NOTE### - any date in PINK and BOLD is an event pre-NASCAR - but is associated to bringing about the sport of NASCAR

7-1

1951 – Grand Rapids Speedrome located in Grand Rapids, MI. would host the first of it’s two CUP races this date.  It was 200 laps around a ½ mile dirt track.  The other race was in July of 1954.  In this event Marshall Teague started on the pole, and won the event.  Dick Rathman finished second, with Fonty Flock, Tim Flock, and Lloyd Moore making up the top five.

1952 – Stamford Park located in Niagara Falls, Ontario host it’s only CUP event.  It was a 200 lap race on a ½ mile dirt track.  17 cars started the event, with Herb Thomas on the pole. This is the first NASCAR Cup event staged outside the U.S.  When the checkered flag flew Buddy Shuman claimed the win, and only three cars were able to finish the event.  Thomas finished second two laps down, with Ray Duhigg was third seven laps behind.  Jack Reynolds was fourth after breaking a wheel on lap 183, and Perk Brown finished fifth only finishing 176 laps.  Shuman scored his lone CUP event win in his 29 starts.

2000 – This would be Kenny Irwin’s last career CUP start.  He finished 28th, but was on the lead lap.  The last start would come at Daytona International Speedway in the Pepsi 400.  Dale Jarrett won the pole, with Ricky Rudd joining him on the front row.  Jarrett led a race high 56 laps, but it would be Jeff Burton who took the lead and led the last forty laps to get the win.  Jarrett finished second, Rusty Wallace third, Mark Martin fourth, and Rudd fifth.  Bill Elliott had the best car in the race and led 42 laps.  The yellow flag came out 50 laps from the end, and Elliott had problems in the pits, getting out mid-pack.  Mike Skinner ran into him on the back stretch and he nearly flipped.  As for Irwin he finished 22nd in his BellSouth Chevy.  Six days later during practice for the upcoming CUP race at New Hampshire, Irwin’s throttle hung, and he had a hard crash into the wall.  He died from a basal skull fracture.  It was ironic that Irwin was tabbed to drive the Texaco Ford starting the 1998 season as a replacement for Davey Allison who was killed in a helicopter accident.  For his career, Irwin ran 87 CUP races but did not collect a victory.  He was the 1998 Rookie of the Year, and was the 1996 National Midget series Champion.  His best CUP finish was third in 1999 in the Daytona 500.

2006 - On this date Kirk Shelmerdine would make his final CUP start.  Shelmerdine is more widely know as the crew chief for driver Dale Earnhardt Sr.  He held that position for 10 season from 1981-1992.  The duo paired to win four Cup Championships, and 44 Cup events.  Shelmerdine's first Cup start was in 1981 as Morgan Shepherd fielded a second car and Kirk filled the seat.  After that was his successful stint as Earnhardt's crew chief - and after that Shelmerdine had gotten the racing bug and wanted to be a driver.  After he retired as a crew chief, he returned to driving in 1994, running one race that season.  For his career he ran 26 events with a best finish of 20th.  His final start would come at Daytona in the Pepsi 400.  He qualified a promising 27th, but had a rear gear fail after 28 laps and finished last.  In the race Boris Said surprised everyone by putting his car on the pole.  Said made a good accounting of himself and run near the front all day long.  A big crash with just five laps to go bunched up the field and made for an exciting finish.  Said was leading when the yellow flew, and when the race restarted he was able to hold off the field.  But with three laps to go Tony Stewart was able to get by with some drafting help and moved into the lead.  When the checkered hankie waved Stewart claimed the win, with Kyle Busch, Kurt Busch Said and Matt Kenseth making up the top five.

7-2

1937 – Richard Petty’s birthday

1950 – Monroe County Fairgrounds would host it’s first CUP race this date.  The track was located in Rochester, NY and was a ½ mile dirt track.  Curtis Turner won the pole, and led all 200 laps to claim the win.  This was the first time that a driver had won the pole and the race both.  Bill Blair finished second, Lee Petty was next, followed by Jimmy Florian, and Bill Rexford.

1964 - On this date we lost the great driver Fireball Roberts.  On May 24th at the World 600 in Charlotte, Roberts qualified eleventh. But on lap seven Ned Jarrett and Junior Johnson spun and Roberts crashed trying to avoid them.  Roberts' Ford slammed backward into the inside retaining wall, flipped over and burst into flames.  Jarrett rushed to save Roberts as his car was engulfed by the flames.  Roberts suffered second- and third-degree burns over eighty percent of his body and was airlifted to a hospital.  Roberts was able to survive for several weeks, and it appeared he might pull through.  But Roberts' health took a turn for the worse on June 30, 1964. He contracted pneumonia and sepsis and slipped into a coma by the next day. He died on July 2, 1964.

1979 – Sam Hornish’s birthday

1988 - Cup regular Buddy Arrington would make his final CUP start here at Daytona in the Fire Cracker 400.  He would start 23rd, and complete the race finishing 28th.  Arrington never won any of his 560 CUP starts, and had a best finish of third on two occasions.  On this day Darrell Waltrip won the pole. Dale Earnhardt started 20th, but by lap 31 he had moved through the field into the lead.  He would go on to lead 53 laps in the event.  The final 50 laps looked to be a battle between Earnhardt and Ken Schrader; but when it came down to the finish two different players would battle for the win.  Bill Elliott would make his first appearance to the front with just 23 laps to go, with a hard charging Rick Wilson moving up.  When the checkers waved Elliott managed to hold of Wilson by just three feet.  Phil Parsons would finish third, followed by Earnhardt and Waltrip. This would be Wilson's best career finish.

1994 – Daytona International Speedway would be the site of Jimmy Spencer’s first career win.  He would go on to claim his second (and last) win on 7/24 of this same season at Talladega.  Dale Earnhardt Sr. won the pole and Loy Allen started outside.  Allen was the driver Hooters picked to drive the Hooters Ford after Alan Kulwicki was killed in a tragic plane crash.  Previously, Allen had always driven for a new under-funded race team and was never very competitive.  Back to the race.  Spencer qualified third and had a car that would run with the lead pack all day.  He never could get to the point, but he passed Ernie Irvan on the last lap just as they come to the checkers, and won by .0008 seconds in a photo finish.  Video of the finish is here. Earnhardt finished third, Mark Martin fourth, and Ken Schrader fifth.

2011 - The Daytona International Speedway would be the site of David Ragan's first Cup win.  Mark Martin won the pole, with Trevor Bayne second.  It was a typical Daytona type race with 25 different leaders, and 58 lead changes.  The end of the race was a crash-fest. With two laps to go there was an accident involving Kasey Kahne, Jeff Gordon, Jamie McMurray, Kyle Busch, and Joey Logano.  When it all shuffled out coming to the green-white-checkers restart Ragan was in front. As the field entered turn #1 when the green flew, all hell broke loose.  There was a 15 car pileup. O nce again the yellow waved, and after cleaning up the mess the field reformed for the final restart.  Ragan again started out front and with teammate Matt Kenseth was lined up behind him, and helped push him to the lead.  Coming to the checkered flag there was another pileup involving 15 car accident. (many the same as in the previous wreck).  At the end Kenseth finished second, followed by Joey Logano, Kasey Kahne, and Kyle Busch. (note; - these three drivers were all involved in the first accident noted above)

7-3

1993 - This would be an unusual date as Loy Allen would make his first and last starts on this date (but not the same year).  Here his first start would come at the Pepsi 400 at Daytona.  He would qualify 40th, but have a good run and finish 29th.  Couple other notes.  The next race at Daytona, Allen won the pole; Ritchie Petty (son of Maurice Petty) would make his only Daytona start.  Ken Schrader won the pole, but was found to have an illegal carburetor and would have to start last.  By lap 64 Schrader had come through the field to be leading.  Schrader would be a force to deal with the rest of the race.  However, Dale Earnhardt Sr led 110 of the 160 laps, and would claim the win.  Sterling Marlin would finish second.  It would be his ninth runner up finish before getting his first win.  The rest of the top five was Schrader, Ricky Rudd, and Jeff Gordon.

1999 - Daytona International Speedway would see Loy All make his final CUP start.  Rusty Wallace started fifth, but would lead 75 of the 160 laps.  He was leading when rain came on lap 86 just past 1/2 way.  But after a brief delay the race got going again and ran the full distance.  Even though Wallace led so many laps, it was still competitive as nine drivers held the point as some time.  As the laps ran out Dale Jarrett held the lead, but it was questionable id he'd have enough gas to finish.  With two laps to go Jeremy Mayfield, and Jimmy Spencer spun in turn four bringing out the yellow.  This was before the green/white/ checker rule came into being, so the final two laps were ran under the yellow helping Jarrett save enough fuel to get the win.  Dale Earnhardt Sr was second with Jeff Burton, Mike Skinner, and Bobby Labonte rounding out the top five.  In his career Allen had one top ten finish; a tenth at Talladega in 1995.  Couple other notes on the race. This would be Ken Bouchard's last attempt to run a NASCAR race (he DNQ).  This would be Ernie Irvans last top 10 finish.

7-4

1952 – Wine Creek Race Track located in Oswego, NY would host it’s only Cup race.  It was 200 laps on a ½ mile dirt oval.  Tim Flock would win the pole, and the race driving his 1951 Hudson.  Herb Thomas was second, Dick Rathman was third, and Bucky Sager was fourth.  All were wheeling a Hudson Hornet.  Lee Petty finished fifth in his Plymouth.

1953 – Piedmont Interstate Fairgrounds located in Spartanburg, SC. would host it’s first ever Cup event. Buck Baker won the pole, but it was Lee Petty bringing home the win. Baker finished second, followed by Herb Thomas, Fonty Flock and Johnny Patterson.

1956 – Fireball Roberts records his first super speedway triumph in the 250-miler at Raleigh Speedway.  Carl Kiekhaefer files a protest against the weight of Roberts' flywheel.  No scales are available at the speedway, so NASCAR officials take the flywheel to a local fish market to be weighed. Roberts' win is upheld by NASCAR.

