NOTE### - any date in PINK and BOLD is an event pre-NASCAR - but is associated to bringing about the sport of NASCAR
1926 – Darel Dieringer’s birthday.
1948 – Tom Sneva’s birthday
1952 – This would be the only Cup race held at Hayloft Speedway in Augusta, GA. Tommy Moon and Gober Sosebee would make up the front row. The race was 200 laps on a ½ mile dirt track. Sosebee took the lead when the green flag flew, and led until lap 154. At that point it began to rain and the race was called official. This would be the first of two wins for Sosebee. Tommy Moon would finish second with David Ezell, June Cleveland, and Jerry Wimbish making up the top five. It was career best finishes for Moon, Ezell, and Cleveland.
1952 – This would be the final CUP race held at Fort Miami Speedway in Toledo OH. It was a 200 lap affair around a ½ mile dirt track. Fonty Flock would start on the pole, along side Dick Rathman. Fonty would lead the first 30 laps, before brother Tim Flock bypassed him and led the final 170 laps. Rathman would finish second, with Lee Petty six laps behind in third. Ray Duhigg was fourth and Fonty Flock fifth. There would be two CUP races held at this track. Tim Flock won them both.
???? – Ryan Pemberton's birthday
1957 – The ½ mile dirt Lancaster Speedway in Lancaster SC would host it’s final CUP event. It hosted a total of two CUP events, both in the 1957 season. Buck Baker won the pole, and Fireball Roberts joined him on the front row. Roberts would blow a motor on lap 169 of the 200 lap event. Paul Goldsmith went on to win the event from his seventh place starting spot. Buck Baker came home second, followed by Lee Petty, Marvin Panch, and Speedy Thompson.
1958 – This would be the first CUP race held at historic Riverside International Raceway. This venue hosted one or two CUP races each year through 1988 before the track was demolished so a new housing development could be located there. This place had some very exciting road course racing while it was in existence. It’s last CUP race was in 1988. It was a 2.6 mile road course that ran a 500 mile distance. Parnelli Jones won the pole and Danny Graves started outside. Jones would take the lead when the green hankie flew. He would lead the first 147 laps.. then get crashed out. Graves’ luck wouldn’t prove to be much better as he fell out on lap 66 with a broken connecting rod. Eddie Gray would take the lead when Jones fell out and wheel his 1957 Ford to the win. Lloyd Dane would be the only driver able to stay on the same lap as Gray and he finished over ½ lap down. Third through fifth was Jack Smith, Lee Petty, and Bob Keefe. This race took 6 hours and 18 minutes to complete.
2003 – This would be the final CUP start for Brett Bodine. The race was held at Dover International Speedway in Dover, DE. The race was 400 laps and no driver fell out until after the ½ point. There was a seven car wreck on lap 212, and it collected Bodine, so it was a rough way to end his career. Ryan Newman won the pole, and Rusty Wallace joined him on the front row. Newman lost his power steering, but went on to lead over 160 laps to nab the win. Jeff Gordon finished second, followed by Bobby Labonte, Tony Stewart, and Johnny Benson Jr. For his career Bodine collected one win (North Wilkesboro – 1990) in his 480 starts. He had 16 top five finishes, and 61 top tens. Bodine is still involved in CUP racing, and in fact drives a car; and leads every lap he drives. For the last several years he has been the pace car driver at all CUP events.
1942 – Larry Smith’s birthday.
1960 – Kyle Petty’s birthday
1963 - Banjo Matthews would make his final start as a CUP driver, but start a great career as a car owner / mechanic. He guided the career of such NASCAR stars as Fireball Roberts, AJ Foyt, Junior Johnson, Donnie Allison and Cale Yarborough. In his final race (the World 600), Matthews started ninth and saw his differential fail with less that 50 laps to go relegating him to a 17th place finish. Junior Johnson was the class of the field as he won the pole and led 289 or the 400 laps. With three laps to go Johnson cut a tire and Fred Lorenzen was there to snatch away the lead and get the win. Johnson managed to finish second, followed by Rex White, Joe Weatherly and David Pearson.
1996 - Herman Sadler would make his first Career CUP start at Dover International Speedway in the Miller 500. Sadler started 30th and ran 349 laps before falling out with handling issues. Jeff Gordon was 'the man' this day as he won the pole, led 307 laps, and claimed the win. Terry Labonte finished second four seconds in arrears, followed by Dale Earnhardt Sr, Ernie Irvan, and Bobby Labonte.
