry and the cars could race. Martin Truex won the pole and led 16 laps until a competition yellow; Brad Keselowski took the lead from there and four laps later Truex crashed out and finished 38th. Carl Edwards started second with Paul Menard third and Denny Hamlin fourth. Joey Logano led a race high 38 laps and Kyle Larson led 37. Just past half way Logano and Chase Elliott tangled and it put both out of the race. It should be noted that at this time Buescher was a lap down and got the Lucky Dog" to get back on the lead lap. The green hankie flew on lap 110 and there was a fierce battle. Many of the cars had pitted on lap 100 and were marginal on fuel. Teams started peeling off to get tires and fuel; but Buescher's team chose to stay out. On lap 133 the yellow flew because a thick fog bank rolled into the track, Buescher limped around the track, hoping he wouldn't run out of gas, as the fog hung around. It got so thick the control tower couldn't see the back straight so they had to red flag the event. After waiting for over an hour for the fog to lift NASCAR finally gave up and called the race official declaring Buescher the winner. The rest of the top five was Brad Keselowski, Regan Smith, Kevin Harvick and Tony Stewart
1953 – Davenport Speedway located in Davenport, IA. hosted it’s only Cup event. In fact this was the only NASCAR event held in Iowa until 2009 when the Nationwide and Truck series raced there. Buck Baker won the pole, but Herb Thomas won the race. Baker was able to finish second, with Lee Petty, Dick Rathman, and Fonty Flock making up the top five.
1958 – Bridgehampton Raceway located in Bridgehampton, NY would host the first of it’s four Cup races on it’s 2.8 mile road course. Jack Smith would win the pole, and would lead all 35 laps in route to claiming the win and the $800 winners check. Cotton Owens finished second, 12 seconds behind, with Jim Reed, Junior Johnson, and Buck Baker finishing third through fifth. This is NASCAR's first venture into the New York City area.
1962 - Brain France's birthday
1981 – Ron Bouchard won his first and only Cup race at Talladega speedway. It was Bouchard’s rookie season, and he won in only his 11th CUP start. Bouchard ran in 160 events in his career. Harry Gant wheeling his Hal Needham owned, Skoal Bandit Buick claimed the pole, with Bobby Allison outside. The race featured 10 different leaders with 39 lead changes. Bobby Allison led the most laps (105) but as the race wound to a conclusion, he lost contact with the lead draft, and settled for a fifth place finish. This race had an exciting finish. Darrell Waltrip and Terry Labonte had battled for the lead, and as they came off of the fourth turn on the last lap Labonte tried to sling-shot by Waltrip on the outside. As they approached the tri-oval Waltrip moved up to block, and they came down the front stretch side by side. The two cars side by side punched a big hole in the air and Bouchard got a great draft off of the cars. As the came through the tri-oval Bouchard made it three wide, and with his momentum outran them to the finish line, claiming the win by about a foot. When Waltrip realized Bouchard had beaten both he and Labonte he remarked “Where did he come from”. This was the end of the great promotion that Talladega ran. In all of the first 12 Talladega 500 races there had been a different winner each time. So after about 7 events they started marketing the fact that there was a different winner each race, to show how competitive the race was. This was the 13 Races / 13 Faces event. Many of the winners of the Talladega 500 event got their first or only win. Darrell Waltrip would break the 13 race string, becoming the first to win for the second time in 1982. The top five finishers were Bouchard, Waltrip, Labonte, Gant, and Allison.
2017 – On this day we lost team owner Harry Scott. He was also a former owner of the defunct Xfinity and Camping World Truck Series team Turner Scott Motorsports Scott Cup team (Hscott Motorsports) was founded in 1990 as Phoenix Racing by Florida businessman James Finch. Harry Scott purchased Finch's Cup Series team in late 2013, and then took over the Xfinity and K&N Pro Series operations of TSM following the 2014 season. The team partnered with Stewart-Haas Racing. Scott supplied a car for Clint Bowyer to drive in 2016; and Stewart-Haas was supposed to supply Scott with technical assistance. The team struggled all season when the expected help from SHR never materialized. On December 5, with no viable sponsor/driver options for 2017, Harry Scott announced that he had sold the No. 15 charter to Premium Motorsports and closed his operation. Without the promised assistance from SHR; Scott ended up several millions of dollars in debt. Not long afterward; it was announced Scott was dead. No other details were provided.
1956 – The Oklahoma state Fairgrounds located in Oklahoma City, OK hosted it’s only Cup event ever. In fact it is the only Cup event ever held in OK. Speedy Thompson won the pole, and when the green hankie flew, he jumped into the lead, and was the class of the field. He led the first 25 laps before the motor expired. Lee Petty then assumed the lad and led for the next 168 laps. Just seven laps from the end, just like Thompson, Petty had mechanical issues. Jim Paschal was in the right place at the right time to take the lead and hold on for the win. Ralph Moody finished second just ¼ of a second behind, followed by Fireball Roberts, Herb Thomas, and Lee Petty.
1960 – Dixie speedway in Birmingham, AL would host it’s only Cup event. 200 laps around a ¼ mile paved track. Ned Jarrett won the pole, and led all 200 laps to claim the win by over two laps. Richard Petty finished second, with Lee Petty third, Joe Lee Johnson fourth, and Johnny Beauchamp fifth. Maurice Petty would make his first Cup start in this race; starting fifth in his 1960 Plymouth. He would finish 8th.
1962 – Boyd Speedway would host the first of it’s two Cup races. The 1/3 mile paved track provided some close and rough racing. Richard Petty won the pole with Ned Jarrett outside. J arrett led the first nine laps, but then Petty powered by to lead until 19 laps to go. At that time Joe Weatherly would bypass Petty and go on to take the win . The rest of the top five was Fireball Roberts, Jim Paschal, Petty, and Sherman Utsman. Utsman ran 21 Cup events, and this was his best finish. The second (final) Cup race held at Boyd Speedway would be won by David Pearson.
1980 – CooCoo Marlin would make his final career Cup start at Talladega Speedway on this date in the Talladega 500. Like many, Marlin was a victim of mechanical problems in this race as 20 of the 41 starters had mechanical failures. Among them was pole sitter Buddy Baker who blew a motor on lap 60. Seven of the top 10 starters all blew motors. Neil Bonnett wheeled his Purolator; Wood Brothers Mercury to the win, by six car lengths over Cale Yarborough. It was the last win for Mercury . Dale Earnhardt, Benny Parsons, and Harry Gant rounded out the top five. Bonnett would extend the 13 race/13 faces streak and be the 12th different winner in 12 races for the Talladega race. For his career CooCoo Marlin ran in 165 CUP events over a 14 year span. He never won an event as he was a part time driver, and always had second hand equipment. CooCoo is the father of two time Daytona 500 winner Sterling Marlin.
1946 - Ed Samples wins at stock car race at Greensboro NC. His top challenger Roy Hall was apprehended afterward at a nearby motel in a gun fight by Federal Agents who had staked out there knowing he would be in town for the race.
1956 - Lee Petty dismounts his car in disgust on the 32nd lap, climbs the flagstand, grabs the red flag from the official starter, and waves the scheduled 100-mile NASCAR Grand National race at Tulsa, Okla., to a halt. Dusty conditions blinded the drivers and Petty acted on his own to prevent a catastrophe. The race is never completed or rescheduled.
1957 - Historic Watkins Glen International in Watkins Glen, NY would host it’s first Cup race. A 44 lap; 100 mile race around a 2.3 mile road course. The next Cup races at this track would come in 1964 – 1965. After that there was another gap, (until 1986) when the Cup series has ran a race here every year since. Buck Baker won the pole, and led the entire 44 lap race. The top five was rounded out by Fireball Roberts, Tiny Lund, Frankie Schneider, and Johnny Allen.
1957 – With many of the Cup drivers living in the Mid-west and South East running in the road course race at Watkins Glen, NY. This road course race held the same day at the Kitsap County Airport located in Bremerton, WA.; saw mostly West coast CUP drivers racing. Art Watts won the pole on the 9/10 mile road course set up on the airport runways. Parnelli Jones would claim his first Cup win, but Lloyd Dane, and Watts were close behind. Eddie Pagan finished fourth with Bob Rauscher fifth. Rauscher only ran three Cup races, with two top ten finishes. This fifth place finish would be his best.
1971 – Jeff Gordon’s birthday
1956 - NASCAR makes its first appearance at Pocono International Raceway and Richard Petty prevails in the Purolator 500, which is shortened to 480 miles due to rain. Sprint Car icon Jan Opperman finishes eighth in a Chevrolet.
1978 – Kurt Busch’s birthday
2002 - Bill Elliott runs down Rusty Wallace in the final 12 laps and scores a popular win in the Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Elliott finishes 1.2 seconds ahead of Wallace to nail down his 43rd career NASCAR Cup Series victory.
2005 - Kyle Busch, 20, becomes the youngest driver ever to win a NASCAR Cup Series race when he outduels Greg Biffle in the Sony HD 500 at California Speedway.
1936 – Gordon Johncock’s birthday
1955 – Southern States Fairgrounds in Charlotte, NC would be the final Cup start for Buddy Shuman. Tim Flock won the pole, and led the first 52 laps of the 200 lap event. Jim Paschal bypassed Flock on lap 53, and would lead the final 148 laps to grab the win. Gwyn Staley finished second, with Buck Baker, Bob Welborn, and Tim Flock making up the top five. Shuman would finish sixth. For his career, Shuman had just 29 starts, and won his only Cup event on July 1st, 1952 at Stamford Park located in Niagara Falls, Ontario.