1958 – Raleigh Speedway hosted it’s final CUP event. The track Officially opened under the name of Southland Speedway.  It was the second super speedway ever built.  Should also be noted that it was also the first lighted speedway and the first track that NASCAR sanctioned night time races.  It was a 250 lap race on a one mile paved oval.  55 cars started the race with Cotton Owens on the pole.  Glen Wood started second.  Owens led the first thirty laps, but fell out on lap 78 with a broken crank, finishing 45th.  Fireball Roberts started third and led 133 laps to grab the win.  Buck Baker finished second, with Rex White, Shorty Rollins, and Speedy Thompson rounding out the top five.

1960 – Jack Smith edges Cotton Owens at the finish line to win the second annual Firecracker 250 at Daytona. Smith becomes the first driver to win on a super speedway using radio communication with his pit crew.  Crew chief Bud Moore keeps Smith abreast of pertinent information during the race.

1961 – David Pearson passes Fred Lorenzen with just over a lap to go and wins Daytona's Firecracker 250.  It is Pearson's second win in a row on a super speedway.  The event is taped by the ABC's Wide World of Sports and televised a few days later.

1962 – Fireball Roberts continues his mastery of Daytona International Speedway by winning the Firecracker 250.  Speedway officials announce the July 1963 race will be lengthened to 400 miles.

1963 – Cagey Fireball Roberts swoops under Fred Lorenzen on the final lap and wins the frantic Firecracker 400 at Daytona.  Roberts edges Lorenzen and Marvin Panch in a three-car finish.  The lead changes hands 39 times among six drivers. This is the first year the event has been contested at the 400 mile length; as it was raised from 250 miles.

1964 – Daytona International Speedway would see A.J. Foyt claimed his first career Cup win in the Firecracker 400.  This was race 35 of the 62 race season. (Wow 62 races in a 52 week year).  Foyt was known for his INDY car expertise winning four INDY 500’s.  He also won the INDY 500 this season.  Darel Dieringer won the pole, and Jim Paschal joined him on the front row.  This was a race of attrition as 33 cars qualified for the race, but only 13 were able to finish.  Richard Petty led 102 of the 160 laps until his motor blew and he was done for the day, finishing 16th.  Bobby Isaac led 43 laps, but Foyt got by him on the last lap to lead the right one to claim the checkers.  Foyt led 14 laps all day.  Isaac did finish second, with Jimmy Pardue, Buck Baker, and Jimmy Paschal making up the top five.  Foyt continued to race in the Cup series in one-off races all the way up to 1994.  He won seven races and nine poles.  He was undoubtedly the best open wheel cross over racer to compete in the CUP series.  Fittingly “Super Tex’s” last Cup race was held at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, in the first Cup event ever held there.

1964 - Steve Addington's birthday - Crew Chief starting in the Cup series in 2004.  He headed up the teams of Bobby Labonte (2005) and JJ Yeley (2006-2007) before teaming with Kyle Busch to get his first win.  Eight times they went to victory lane in 2009.  He has also be crew chief for such full time drivers as Kurt Busch, Mark Martin, and Tony Stewart.  Addington moved to Harry Scott Racing to lead Rookie of the Year Driver Justin Allgaier for the 2014 and 2015 seasons.  He remained with HScott Racinh when Clint Bowyer came to the team replacing Allgaier.  HScott ceased operations at the end of 2016.

1966 - Sam McQuagg would win his only career Cup race here at Daytona in the Fire Cracker 400.  The field sure knew McQuagg was there that day as he led 126 of the 160 laps.  He started fourth, but was leading at the end of lap one.  He led the final 31 laps, and almost lapped the field.  Second place finisher was the only other driver on the lead lap.  Jim Paschal finished third, followed by Curtis Turner, and Jim Hurtubise.  McQuagg wheeled the Nichels Engineering slope-backed Dodge that was equipped with a strip of aluminum on the rear deck to make the car more stable.  It is the first NASCAR Grand National race to permit cars equipped with "spoilers."

1977 - Ramo Stott would make his final career start here at Daytona in the Fire Cracker 400.  Stott qualified 19th, but his power plant gave up on lap 81 relegating him to a 32nd place finish.  The first part of this race was a real barn burner.  In the first 50 laps eight different drivers led, but none for any more than seven laps.  In fact from lap 32 to lap 49 there was 15 lead changes.  On lap 50 Richard Petty took the lead and led the next 50 circuits.  He dominated from that point forward leading a total of 95 laps.  Darrell Waltrip would finish second 17 seconds behind.  Benny Parsons was third, with David Pearson fourth and AJ Foyt fifth.  Couple interesting points. This was the first time since 1949 that three women ran in the same CUP race.  They were Janet Guthrie, Christine Beckers, and Lella Lombardi.  This was Beckers and Lombardi's only career starts.  Lombardi also raced in Formula 1.  For the record, Guthrie fell out after 11 laps with a blown motor, Beckers had brake issues after 33 laps, and Lombardi finished 101 laps before she was side lined with rear end problems.

1983 – More July 4th history - Buddy Baker would claim his last Cup win here in the Firecracker 400 at Daytona.  The race had 11 different leaders, with many lead changes.  Cale Yarborough won the pole, but blew his motor on lap five and was done for the day.  Baker would lead 45 laps, but had to wrestle the lead away from Terry Labonte with just two laps to go to get the win.  Morgan finished second, with David Pearson third, Ron Bouchard fourth, Labonte got shuffled back to fifth as he ran out of gas coming to the checkers.  This was Greg Sacks first Cup start.  He finished 38th after blowing a motor on lap 19.  This was also David Pearson last top five.

1984 – After President Ronald Reagan gave the command to start the engines, and then arrived to watch the event a short time later, this race would be one for the history books.  It was the first time a sitting president attended a NASCAR race.  It was the Fire Cracker 400 held at Daytona International Speedway.  Cale Yarborough edged out Dale Earnhardt Sr. for the pole.  Yarborough led 79 of the 160 laps, and had a strong car.  As the race reaches three laps to go, Doug Heveron crashed on the back straight flipping several times.  During that time drivers raced back to the yellow flag.  Yarborough and Richard Petty banged doors all the way down the front stretch coming to the yellow flag.  Petty edged out Yarborough by just a few inches, as they took the checkers.  With so few laps to go, there was no time to get the race restarted, and Petty got the win.  As they were pacing around the track running the last few laps under yellow.  Yarborough made a mental error, and thinking the race was over, he headed down pit road as the field come to take the white flag.  He quickly picked up on his mistake, and was able to get back on the track but not before he was passed by Harry Gant.  Yarborough ended up third.  Followed by Bobby Allison, and Benny Parsons.  This would be Petty’s final cup win, and was win #200.

1985 – Once again we have history made on this date.  As is the case many times, long shot driver claimed the win.  The Pepsi Firecrackers 400 at Daytona would see Greg Sacks claim his first and only Cup win.  Much of the reason this was such an upset was because Sacks was driving a research and development car for DiGard Racing, and was pretty much an afterthought in the race.  He only raced here and there and just a couple races a year.  The car wasn’t expected to be competitive and this was perhaps one of the biggest upsets in history.  The idea was that Sacks was supposed to start the race, run a set number of laps; then come in change shocks, etc and go back out run another set number of laps, make more changes, and so on; using the race to do research and development for the DiGard team.  Bill Elliott was the hot ticket with the strongest team and fastest race car.  When Sacks was able to race with Elliott, the R & D plan was scrapped.  Elliott did lead 103 of the 160 laps.  But sacks was able to get away and build a lead so that Elliott couldn’t run him down.  Darrell Waltrip ran third, Ron Bouchard fourth, and Kyle Petty fifth.  Bobby Allison was DiGards full time driver at the time.  He was so angry / embarrassed about a one-off team winning while he run so poorly (finished 18th four laps down) that he promptly quit and had to form his own team to finish the season.  Sacks became the DiGard teams full time driver.

1986 – Jody Ridley would make his final Cup start in this event ran at Daytona International Speedway.  Ridley’s final race would be a nice finish to his career.  He started 22nd, and finished 13th on the lead lap.  Ridley did race in the 1989 Daytona for an injured Bill Elliott.  Elliott had a broken wrist, and started the race, but Ridley got in after three laps.  The official results go to Elliott since he started the car.  Cale Yarborough won the pole with Bill Elliott second.  There were 14 different leaders with 32 lead changes.  As the race was winding down, Buddy Baker was leading the field.  With six laps to go Tim Richmond pulled out to pass, and all the other cars on the lead lap followed him.  By the time the checkers flew, Baker had been shuffled back to 14th, with Richmond claiming the win by just over one second.  Sterling Marlin came home second, followed by Bobby Hillin Jr, Darrell Waltrip and Kyle Petty.  This would also mark Richard Petty’s 1000th career start.

1998 – Raging forest fires in the state of Florida force Daytona International Speedway officials to postpone the Pepsi 400 until October.  Wildfires burn more than 300,000 acres in the Sunshine State.  It is the first time the holiday NASCAR classic is postponed since the track was built in 1959.

7-5

1997 – At Daytona International Speedway during the Pepsi 400, John Andretti would score his first Cup win.  Mike Skinner started on the pole in his Lowes sponsored Chevy.  He crashed out on lap 37.  Andretti was competitive the entire race, leading several times, and for 113 of the 160 laps.  He took final control on lap 137, and led until the checkers.  Terry Labonte would finish second, followed by Sterling Marlin, Dale Earnhardt Sr. and Dale Jarrett.  Andretti drove the RCA Ford owned by Cale Yarborough.  This was Yarborough's only win as a car owner.  This was the last Pepsi 400 run during the daytime.  Every year since they have ran at night.

2003 – Lots of History here in July, much because of the Daytona mid-season 400 race, that produced many first time winners.  This day Greg Biffle would get his first career win driving his Grainger sponsored Jack Roush Ford in Biffle’s first full season Cup racing.  Biffle would out-race Jeff Burton to the checkers by 4 seconds.  Ricky Rudd was third, followed by Terry Labonte and Bobby Labonte.  23 cars finished on the lead lap,.. but we still had “the big one”.  Kurt Busch cut down a tire, and Robby Gordon had no where to go and ran into him.  Before the wrecking was done, it had also collected Jeff Green, Stacy Compton, Ward Burton, Joe Nemechek, Steve Park, Jamie McMurray, Ken Schrader, Dave Blaney, David Green, and Mike Wallace.

2004 - On this date we lost Jim Paschal.  Jim won 25 Cup races including the 1964 and 1967 World 600.  His final win would come in 1967 at Montgomery Speedway in Alabama.  After retiring from racing, he owned a trucking company and raised cattle and poultry.  He died from cancer the age of 78.