2002 - Dick Trickle would make his final CUP start at Dover International Speedway in Dover DE. Trickle started 29th and was having a good day until he had an oil pump fail, and send him to the garage. He completed 170 laps, but still only finished 42nd. Matt Kenseth would win the pole, but have to change his motor and start in the rear. He would blow a tire on lap 297 and crash out. In a real oddity seventh place qualifier Ricky Rudd started on the pole. Starters Kenseth (pole); Jerry Nadeau (3rd) and Kurt Busch (5th) all had problems, and would have to go to the rear to start the race. Jimmy Johnson led 188 of the 400 laps and would get the win over Bill Elliott by 1/2 second. Jeff Burton, Ryan Newman and Dale Jarrett rounded out the top five. This would also be the final CUP start for Chad Little. Little would start 36th, run all but five laps and finish 33rd.
1956 – This date would see the only CUP race held at Merced Fairgrounds in Merced, CA. It was a 200 laps around a ½ mile dirt track. Herb Thomas would start on the pole, and bring home the win. Harold Hardesty would finish second, followed by Jim Graham, Lloyd Dane, and Eddie Pagan. Few interesting notes on this event; This would be Herb Thomas’s last career win, but he also won the two events before this so he had three wins in a row. This would also be the best career finish for Hardesty, and the first CUP start for Parnelli Jones. This win gives the Carl Kiekhaefer team its 16th consecutive NASCAR Cup victory. It is a record that will likely live forever in the NASCAR record book.
1976 – Jamie McMurray’s birthday.
1990 – Derrick Cope would win the final race of his CUP career, after winning the Daytona 500 earlier in this season. Dick Trickle won the only pole of his career here at Dover International Speedway in Dover, DE. Mark Martin would join him on the front row. Rusty Wallace would have a strong car on this date and lead 131 of the 500 laps. At this time the races were a marathon at Dover. 500 laps around the fast one mile track always took four hours to run, sometimes upwards of five. The race only had nine leaders, but 23 lead changes. Cope would lead the final 54 laps to win in convincing fashion. Cope led 93 laps on the day, but only won by 1.2 seconds as Ken Schrader was still close behind when the checkers flew. Dick Trickle finished third, and Mark Martin and Sterling Marlin finished fourth and fifth. Morgan Shepherd would finish sixth. This would be the 11th race in a row that Shepherd finished in the top 10 to start off the 1990 season, giving him the CUP points lead. He ended up finishing the season in fifth place in the points, his best career points finish.
1991 – Bobby Labonte would make his first career CUP start this day at Dover Downs International Speedway in Dover, DE. Labonte had a rough day, blowing a motor only 88 laps into the race and finishing 34th. Michael Waltrip won his first CUP pole, as Rusty Wallace started second. Waltrip led the first 15 laps, but never headed the field again. He blew a motor and fell out on lap 186. Ken Schrader drove the #25 Kodiak Chevy owned by Rick Hendrick. He had a stout car the last part of the race, and led the final 74 laps to claim the win. Dale Earnhardt Sr. finished second followed by Harry Gant, Ernie Irvan and Mark Martin. This Schrader would be Schrader's last CUP win. Schrader won four events, and had 64 top five finishes. He finished fourth in points in 1994. Tommy Ellis would also make his final CUP start in his Budweiser sponsored Ford owned by Junior Johnson. He would start 26th, and bring the car home to a 21st place finish.
1906 - Carl Kiekhaefer's birthday is on this date. He was the owner of Kiekhaefer Marine (later becoming Mercury marine); Carl decide to use auto racing as a way to promote is profitable boat motor company. Kiekhaefer supplied cars in the CUP series to such drivers as Bob, Fonty and Tim Flock, Buck Baker, Speedy Thompson, Herb Thomas and Junior Johnson among many others. He owned the 1956 Championship winning car driven by Tim Flock, and second place car driven by Buck Baker. In 1956 he owned Bakers car who won the Championship that season, and also the second and third place points cars of Thomas and Thompson. His teams totally dominated the 1955 and 1956 season winning a total of 52 CUP races and the two championships.
???? – Barry Dodson’s birthday. Dodson was one of the better crew chiefs in CUP racing up until 1995, even winning the 1989 CUP Championship with Rusty Wallace as the driver. The reason for the downturn was he lost his two children (Trey 17; and Tia 16) in an alcohol related car crash. After slipping into the back ground to get his life back together, Dodson was named the Crew Chief for Free Pennington in 2012.