1962 – At the site of his first Cup win, Joe Lee Johnson would make his last career start. The Nashville 500 in Nashville, TN saw Johnson finish 24th after his clutch failed on lap two. J ohnny Allen won the pole, while Richard Petty started second. Allen would crash out on lap 179 after leading the first 46 laps. Petty assumed the lead and paced the field for 135 laps. Jim Paschal would take the lead and led the final 298 laps to win by over four laps. Petty finished second, followed by Buck Baker, Joe Weatherly, and Tom Cox. For his career, Johnson won only two races, but one of them was the first World 600 at Charlotte. He ran only 55 races in his seven year career, and posted 10 top five finishes. He also won twice in NASCAR’s convertible division with only 16 starts. He won the convertible series championship in 1959.
1965 – Cleveland County Fairgrounds in Shelby, NC hosted it’s final Cup event. This was race #36 in the 55 race season. David Pearson won the pole, with Dick Hutcherson starting second. Pearson led the first 126 laps, before Ned Jarrett passed him to lead the final 74 laps of the 200 laps event. Pearson fell out after 184 laps with a broken ball joint, and Jarrett went on to win by four laps. Richard Petty was second, followed by Hutcherson, Neil Castles, and Pearson.
1969 - Kenny Irwin’s birthday
1971 - Chad Knaus' birthday
1974 – The Pocono Raceway located in Long Pond, PA hosted it’s first Cup event. Pocono is a 2.5 mile track with a triangle shape layout. It’s unique design is modeled after turns in three different tracks. Turn one is modeled after the now closed Trenton Speedway where the Cup series raced from 1958 – 1972. Turn two is fashioned after the turns at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Turn three is banked after the turns similar to the Milwaukee Mile in WIS. The NASCAR Xfinity and Truck series raced at Milwaukee from 1984 – 2009. Pocono was initially built with racing the INDY car series in mind, hence the turns modeled after tracks that hosted INDY car races for many years. The INDY cars competed at Pocono from 1971 – 1989. The first Cup race was the Purolator 500. Buddy Baker won the pole and Bobby Allison started outside. Allison blew a motor and fell out on lap 154. Richard Petty led 152 laps and claimed the win. The race was shortened to 192 laps due to rain. Buddy Baker finished second, followed by Cale Yarborough, David Pearson, and Benny Parsons.
1975 - Alan Gustafson’s birthday
1979 – Kyle Petty would make his first Cup start here in the Talladega 500. Petty would start his STP Dodge in 18th place, and wheel it to a 9th place finish. Neil Bonnett took over the Wood Brothers ride as they and David Pearson parted ways, and Bonnett won the pole. Ironically, after sitting out for 12 races, Pearson would take over the seat of the Rod Osterland’s #2 Oldsmobile that had been driven by Dale Earnhardt Sr. Earnhardt had been injured the week before in a racing accident. Pearson started on the outside front row alongside Bonnett. The Purolator Mercury’s motor went south on lap 71 and Bonnett finished 34th. There was 34 lead changes on the day, but none after lap 134. Darrell Waltrip led the final 55 laps, with Pearson the only man who could stay on the lead lap. Ricky Rudd, Richard Petty, and Jody Ridley made up the top five. This would also be part of the 13 Races / 13 faces streak, as Waltrip was the 11th different winner.
2018 - Chase Elliott won his first NASCAR Cup Series race on August 5, 2018; by a whopping 7.560 seconds over reigning champion Martin Truex Jr. That description, however, doesn’t do justice to Elliott’s magnificent drive over the final 32 laps of Sunday’s Go Bowling at the Glen, with Truex hounding him every inch of the way before running out of fuel with two corners left
2018 - NASCAR CEO Brian France arrested after he was seen blowing through a stop sign in Sag Harbor NY. It was reported France had a blood-alcohol content that was more than twice the legal limit, smelled of booze and slurred his words. His eyes were red and glassy and he struggled to keep his balance during field sobriety tests, police said. Tests showed France's blood-alcohol content was 0.18, police said. The legal limit in New York is 0.08. Officers found oxycodone pills during a subsequent search, police said. France, 56, was arraigned at Sag Harbor Village Justice Court after spending the night in jail. He was released on his own recognizance and is due back in court Sept 14
1967 – The 1967 Dixie 500, held at Atlanta Motor speedway would see Dick Hutcherson claim his last Cup win. Darel Dieringer won the pole, and Richard Petty started second. Buddy Baker starter third, but would jump out and lead the first 33 laps. Dieringer never led a lap, and had his motor expire after 256 laps. Petty also blew a motor on lap 262, and Baker crashed out on lap 175. Hutcherson had a competitive car, leading for the first time on lap 134, and led 94 of the final 200 laps. Only Paul Goldsmith was able to keep pace with Hutcherson, as he finished second on the lead lap. LeeRoy Yarbrough finished third, three laps in arrears, with Donnie Allison and Bud Moore rounding out the top five. Hutcherson finished third in the Cup points in 1967, and second in 1965. Hutcherson had 14 wins in only 103 starts.
1971 – The Myers Brothers 250 would be the final Cup race held at historic Bowman-Gray Stadium in Winston-Salem, NC. Bowman-Gray hosted 29 Cup races from 1958 – 1971. Richard Petty, and Bobby Allison made up the front row. Petty led the first 112 laps with Allison passing Petty on lap 113, he led the next 138 laps and took the win. This is the much disputed win that is so controversial on whether Allison has credit for 84 or 85 career wins. Allison won driving a “Grand Am” car. (A 1970 Mustang) NASCAR saw that there was going to be very few entries for this race, and invited the Grand Am cars to compete to increase the field size. Even though NASCAR invited the Grand Am cars to compete, and then Allison ending up winning; NASCAR did not give him credit for the win stating the cars did not “conform” to Cup car specs. The race officially is not listed as having an “official” winner. Allison was not given the win, but neither was he disqualified. Mostly because NASCAR invited the cars to compete in the first place, and knew the specs did not conform, but still allowed them to run. Jim Paschal finished third in a Javelin, Buck Baker fourth in a Firebird, and Dave Marcis in a Camaro. Seven of the top nine finishers drove Grand Am cars. This was Buck Baker’s final top five finish.
1972 – The Talladega 500 would see James Hylton win his final Cup race and become the 4th different winner in four runnings of the Talladega 500. Bobby Isaac would win the pole, but crash out on lap 22. Outside pole sitter David Pearson fell out with ignition problems on lap 105. Hylton would come from his 22nd starting position, and assume the lead by lap 24. H ylton would lead 106 of the 188 laps, but Ramo Stott was able to keep the pressure on Hylton. If the race ran one more lap, it is likely Stott would of won. Hylton and Stott finished five laps ahead of the third place finisher as new tires introduced by Goodyear fail to withstand the high-speed punishment and eliminate most of the favorites. Stott finished second by one car length posting his best career finish. The top five was rounded out by Bobby Allison, Red Farmer, and Buddy Arrington. Hylton never got much credit for a good NASCAR career. He would finish second in the Cup points chase three times, (1966, 1967, and 1971); and go on to finish third in the points four times (1969, 1970, 1972, and 1975) Starting in 1982, Hylton went from racing full time in Cup to only racing a very limited schedule of less than 5 events a year. Hylton ran the Cup series from 1964 to 1993 competing in 601 races. Hylton was still racing at the age of 78; still running selected NASCAR Xfinity races, and competes full time in the ARCA series. On May 6th, 2011 Hylton competed in the NASCAR Xfinity Royal Purple 200 at Darlington Raceway, becoming the oldest driver to ever compete in a NASCAR event.
1978 – In one of the most exciting races of the time, Lennie Pond showed up at the Talladega 500 with a strong car, and ran a good race. Pond was in the thick of things all day, and mixed it up with NASCAR’s ‘big boys’ in his Harry Ranier Olds. The race featured 66 ‘official’ lead changes, but the lead swapped several times per lap all day long. As the race wound down the crowd was cheering for the long-shot Pond to pull the upset and keep all the high budget teams in his mirror. The official stats show Pond leading the last five laps, and he did at the line, but it changed hands several times ‘unofficially’. As they came off of turn number four, Pond held off the pack to claim the win by two car lengths. Donnie Allison, Benny Parsons, Cale Yarborough, and David Pearson made up the top five. Once again this was part of the 13 race different winner streak for this race. Pond was the 10th different winner in a row, and won the race at an average speed of 174.7 mph. This was a record race average, and a blistering pace for the late 1970’s
1994 – This race held at Indianapolis Motor Speedway would be the first Cup race held here. For a long time INDY had exclusively held races for Champ cars (Indy cars). This broke new ground to have the NASCAR boys compete at this track. Rick Mast was the first pole winner with an average speed of 172 mph (compared to the sleek INDY cars pole speed of nearly 230 mph. Dale Earnhardt Sr. just missed the pole and joined Mast on the front row. There was a 43 car starting field; and 42 more drivers failed to make the event. The importance of being in this race was evidenced by the large number of part-time or retired drivers than came out to attempt to make the field. Those included, Tim Steele, Loy Allen, Randy Lajoie, Steve Grissom, Dick Trickle, Joe Ruttman, James Hylton, Robert Pressley, Gary Bettenhausen, Charlie Glotzbach, Ron Hornaday, and Mike Wallace. AJ Foyt, Geoff Brabham, and Danny Sullivan all attempted to make the field, and they were successful. This would be the last career Cup start for Foyt, and the only Cup starts for Sullivan, and Brabham. Rick Mast led the first ever laps held for Cup cars at INDY. Geoff Bodine has a stout car this day, and ran up front until lap 100. At a lap 100 restart Brett Bodine spun his brother Geoff Bodine racing for the lead. See the YouTube video here. Jeff Gordon also had a good car, but as the laps wound down Ernie Irvan seemed to be the car to beat. Irvan passed Gordon with 10 laps to go, but with only 5 laps to go Irvan cut down a tire that opened the door for Gordon to claim the win. The top five finishers were Brett Bodine, Bill Elliott, Rusty Wallace, and Earnhardt. More than 340,000 trackside spectators watch Gordon claim his second career victory.