7-6

1927 – Gwyn Staley’s birthday

1952 – Monroe Speedway would host it’s only Cup event on this date.  Located in Monroe MI, the track was a ½ mile dirt track with a 200 lap event.  Tim flock won the pole with Buddy Shuman outside.  Shuman blew a motor on lap 146, and was done for the day.  Flock had better luck as he went on to win the event.  Herb Thomas was second, followed by Lee Petty, Fonty Flock, and Ray Duhigg.

1969 – Dover Downs International Speedway hosted the Mason-Dixon 300.  The first ever Cup race at the track.  David Pearson won the pole and LeeRoy Yarbrough joined him on the front row.  Pearson blew a tire while leading on lap 65 and crashed out.  Later Yarbrough also blew a tire while leading on lap 223 and also crashed out.  There waiting to grab the lead was Richard Petty.  He went on to head the field the last 68 laps and claim the win by over six laps.  Sonny Hutchins finished second, followed by James Hylton, John Sears, and Elmo Langley.

2013 - Chris Economaki named Third Squier-Hall Award Recipient:  Known for more than 50 years as the "Dean of American Motorsports," the late journalist and broadcaster Chris Economaki has been named the third recipient of the Squier-Hall Award for NASCAR Media Excellence.  Economaki, who died in 2012 at age 91, was the editor, publisher and columnist for National Speed Sport News for more than 60 years, a weekly racing publication he began selling at race tracks at the age of 14.  He began his television broadcast career with ABC in 1961 and with CBS Sports helped make the Daytona 500 one of racing's marquee events. "Chris Economaki dedicated his life to covering motorsports, and his exceptional talent for storytelling brought NASCAR to millions of readers and viewers for more than 60 years," said Brian France, NASCAR Chairman and CEO.  "Though we all miss seeing him at the race track every week, we're proud that Chris' legacy will continue to live through this well-deserved award."  The son of a Greek immigrant who was born in Brooklyn but spent most of his life in Connecticut, Economaki participated in the growth of automobile racing from its pre-World War II small-town and county fair circuits.  He worked at the sport's grassroots, alongside many historic promoters - including NASCAR founder Bill France - and went on to cover most of the 20th and 21st centuries' greatest figures.  Economaki's National Speed Sport News "three-dot" column was a weekly must-read throughout the motor sports industry. He eschewed technology for decades, hammering out his copy on an old, manual typewriter while others in the media centers tapped on computer keyboards.  Few, however, matched Economaki's insights - or his many reliable sources.

7-7

1963 – One of the must loved, and most respected Independent drivers of the Cup series made his first start on this date.  J.D. McDuffie raced for 27 years and had 653 career starts, 624 in his own equipment.  On this date at Rambi Speedway in Myrtle Beach, SC. McDuffie would run his first race in the Speedorama 200.  Richard Petty won the pole, and Bobby Isaac was also on the front row.  Isaac jumped to the lead and led the first 30 laps, then he blew his motor and was out of the event.  Richard Petty led the next 30 laps before he crashed out on lap 60.  Then Ned Jarrett took the lead and hung onto it until they waved the checkered hankie.  Jarrett led 140 laps, and won by seven laps.  Buck Baker finished second, followed by Joe Weatherly, Neil Castles, and Cale Yarborough. McDuffie started 14th, and finished 12th in his car number “X”.

1966 – Old Dominion speedway hosted it’s last CUP race.  It was a 3/8 mile track located in Manassas, VA that ran a 400 lap race.  Bobby Allison and Elmo Langley made up the front row.  Langley led the first few laps, and Allison bypassed him and led the next 30 circuits.  Tiny Lund then led for the next 120 laps before Allison led about 15 more.  Then Langley grabbed the lead and never relinquished it leading the final 225 laps to collect the win.  His margin of victory was over seven laps.  This was Langley’s second (and final) career win.  Both wins came in 1966.  Johns Sears, James Hylton, Larry Manning, and Buck Baker were the top five.  Langley went on to be a NASCAR official, and drove the pace car during the late 1980’s through the mid-1990’s.  He had a heart attack while driving the pace car during the days leading up to NASCAR's exhibition race at Suzuka City, Japan on November 21st, 1996

1970 – The Albany-Saratoga Speedway in Malta NY would host the first of it’s two Cup events (both in July).  It was 250 laps around a .36 mile paved track (90 miles).  Bobby Isaac won the pole and led the first 47 laps.  Richard Petty led 136 of the remaining 203 laps.  Petty won by a lap over second place finisher Bobby Allison.  Dave Marcis, Neil Castles, and G.C. Spencer rounded out the top five.

1989 - Landon Cassil's birthday.

2000 - on this date we lost Kenny Irwin Jr.  During practice for the thatlook.com 300 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway, he slammed head on into the wall, causing his car to flip onto its side.  Irwin likely died instantly of a basilar skull fracture.  Irwin's accident was blamed on a stuck throttle, which was the same cause of the accident that had killed Adam Petty at nearly that exact spot on the track just two months prior.  Irwin started 87 CUP events with a best finish of third in the 1999 Daytona 500.

2007 - Officials with Sprint-Nextel and NASCAR announce that the NASCAR Nextel Cup Series will be renamed the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series in 2008.  Nextel was acquired by Sprint in late 2004.

7-8

1951 – Bainbridge Speedway in Bainbridge OH hosted it’s only Cup race event on this date.  It was 100 laps around a one mile dirt track.  Fonty Flock led the field to the green, and then drove to the checkers leading all 100 laps.  Dick Rathman followed Flock across the line to finish second.  Rounding out the top five was Frank Mundy, Jimmy Florian, and Oda Greene.

1956 – The California State Fairgrounds hosted it’s first Cup race in Sacramento, CA.  Eddie Pagan won the pole with Bob Havemann also on the front row.  Pagan fell out on lap 34 with overheating problems.  Lloyd Dane started 15th and worked his way through the field in his 1956 Mercury to take the lead.  He grabbed the checkers and also the $1,100 winners check.  Chuck Meekins finished second, followed by John Keiper, Gordon Haines and Clyde Palmer.  This was Danes first Cup victory.  Dane was a lesser know Cup driver, as he was from Missouri, and raced most of his races on the West Coast.  In 52 races he won four times, but had 23 top fives, and 36 top tens.

1964 – The Old Dominion 400 at Old Dominion Speedway in Manassas, VA saw James Hylton make his first career Cup start.  Ned Jarrett won the pole and led 359 laps to claim the win.  David Pearson finished second and was the only other driver to lead any laps.  Jimmy Pardue finished third as the forth and fifth place finishers were Curtis “Crawfish” Crider, and Buddy Arrington.  Hylton is arguably the greatest independent Cup driver of all time.  Running most races out of his own pocket, he never had the chance to run at the front with the ‘big boys’ with high dollar sponsors.  He was a conservative racer and got the most out of his equipment.  This helped him to finish second in the Cup points three times.

1973 – Points leader Benny Parsons drives his un-sponsored Chevrolet to an impressive win in the Volunteer 500 at Bristol International Speedway.  Parsons finishes seven laps ahead of runner-up L.D. Ottinger.

7-9

1925 – GC Spencer’s birthday

1965 – Old Bridge Stadium in Old Bridge, NJ hosted it’s last Cup event.  The Old Bridge 200 was 200 laps around a ½ mile paved track.  Marvin Panch won the pole with Junior Johnson outside.  Panch and Johnson swapped the lead several times, with Panch leading 89 laps, and Johnson leading 88.  Johnson got the best of the battle was he won the event by over a lap.  Dick Hutcherson, Panch, Darel Dieringer, and Ned Jarrett were the top five.

1968 – Oxford Plains Speedway would host it’s final race.  It was a 300 laps race around a 1/3 mile paved track located in Oxford ME.  Buddy Baker won the pole with Richard Petty along side.  Baker led the first the first 110 laps.  Richard Petty led the next 145 laps.  David Pearson led briefly for two laps before Petty reassumed the and led to the checkers.  Pearson finished second, and Baker third.  Bobby Allison (winner of both previous races held at Oxford) was fourth, with Bobby Isaac fifth.

1970 – Thompson Speedway hosted the final Cup event this day.  The Thompson 200 was 200 laps around a ½ mile track in Thompson CT.  Bobby Isaac won the pole and led ½ laps to get the win.  Richard Petty started and finished second.  Benny Parsons was third, followed by Dick Brooks, and Neil Castles.  Thompson Speedway hosted three Cup events.  The first was in 1951 and the final two was in 1969, and 1970.

2005 – Jeff Gordon drives to his 75th career win in the USG Sheetrock 500 at Chicagoland Speedway.  Gordon is now one win behind Dale Earnhardt for sixth on the all-time list.  On the same day, Chip Ganassi Racing announces that it has signed Formula One driver and former CART Champ­ion Juan Pablo Montoya for the 2007 NASCAR Cup season.

2011 – This date was the inaugural event held at Kentucky Speedway located in Sparta, KY.  The track was built with the hopes of getting a Cup race, and after 10 years of hosting NASCAR truck and Nationwide races, they got a Cup event.  This race won’t be so memorable for it’s racing action, but for it’s parking problems.  Fans tied up the interstates around the track, and it was obvious the track wasn’t prepared for the huge influx of fans attending.  Fans living as close as 60 miles took over six hours to reach the track.  Many fans never even got in and parked as they were turned away due to lack of parking.  At least 20,000 people purchased tickets and never made it to the track.  Needless to say there was a huge outrage over all this.  Those that DID get inside the track saw Kyle Busch start on the pole, and lead 125 of the races 267 laps.  Even though Busch led so many laps, the race was still competitive as there were 20 lead changes among 11 drivers.  Busch passed David Reutimann to take the lead with seven laps to go, and held on to take the initial win at the track.  Reutimann came home second just .17 second back, with Jimmy Johnson, Ryan Newman, and Carl Edwards making up the top five finishers

7-10

1932 – Donald Thomas’ birthday

1949 – Red Byron would win his first Cup event.  A 40 lap event held on the 4.1 mile Daytona Beach course.  Gober Sosebee started on the pole with Byron outside.  Sosebee led the first 34 laps, but Byron bypassed him with six laps to go to claim the win.  Tim Flock finished second with Frank Mundy, Joe Littlejohn and Bill Blair finishing out the top five.  It should be noted that this was the first time (maybe only) that a husband and wife competed in a CUP race together.  Frank Christian finished sixth, while Sara Christian placed 18th.  The “Flying Flocks” all also raced in this event.  Tim Flock (2nd), Bob Flock (22nd), Fonty Flock (19th) along with sister Ethel Flock (11th).  Byron was the first ever Cup champion this season.  Gober Sosebee made his first Cup start here.