1966 – Piedmont Interstate Fairgrounds located in Spartanburg, SC would host it’s final CUP race. David Pearson started on the pole, with Tiny Lund joining him on the front row. Pearson fell out of the race on lap 62 with a blown motor. At the drop of the green Lund grabbed the lead and led for the first 160 laps. Lund was having mechanical problems and fell of the race pace and Elmo Langley caught and passed Lund. On lap 170 Lund fell out of the race with a broken differential. When Langley got the lead he led the last 40 laps to cruise to a four lap win. This would be the first of Langley’s two CUP wins. Neil Castles finished second, Doug Cooper third, Joel Davis fourth, and J.D. McDuffie fifth. This would be Davis’ only top five finish, and the first top five for McDuffie.
1989 – Jimmy Spencer would make his CUP debut here at Dover Downs International Speedway. Spencer qualified 20th, but blew a motor and finished 34th. Dale Earnhardt Sr. started second, led 456 of the 500 laps to claim the win. Pole sitter Mark Martin finished second, followed by Ken Schrader, Terry Labonte, and Rusty Wallace.
1995 - This would be the final CUP win for Kyle Petty. It was held at Dover Downs International Speedway. It was 500 laps around a 1 mile high-banked very fast track. Jeff Gordon won the pole, with Ward Burton outside. Petty would start 37th. On lap 32 Burton would make contact with another car, and before it was over 20 cars would be involved in the crash. Since Petty started 37th, he was able to slow and avoid the incident. After that Petty got to the front very quickly and went on to the win leading 271 laps. Petty, Bobby Labonte, and Ted Musgrave ended up having a good battle for the win, as Petty only won by 2/10 of a second. Labonte and Musgrave finished second and third, with Hut Stricklin and Dale Earnhardt Sr finishing fourth and fifth. A video of the crash can be found here 2007 – Martin Truex Jr would win his first CUP race at Dover International Speedway. Truex qualified 26th and worked his way to the front quickly. He led 216 of the 400 laps. Ryan Newman finished second, Carl Edwards third, Denny Hamlin fourth, and Matt Kenseth fifth.
2007 - On This date Bill France Jr would pass away. "Little Bill" was the son for NASCAR founder "Big Bill" France. Bill Jr assumed the head position of NASCAR in 1972, and held it until 2000. He remained chairman of the board of NASCAR until 2003. France turned the Presidency of NASCAR over to Mike Helton in 2000 after it was discovered he had lung cancer. His son Brian was named Chairman and CEO of NASCAR. Just like his father Bill Jr died on a race day, - while the Autism Speaks 400 Sprint CUP race from Dover DE. was going on.
2015 - Jabe Thomas dies - In 1965, at the age of 35, Thomas started his racing NASCAR's Cup Series, in an ex Holman Moody 1964 Ford, making 322 starts with 77 top ten finishes in his career. In 1968 and 1969, Jabe purchased Petty Enterprises Plymouths, several years later they were re-bodied with Dodge Charger sheet metal. Between 1968 and 1973, Jabe finished in the top twelve national points each year, with a 6th place ranking in 1971. Always a fun loving driver, Jabe never hesitated to allow others to drive his car. In 1970, two of Richard Petty's 200 career wins came in Jabe's Plymouth. Others to drive Jabe's cars included Ned Jarrett, Bobby Allison, Wendell Scott, Cale Yarbrough, and Charlie Glotzbach. In 1977 Jabe passed the torch to his son Ronnie. In 1978 Jabe was the backbone and support of the team, which helped achieve Ronnie's and Jabe's goal of winning Rookie of the Year honors.
1914 - CUP car owner Raymond Parks would be born on this date. Parks would be the initial "Rick Hendrick" of his day being the first multi-car team owner. He owned the car driven by Red Byron who won the very first CUP Championship. During his career he also owned cars driven by such great drivers as Bob Flock, Roy Hall, Fonty Flock, and Curtis Turner.