2018 - NASCAR CEO and Chairman Brian France has taken an indefinite leave of absence following his arrest on Sunday night after being stopped by police on Long Island, N.Y., where he owns a home. France faces charges of aggravated driving while intoxicated and criminal possession of a controlled substance. Per NASCAR, Vice Chairman and Executive Vice President Jim France has assumed the role of interim chairman and chief executive officer. Jim France is the son of NASCAR founder Bill France Sr. and the uncle to Brian France.
1949 – Occoneecheee Speedway (now called Orange Speedway) hosted it’s first Cup event at it’s one mile dirt track located in Hillsboro, NC. Bob Flock won the pole and went on to win the 200 lap affair. Gober Sosebee finished second, followed by Glenn Dunnaway, Fonty Flock, and Bill Snowden.
1955 – Forsyth County Fairgrounds in Winston-Salem, NC would host the second of it’s two career Cup events. Tim Flock won the pole, with Fonty Flock starting second. Fonty would fall out on lap 93 with oil pressure problems. Lee Petty would lead 75 laps and go on to grab the win by six car lengths. Jim Paschal finished second, with the top five being Buck Baker, Billy Carden, and Eddie skinner. Lee Petty won both CUP races held at this track.
1960 – The Nashville 400 held at Nashville speedway would see Johnny Beauchamp win his final Cup race. Rex white started first with Beauchamp outside. White chased Beauchamp to the checkers, in which the race was shortened to 333 laps due to rain. Buck Baker finished third, with Lee Petty and Joe Lee Johnson fourth and fifth.
1964 - Jack Sprague’s birthday
1947 – Tommy Ellis’ birthday
1961 – Curtis Turner announces that "most of the NASCAR drivers" have joined the Teamsters Union and the Federation of Professional Athletes. NASCAR president Bill France says, "No known union member can compete in a NASCAR race, and I'll use a pistol to enforce it."
1962 – Huntsville Speedway in Huntsville, AL would host it’s only race at this ¼ mile paved track. Richard Petty won the pole, and led all 200 laps in route to the win. Bob Welborn finished second one lap behind, followed by Jim Paschal, Buck Baker, and Ned Jarrett.
1971 – West Virginia International Speedway (now called International Raceway Park) would host it’s final Cup event. This 500 lap event on the .45 mile paved track would be a war between Richard Petty and Bobby Allison. There were 14 lead changes, and the duo led 480 of the 500 laps. Only Tiny Lund led for a 20 lap stretch. Petty and Allison beat and banged on each other all night, with Petty pinning Allison against the wall so hard that both cars came to a halt. It is thought the incident damaged Allison’s car and make it uncompetitive for the rest of the night. Allison was leading with just 77 laps to go, but by the end of the race he was two laps behind; so there is probably some truth to the rumor. Petty did go on to win the race, and received a chorus of boo’s from the large crowd. Allison finished second, with James Hylton, Tiny Lund, and Cecil Gordon making up the top five. This would be the final Cup race held in Washington to this date.
1976 – Dave Marcis claims his first win on a superspeedway in the Talladega 500. Marcis finds himself in the catbird seat when Buddy Baker has to pit for fuel with three laps remaining.
1990 - Parker Klingerman’s birthday
2016 – Part time NASCAR Xfinity driver Brian Clauson was killed in the Belleville Nationals Midge race when he was involved in an accident in which his car flipped after he made contact with a lapped car; and his car was then struck by another. He was taken to the hospital and died the following evening. Born in Sacramento, California, Clauson made his USAC National Sprint Series debut just two days after his 16th birthday on June 17, 2005 at Limaland Motorsports Park in Ohio; garnering a third place finish. On August 31, Clauson scored his first career ARCA win at the Gateway International Raceway. Two months later he began competing in the NASCAR Xfinity Series, driving the No. 41 Memorex Dodge Charger for Chip Ganassi. He competed full-time during the 2007 season in the USAC National Sprint and Midget Series as part of the Keith Kunz Motorsports stable. In 2008, Clauson started the season in the No. 41 Polaroid/Texaco Havoline Dodge for Ganassi in the Xfinity Series, but was replaced by Kyle Krisiloff. He then drove the No. 40 Fastenal entry for Ganassi, filling in for Dario Franchitti in select races. He won his 1st pole at Daytona in July, but was replaced full-time by Franchitti the week after. Clauson was supposed to drive the No. 40 in the Xfinity Series full-time in 2009, but the team shut down after Fastenal left the team. He won the Turkey Night Grand Prix in November. Clauson was attempting to compete in 200 races in 2016 which is being billed as "The Chasing 200 Tour, Circular Insanity". The tour included the 100th Indianapolis 500, USAC Midget and Sprint cars, World of Outlaws, sprint cars, and wingless sprint cars. He normally ran about 150 shows per year; he hoped to double up by racing some 360 wingless sprint car class cars at 410 winged sprint car events. Clauson traveled the country living out of a mobile home. Clauson was killed while racing in his 116th race of the season.
1925 – Lloyd Dane’s birthday
1925 – Joe Eubank’s birthday
1959 – Nashville Speedway would be the site of Joe Lee Johnson’s first Cup win. Johnson started outside the front row, with Rex White winning the pole. White would lead the first 175 laps of the 300 lap race, before breaking a rear-end and finishing 24th. Lee Petty then led the next 42 laps before Johnson made the pass for the lead, and went on to win by three laps. The rest of the top five finishers were Larry Frank, Elmo Langley, Petty, and Tommy Irwin.
1964 – At the age of 22, Benny Parsons would make his first Cup start, here at Ashville-Weaverville Speedway in the Western North Carolina 500. 500 times around a ½ mile paved track. Parson would start ninth, but have overheating problems, and finish 21st. Junior Johnson would win the pole, with Jim Paschal starting to his outside. Johnson would lead the first 105 laps, while Paschal fell out with brake problems after 85 laps. On lap 106 Ned Jarrett took the lead, and would lead 350 of the final 394 laps, beating David Pearson by 9 seconds. Junior Johnson finished third, four laps behind, with Darel Dieringer and Buck Baker rounding out the top five.
1992 – Todd Bodine would make his first start here at Watkins Glen International. Bodine qualified 21st, but crashed out in his Diet Pepsi sponsored Ford on lap 16 finishing 37th. Dale Earnhardt Sr. won the pole with Kyle Petty starting second. Earnhardt led the first ten laps, but never held the lead again. Petty had a strong car and would lead 19 laps . He was leading at the right time as rain came on the track, and the race was called official. Morgan Shepherd was second, followed by Ernie Irvan, Mark Martin, and Wally Dallenbach Jr. This was the final road course start for Richard Petty, and Alan Kulwicki. It was also the first time the inner loop was used; after the death of JD McDuffie the previous year.
2000 - On this date we lost Herb Thomas. He suffered a heart attack and died at the age of 77.
1958 – The Nashville Speedway would host it’s first Cup race this date. This Nashville 200 was 200 laps around a ½ mile track. Nashville Speedway hosted 42 CUP events over a 27 year period. Rex White won the pole and would lead until lap 188 when he crashed out. From there Joe Weatherly would take over the lead and hold it until the checkers. This would be Weatherly’s first win. Weatherly would be followed across the finish line by Bob Welborn, Larry Frank, Jimmy Thompson, and Lee Petty.
1986 – The NASCAR Cup Series makes its first visit to Watkins Glen since 1965, and Tim Richmond wins the 219-mile event. Richmond's Chevy beats Darrell Waltrip by 1.45-seconds on the twisting road course.
1987 – Patty Moise would make her first Cup start on this date at Watkins Glen International Speedway. Moise started her #89 Crisco Chevy in 30th place, but she crashed on lap 53 and finished 33rd. See her car and crash here via YouTube. This was also the last top 10 finish of Tim Richmond’s career, and the final top five of Dave Marcis’ career. The race turned into a fuel mileage race as it became a nail-biter finish. Wallace was leading as the race would down, and the concern was if could make the finish on fuel. Wallace had a 20 second lead over second place Terry Labonte. Coming to the white flag Wallace ran out of fuel, but luckily it was just as he was coming to the opening for pit road. He was able to duck in, get a splash of gas, and get out in front of Labonte to claim the win. Dave Marcis finished third, while Ricky Rudd and Benny Parsons was fourth and fifth. The finish is here via YouTube
1997 – Steve Park made his first Cup start here at Watkins Glen International driving the Burger King sponsored Chevy owned by Dale Earnhardt Inc. Park Qualified 12th, but ended up two laps down and finished 33rd. Todd Bodine raced in a one-off ride that was furnished by his Xfinity team, and won the pole. He ran well, but blew a motor with three laps to go. Jeff Gordon led 32 laps on his way to claim the win. Geoff Bodine would finish second, followed by Rusty Wallace, Robby Gordon, and Mark Martin. This would be the first of six straight road course wins. Steve Park would break Gordon’s streak to claim his first Cup win in August of 2000.