1954 – This would be the one and only Cup race hosted by Santa Fe Speedway in Willow Springs, IL.  Buck Baker won the pole, and Jim Paschal started along side.  Baker led the first 46 laps.  Dick Rathman took the lead away on lap 47, and paced the field for the final 154 laps to claim the checkers.  Herb Thomas was second, followed by Hershel McGriff, and Buck Baker. This would be the final Cup win for Rathman.  In his five year career he collected 13 wins.

1960 – This was the final Cup race held at Hiedelberg Raceway in Pittsburgh, PA.  It was a ½ mile track that ran 200 laps.  One of the original backers of the track was owner and founder of the NFL’s Pittsburgh Steelers Art Rooney.  The track was built on speculation that horse racing would be allowed soon, and the auto racing was a way to use the facility until such time.  Lee Petty started on the pole with Ned Jarrett on the outside.  Jarrett blew a motor only 38 laps into the event and finished 16th in the 17 car field.  Rex White finished third with Nook Walters and L.D. Austin finishing fourth and fifth.  Walters only ran four Cup races, and this would be his best finish.

1964 – Billy Wade would get the first of his Cup wins here at Old Bridge Stadium, Old Bridge NJ.  Wade won the pole; led 60 laps and went on to win the race by over a lap.  Ned Jarrett would finish second, with Richard Petty, Jimmy Pardue, and David Pearson making up the top five.  Wade would win four races in a row starting with this one, and this would be all the races he won in his career.

1966 – This would see the last race held at Bridgehampton Raceway in Bridgehampton, NY.  This track hosted sporadic Cup events, years of 1958, 1963, 1964, and 1966.  It was a 2.68 mile road course with a distance of 52 laps (148 miles).  David Pearson won the pole, and James Hylton started second.  Pearson and Hylton were the only two leaders.  Hylton led laps 17-22 and Pearson led all the rest. Pearson won with Hylton second.  The top five was rounded out by Marvin Panch, Roy Hallquist, and Elmo Langley. “Back in the day” drivers drove all types of cars to compete in the races.  Larry Hess competed in this race in a 1966 Rambler.

1975 – Brendan Gaughan’s birthday

1980 – Adam Petty’s birthday

2005 - At Chicagoland Speedway in the USG Sheetrock 400, David Stremme would make his first Cup start.  Driving for Chip Ganassi, Stremme would qualify 31st, but have a great run and finish 16th.  Tony Stewart would crash in qualifying, and have to start in the rear.  Matt Kenseth had a great car and led 176 of the 267 laps.  But when the last yellow flew with 17 laps to go Dale Earnhardt Jr's crew chief Steve Hmiel made a great call and only took two tires.  Scott Wimmer did not pit and took the green first, but by lap 257 Earnhardt had grabbed the lead and would never look back.  Kenseth finished second, followed by Jimmie Johnson, Brian Vickers, and Tony Stewart.  Wimmer fell back to 17th by the time the race ended with his old tires.

2008 - Tony Stewart announces he is leaving Joe Gibbs Racing and will be driver and co-owner of Stewart-Haas Racing.

7-11

1952 – This race held at Morristown Speedway in Morristown, NJ would see Louise Smith make her final Cup start.  Smith was not feeling well as race time approached, but started the event anyway.  She was able to run 14 laps around the old dusty track before she had to park because of her illness.  Herb Thomas won the pole, and led the first 49 laps, but fell out on lap 124 with wheel bearing problems.  Tim Flock led from lap 50 to 124, when Lee Petty passed him and held on over the last 76 laps to grab the win.  Flock held on to finish second, Neil Cole was third, Ralph Liguori fourth, and Ronnie Kohler fifth.  For her career, Smith ran in 11 CUP races over three seasons with a best finish of 16th at Langhorn Speedway in 1949.

1954 – The ½ mile dirt track of Grand Rapids Speedrome in Grand Rapids MI hosted it’s final Cup event.  Herb Thomas won the pole, but broke a tie rod, and fell out on lap 49.  Lee Petty wheeled his 1954 Chrysler to the win, followed by Buck Baker, Dick Rathmen, Ray Duhigg and Jim Reed.  This was the final Cup race ran in Michigan until NASCAR raced at Michigan International Speedway in 1969.

1968 – Fonda Speedway located in Fonda, NY would host it’s last Cup event.  Fonda was a ½ mile dirt track hosting a 200 lap race.  David Pearson won the pole, with his rival Richard Petty outside.  Pearson grabbed the lead at the drop of the green and led the first 20 laps.  That would be it however as Petty bypassed him on lap 21 and led the rest of the way.  Buddy Baker finished second, Bobby Allison third, Bobby Isaac fourth, and Pearson fifth.

1963 – Jimmy Pardue, racing at Dog Track Speedway in Moyock, NC would win his final Cup race.  Junior Johnson started on the pole, but never led the field.  Ned Jarrett also started on the front row and led the first 178 laps.  Pardue passed him on lap 179, and led the final 72 laps.  Jarrett was able to grab second with Buck Baker, Mark Hurley and Neil Castles making up the top five.  It would be Hurley’s only career top five.

1971 – Chargin’ Charlie Glotzbach would claim his final Cup win here at Bristol Speedway.  Richard Petty won the pole, and led the first 43 laps.  He went on to finish third.  The only other person to lead any laps was Bobby Allison who led 46 and finished second.  Glotzbach was unstoppable this day as he led 411 laps, and lapped the field three time.  This was the only caution free race held at Bristol.

1993 – New Hampshire International Speedway hosted the Slick 50 300.  It was the first CUP race held on the 1.05 mile track located in Loudon, NH.  Mark Martin won the pole, and Sterling Marlin on the outside.  Marlin had a strong car and led 123 laps. R usty Wallace led 106 laps to win the event, including the last 30.  Martin finished second just 1.3 seconds behind.  Davey Allison finished third followed by Dale Jarrett and Ricky Rudd.  This was the Cup debut for Joe Nemechek, and Jeff Burton.  It was also the last Cup start for Davey Allison.  He was tragically killed two days later when he flew to Talladega Speedway, and his helicopter crashed.  For his career Allison started 191 races, and had 19 wins.  He had 66 finishes in the top five, and 94 finishes in the top 10. He finished third in the Cup points in 1991 and 1992.

7-12

1941 – Benny Parsons birthday

1949 – Rick Hendrick’s birthday - Car Owner - in the late 1970's Hendrick started a drag boat racing company; In 1984 he founded All-Star Racing (now Hendrick Motorsports).  So far he has owned car for 12 CUP Championships, and three Truck series Championships.

1958 – McCormick Field located in Ashville, NC hosted it’s only Cup event on this date.  It was 150 laps around a ¼ mile paved track.  Jim Paschal won the pole, and led all 150 laps to win the event.  Cotton Owens finished second, Rex White third with Lee Petty and Jack Smith fourth and fifth.  This was race 29 of a 51 race season.

1962 - Pat Tryson's birthday - Crew Chief - Tryson started as a crew chief for Geoff Bodine.  In 1999 he moved to Roush Racing in 2009 and 2010.  He became crew chief for Elliott Sadler in 2001-2002 driving for the Wood Brother.  Ricky Rudd replaced Sadler in 2003. I n 2004 Tryson returned to Roush racing for head up the efforts of Mark Martin from 2004-2006; and part of 2007 before leaving mid-season and going to Penske Racing to be crew chief for Kurt Busch.  In 2010-2011 he moved to Michael Waltrip Racing to work with Martin Truex.  In 2012 he headed up David Gilliland's team, and in 2013 with David Reutimann.  In 2014 he was the crew chief for car owner Steve Turner's Xfinity team before return to the Cup series in 2015 to head up the efforts of Reed sorenson in 2016.  He was able to become one of three other crew chiefs to make the Chase for the Sprint Cup in its first three seasons.

1966 – This would be the first of three races held at Oxford Plains Speedway in Oxford ME.  All were held in July.  This was race 31 on the 49 race schedule for this season.  Bobby Allison won the pole and lead 238 of the 300 laps.  Bobby Allison wheels his ­lightly regarded Chevrolet to victory in the 100-miler.  It is Allison's first big NASCAR win and the first for the Chevrolet nameplate since Junior Johnson won at Charlotte Motor Speedway on Oct. 13, 1963.  Tiny Lund finished second more than one lap in arrears.  Richard Petty was third, Neil Castles fourth, and James Hylton fifth .

1998 – Lake Speed would make his final Cup start here at New Hampshire Speedway in the Jiffy Lube 300.  Speed would have a short day as he was involved in a six car crash on lap 34.  The previous race Speed ran over debris during practice and had a hard crash that broke his sternum.  Speed aggravated his injury in the crash and never returned to racing.  Jeff Burton led 191 laps, and once he passed Mike Skinner on lap 142 the only laps he didn’t lead was during green flag pit stops.  The rest of the top five finishers were Mark Martin, Jeff Gordon, Rusty Wallace and Skinner.  For his career, Speed won his only race at Darlington in 1988. See the video here from YouTube 7-13

1961 – New Asheville Speedway located in Asheville, NC hosted it’s first Cup event.  It was 250 laps around a 4/10 mile paved track (100 miles).  Rex White won the pole and jumped out and led the first 118 laps.  He then broke a shock and was out of the event.  When White fell out, Jack Smith was there to take advantage of White’s misfortune and grabbed the lead.  He led the remaining 132 laps to claim the win by over a lap.  Joe Weatherly finished second followed by Richard Petty, Buck Baker, and Ned Jarrett.

1962 – Here at New Asheville Speedway Jack Smith would claim his last Cup win.  Rex White won the pole, and jumped into the lead a the green hankie flew.  He led the first 118 laps before having problems with his shocks.  Jack Smith took over the lead, and led the final 132 laps to collect the win.  Joe Weatherly was second, with Richard Petty, Buck Baker, and Ned Jarrett making up the top five.  Smith would win 21 events in his 264 races, over 15 seasons.