1953 - This is the birthday of CUP crew chief Gary Nelson. Nelson was crew chief for Darrell Waltrip and the team won at Nelson's first start as crew chief in 1977. He also chiefed drivers Bobby Allison, Geoff Bodine, Kyle Petty and Greg Sacks to CUP wins. Nelson was know to as "creative" with the NASCAR rules as Smokey Yunick. His theory; "if there wasn't a rule against it - it was ok". In fact, NASCAR hired Nelson to become the head technical inspector for the CUP series. It is said NASCAR figured he knew how to 'cheat' so well, they figured he'd know how to find the 'cheats' as well. He held several positions while at NASCAR. Bill France Jr asked Nelson to become the Winston Cup Series director late in 1991. Nelson worked for NASCAR as it's Winston Cup Director during its biggest growth period 1992 through 2001. NASCAR promoted Nelson to Vice President of R&D in 2001 giving him the task of building the NASCAR R&D Center in Concord, NC. The first task of the R&D Center, led by Nelson was to improve the safety of racing. NASCAR had lost 10 drivers in its top three National racing series between 1991 and 2001. Of all Nelson's success in racing, Nelson is most proud of the safety improvements. Dale Earnhardt lost his life on February 18, 2001. Since that date to the time of this writing (1/1/2017) there has not been another life-threatening accident in any of NASCAR's National racing series. Nelson left his position at NASCAR in 2007 to form his own company, Gary Nelson & Associates. NASCAR became the first client for Gary Nelson & Associates. Then a motorcycle race team (Pair of Nines) hired Gary Nelson & Associates to manage their racing team. The team won several events and the 2008 Moto ST championship. Also in 2008, a Grand American road race team, Brumos Porsche, hired Nelson as consultant. The team won the 2009 Rolex 24-hour endurance race in Daytona. In 2010 Gary Nelson & Associates was hired to form a new team called Action Express Racing for new car owner Bob Johnson. Nelson took the title of Team Manager, a position he holds today. Action Express Racing, managed by Gary Nelson won its first race, the 2010 Rolex 24 event in Daytona and has gone on to win several other events during 2011 - 2014 including the 2014 Rolex 24 in Daytona.
1964 - Bobby Hillin Jr's birthday.
1974 - Bob Osborne's birthday. - crew chief
1979 - Jason White's birthday.
1983 – Riverside International Raceway would be the site of Ricky Rudd’s first CUP win. Darrell Waltrip won the pole, and Tim Richmond started alongside. Rudd started fourth, and led 57 of the 95 laps…. Leading the last 40 laps while going on to get the win. Bill Elliott finished second, with Harry Gant, Dale Earnhardt Sr. and Dick Brooks rounding out the top 5. This was Richard Childress Racing first win, Race highlights can be seen here.
2009 – NASCAR impliments double-file restarts for NASCAR Sprint Cup races. The first event to use this new procedure will be that weekends race at Pocono, PA on June 7. All the lead lap cars will line up side-by-side at the front of the field with the leader given the option whether to start in the inside or outside lane.
1957 - The Automobile Manufacturers Association recommends unanimously that the auto industry divorce itself entirely from all forms of racing, including the NASCAR Cup series. The factory-supported teams will be disbanded and all machinery will be given to the drivers.
1986 - Justin Allgaier's birthday
1953 – This would be the only CUP race ever held at Louisiana Fairgrounds in Shreveport, LA. It was 200 laps around a ½ mile dirt track. Herb Thomas won the pole. Lee Petty won this event driving his 1953 Dodge. It was the only Dodge in the race. Dick Rathman finished second, followed by Herb Thomas, Tim Flock, and Buck Baker.
1955 – Tim Richmond’s birthday.
1964 – Rex White would make his final CUP start on this day at Atlanta International Raceway. Junior Johnson won the pole, and David Pearson started alongside. White would start 11th. Johnson had a bad day as he dropped a valve and fell out on lap 37. Pearson also had issues, and his transmission failed, and he only completed 139 laps. Ned Jarrett won the race with Richard Petty second. The rest of the top five was Paul Goldsmith, Darel Dierringer and Rex White. Pretty nice way to close out a career. For his career White ran in 233 events. He won 28 times, and posted 110 top fives, and 163 top tens. He was also the CUP champ in 1960.
1964 - Robbie Loomis' birthday. Loomis was a crew chief for Petty Enterprises from 1990 through 1999 as he replaced Dale Inman. He moved to Hendrick Motorsports in 2000 and won the 2001 Sprint CUP Championship with Jeff Gordon at the wheel. In 2006 He returned to Petty Motorsports to assume the role of Chief Operating Officer. He was released in 2012.
1976 - Rodney Childers birthday. Rodney is set to be the crew chief for Kevin Harvick in the upcoming 2014 season with Stewart-Has Racing. Previously Childers had been the head wrench when Brian Vickers win at Loudon NH in 2013, and also for David Reutimann's victory in the Coke 600 at Charlotte. For the win MWR co-owner Rob Kauffman gave a Shelby Mustang GT500 for pulling off the win. Reutimann also won in 2010 at Chicagoland.