1997 - On this date we lost Bob Welborn; he was the NASCAR Convertible series Champ for three years 1956-1958
2003 – Currently at this point, this date saw the last win for Robby Gordon. Gordon had two wins this season, both of them on road courses. This win came at the famed road course at Watkins Glen. Jeff Gordon won the pole, with Greg Biffle starting second. Biffle jumped to the lead, and led the first 23 laps in the 90 lap race. Jeff Gordon ran out of gas on the final lap and was then crashed by Kevin Harvick. Robby Gordon had a strong car, and ran in the lead pack all day. He finally grabbed the lead on lap 60, and led the final 30 laps to claim the win. Road course ringer Scott Pruett finished second, followed by Dale Earnhardt Jr, Jimmy Johnson, and Kevin Harvick. This was the first Cup start for Paul Menard.
2015 - NASCAR star and the man know as the "Gentle Giant" driver Buddy Baker lost his battle with inoperable lung cancer. In making the statement of his condition Baker said "Do not shed a tear. Give a smile when you say my name. I'm not saying goodbye. Just talk to you later," Born Elzie Wylie Baker Jr.; Baker was the son of two-time champion and NASCAR Hall of Famer Buck Baker. He made his Cup Series debut in 1959. Baker was the first driver to exceed the 200 mph mark on March 24, 1970 on a closed course test run. His speed was clocked at 200.447 mph. The same year, with a victory at the Southern 500, he became the first NASCAR driver to win the same race at the same venue as his father. (Buck did it in 1953.) Baker is one of nine drivers to have won a Career Grand Slam, by winning the sport's four majors – the Daytona 500, Talladega 500, Coca-Cola 600, and the Southern 500. He generally raced part-time, competing in every race in only three seasons. His final race in NASCAR was in 1992. "Many of today's fans may know Buddy Baker as one of the greatest storytellers in the sport's history, a unique skill that endeared him to millions," NASCAR chairman and CEO Brian France said. "But those who witnessed his racing talent recognized Buddy as a fast and fierce competitor, setting speed records and winning on NASCAR's biggest stages. It is that dual role that made Buddy an absolute treasure who will be missed dearly."
1926 – Frankie Schnieder’s birthday
1940 – Lennie Pond’s birthday
1961 – Fireball Roberts withdraws from the Teamsters Union. "The more I thought about it [joining the union], the more I realized that we could possibly accomplish more harm than good for racing." Roberts is reinstated by NASCAR upon his resignation. Rex White and Ned Jarrett also submit resignations and are permitted to resume racing.
1974 – Richard Petty edges David Pearson to win the Talladega 500, an event marred by a mass sabotage in the garage the night before the race. More than two dozen of the top contending cars are tampered with by an unknown assailant during the nighttime hours.
1991 – Watkins Glen International in Watkins Glen, NY would be the scene of JD McDuffie’s last Cup start. It would be a tragic end to the career as McDuffie died from race injuries he received on lap five of the 90 lap race. As the cars went down the long back straight, McDuffie lost a wheel just as they got to the fastest part of the track. McDuffie spun off the track hitting the outside wall, and flipping onto it’s roof. McDuffie’s car went so high into the air that Jimmy Means’ car went under it as it was in the air. Means extracted himself from his car and went to check on J.D. He started motioning frantically for help. Crash footage is here from YouTube. There was a two hour red flag as they carefully removed McDuffie from his mangled car. When I was watching the race I knew the news wasn’t good when the NASCAR officials formed a circle around the race car holding up sheets, so spectators could not see what was going on. It was later revealed that McDuffie had been decapitated in the crash. Because of the death, the ‘bus stop chicane’ was installed near the end of the back straight to slow the cars down earlier, and help avoid this situation in the future. As a side-note; Ernie Irvan led 39 of the 90 laps to claim the win. Ricky Rudd was second, Mark Martin third, with Rusty Wallace, and Dale Jarrett fourth and fifth. For his career, McDuffie ran 653 Cup races over his 27 year career. He was an independent driver that was the main stay in 1970’s and 1980’s of the Cup series. He always drove used equipment, raced second hand motors, and had a volunteer pit crew. He never won a race, but was a winner with his fellow drivers and crew at the track. His best career finish was in 1971 at Albany-Saratoga Speedway in Malta, NY. where he finished third.
1996 – The Bud at The Glen, located at Watkins Glen International would be the site of Geoff Bodine’s final Cup win. Surprisingly Dale Earnhardt Sr. would win the pole just a couple weeks after a major flip at Talladega in which he broke a couple ribs. The team had David Green standing by as a relief driver, but Earnhardt stayed in the car the entire race and finished sixth. Late in the race Rusty Wallace got into some oil and hit the outside tire barrier. They yellow flew, and every car on the lead lap pitted except for Bodine. Bodine led until he could make it to the end of the race without another stop then changed four tires and got gas. Shortly afterwards Ricky Craven blew a motor, and the rest of the field can in for their final stop just to top off so they could make it to the end. Bodine with his four fresh tires easily won the race. Terry Labonte finished second, Mark Martin third, Jeff Gordon fourth, and Bobby Labonte fifth.
1933 – Parnelli Jones’ birthday
1951 – The Motor City 250 held at the Michigan State Fairgrounds in Detroit, MI would host it’s first of two Cup races. The one mile dirt track saw Marshall Teague piloting his “Fabulous” Hudson Hornet start on the pole, with Tim Flock driving the Black Phantom Olds along side. Marshall Teague led the first lap, but would fall out on lap 136 with overheating issues. Curtis Turner started 30th, but worked his way up and led 92 laps before falling out on lap 233, also with overheating problems. Tommy Thompson and Joe Eubanks would battle right until the end, but the race was decided on favor of Thompson when Eubanks side-swiped a lapped car while chasing down Thompson. Johnny Mantz finished third, with Red Byron, and Paul Newkirk fourth and fifth. Newkirk made three Cup starts, and this was his best finish. This would be Thompson’s only Cup win. Believe it or not, there is a video of this race on YouTube. It can be found here. Check out Lee Petty’s car in the footage, the back is destroyed, but he is still out there racing.
1956 – Road American is a 4.1 mile permanent road course located outside Elkhart Lake WIS. It hosted it only Cup event on this date, running a distance of 63 laps (258 miles) It was race 36 on the 56 race schedule. Buck Baker won the pole and led the first five laps, but would blow his motor 2 laps from the end. Second place starter Marvin Panch also had issues and fell out on lap 37 with transmission problems. In fact the top five starters all had some type of issue in the race. Junior Johnson started third, and fell out after one lap with clutch problems, finishing last. Bill Amick started fourth, and also had clutch problems on lap 10, and finished just ahead of Johnson. Fifth place starter Speedy Thompson was leading with ten laps to go when his motor expired also. After watching the top five starters all fall out in front of him, sixth place starter Tim Flock would take the lead when Thompson’s motor blew. He led the final 17 laps to get the win. Billy Myers was second, Fireball Roberts third, Paul Goldsmith fourth and Joe Eubanks fifth. This would be Tim Flocks last career win.
1967 – Richard Petty hustles his Plymouth to another win in the 250-lapper at Bowman Gray Stadium. The triumph is Petty's 19th of the season, breaking Tim Flock's record of 18 wins during the 1955 campaign.
1973 – This would be yet another of the 13 races / 13 faces streak in the Talladega 500. Dick Brooks would claim his only career win in this race . This was one of the most competitive races at the track. There was six different leaders the first six laps, 38 lead changes by the ½ way point, and overall there was 64 lead change among 16 different drivers. Only one time did a driver lead over 8 laps in a row. Brooks posts perhaps the biggest upset win in NASCAR history in the Talladega 500. Brooks is behind the wheel of a Plymouth owned by the Crawford Brothers, a team that has never finished above 16th in a NASCAR Cup event. Brook’s win was overshadowed by a crash that killed driver Larry Smith. Smith’s helmet had been irritating his head, so he had torn all of the padding out of it. He had a ‘minor’ hit on the wall, but with no padding his head took a major impact. On an interesting note Bobby Isaac parked his race car when voices in his head became to strong to ignore. Isaac was terribly afraid of having a heart attack while racing. Hence him parking the car, Ironically Isaac would die of a heart attack four years when he parked his race car, and called for a relief driver. He collapsed on pit road and died of a heart attack the next morning at the young age of 45. Brooks piloted his Eastern Airlines Plymouth to a seven second win. He was followed across the stripe by Buddy Baker, David Pearson, James Hylton, and David Sisco.
2011 - At Watkins Glen Austrialan road race star Marcus Ambrose would win his first Cup race. He would qualify third and run strong all day. With a couple laps to go Paul Menard crashed forcing the race into a green/white/checkered finish. Kyle Busch was leading when the green flew, with Ambrose second. Ambrose spun the tires on the restart, and Busch completely over-shot turn one. Keselowski grabbed the lead as he and Ambrose battled for the win over the last two laps. To make it even more exciting someone had dumped oil all the way around the track, and it was a slick as an ice skating rink. Ambrose slid into the back of Keselowski at one point and booted him out of the way to take the lead. He managed to hang on to grab the win. On the last lap there was a major crash just heading into the esses at a spot where the track narrows up. David Reutimann got shoved out into the grass and spun back across the track in front of the back 1/2 of the field. He went across the track, was hit by David Ragan, and flipped into the outside wall. It was a horrible looking crash, but Reutimann escaped unharmed. Keselowski would finish second, followed by Busch, Martin Truex, and Joey Logano.