1963 – Glen Wood would get his final Cup win at Bowman-Gray Stadium in Winston-Salem, NC.  Wood won the pole, and led the first lap, but would not see the lead again until lap 107.  Wood grabbed the lead and held it to the finish.  Ned Jarrett was the only driver able to keep pace with Wood, and Wood edged Jarrett by only five seconds.  Buck Baker was third, Lee Petty fourth, and Jack smith fifth.  For his driving career Wood only raced in 62 events over 11 years.  He claimed 4 wins, and 22 top five finishes.  He is much better know as a car owner / mechanic. H e and brother Leonard formed “Wood Brothers Racing” and went on to own cars for such drivers as Junior Johnson, Marvin Panch, A.J. Foyt, Dan Gurney, Cale Yarborough, David Pearson, Neil Bonnett, Buddy Baker, Kyle Petty, Ricky Rudd and Bill Elliott.  In 2011 they and driver Trevor Bayne pulled a major upset and won the Daytona 500.  Glen retired in the late 1980’s and the team was taken over by his sons Eddie and Len.  As of 1/1/2017 the Wood Brothers have 1474 starts, with 98 wins, and 341 top fives.  Also the Wood Brothers are credited with inventing the modern pit stop.  Teams noticed the Wood Brothers had figured out that efficient pit stops could increase their position on the race track.  Other series also noticed the innovations, and in 1965 the team was hired to do pit stops at the INDY 500 for the Ford Lotus of Jim Clark.  Clark won the event.

1993 - on this date we lost Davey Allison - On Monday 7/12, Davey Allison boarded his newly acquired Hughes 369HS helicopter to fly to Talladega Superspeedway to watch family friend Neil Bonnett and his son David test a car for David's Xfinity Series debut.  He picked up another family friend, legendary racer Red Farmer, en route to the track.  Allison was attempting to land the helicopter inside a fenced-in area of the track infield when the craft nosed up suddenly, then crashed.  Neil Bonnett was able to free a semi-conscious Farmer from the wreckage, but could not reach Allison.  Paramedics arrived and freed Allison, who was alive but had suffered serious head injuries.  He died the next morning, July 13.  The National Transportation Safety Board blamed the crash on Allison's inexperience in helicopters, coupled with the decision to attempt a landing.  In his short NASCAR Cup career, Davey Allison posted 19 wins including the 1991 Coke 600 and 1992 Daytona 500.

2003 - The Tropicana 400 held at Chicagoland speedway would see Johnny Sauter make his first Cup start.  It would also mark the final Cup start for Jack Sprague.  Sauter would qualify 20th; have to go to the garage for mechanical repairs, but return to finish 35th.  Sprague started 34th would blow a motor and finish 40th.  The race had seven different leaders, and only 36 laps of yellow.  Tony Stewart led 80 laps, but would finish second.  Ryan Newman would lead the final 58 laps to get the win.  Jimmie Johnson was third, Jeff Gordon fourth, and Michael Waltrip fifth.

2014 - We saw the final year of broadcasting for both the ESPN family of networks and Turner Sports.  ESPN had covered the second half of the Sprint Cup season since 2007 while Turner Sports ended a thirty-two year relationship with NASCAR on TBS and later TNT.  The Camping World 301 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway was the final race broadcast by TNT.

7-14

1911 – Billy Blair’s birthday

1957 – Memphis-Arkansas Speedway in Lehi, AR hosted it’s last CUP race.  It was 134 laps on a 1 ½ mile dirt track (200 miles).  Speedy Thompson won the pole, and Paul Goldsmith started second.  Goldsmith led the first 36 laps, and fell out on lap 73 with carburetor problems.  Goldsmith blew a motor on lap 38 and was also sidelined.  Curtis Turner led from laps 37 to 72.  Jack Smith took over the lead, and led until he blew a motor just 8 laps from the finish.  At that point Marvin Panch was there to pounce and grab the win.  Bill Amick was second, while Fireball Roberts, Buck Baker, and Bob Welborn rounded out the top five.

1957 – Portland Speedway located in Portland OR also hosted a Cup event on this date.  It was the final Cup event held at this track;  a ½ mile dirt track that ran 200 laps.  Art Watts started on the pole, and Eddie Pagan was to his outside.  Pagan went on to win by over one lap over Lloyd Dane.  Danny Graves finished third, with Scotty Cain and Dick Getty fourth and fifth.

1970 - Jimmy Elledge's birthday - crew chief - in 1999 Elledge became a full time crew chief for the first time heading up driver Kenny Wallace.  He was head wrench for Andy Petree from 1999-2002. He moved to Ganassi Racing from 2003-2008 for drivers Casey Mears, Reed Sorenson and Juan Montoya. From 2009-2013 he headed up the efforts of several drivers including Kasey Kahne, Scott Speed, Justin Allgaier, and Kyle Larson.

1971 – This was the final Cup race at Albany-Saratoga Speedway in Malta, NY.  Richard Petty won the pole with Pete Hamilton outside.  Hamilton lost his transmission, and fell out on lap 82.  Petty led 181 of the 250 lap race to claim the victory by two laps.  He was followed by Dave Marcis, J.D. McDuffie, James Hylton, and Elmo Langley.  This was McDuffie’s best career finish.

1984 – Nashville Speedway located in Nashville, TN raced at the Tennessee State Fairgrounds.  This night it hosted it’s last Cup event.  IMO this was the “original” Bristol.  Everyone gets all hyped up about the races at Bristol (especially at night) but Nashville was running Saturday night races long before they started at Bristol.  The original high-banked track configurations were almost identical, and provided some great racing.  No telling how many of these races I attended as it was the closest Cup track to my home.  In any event, this race “the Pepsi 420” saw Ricky Rudd start on the pole, and Bill Elliott started outside.  Geoff Bodine had a strong car and led long stretches of the race, with various drivers leading at times for just a handful of laps at a time.  Independent driver Ronnie Thomas actually had the strongest car of the night.  However he had mechanical issues putting him many laps down.  When he returned to the race he was so strong he passed the entire field.  When the race ended Geoff Bodine crossed the finish line first.  He led 327 laps on the evening.  Darrell Waltrip finished second, followed by Dale Earnhardt Sr., Ron Bouchard, and Bobby Allison.  This was the first Cup start for Ken Schrader.

1996 – Ernie Irvan caps his miraculous comeback from life-threatening injuries by winning the Jiffy Lube 300 at New Hampshire Inter­national Speedway.

2005 – Ford unveils the NASCAR version of its new 2006 Fusion midsize sedan.  The car is set to make its ­racing debut at the February 2006 Daytona 500, marking the first time in 38 years that Ford has introduced a brand-new model and raced it in the same year.

2008 – Ryan Newman says he will leave Penske Racing at the end of the 2008 season.  Newman has won 43 poles and 13 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races for Penske.

7-15

1955 – Morristown Speedway located in Morristown NJ hosted it’s last Cup event.  Tim Flock won the pole, and led the first 150 laps.  Junior Johnson led for 40 laps before White retook the lead, and cruised to a two lap win.  Lee Petty was second, followed by Dave Terrell, Junior Johnson, and Jim Reed.

1964 – Islip Speedway in Ispil NY would host it’s first Cup event.  Islip was a 2/10 mile paved track that ran a 300 lap event.  2/10 mile.. man that’s a tight little track.  When they ran their final Cup race here in 1971 they squeezed 33 cars onto this tiny little track.  This was race 39 of the 62 CUP schedule in 1964.  Billy Wade and Ned Jarrett started on the front row.  Wade led the first 97 laps, with Jarrett leading the next 95 laps.  Wade retook the lead and led the final 98 laps to get the win.  Jarrett finished second, one lap behind.  Richard Petty was third, followed by Jimmy Pardue, and Bob Welborn.

1969 – Marty Snider’s birthday - TV Announcer

1971 – Ironically 7/15 would also be the date of the FINAL race held at Islip Speedway. This race was the Islip 250.  Still racing around that tight 2/10 mile track.  Richard Petty won the pole and led all 230 laps.  Race was shortened to 230 laps due to a scoring error. (how do you make a 20 lap scoring error).  In any event Petty was ahead by two laps when the race was checker flagged.  Friday Hassler finished second, Elmo Langley was third, Bobby Allison fourth, and G.C. Spencer fifth.  This was Hassler’s best career finish, and the smallest track the CUP series ever raced on.  This race saw 33 cars start on the tiny little track. (oh.. of note… the race here in 1967 was also on 7/15)

1972 - on this date we lost Fonty Flock.  He finished second in Cup points in 1951, and amassed 19 total Cup wins, along with one Convertible win.  In 1957 he raced at the Daytona Beach Road Course.  Herb Thomas had been gravely injured in a 1956 race held at the Cleveland County Fairgrounds in Shelby, North Carolina so he asked Flock to drive the car in the 1957 Southern 500.  Flock accepted. He spun and was smashed by Bobby Myers and Paul Goldsmith on lap 27, all three were injured, with Myers injuries proving to be fatal.  From the hospital bed, Flock announced his retirement. He passed away after a lengthy battle with cancer. He was 52.

1978 – This race held at Nashville speedway in Nashville, TN. would be Richard Childress’s best career finish.  Childress actually led seven laps early in the event.  There were five leaders and no one led more laps than Childress except for Cale Yarborough.  Yarborough grabbed the lead on lap 47, and led the next 411 laps to claim the win.  Out of the 840 possible laps ran at Nashville in 1978, Yarborough led 831 of them.  Darrell Waltrip finished second two laps down, with Childress third followed by Dave Marcis and J.D. McDuffie.  It should be noted that even though Childress never won a Cup race, he has gone on to be one of the most successful car owners.  Childress is best know for being the car owner while Dale Earnhardt Sr. had his great streak of wins and championships.  As of 1/1/2017 Childress has 105 Cup wins, and six championships. He also has 78 Xfinity series wins along with four Championships; and 31 Truck series wins and two championships in that series.

2001 – Chicagoland Speedway in Joliet, IL hosted the Tropicana 400, it’s first Cup race.  It was 267 laps around a 1 ½ mile track.  Todd Bodine posted a great lap to win the pole.  Jimmy Spencer started second.  Kevin Harvick led 113 laps in a strong GM Goodwrench Chevy.  The only driver able to challenge Harvick was Jerry Nadeau, but his day ended when he blew a motor just 28 laps from the end.  Harvick went on to win the inaugural race with Robert Pressley posting his best career finish (2nd).  The top five was Ricky Rudd, Dale Jarrett, and Jimmy Spencer.