1981 - Benny Parsons edges Dale Earnhardt to win at Texas World Speedway. Only 18,000 spectators turn out to watch the race at the financially troubled two-mile track. – Texas World Speedway would host it’s final CUP event on this day. The track was a 2 mile track that ran a distance of 200 laps. Terry Labonte won the pole, and Bobby Allison was outside. Dale Earnhardt Sr. would lead 96 of the 200 laps, but Benny Parsons would stay on his heels. Coming down to the finish Parsons drafted off Earnhardt and saved his tires to the end. With about 10 laps to go the two drivers battled briefly before Parsons took the lead and drove to the win. Earnhardt would finish second, followed by Allison, Richard Petty, and Dave Marcis.
1992 – The Save Mart 300K held at Sears Points International Raceway in Sonoma CA would be the site of Ron Hornaday’s first CUP start. He drove the #92 Palmdale Chiropractic Chevy to a 32nd place finish, finishing 70 of the 74 laps. Ricky Rudd and Ernie Irvan started on the front row. Irvan jumped the start and NASCAR gave him a stop-n-go penalty. Irvan charged back through the field, and with eight laps to go took the lead. He went on to claim the win while Terry Labonte finished second. Mark Martin was third, followed by Rudd, and Bill Elliott.
1992 - This day was the day that NASCAR President and founder William Henry Getty “Big Bill” France Sr. passed away. France died at his home in Ormond Beach, Florida after suffering from Alzheimer’s. He was 82.
2009 - Tony Stewart wins the Pocono 500. He becomes the first owner-driver to win a race since Rucky Rudd drove to victory lane in Martinsville 1998
2012 - On this date we lost Cotton Owens. His first win came in 1957 at the Daytona Beach course and garnered nine wins. In 1962 he started his legendary relationship with David Pearson as his car owner. He came out of retirement in 1964 to prove that he could beat Pearson. He beat Pearson in his final career win (at Richmond). Two races later he finished second in his final career race (to Ned Jarrett). Owens had some of the best names in racing wheel his equipment; some of those include Pearson, Buddy Baker, Pete Hamilton, Bobby Isaac, Junior Johnson, Fireball Roberts, and others (a total of 25 drivers) His drivers earned 32 wins. Seven years after being diagnosed with lung cancer, Owens died at the age of 88, just a few weeks after it was announced he would be inducted into the NASCAR Hall of Fame's 2013 class
1912 – Lloyd Moore’s birthday.
1950 – Tickets go on sale for the first 500-mile stock car race at the new Darlington Raceway. Prices range from $3 general admission to $10 for lower row "box seats." The event is sanctioned by the Central States Racing Association after NASCAR turns down the initial offer from track president Harold Brasington.
1957 – Ascot Stadium (better known as “Ascot Park”) hosted it’s first CUP race. There were three CUP events held at Ascot Park. Ascot Park remained open and running regular weekly race events up until 1990. Eddie Pagan started on the pole, and won the event. The race was shorted from 200 laps, down to 150 because of the track being extremely dusty. Lloyd Dane was second, followed by Chuck Meekins, George Seeger, and Eddie Gray. This was also the first CUP start for Jim Hurtubise.
1968 – This would be the last CUP race to be held at Fairgrounds Raceway in Birmingham, AL. It was a .625 mile track with 160 lap distance (100 miles). David Pearson and Richard Petty started on the front row. Petty jumped out and led the first 86 laps. Bobby Allison led for a single lap, and Petty led for the remainder of the event. Bobby Isaac would finish second, followed by Pearson. Person would be disqualified in post race tech for improper tires. So the official finished was James Hylton, Friday Hassler, and Bobby Allison were the top five.
2004 - On this day we lost racer and legendary car owner Ralph Moody. Moody claimed five wins as a driver but his greatest success came when he teamed up with John Holman to form Holman-Moody Racing. The duo built fast reliable race cars and supplied cars for all star drivers like Fred Lorenzen, Dick Hutcherson, Joe Weatherly, Fireball Roberts, Bobby Allison and David Pearson among others. Moody died at his home after a long illness.
1951 - This would be the only CUP race ever held at Columbus Speedway in Columbus, GA. It would be 200 laps around a ½ mile dirt track. Gober Sosebee would start on the front row with Tim Flock. Flock would wheel his 1951 Oldsmobile to the win, with Sosebee finishing second. Herb Thomas was third, Jim Paschal would be fourth, and Lee Petty fifth.