1950 – Darlington Raceway officials announce that the inaugural Southern Five-Hundred field will be expanded from 45 to 75 cars.
1950 – Occoneechee Speedway located in Hillsboro, NC. would be the site of Fireball Roberts first win, and the first start for Johnny Mantz. Dick Linder started on the pole, but outside starter Curtis swept by on the drop of the green and led the first 45 laps around the one mile track. Roberts got the lead with 43 laps to go and never looked back to get his first win. Turner finished second, with Linder, Bill Rexford, and Clyde Minter making up the top five.
1954 – Southern State Fairground (now called Charlotte Fairgrounds) hosted it’s first even Cup race at the ½ mile dirt track located in Charlotte, NC. Buck Baker won the pole, but Lee Petty would take the win. Baker managed to come home is fifth position. Dick Rathman finished second two laps behind, with Bob Welborn, and Dink Widenhouse third and fourth.
1961 – Junior Johnson is declared the winner of the shortened Western North Carolina 500 at Asheville-Weaverville Speedway. The race is halted after 258 laps due to a deteriorating track. About 4,000 angry spectators create a mob scene and hold the drivers and team owners hostage in the infield for nearly four hours.
1965 – Smokey Mountain Raceway would host it’s first Cup event on this date. The track was located in Maryville, TN. and hosted a 200 lap race on a ½ mile dirt track. The track ran 12 races over a six year period. Ned Jarrett won the pole, but struggled to a 6th place finish finishing 14 laps behind. The race was won by Dick Hutcherson in his Holman-Moody Dodge. Buddy Baker finished second, followed by Richard Petty, Jim Hunter, and Paul Lewis (not the same Jim Hunter that was the VP of communications who died of cancer in 2010.)
1989 - On this date we lost Tim Richmond from complications of AIDS. He won 13 races over a seven year Cup career, finishing third in the 1986 points chase.
2000 – As stated a couple dates above. This would be the track that Steve Park got his first Cup win at. Park started 18th, but had worked his way into the lead by lap 31 – tough job on a road course. Park would lead 53 of the 90 laps and win by 3/10 of a second over Mark Martin. Jeff Burton was third, followed by Robby Gordon, and Bobby Labonte. This would be the final road course starts for Dale Earnhardt Sr., and Darrell Waltrip.
1956 – Rusty Wallace’s birthday
1977 - On this date we lost Cup Champion Bobby Isaac. - during a 1977 Late Model Sportsman race at Hickory Motor Speedway with 25 laps left, and called for a relief driver, collapsing on pit road. Though he was revived briefly at the hospital, a heart attack in the early morning hours proved fatal to the 45-year-old.
2005 - On this date we lost CooCoo Marlin. He died in his hometown of Columbia, Tennessee of lung cancer at the age of 73.
2007 - Hendrick Motorsports announces it has been unable to obtain Dale Earnhardt, Jr.'s, traditional number 8 from Dale Earnhardt, Inc. for use on Earnhardt, Jr.'s, car.
1958 – Andy Petree’s birthday
1961 – NASCAR president Bill France bans Curtis Turner and Tim Flock "for life" from all NASCAR racing. Turner and Flock are the only two drivers who refuse to abandon the Teamsters Union project.
1979 – Carl Edward’s birthday
1999 – Ernie Irvan would make his final Cup start here at Watkins Glen in NY. Rusty Wallace won the pole and road race specialist Boris said started outside. This would be Said’s first ever Cup start. But his day would be short as he blew a motor shortly past the ½ way point. Irvan also blew a motor shortly afterward. Jeff Gordon would lead 55 of the 90 laps, and would beat Ron Fellows (another road course specialist) by only 7/10 of a second. Rusty Wallace finished third, with Dale Jarrett, and Jerry Nadeau making up the top five. Irvan had almost been killed in 1994 in a practice crash at Michigan; but made a return to Cup racing in late 1995. When Irvan returned to racing he showed he had made a full recovery. He won three times before he crashed again at Michigan exactly five years after his previous crash. Two weeks later he announced his retirement from racing to prevent future accidents. By the end of 1999 he was again recovered. For his career Irvan ran in 313 races and won 15 times over 13 years. He won all types of tracks; short tracks, intermediate, road courses, and super speedways, including the Daytona 500. This was also the last win for Ray Evernham as a crew chief.
2003 – NASCAR announces that Sunoco will replace longtime sponsor Unocal as the Official Fuel of NASCAR beginning in 2004. Unocal and its predecessor Pure Oil and Union 76 have supported NASCAR since 1952.
1959 – Rex White would put his Chevy on the pole, and Glen Wood would start second at this race held at Asheville-Weaverville Speedway located in Weaverville, NC. By the time the 500 laps had been ran, Bob Welborn would claim his final career win as he whipped the field, beating the next best car by over three laps. Lee Petty finished second, followed by Jack Smith, Joe Lee Johnson, and Rex White. For his career, Welborn ran 13 seasons, and amassed nine wins and 58 top fives. He did finish fourth in the points in 1955. He is better known for his prowess in the NASCAR Convertible Series where he won the Championship three times (1956-1958) In 111 races, he had 19 wins, and 69 top five finishes.
1960 - The National 400 held at Charlotte Motor Speedway would see Chargin' Charlie Glotzbach first hit the track to compete in a Cup race. Glotzbach would start 38th, and run well. He fell to a 28th place finish after he broke an A-frame with just 70 laps to go. This would also serve as the first Cup start for Friday Hassler. He would both start, and finish 22nd. Fireball Roberts was the car to beat all day. He led 197 of the first 232 laps, and crashed out while leading to finish 23rd. When Roberts fell out Speedy Thompson took the lead and led the final 35 laps to capture the win. Richard Petty would finish second more than a lap behind. The rest of the top five was Ned Jarrett, Bobby Johns, and Junior Johnson. Several other interesting facts about this race. Thompson was driving for the famous Wood Brothers, and although the Woods had won their first race earlier in the season,.. this was the first time the Wood Brothers famous #21 car would visit victory lane. Finally a then unknown reporter would rush to the aid of Lennie Page's after he suffered a serious crash. This reporter was given credit for saving Page's life by giving Page emergency aid before medical personnel arrived on scene. This reporter - Chris Economaki.
1963 - Junior Johnson leads from start to finish and wins the International 200 at Bowman Gray Stadium. The race is open to foreign cars, but only one makes the field -- an MG that Smokey Cook drives to a 17th-place finish.
1970 - Restrictor plates make their first appearance in NASCAR racing at Michigan International Speedway. Charlie Glotzbach drives a winged Dodge Daytona to victory under the caution flag.
1975 - Buddy Baker noses out Richard Petty in a photo finish to win the Talladega 500, an event marred by the death of DeWayne "Tiny" Lund. Lund is involved in a multicar crash on the seventh lap.
1987 – Michigan International Speedway would be the site of Tim Richmond’s final Cup start. Richmond would finish 29th, and retire with a blown motor after 149 laps. Richmond raced in the Indy Car series before switching over to race in the Cup series. Richmond finished third in the 1986 CUP points, but he fell ill with what was reported as the flu. He missed the 1987 Daytona 500 that kicked off the season, and reports were he had double-pneumonia. It was later reported he had AIDS. Richmond made a return to CUP racing after missing the first 11 races of the 1987 season. In his first race back behind the wheel, Richmond drove his Folger’s Coffee Chevy to a win at Pocono, besting super speedway ace Bill Elliott in the prime of his career. The next week Richmond bested one of NASCAR’s best road course racers when he again won by beating Ricky Rudd. It would be Richmond’s final win. He ran six additional races in 1997, with three of them being finishes in the top 11. On August 13th, about two years after his last race, Richmond died from complications of AIDS that he had contracted from an unknown woman. NASCAR named Richmond one of it’s 50 greatest drivers of all time. He won 13 races in only 185 starts, and posted 42 top five finishes. As far as the race, it was competitive as nine drivers had a good shot to win in the waning laps. Rusty Wallace was leading on the final restart with 7 laps remaining. Dale Earnhardt Sr. passed Wallace with 6 laps to go, and led for three circuits. Elliott was able to muscle by Earnhardt with three to go, and hold off the pack to collect the win. Earnhardt did finish second followed by Morgan shepherd, Rusty Wallace, and Davey Allison.
1992 - The 1992 Champion Spark Plug 400 held at Michigan International Speedway saw Harry Gant collect his final Cup victory. Alan Kulwicki won the pole, and Mark Martin started along side. Kulwicki led the first 37 laps of the race, and would lead 46 laps on the day. Bill Elliott had a strong car, and led 72 of the 200 laps. Elliott should of won the event, but had to pit for gas late in the race. Gant pulled out the win on his gas mileage. Gant had started 26th in the race, and had been at best a top 15 car all day. Staying out and playing the fuel mileage game, Gant was able to make it to the checkers. Broadcaster and long time friend, Benny Parsons made the funny remark “Harry should apologize for stealing these guys money” Darrell Waltrip finished second with Elliott third . Ernie Irvan finished fourth with Davey Allison fifth. This was a sad weekend for Allison as his brother Clifford was killed in Xfinity practice on Saturday. This was also the last win for Oldsmobile, and Gant set the record for the oldest driver to ever win a Cup race. He was 52 years and eight months at the time, and the record still stands. Clifford Allison, younger brother of Davey, loses his life in a practice crash for the NASCAR Xfinity Series race.