7-16

1958 – State Line Speedway in Busti, NY would host it’s only Cup event this date.  It was 150 laps around a 1/3 mile dirt track.  Lee Petty won the pole, and L.D. Austin started second.  Petty would have problems and fell out just 11 laps from the finish.  Austin finished sixth.  Shorty Rollins went on to collect his only career Cup win.  Bob Duell finished second followed by Ken Johnson, Emory Mahon, and John Seeley.  Duell, Johnson, Mahon, and Seeley all posted career best finishes in this race.  Rollins would only run 43 Cup races, but post 12 top five finishes, and 27 top tens.  He finished fourth in the 1958 points race, even though he only raced in 29 of the 51 events.

1972 – This would be the final Cup race hosted by Trenton Speedway in Trenton, NJ.  Bobby Isaac would win the pole, and go on to lead 117 laps of the 200 lap event.  But he couldn’t hold off Bobby Allison as he bypassed Isaac with 25 laps to go.  Allison collected the win with Isaac second.  Richard Petty finished third, Fred Lorenzen fourth, and Cecil Gordon fifth.  Trenton Speedway also hosted 48 Indy Car races from 1957 through 1978.

1994 – Dale Jarrett scores his first win with the Robert Yates Ford team, beating Jeff Gordon in a classic duel at Pocono.  The lead changes hands 37 times among 13 drivers in the highly competitive event.

7-17

1960 – This was the only race ever held at Mongomery Air base in Montgomery, NY.  This was a 2 mile paved road course,.. ran on the air force base runways.  John Rostek won the pole.  It was his lone pole in his six race career.  Richard Petty started second.  Rex White started third, and led 63 of the 100 laps; driving away to win by over a lap.  Petty finished second, Lee Petty third, with Ned Jarrett and Buck Baker fourth and fifth. Race Video via YouTube.

2011 - The Lenox Tools 301 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway would be the final Cup start for Jeff Green.  He would start 35th, but only complete 11 laps and finish 43rd with brake issues.  13 different drivers led with 21 lead changes.  Ryan Newman won the pole, led 119 laps, and won the race.  The rest of the top five was Tony Stewart, Denny Hamlin, Joey Logano, and Jimmy Johnson.  For his Cup career, Green started 269 races while posting five top five finishes.  His best career finish was here at NH in 2002 by finishing second.

7-18

1925 – Glenn Wood’s birthday

1950 – Darlington Raceway officials officially title the 500-mile Labor Day race as the "Southern Five-Hundred."  Harold Brasington also announces NASCAR will co-sanction the $25,000 race.  The original sanctioning body, the CSRA, has had difficulty attracting entries.  Raceway officials report the field will be limited to 45 cars.

1958 – Canadian Exposition Stadium hosted it’s only Cup event on this date.  The track was a 1/3 mile paved track located in Toronto, Canada.  Rex White won the pole, and Jim Reed started along side.  White led the first 71 laps, before Lee Petty passed him, and led until lap 100 to claim the win.  Cotton Owens finished second, and was followed to the finish line by Reed, Shorty Rollins, and Johnny Mackison.  Richard Petty made his first career Cup start, but during the race as his Dad came up to lap him, Richard was holding him up, so good ol’ Dad gave Richard the chrome horn, and put him into the wall.  Richard was out on lap 55.  The Canadian Exposition still hosts the INDY car series events on the Exhibition Place grounds.

2004 – Dale Earnhardt, Jr., holding down second place in the NASCAR Cup points standings, suffers serious burns during practice for an American LeMans Series race at Infineon Raceway in Sonoma, Calif.

7-19

1958 – Civic Stadium, located in Buffalo, NY hosted it’s only Cup race – a 100 lap race on a ¼ mile paved track.  Rex White won the pole averaging 38.5 mph.  Johnny Mackison started second.  White would jump out and lead the first 45 laps.  Jim Reed then took over the lead, and led until the end winning the race at an average speed of 46.9 mph.  This was the second (and final) time that a Cup race average speed was faster than the qualifying average.  Cotton Owens finished second.  Johnny Mackison was third, followed by Shorty Rollins, and White.  This would be the best career finish for Mackison.  The entire 100 lap race was ran in just over 30 minutes.

1963 – This would be the final CUP start for Jim Reed.  Reed started eighth, but had rear-end problems and fell out after 29 laps finishing 19th.  Joe Weatherly won the pole, and jumped out to lead the first 179 laps.  Fireball Roberts took the lead for the final 21 laps to claim the win.  Rex White finished second, followed by Fred Lorenzen, Ned Jarrett, and Bobby Isaac.  This would be Isaac’s first career top five, and the last short track win for Roberts.  For his career Reed competed in 106 races and got seven wins with almost ½ of his starts being top tens.

1964 – Watkins Glen would host the final Cup start of Lee Petty.  66 laps around a 2.3 mile road course in Watkins Glen, NY.  Billy Wade won four races in his CUP career, all in a row; this being the fourth.  Wade was killed at Daytona in a tire testing accident in Janurary of 1965.  LeeRoy Yarbrough finished second.  The top five was Walt Hansgen, Buck Baker, and Bob Welborn.  According to race statistics, Hansgen might have been one of the first ‘road course specialist”.  He ran three Cup races in his career with finishes of third, third, and sixth.  In his final race, Petty started 20th and finished 22nd.  He retired only nine laps into the race with handling problems.

7-20

1942 – Pete Hamilton’s birthday

1952 – Playland Park Speedway would host their only Cup race on this date.  The track was a ½ mile dirt track located in South Bend, IN.  Herb Thomas won the pole and would lead the first 41 laps.  He crashed out on lap 64.  Tim Flock started second, and took the lead on lap 42.  He held on to claim the checkers.  Lee Petty was second, followed by Bub King, Hershel Buchanan, and Dick Passwater.  This would be King’s best career finish.

1962 – Joe Weatherly captures the 100-mile Grand National at Savannah Speedway.  African-American driver Wendell Scott earns his first career pole position in qualifications and ­finishes eighth.

7-21

1956 – Historic Soldier Field in Chicago IL would host it’s only Cup race on this date.  It is a little know fact that Soldier Field was a combination race track and football field until the early 1960’s.  This would be the final Cup race held in IL until NASCAR returned to race at Chicagoland Speedway in 2001.  Soldier Field also hosted NASCAR Cup races from the convertible series in 1956 and 1957.  On this date, Billy Myers won the pole with Herb Thomas second.  Thomas crashed out on lap 98, and Myers had brake failure on lap 140.  Fireball Roberts won the race, with Jim Paschal second.  Rounding out the top five were, Ralph Moody, Speedy Thompson, and Frank Mundy.

1964 – Bob Welborn would make his final Cup start here at Lincoln Speedway located in New Oxford, PA.  Welborn tried to go out with a bang.  He won started second and led the first 125 laps.  Then his motor expired and he was finished for the night.  David Pearson went on to lead the final 75 laps, and claim the win.  Richard Petty was second, Jimmy Pardue third, Wendell Scott fourth, and Doug Yates fifth. (Not the same Doug Yates, son of Robert Yates).  For his career, Welborn 183 events, and collected nine wins, 58 top fives, and 120 top tens.

1991 - ARCA ace Bill Venturini would make his final Cup start here at Pocono PA in the Miller Genuine Draft 500.  Venturini ran a low budget team, and only make seven CUP starts.  On this day he started and finished 39th after he had drive train problems.  His best finish was at Talladega in 1990 where he finished 18th.  The race was a crash fest as there was ten yellows for 43 laps before the 1/2 way mark.  On lap 108 the race went back green and ran a long green session until it started to rain.  Ervin had been the class of the field during the long run, and was the first of the leaders to pit.  Just a couple laps later it started to rain.  Rusty Wallace had assumed the lead when Irvan pitted.  There was a long red flag, and just as the field rolled back out on the track behind the pace car, the rain started falling again.  Sensing the race would never be able to go back green, leader Rusty Wallace (very low on fuel) shut his car off and had the lapped car of Dale Earnhardt push him around the track under yellow until NASCAR pulled the plug.  NASCAR threw the white flag the second time by and Rusty started his car back up and finished the last lap under yellow under his own power to take the win.  Following Wallace across the line was Mark martin, Geoff Bodine, Hut Stricklin, and Sterling Marlin.  This race was Gary Balough's return to Cup racing after his prison stay for drug trafficking charges.

2002 – The New England 300, held at New Hampshire International speedway located in Loudon, NH. saw Ward Burton grab his last Cup victory.  Bill Elliott qualified on the pole, with Mike Skinner joining him on the front row.  12 drivers shared the lead that had 23 lead changes.  Matt Kenseth had a strong car, and probably should of won the event, but a flat tire late in the event that left him with a 33rd place finish.  30 cars finished on the lead lap.  Kenseth’s flat came with 9 laps to go, and Burton took the lead and the win.  Jeff Green finished second three second behind.  This was the best finish ever for Green.  The top five was rounded out by Dale Jarrett, Rusty Wallace, and Ryan Newman.  After making a driver swap, Todd Bodine started last and worked his way up to finish sixth. 7

-22

1953 – NASCAR embarks on a western tour with NASCAR Grand National races in South Dakota, Iowa, and Nebraska.

1953 – Rapid Valley Speedway located in Rapid City, SD. would host it’s only Cup event.  Herb Thomas won the pole, and went on to capture the win, and the $1,000 winners check.  Dick Rathman finished second followed by Fonty Flock, Lee Petty and Buck Baker.  Johnny Beauchamp made his first Cup start in this event and won $25.

1973 – This race at Atlanta International Raceway would mark the first Cup start for Jody Ridley.  Richard Petty won the pole, but never led a lap.  To make matters worse, he blew a motor on lap 72 and was out of the event.  Bobby Allison started second, and also blew a motor finishing 27th.  David Pearson would have the car to beat this day, as he led 178 laps, and got the win.  Cale Yarborough finished second, Donnie Allison third, and Joe Frasson fourth.  In his first Cup start Jody Ridley would finish fifth.  Nice run for a first race.