2007 - Brian Vickers win at Michigan in the Car Fax 400 gives Red Bull Racing it's first ever victory after competing almost three years on the NASCAR Cup Series.
1929 – Rex White’s birthday
1952 – At Asheville-Weaverville Speedway Bob Flock would claim his final Cup win. It was 200 laps around a ½ mile dirt trackand Flock would start sixth, but go on to win by two laps. His brother Tim Flock finished second, followed by pole sitter Herb Thomas. Gene Comstock and Herschel Buchanan rounded out the top five. This would be Comstock’s only career top five finish.
1956 – Old Bridge Speedway, located in Old Bridge, NJ hosted it first of six Cup events. It also hosted two convertible series races. Those races were won by Frank Mundy, and Bob Welborn. On this day Jim Reed would win the pole and led the first 176 laps. Ralph Moody would put his DePaolo Engineering Ford into the lead with 24 laps to go, and claim the win. Billy Myers finished third, Fireball Roberts fourth, and Paschal came home fifth.
1969 – Paul Goldsmith would make his final Cup start here at Michigan International Speedway. It was the Yankee 600. This was the only non-Charlotte 600 mile race in NASCAR. Goldsmith had a good car qualifying 11th. However his day was cut short as he blew a motor on lap 60 and finished 39th. The race was called after 165 laps due to rain. During the track drying process a helicopter used to dry the track crashed on the back straight. David Pearson led almost ½ of the laps ran, and claimed the win in his Holman-Moody Ford. Buddy Baker finished second, as Richard Petty, Cale Yarborough, and Bobby Allison rounded out the top five. Pearson’s win driving a Ford would be the first for Ford at Michigan. Oddly enough Ford would not get another win at the track until Bill Elliott won in 1984. Goldsmith’s career saw him win nine Cup events in his 11 year career. He only ran 127 races in his career, never running ½ of the races in any one season. He won the final race held on the Daytona Beach Course. He finished fifth in the Cup points in 1966, even though he only ran 21 of 49 races.
1975 – Yet another of those 13 races / 13 faces events in which Buddy Baker put his name in the record books as he became the 7th different winner in the first seven races of the Talladega 500. The race featured 60 lead changes among 17 different drivers. Richard Petty finished second, Donnie Allison third, Dave Marcis fourth, and CooCoo Marlin fifth. The biggest news to come out of this race was a major crash early in the race. Grant Adcox was scheduled to drive the car Tiny Lund ended up racing, but Adcox’s crew chief suffered a heart attack the Saturday before the scheduled weekend of the race. Tiny Lund, and J.D. McDuffie tangled on the back straight, rookie Terry Link spun to avoid the wrecking cars, and ended up hitting Lund in the driver side door. He was pronounced dead at the scene. The drivers were not informed of his death. Later in victory lane after hearing of Lunds death, winner Buddy Baker fell to his knees in grief. For his career Lund started 303 races over 20 years; most of those years starting less that 10 races. He won five times including the 1963 Daytona 500, and was a three time NASCAR Grand American champion. His last win came in 1971 at North Wilkesboro, NC. This was also the last Cup start for Red Farmer. Farmer was part of “the Alabama gang” and always competitive although he never claimed a Cup win. Farmer was also a part-time driver and competed in 36 races over 13 years. At the age of 78 Farmer still competes in local dirt track races.
1986 – The Champion Spark Plug 400 held at Michigan International speedway would be the site of the final start for David Pearson. One of the greatest drivers that ever held a steering wheel, Pearson could still run up front even in his last start. Pearson started 15th in his Chattanooga Chew Chevy, and came home with a 10th place finish. For his career, Pearson raced 27 seasons, but only ran a majority of the Cup events held three years of his career. All three times, he was the Cup champion. It is often thought that if Pearson and run full time more, he’d of won several of the championship that Richard Petty eventually claimed. Pearson’s first win came in the 1961 World 600 at Charlotte. He amassed 105 wins in only 574 starts. A winning percentage of 18%. He posted 301 top five finishes, for a percentage of 52%. Pearson was the Cup champion in 1966, 1968, and 1969. Pearson won the Daytona 500 in 1976, with the historic finish as he and Petty came to the finish line crashing each other. He also was the 1960 Cup Rookie of the Year, was named as one of NASCAR’s Top 50 drivers, and in 2011 was inducted into the NASCAR Hall of Fame.
2003 – Ryan Newman wins the Michigan 400 at Michigan International Speedway. Jimmy Spencer and Kurt Busch fight in the garage after the race. NASCAR suspends Spencer for one week for punching Busch.
1961 – Southside Speedway located just outside Richmond, VA hosted it’s first of four Cup events. It was a 150 lap race around the paved ¼ mile track. Junior Johnson would win the pole wheeling his Holly Farms Pontiac, lead all 150 laps, and go on to drive away to a one lap victory. Ned Jarrett finished second, with Emanuel Zervakis, Rex White, and Jimmy Pardue making up the top five.
1963 – West Virginia International Speedway located in Huntington, WV hosted the Mountaineer 300; it’s first of four Cup races. All were held in August. Fred Lorenzen won the pole, and led for the first 62 laps. Richard Petty passed Lorenzen and led for the next 53 circuits, before Jim Paschal grabbed the lead for 17 laps. In the end, Lorenzen would retake the lead with 103 laps to go, and go on to win by over a lap. Lorenzen was followed across the line by Joe Weatherly, Jim Paschal, Ned Jarrett, and Buck Baker. The final Cup event here was on 8-8-1971.
1966 – David Pearson scores his 12th win of the season in the 100-mile race at Columbia, S.C. Curtis Turner finishes third in Junior Johnson's Ford while wearing a three-piece business suit. Turner says sponsor Holly Farms "wanted me to wear a suit, but they didn't specify what kind. So I wore my best."
1987 – Steve Wallace’s birthday
1991 – Driving the Wood Brothers owned, Citgo sponsored Ford, Dale Jarrett would get his first win after a side-by-side fender banging battle with Davey Allison coming to the checkered flag. This race was at Michigan International Speedway. Alan Kulwicki had started on the pole with Mark Martin outside. The Fords were pretty stout this day, as the top three Fords led 130 of the 200 laps. As the race wound down, Allison was leading when the white flag flew, Jarrett chased Allison down the back straight, and moved low to pass coming off turn four, after beating and banging Jarrett beat Allison to the strip by about 10 inches. The rest of the top five Rusty Wallace, Mark Martin and Bill Elliott.. A video of the finish is here via YouTube
2010 – NASCAR announces the changes to it 2011 schedule. Kansas gets a second race; Kentucky gets it's first Cup race; and Fontana and Atlanta each lose a race.
2014 – The path toward an even more competitive brand of racing in NASCAR's top series took its first steps Monday at Michigan International Speedway as a select group of teams tested potential options for the 2015 rules package. Six configurations were scheduled Monday at the 2-mile track with NASCAR and teams gathering data for potential new rear differential gear changes, aerodynamic enhancements, horsepower optimization and a driver-adjustable track bar. The teams were also scheduled to make runs in a low-downforce package with Goodyear tires featuring a compound with more grip.
1936 - Dale Inman's birthday - (Crew chief) -
1950 – Curtis Turner qualifies his Oldsmobile at 82.034 mph to win the pole for the inaugural Southern Five-Hundred at Darlington Raceway. Fifteen days of qualifying will determine the 75-car field. The quickest five cars each day earn a starting berth.
1951 – Fort Miami Speedway located in Toledo, OH hosted the first of it’s two Cup events on it’s ½ mile dirt track. Fonty Flock won the pole in his 1951 Oldsmobile. He had problems and fell out after only 133 of the 200 lap event. Tim Flock took over the lead when Fonty had problems and led the final 67 laps to get the win. Dell Pearson finished second, followed by Oda Greene, Lou Firago, and Herb Thomas. This was the best career finishes for Pearson, and Greene.
1956 – Bay Meadows Speedway hosted it’s final Cup race on this date. Eddie Pagan would win the pole, and go on to win the race. The race only ran 241 of the scheduled 250 lap distance due to a crash. Royce Haggerty crashed just before the end of the race. A police officer rushed onto the track. On his way to the scene of the crash to check on the driver; he was struck by several racers, and died at the scene. Parnelli Jones was running second at the time, and the rest of top five finishers were Chuck Meekins, Lloyd Dane, and Scotty Cain.
1990 – Michigan International speedway located in Brooklyn, MI would be the site of Ted Musgrave’s first Cup start. Musgrave would qualify 24th, but drop a valve on lap 65 and be out for the day finishing 39th. For a long period this was a “Ford” track, with Fords running up front and winning often. This race was no different. Alan Kulwicki and Bill Elliott made up the front row in their Fords. Mark Martin led the most laps, and claimed the win in his #6 Ford owned by Jack Roush. This would be Martin’s first win on a track two miles or larger. The race was very competitive as Martin just beat out Greg Sacks by 1.7 seconds. Sacks was filling in for Waltrip in the #17 Tide Chevy. Rusty Wallace was third, with Bill Elliott and Ricky Rudd fourth and fifth. This would also be the final race for Ken Ragan. Ken is the father of David Ragan. David Ragan also drove the #6 car still owned by Roush.
2001 – Sterling Marlin drives a Dodge to victory in the Pepsi 400 at Michigan Speedway for his first win of the season. Marlin breaks the ice in Dodge's return to NASCAR racing. It is the first win for Dodge since Neil Bonnett won at Ontario in 1977.
1948 – NASCAR is forced to cancel a number of scheduled events due to an outbreak of polio in North Carolina.
1950 – Dayton Speedway located in Dayton OH would be the site of Dick Linder’s first Cup win. Linder started second and led 146 laps of the 200 lap scheduled event. It was shortened to 195 laps due to a crash with Linder out front. Red Harvey finished second, Herb Thomas third, Lee Petty fourth, and Art Lamey fifth. This was Harvey and Lamey’s best career finishes. Linder would win three races in his career, all in 1950.
1952 - NASCAR issues a new rule that will reprimand drivers who are guilty of reckless highway driving. E.G. "Cannonball" Baker, NASCAR's commissioner, recommends the rule to Bill France. "There is no excuse for speeding on the highways," says Baker. "If NASCAR members are convicted of such highway violations, they will face fines, suspension, and loss of Championship points."
1953 - Jerry Punch's birthday (TV reporter)
1960 – South Boston Speedway located in South Boston, VA would host it’s first Cup event. South Boston hosted 10 Cup events, but continued to host Xfinity events up to 2000. At this race Ned Jarrett won the pole, but fell out with a blown motor at lap 108 of the 150 lap race around the ¼ mile bullring. Junior Johnson went on to lead 42 laps and win the race. He was followed across the line by Possum Jones, Rex White, Buck Baker, and Fred Harb.
1980 – Paul Menard’s birthday
1988 – The date would make the last start for Donnie Allison; it would come at Michigan International Speedway. Bill Elliott won the pole with Geoff Bodine on the outside. Davey Allison would go on to win his Uncle’ last start leading 38 laps. Rusty Wallace finished second, with Elliott third, Morgan shepherd fourth, and Lake Speed fifth. For his career Donnie Allison won 10 races in 242 starts. He only raced part time so he never had a shot at winning the points championship.
1994 – Geoff Bodine starts on the pole and dominates the Champion Spark Plug 400 at Michigan International Speedway. Ernie Irvan is critically hurt in a practice crash the day before the race.
2005 - Michigan International Speedway would be the site of Jeremy Mayfield's last Cup win. Mayfield would start 11th in his Ray Evernham owned Dodge, and not be a factor all race long. Kyle Busch appeared to be strong as he led 28 of the first 46 laps; but then fell out with overheating issues. There was an unusual amount of trash on the track this day and it caused drivers to have to make additional pit stops to clean their grilles. The race came down to a fuel mileage race and long shot driver Tony Raines thought he had enough fuel to go the distance. But he ran out with just a hand full of laps to go; giving the win to Mayfield who had been in fuel conversation mode the whole last segment. Mayfield's win was credited to the team testing at Michigan just two weeks before, and working strictly on fuel mileage. The rest of the top five finishers were Scott Riggs, Matt Kenseth, Carl Edwards, and Tony Stewart. Mayfield's career was cut short due to his own makings. First it was a falling out with owner Evernham; then he made public that Everham was having an extra-marital affair with his developmental driver Erin Crocker. Mayfield was dropped as a driver after this, and he drove for under-funded teams for the next three years. He never posted a top 15 finish after he was dropped by Evernham. Later he was tested for drugs and tested positive. He claimed it was a mixture of over-the-counter drugs that produced a false positive; but a subsequent test also proved positive. NASCAR banned Mayfiled from driving. From that point on Mayfield was caught with stolen positions in his home, plead guilty to theft, drug use, and even had his two million dollar home seized because non-payment of taxes.
1928 – Elmo Langley’s birthday
1942 – Don McTavish’s birthday
1954 – Bay Meadows Speedway located at San Mateo, CA. would host the first of it’s three Cup events. 41 drivers flocked to this track to compete in the 250 lap race. Hershel McGriff would win the pole, and lead all 250 laps to claim the win. Only Bill Amick was able to stay on the lead lap to claim second. Dick Rathman, Allen Adkins, and Lee Petty, rounded out the top five.
1956 – Norfolk Speedway, located in Norfolk VA would host the first of it’s two Cup races this date. It was 250 laps around a 4/10 mile dirt track. Ralph Moody won the pole, but fell out on lap 104 with idler arm issues. Billy Myers would take the checkers first, and win by over a lap. Jim Paschal drove his C U Later Alligator Mercury to a second place finish, followed by Rex White, Buck Baker, and Johnny Allen.
2004 - Michigan International Speedway would see Missouri native Carl Edwards make his first Cup start in the GFS Marketplace 400. Edwards would qualify 23rd in his Jack Roush owned Green Lantern Ford, and drive his way to an impressive tenth place finish. Roush had five cars entered in the race, four of them with "Super Hero" paint themes. Greg Biffle would start 24th in his Roush Ford, and lead 73 of the 200 laps to get the win. Somehow it seemed fitting as he was driving the "Flash - Fastest Man Alive" car; also owned by Roush. Mark Martin was second in Roush's Batman car, followed by Dale Jarrett, Jamie McMurray, and Kasey Kahne. Kurt Busch was driving Roush's Superman car and finished sixth. Roush posted five finishers in the top ten as Matt Kenseth would finish eighth.
1953 – Princess Anne Speedway in Norfolk, VA hosted it’s only Cup event ever at the track. Curtis Turner grabbed the pole, but Herb Thomas would grab the win. Fonty Flock, Lee Petty, Dick Rathman, and Jim Paschal were the top five finishers.
1958 – This year would see the first race held at Rambi Raceway in Myrtle Beach, SC. The Cup races moved to Rambi after running in 1957 at Coastal Speedway in Myrtle Beach. This track would host nine Cup races over nine years. In this event, Speedy Thompson won the pole but broke an axle after 166 of the 200 laps. Bob Welborn won the race, followed by Buck Baker, Shorty Rollins, Tiny Lund, and Lee Petty.
1963 – Kenny Wallace’s birthday
1964 – Starkey Speedway located in Roanoke, VA. hosted the final of it’s four Cup races. Glen Wood won the pole in his last Cup start. David Pearson started beside him. Wood led the first five laps, before by being passed by Junior Johnson. Johnson would go on to lead the remaining 195 laps to win by over one lap. Ned Jarrett would finish second, followed by Wood, Pearson and Jimmy Pardue.
1967 – Steve Park’s birthday
2003 – August would also be the month that Ted Musgrave got his final Cup start. The race was the Sharpie 500 Held at Bristol Motor speedway, and proved to be a crash fest as the yellow flag flew 20 times, and almost ¼ of the race was run under caution. Jeff Gordon won the pole, and led 179 laps before crashing late in the race. Kurt Busch survived the melee to claim the win, but earned a chorus of ‘boos’ in victory lane as the crowd was upset Busch had wrecked Tennessee native Sterling Marlin; who was leading at the time, and looked like he would get the win. Kevin Harvick was second, followed by Jamie McMurray, Matt Kenseth, and Jimmie Johnson. For his career Musgrave never won a race, and drove nine years full time, and several years for competitive teams (Roush, and RaMoc for example). He ran well, and raced well, but always seemed to have some issue that kept him from getting a Cup win. He raced in the Cup series for 14 seasons, and had 305 starts. Musgrave had much more success in the NASCAR Truck series winning 17 times in 182 starts. He won the truck championship in 2005, and finished in the top three in points five years in a row.
1951 – Morristown Speedway located in Morristown, NJ would host it’s first Cup event on their ½ mile dirt track. Tim flock won the pole, with brother Fonty Flock starting outside. The Flock brothers would be the only two drivers to lead the race. Fonty crashed out on lap 94, and Tim led 114 laps to grab the win. Lee Petty finished second, with Ronnie Kohler third. John DuBoise would post his best career finish coming home fourth, and Jim Delaney would do the same finishing fifth.
1969 – Asheville-Weaverville Speedway hosted it’s final Cup race on this date. This was the 34th race held on the ½ mile paved track, dating back to 1951. The Western North Carolina 500 would see Bobby Isaac win the pole, with Richard Petty outside. Petty would lead 43 laps before crashing out on lap 120. Isaac would outrun the field and go on to beat David Pearson by over four laps. Dick Brooks posted his first career top five finish by posting a third place finish, with Elmo Langley, and James Hylton rounding out the top five. Hylton finished fifth 33 laps behind.
1951 – This would be the initial Cup race held at Greenville-Pickens Speedway located in Greenville, SC. This track would host 29 races over a 21 year span. Tim Flock won the pole, and the Flock brothers would make their presence known in the race. Bob Flock went on to win the event with Tim finishing second. Buck Baker kept the Flock brothers from sweeping the top three spots as he finished third, with Fonty Flock fourth. Rounding out the top five was Erik Erickson. This was the first start for Buddy Shuman.
1956 – Coastal Speedway located in Myrtle Beach, SC host the first of it’s two Cup events. It was 200 laps around a ½ mile dirt track. Ralph Moody won the pole, but crashed out after only 61 laps. Herb Thomas started second, but was later disqualified. Third place starter Fireball Roberts won the race, followed by Billy Myers, Jim Paschal, Buck Baker, and Speedy Thompson. The final race here would be the following year on August 26th.
1962 – Valdosta Speedway in Valdosta, GA. hosted it’s first Cup race. It was 200 laps around a ½ mile dirt track. Richard Petty started on the pole, but Ned Jarrett outran him to the checkered flag. Petty would finish second a lap behind, with Joe Weatherly third, G.C. Spencer fourth, and LeeRoy Yarbrough fifth. This was also the first race start for Sam McQuagg. He would qualify ninth, but crash out after 51 laps finishing 12th.