2001 - The first Sprint Cup Series race was aired on TNT from New Hampshire Motor Speedway; Allen Bestwick, Benny Parsons and Wally Dallenbach manned the broadcast booth.

7-23

1941 – Richie Evan’s birthday

2006 – Pocono Speedway would host Jimmy Spencer’s last Cup start.  Spencer was driving for an under funded race team, and in fact he had to make the race via another driver failing post-qualifying inspection.  Spencer did have a decent run.  He finished one lap down, but it was 36th position . 28 cars finished on the lead lap. Denny Hamlin was the class of the field, as he led 151 of the 200 laps.  Kurt Busch finished second, Jeff Gordon third, Brian Vickers fourth, and Kevin Harvick fifth.  Hamlin would be the first rookie to sweep both races at Pocono.  This event would also be the first Cup start for Steven Leicht.  Leicht would start 36th, and like Spencer would have a good run and finish a lap down.  He wound up 33rd.

7-24

1957 – Norfolk Speedway located in Norfolk, VA hosted it’s final Cup event.  This track hosted two events, the other being in 1956.  Bill Amick and Jack Smith started on the front row.  Amick had a short night as his distributor failed after only 29 laps.  Buck Baker started eighth, and won the 250 lap race.  Joe Weatherly, Jim Paschal Billy Myers, and Jack smith were the top five finishers.

1966 – The race this day was held at Bristol Speedway in Bristol TN.  Curtis Turner won the pole, and led the first 80 laps.  He blew a motor on lap 209 and finished 30th.  Richard Petty had a stout car today, and he led 336 laps of the 500 lap event.  Paul Goldsmith would pass Petty with five laps to go to collect his last Cup win by three car lengths.  Petty was second, followed across the line by David Pearson, Paul Lewis, and Bobby Allison.  For his career Goldsmith won 9 events in his 127 starts. He did have 44 top five finishes, and 59 top tens.  Goldsmith also won a Convertible Cup Series event in 1956.

1994 – Jimmy Spencer won his last (of two) career races at Talladega Speedway on this date.  He had won his first race earlier this same month at Daytona (7/2).  Dale Earnhardt Sr. won the pole, but blew a motor at the ½ way point and was out for the race.  Spencer started second, and led 21 laps on the day.  He beat out teammate Bill Elliott by .025 second.  For Spencer’s two wins he won by a total of .033 seconds.  Ernie Irvan was third, followed by Ken Schrader, and Sterling Marlin.

2005 – This would be the final start for Greg sacks, here at Pocono Raceway in Long Pond, PA.  Kurt Busch had the strongest car all day long.  He led a dominate 131 of 200 laps.  Rusty Wallace would finish second, Mark Martin third, Carl Edwards fourth, and Ryan Newman fifth.  For his career Sacks ran in 263 events, and only claimed the one win (mentioned on 7/4)

2013 - After over 40 years away from a dirt track; one of NASCAR's three major divisions returned to it's roots.  The Mudsummer Classic was held at the half-mile Eldora Speedway in Ohio owned and operated by Tony Stewart.  The event format saw an initial two-lap speed trial to set the seven car line-up for five heat races from which the top drivers progressed to the feature race.  A 15-lap 'last chance' supplied the remaining race starters.  Ken Schrader won pole, becoming at 58 the oldest pole winner in a NASCAR national-level race beating the previous record held by the late Dick Trickle.  Schrader finished the race in 14th place.  The NASCAR Truck Series race held on a dirt track short race course was won by Austin Dillon, his fifth win in 53 starts in the series and his first of 2013; with Kyle Larson coming home in second place after a no-holds-barred green-white-checkered climax to an evening of thoroughly mud-splattered proceedings.  "I love this dirt racing, it's so much fun," said Dillon, who regularly dirt track races in his spare time.  "This is real racing right here." The rest of the top five finishers were Kyle Larson, Ryan Newman, Joey Coulter and Brendan Gaughan.

7-25

1925 – Dick Passwater’s birthday

1947 - Ernie Elliott's birthday.- crew chief - Elliott was the crew chief and engine builder for brother Bill Elliott during his hay day of the 1980's.  He led Bill to 28 wins and the 1988 CUP Championship.  The duo paired up to win the Daytona 500 twice, and the Southern 500 twice, along with the Winston Million.

1958 – This would be the final Cup race held at Monroe County Fairgrounds.  Rex White won the pole, and Shorty Rollins started second.  Rollins led 17 laps then fell out with a burned piston.  White had fallen out on lap 10 with overheating issues.. So the front row ended as the the last two finishers.  Jack Smith took up the lead and led until lap 95 when he got a puncture in his gas tank.  Cotton Owens who had started third and was able to take the lead and led the final 105 laps to get the win.  Buck Baker finished second two laps behind.  The rest of the top five was Speedy Thompson, Lee Petty, and Bob Duell

1965 – Ned Jarrett edges Dick Hutcherson to win Bristol's Volunteer 500.  It is the 32nd consecutive victory for Ford, an all-time NASCAR Cup record.  Richard Petty returns to NASCAR Cup racing as NASCAR relaxes the rules against the Hemi engine on short tracks.

2016 – NASCAR driver David Cicso passed away on this date.  Cisco was a NASCAR Cup series driver from 1971-1977 running in 133 races during that time.  He was also the Nashville Fairgrounds track Champion.  Cisco ran as an 'independent' usually with minor sponsorship.  For his career Cisco had a best finish of third (twice) both times coming in the Southern 500 in 1974 and 1975.  He also posted 31 top ten finishes.

7-26

1938 – Buddy Arrington’s birthday

1949 – Bill Baird’s birthday

1953 – Lincoln City Fairgrounds located in North Platte, NE would host it’s only Cup event.  Like many tracks of the time, it was a 200 lap race on a ½ mile dirt track.  Herb Thomas won the pole but couldn’t hold off Dick Rathman to get the win.  Thomas finished second, followed by Lee Petty, Buck Baker, and Marvin Copple.  This was Copple’s best finish of his two race career.

1964 – Fred Lorenzen, down by three laps with four laps to go, takes advantage of Richard Petty's engine failure to win the Volunteer 500 at Bristol International Speedway.  Petty's car creeps to a halt on the final lap, giving Lorenzen his sixth win of the year.

1981 – Bruce Jacobi ran his last Cup race on this date.  It was held at Pocono Raceway.  He started 35th, and finished 30th falling out on lap 117 with ignition problems.  Jacobi was an independent driver who raced mostly with equipment far inferior to the factory backed teams.  He started 18 CUP events in 1975 and 1976, and didn’t start any more until 1980 and 1981 when he ran one race each year.  He also raced in the USAC Champ Car series (Indy cars) from 1960 through 1970.  In the ten years he raced part time, and competed in 38 events.  He had one top five finish in 1970, finishing fourth at Springfield, IL.  In 1983 Jacobi came to Daytona Speedweeks without a ride, but picked one up with a smaller independent team by the time of the Twin 125 Qualifiers.  During the first Twin 125 qualifying race, he lost control of his car at the exit of Turn 2 and flipped upon entering the grass infield, eventually coming to a stop near the inside dirt bank. T he car flipped end over end and it is speculated that his roll cage failed during the crash.  Jacobi suffered extensive head injuries from the crash and was in a coma for almost four years before passing away at Methodist Hospital in Indianapolis.

1992 – Talladega Super speedway in Talladega AL saw Charlie Glotzbach run his last race.  He finished 30th four laps down, but it wasn’t as bad as it sounds.  The fifth place finisher finished one lap behind. Ernie Irvan, Sterling Marlin, and Davey Allison were the class of the field.  Even though Allison only drove his car a few laps.  Allison had a bad wreck the week before at Pocono, and at the first yellow he got out and Bobby Hillin took over the ride.  Due to untimely pit stops, matched with untimely yellows, only the three cars finished on the lead lap.  Irvan led all but three of the final 30 laps to claim the win.  Marlin was second, and Hillin in Allison’s car finished third.  The rest of the top five were Ricky Rudd and Bill Elliott.  Several drivers made their first Cup starts this day among them  T.W. Taylor and Stan Fox.  Making their final Cup starts were Delma Cowart, Bobby Gearhart, and Randy Porter.

2005 – Popular broadcaster and ­former NASCAR champion Benny Parsons begins treatments for lung cancer.  Parsons would succumb to the disease less than six months later on January 16, 2007. He was 65.

7-27

1956 – Cleveland County Fairgrounds located in Shelby, NC hosted it’s first Cup event.  Ralph Moody won the pole, with Speedy Thompson starting outside.  Thompson went on to win the event with Moody second.  Billy Myers finished third followed by Fireball Roberts and Buck Baker.

1980 – Pocono International speedway in Long Pond, PA. would be the location that Janet Guthrie make her last Cup start.  After driving for most of her career making the green Kelly Girl sponsored Chevy famous, she drove her final race in a North American Dealers Group Ford.  Guthrie finished 28th win a blown motor.  Cale Yarborough won the pole with Neil Bonnett along side. 1 1 drivers paced the field with 49 lead changes.  Neil Bonnet led 59 laps, but had to pass Buddy Baker with four laps to go to claim the win.  Baker finished second as Bonnett edged him out by 6/10 of a second.  Cale Yarborough came home third, with Dale Earnhardt Sr. fourth and Harry Gant fifth.  Richard Petty had a terrible accident on lap 57 and broke his neck.  Petty had won the Cup championship in 1979 and hid the injury from NASCAR.  He knew that if NASCAR knew of his injury they would make him sit out of races until he healed knowing another crash could kill him.  There is a video from YouTube of the crash here.  Tim Richmond made his CUP debut in this event.  For Guthrie’s CUP career she made 33 starts with a best finish of 6th at Bristol in 1977.  She posted five top ten finishes.  Guthrie was better know for breaking into the INDY 500 series, and being the first woman to qualify and race in both the INDY 500 and Daytona 500.  Guthrie made her first start at INDY in 1977, and raced in the World 600 in 1976.  She had a best finish of 9th in the INDY 500.  She competed in that event three times.  The CUP drivers often showed hostility toward Guthrie when she started competing in the CUP series.  After the drivers saw her compete, and saw in good equipment she could be compete with the guys, there was a big change in the reaction of her fellow drivers.