1965 – The ½ mile paved track located in Beltsville, MD would host it’s first 200 lap race. Ned Jarrett won the pole, and led all 200 laps to claim a two lap victory. Tiny Lund finished second, followed by Darel Dieringer, Dick Dixon, and Wendell Scott.
1980 – Casey Atwood’s birthday
1990 – Bristol International Speedway would be the scene of Ernie Irvan’s first win. Dale Earnhardt Sr won the pole, and had a strong car all day. He led 350 of the 500 laps and last led with 90 laps to go, but ended the day one lap behind. Irvan got the lead and led the final 90 laps to get the win. He led 120 laps on the day. Rusty Wallace finished second, with Mark Martin, Terry Labonte, and Sterling Marlin making up the top five.
2002 - Hut Stricklin's last career start would come at Bristol Speedway. He would start 41st and crash out of the race on lap 348 finishing 38th. Jeff Gordon won the pole, and led almost half of the 500 laps. But with less than five laps to go he found himself trailing Rusty Wallace and the laps running out quickly. Gordon caught Wallace with three laps to go, put the old "bump-n-run" on Wallace in turn three, and scooted by to take the lead, and grab the win. Wallace did finish second, followed by Dale Earnhardt Jr, Kevin Harvick, and Matt Kenseth.
1934 – James Hylton’s birthday
1957 - Ray Evernham's birthday (car owner)
1957 – The final race at Coastal Speedway occurred on this date. Johnny Allen won the pole with Fireball Roberts joining him on the front row. Allen’s fan went out on lap ten, and he had to retire from the race. Gwyn Staley went on to win the 200 lap race, followed by Eddie Pagan, Roberts, Buck Baker, and LD Austin. This was Staley’s first of three career Cup wins. All three of the wins came within a 21 day span.
1950 – Hamburg Speedway would hold the second of it’s only two Cup events on their ½ mile dirt track, located in Hamburg, NY. Dick Linder and Curtis Turner made up the front row. Turner led the first 74 laps at the drop of the green, before Linder bypassed him and led for the next 79 laps. Fireball Roberts joined the fray, and stepped up to lead the next nine laps . But in the end it was Linder grabbing the lead with 38 laps to go, and winning by 10 car lengths. Roberts finished second, followed by Turner, Lloyd Moore, and Jack White. White claimed his only career win in this event the previous year. Sara Christian would run her final Cup event this race. She raced six of the eight races in the 1949 season, and this race in 1950, for a total of seven Cup races. Sara finished 14th in this event out of 33 cars. For her career, her best finishes saw her post a top 5 finish at Pittsburg, and a sixth place at Langhorne. In 1949 she finished 13th in the points.
1971 – Columbia Speedway located in Columbia, SC would host it’s final Cup event. The track hosted 43 events over 21 years. They also hosted eight Convertible series events. In the latter years of this track, it seemed to be the private playground of Richard Petty, and Bobby Isaac. They combined to win nine of the last ten events held there. On this date, Petty would win the pole with a surprising run by H.B. Bailey to start second. Bailey’s day would be cut short as he crashed out on lap 55 but not before leading 11 laps. Petty led 110 of the 200 lap Sandlapper 200, to get the win. Tiny Lund was 10 car lengths behind in second, with Jim Paschal, James Hylton, and Jabe Thomas rounding out the top five.
1961 – Randy Lajoie’s birthday
1971 – Hickory Speedway, located in Hickory, NC would host the final of it’s 35 Cup events held over a 18 year span. Hickory was a .363 mile paved track, that held a 276 lap race (100 miles). Dave Marcis won the pole, and led the first 152 laps. Tiny Lund bypassed Marcis, and led the final 124 laps to get the win. Elmo Langley finished second, Richard Petty third, Bobby Allison fourth, and Wayne Andrews fifth. This was Andrews best career finish in his six cup starts.
1977 – Janet Guthrie would get her best career Cup finish here at the tough bull-ring at Bristol Speedway in the Volunteer 400. Cale Yarborough would win the pole, go on to dominate the race, leading 299 of the 400 laps, and claim the win. Darrell Waltrip finished second, with Benny Parsons, Dick Brooks, and Tighe Scott making up the top five. Junior Johnson would be flagged as the second place finisher; but Johnson's Chevrolet failed the post race inspection for the second time in a row. Team owner Johnson is fined $500.
2016 – Kyle Larson would claim his first Cup win on this date at Michigan Speedway. Larson started 12th and ran near the front all day; Larson led a race high 41 laps, but there was a good battle at the front as Chase Elliott, Kevin Harvick, Jimmie Johnson and Joey Logano also led a lot of laps in a race that saw 20 lead changes. Late in the race it looked as if Chase Elliott might claim his first Cup win; but Larson would bypass Elliott with 10 laps to go; leaving Elliott a disappointing second once again.
1921 – Wendell Scott’s birthday
1953 – Ned Jarrett made his first start at Hickory Speedway in Hickory, NC. Jarrett had a bad day as he finished 11th in the 12 car field. Fonty Flock would claim the win, followed by Herb Thomas, Joe Eubanks, Lee Petty, and Jimmie Lewallen.
1954 – Corbin Speedway located in Corbin, KY hosted it’s only Cup event. It was a ½ mile dirt track hosting a 200 laps race. Jim Paschal won the pole, but fell out early with a blown gasket on lap 28. Lee Petty would battle Hershel McGriff for the win, with Petty claiming the checkers. Buck Baker finished third, with Herb Thomas, and Donald Thomas fourth and fifth. Donald Thomas was Herb’s younger brother and made 79 starts in the Cup series. He won the race at Atlanta’s Lakewood Speedway in 1952. He was the youngest driver to win until the record was broken by Kyle Busch in 2005. This track hosted the only NASCAR Cup races until 2000 when the NASCAR Truck series ran it’s first race at Kentucky Speedway in Sparta, KY. The Xfinity series started racing at Kentucky Speedway in 2001, and the CUP series ran it’s first race there in 2011.
2016 – On this day we would lost Betty Jane France. Betty was the wife of Bill France Jr; the son of NASCAR Founder Bill France Sr. She was the Executive Vice President and Assistant Treasurer of NASCAR, Inc., and Chairperson of the NASCAR Foundation. A longtime community leader in Daytona Beach, Betty Jane is perhaps best known as a steadfast champion of health care for children. In 2003, Betty Jane was presented the Halifax Medical Center Foundation’s Humanitarian Award in recognition of her advocacy, commitment, support and advancement of health care and human services for women, infants children and families. The Betty Jane France Humanitarian Award was created in her honor in 2011. Through the NASCAR Foundation, this award recognizes outstanding charitable and volunteer efforts of NASCAR fans.
1953 - Mike Helton's birthday
2016 - Betty Jane France; wife of Bill France Jr passed away. France was known fondly as the "First Lady of NASCAR Racing". France was executive vice president and assistant treasurer of NASCAR and chairperson of the NASCAR Foundation. The Betty Jane France Humanitarian Award was created in her honor in 2011. Through the NASCAR Foundation, this award recognizes outstanding charitable and volunteer efforts of NASCAR fans. The former Betty Jane Zachary, met her husband, William C. France in her hometown. They married and soon relocated to Daytona Beach. Bill France Jr. rose through the ranks to become the chairman and CEO of NASCAR. He passed away in June 2007 at the age of 74. France's children, Lesa France Kennedy, CEO of International Speedway Corporation and Brian France, chairman and CEO of NASCAR, now lead the empire started by William H.G. France (Big Bill France), along with Betty Jane's brother-in-law, Jim France, who is vice chairman of NASCAR and chairman of ISC.
2003 – The final Southern 500 held every year at Darlington Raceway would see Terry Labonte get his final Cup win. This was the final Southern 500 to be held on Labor Day weekend until the race date returned to Darlington in 2015. NASCAR has announced that beginning in 2004, the race date will be moved from NASCAR's original super speedway to California Speedway. Ryan Newman won the pole, and looked to have the field covered before he accidentally hit his kill switch, the crew was frantically trying to figure out why the car wouldn’t run. Finally the accident was discovered, but not before Newman went eight laps down. The final 100 laps was a dog fight as six different drivers swapped the lead nine times. Jeff Burton crashed on lap 334 putting the field under yellow, and bunching up the field for the restart. McMurray was leading on the restart, but Labonte swept by him, and went on to lead the final 33 laps, claiming the win by 1.5 seconds. Kevin Harvick would finish second, with Jimmy Johnson third. McMurray faded back to fourth with Bill Elliott finishing fifth. It seemed fitting that Labonte would win his final race here at the Darlington track. The Southern 500 was also the scene of his first ever Cup win back in 1980.
2014 - The Oral-B USA 500 held at Atlanta Motor Speedway would be the first ever Cup start for Ty Dillon. He would qualify 29th and when the dust settled he would finish a respectable 25th. The race saw just ten yellow flags and had just six different leaders. Kevin Harvick led a race high 195 of 335 laps after starting on the pole. A yellow on lap 325 saw a variety of pit strategies. Paul Menard only took two tires and when the green flew he spun his tires and stacked up the field behind him. Harvick and Joey Logano got collected in the aftermath ruining their day. That left Kasey Kahne and Matt Kenseth to battle for the final 33 laps. Kahne would come out on top and get the win over Kenseth by 1/2 a second. Denny Hamlin would finish third; followed by Jimmie Johnson and Carl Edwards.