1986 – Bobby Hillin, Jr., a 22-year-old Texan, holds off Tim Richmond in a last-lap battle to win the Talladega 500.  Hillin, Jr., becomes the third youngest driver to win a NASCAR Winston Cup race.

7-28

1940 – Bill France wheels a car owned by Andy Beardon to victory in a 200 mile race event in Fort Wayne Ind.  France filled in for Roy Hall who was in jail in Georgia on a moonshine charge.

1966 – At Smokey Mountain Raceway located in Maryville, TN; Paul Lewis would win his only Cup event.  Buddy Baker won the pole and was leading when he crashed out of the event.  David Pearson led 100 laps in the race, and was the only driver able to keep up with Lewis.  Lewis led the final 64 laps to claim the win, with Pearson just two second behind.  J.T Putney finished third one lap behind.  Doug Cooper was fourth, and Bobby Allison fifth.

1985 – Davey Allison made his first career Cup start of what would be a great, but all to short career.  The start came at Talladega International Speedway in Talladega, AL.  Bill Elliott won the pole, as this was during the era that he seems to be unstoppable at super speedways.  Elliott led 100 of the 188 laps, but only managed to post a fourth place finish.  Cale Yarborough passed Elliott with 20 laps to go to collect the win.  Neil Bonnett was second, as Ron Bouchard finished third.  A.J. Foyt finished fifth, and this would be his last Cup top five finish.  Davey Allison finished a respectable 10th in his debut.

7-29

1935 - Friday Hassler’s birthday

1951 – Asheville-Weaverville Speedway hosted it’s first Cup race on this date.  Located in Weaverville, NC the event was 200 laps on a ½ mile dirt track.  Fonty Flock started on the pole, and went on to win the event.  Gober Sosebee finished second, followed by Herb Thomas, Frank Mundy and Speedy Thompson.  This would be the first start for Bobby Myers.  Father of gas-man Danny “Chocolate” Myers, one of the members of the “Flying Aces” for Dale Earnhardt Sr. pit crew

1955 – This date saw the last Cup race at Altamont-Schenectady Fairgrounds located in Altamont, NY.  It was 200 laps around a ½ mile dirt oval.  Tim Flock won the pole, while Buck Baker started outside.  Baker burned a piston and fell out finishing last.  Flock also had issues, and only completed 160 laps of the event, finishing 11th.  Junior Johnson led 150 of the 177 laps to claim the win.  The race was shortened to 177 laps due to a crash.  Jim Paschal finished second, followed by Lee Petty, Jimmie Lewallen, and Gene Simpson. T his was Simpson’s best career finish (23 events)

1956 - Pete Orr’s birthday

1956 – Montgomery Speedway in Montgomery, AL. would host race #35 of the 56 race Cup season. Marvin Panch won the pole, and went on to win the race.  It was his first of his 17 career wins.  Buck Baker finished second, Bill Amick third, Speedy Thompson fourth, and Lee Petty fifth.

1959 - Groundbreaking ceremonies for the new Charlotte Motor Speedway take place on a sultry summer morning.  The new speedway will be built by Curtis Turner and Bruton Smith, and the first race is scheduled for May 1960.

2007 - ESPN returns after six seasons away from broadcasting NASCAR Sprint Cup events.  The Allstate 400 at the Brickyard in Indianapolis is the first NASCAR Cup race on ESPN since the NAPA 500 in Atlanta on November 19, 2000.  ESPN is credited with bringing NASCAR to the masses in the 1980s with live broadcasts of NASCAR Sprint Cup races in an era of tape-delayed highlights.

7-30

1946 – Neil Bonnett’s birthday

1955 – This would be the first of three races held at at New Your State Fairgrounds, in Syracuse, NY.  It was 100 laps around a one mile dirt oval.  Many State fairgrounds of this period were one mile dirt ovals.  In the mid-west and northeast U.S., many of these original tracks still remain.  Several that come to mind right off the bat are “the Springfield Mile” in Springfield IL,  Dequoin Fairgrounds, also in IL, Indiana State Fairgrounds, the Milwaukee Mile in Milwaukee WIS, along with many others.  Since USAC Sprint cars, and USAC Championship cars were so popular in the Midwest, these tracks often hosted several of the USAC races. (and still do).  On this date Tim Flock won the pole, jumped to the lead, and led all 100 laps.  But second place finisher Jimmy Lewallen stayed close behind, but just couldn’t get around Flock as the race ran the entire distance with no yellows.  Lee Petty was third, followed by Bob Welborn and Jim Paschal.

1957 – Lancaster Speedway had a short run hosting Cup events.  This was the last Cup event held at Lancaster Speedway in Lancaster, SC.  It only hosted two Cup events, the other being eight weeks earlier in early June.  In this event Speedy Thompson won the pole and led all 200 laps, but just edged out Bill Amick for the win.  Marvin Panch would finish second three laps behind, with Buck Baker and Lee Petty fourth and fifth.

1961 – This was the date that Bristol Motor Speedway hosted it’s first ever Cup event.  Then as it is now.. it was 500 laps around a ½ mile track.  Fred Lorenzen and Junior Johnson started on the front row.  Lorenzen had a rear end failure on lap 175 and was out of the race.  Johnson led the first 124 laps, but also had the same problem as he broke a rear end also on lap 340.  Jack Smith worked his way up from his 12th place starting position taking the lead on lap 268.  He led the remaining laps to claim the win by over two laps.  Fireball Roberts finished second, Ned Jarrett third, Richard Petty fourth, and Buddy Baker fifth.

1966 – Richard Petty would start on the pole for the Nashville 400 held at Nashville Speedway.  Petty grabbed the lead at the drop of the green, and drove away from the field leading all 400 laps in the race.  He won by five laps over Buck Baker.  Bobby Allison, Henley Gray, and John Sears rounded out the top five.  This was Gray’s best career finish.  CooCoo Marlin; father or Cup driver Sterling Marlin would make his first career start.  This would also be the first Cup start for country singer Marty Robbins.  Robbins raced in 35 events over 13 season, and had the respect of all his fellow competitors.

1989 – Patty Moise made her final Cup start here at Talladega Speedway in the DieHard 500.  Moise started 36th, but had oil pressure problems after only 33 laps and finished 33rd.  There was 49 lead changes among 9 drivers.  Mark Martin won the pole, and Darrell Waltrip was outside.  From his fourth place starting position, Bill Elliott grabbed the lead and led the first 6 laps.  He got caught up in ‘the big one’ on lap 27 damaging his car, and was out of contention for the day.  Morgan shepherd would lead at one point for 21 laps, and one other point for 11 laps.  Except for when Terry Labonte led for 13 laps, no other driver was able to lead in but a few laps at a time.  Labonte swept by Darrell Waltrip with 13 laps to go and went on to claim the win.  He only led a total of 25 laps.  Waltrip was able to hang on to finish second, with Martin, Ken Schrader, and Rick Wilson rounding out the top five. B y pocketing $47,965 for his second-place finish in the Talladega 500, Darrell Waltrip becomes NASCAR's first $10 million winner.

7-31

1916 – Louise Smith’s birthday

1960 – Atlanta Motor Speedway hosted it’s first Cup race.  It was 200 laps around a 1.5 mile track.  Fireball Roberts won the pole, and Jack Smith started along side.  Roberts led the first lap, but there was many lead changes during the race.  Joe Weatherly was one of six drivers to swap the lead, but he blew a motor on lap 148, and was out for the day.  Cotton Owens led for a long stretch from lap 71 to lap 188.  But on lap 189 Roberts bypassed Owens, and went on to take the checkers.  Owens finished second, followed by Smith, Bobby Johns, and Fred Lorenzen.

1965 – Following a meeting with concerned promoters, Bill France lifts the lifetime ban on Curtis Turner.  Turner plans to enter selected NASCAR Grand National events for the first time since 1961.

1988 – The Talladega DieHard 500 would be the scene of Ken Schrader’s first win.  Schrader was driving for Rick Hendrick at the time, wheeling the Folgers Coffee Chevy.  Darrell Waltrip won the pole, and led 123 of the 188 laps. H e was leading when he blew a motor with 26 laps to go.  19 cars finished on the lead lap and this was a battle right to the end.  Dale Earnhardt Sr. led from laps 163-187.  After the white flag came out Schrader and Sterling made separate moves to pass Earnhardt.  Schrader was able to come from fourth and pass three cars before getting into turn three, and held off the pack to claim the win.  The top five were Geoff Bodine, Earnhardt, Rick Wilson, and Rusty Wallace.  The final three laps of this exciting finish is here at YouTube. Check it out on YouTube here.  The race is Buddy Baker's last, as he is forced to retire when a blood clot is discovered in his brain.

1992 - Kyle Larson's birthday.

2011 – The BrickYard 400 held at Indianapolis Motor Speedway would see another Cup driver get his first career win.  This would be the fourth time in 2011 that we had a first time winner.  David Ragan had won his first CUP race this month also.  On this date we saw David Ragan start from the pole, as Kasey Kahne started second.  Kahne had a strong car as took the lead as the green flew.  He raced away from the field building up a 8 second lead after just 25 laps in.  Jeff Gordon had the strongest car however, and he was running down Kahne.  Gordon took the lead when Kahne pitted for green flag pit stops, but when the stops cycled through, Kahne had increased his lead.  Kahne held his lead until the first crash of the day that eliminated David Reutimann.  Dale Earnhardt Jr. did not pit with the rest of the field, and assumed the lead on the restart.  Jeff Gordon made quick work of him when the green flew, and went on to lead for the next 21 laps, lead at the 1/2 way point.  There would be 4 different leaders in the second 1/2 of the race, and when it came down to the finish it developed into a fuel mileage race.  Jamie McMurray, Paul Menard, Regan Smith, and Greg Biffle had all slowed down the pace trying to keep the lead, but conserve fuel.  Jeff Gordon was 15+ second behind, but had pitted and had plenty of gas.  Gordon was gaining on the lead pack at the rate of 1 to 2 second per lap as the laps wound down. Menard decided it was time to go as Gordon moved in.  He passed McMurray with four laps to go, and trying to build as much lead on Gordon as he could.  By the time Gordon passed the lapped traffic, Menard was taking the white flag, as Gordon closed in.  The drama was in if Menard had enough gas to make it to the checkers, and he did; beating Gordon by 3/4 of a second.  Third went to Regan Smith, McMurray was fourth, and Matt Kenseth.