1955 – This would be the first CUP race held at Lincoln Speedway in New Oxford, PA. 200 laps around a ½ mile dirt oval. Junior Johnson would claim the pole, and Fonty Flock would join him on the front row. At the drop of the green, Fonty Flock jumped into the lead for the first 15 laps. Brother Tim Flock would take the lead away, and hold on to it through lap 98. At that point Johnson would take the lead and hold it to the finish driving his B & L Motors, Oldsmobile. Tim Flock would finish second two laps behind, with Buck Baker, Jim Reed, and Nace Mattingly fifth.
1955 – Rick Baldwin’s birthday
1956 – This race held at the 1 ½ mile Memphis-Arkansas would be the last CUP start for Bob Flock. Flock started 15th, but fell out on lap 154 with fuel pump issues finishing 11th. For his career Flock competed in 36 CUP events over a seven year span. He won four times, with 11 top five finishes. He finished third in the 1949 points chase. In the race Buck Baker led 87 of the 167 lap event. He encountered issues, and only completed 156 laps, finishing 9th. Ralph Moody took the lead away from Jim Paschal with 15 laps to go and went on to claim his first win. Paschal finished second, Pat Kirkwood finished third, with Tim Flock, and Joe Eubanks rounding out the top five. This was a deadly racing weekend. Clint McHugh was killed trying to qualify for the race. Thomas “Cotton” Priddy died during the race when his car became airborn, his seat belt broke and he was thrown from his car. With the usually dust on the dirt track causing poor visibility, he was run over by several other racers. He died shortly after reaching the hospital. Priddy and his wife were traveling with the McHugh’s and staying in the same motel. Before his death Priddy noted that McHugh was staying in room #13 and stated “I’m glad I don’t have that room number”. – Banjo Matthews would win the pole for this event held at Atlanta International Raceway in Hampton, GA. He would go on to lead the most laps (73) and finish second. This was Matthews best career finish. Fred Lorenzen would claim the win after the race was shortened to 219 laps because of rain. Bobby Johns finished third, Fireballs Roberts fourth, and Troy Ruttman fifth. For his career Matthews only raced in 51 CUP races and had four top five finishes, and 13 top tens. Although Matthews never captured a win, he is best know for his ability to build race winning cars. He built cars for Fireball Roberts, AJ Foyt, Junior Johnson, Donnie Allison and Cale Yarborough. From 1974 to 1985 he built 72% of the race winning cars in the CUP division.
1984 – Bill Elliott dashes past Terry Labonte with eight laps remaining and hustles to victory in the 400-miler at Michigan International Speedway. It is Elliott's first win on a super speedway.
2001 – This would be Shawna Robinsons first career start in the CUP series. She only competed in eight CUP races in her career, as she competing mostly in the Xfinity series. Robinson’s first CUP start came at the Michigan International Speedway, driving for Michael Kranefuss, in the Aaron’s Sponsored Ford. She started 32nd, and ran the whole race finishing just three laps behind. Robinson was the first woman to compete in the CUP series since Pattie Moise ran in 1989. Jeff Gordon led 143 of the 200 laps, but late in the race was trailing Ricky Rudd. On the last lap Gordon drove hard into turn #1, and managed to get by Rudd before they got back around to the start/finish line to claim the win. Rudd was second followed by Sterling Marlin, Jeremy Mayfield, and Ryan Newman.
2012 - This date would mark the final CUP start for Stacy Compton. It would come at the 2 1/2 mile 'Tricky Triangle' of Pocono Raceway. Compton would start 39th, and fall out after 24 laps with transmissions problems; finishing 39th. Joey Logano would win the pole and go on to win the race. A late race yellow gave Mark Martin a shot to get the win, and Martin jumped to the lead on the restart with eight laps to go. But Logano tracked him down and passed him with four laps until the checkers. Mark Martin would finish second followed by Tony Stewart, Jimmie Johnson and Denny Hamlin.
1950 – Pancho Carter’s birthday.
1962 – Ford Motor Co. announces that it will actively support selected NASCAR Grand National racing teams, breaking from the 1957 resolution established by the American Manufacturers Association.
1964 - This would be the last CUP race held at Concord speedway in Concord, NC . It was a ½ mile dirt track that ran a 200 lap distance. It was race #29 of the 62 race season for 1964. Richard Petty won the pole, and David Pearson started outside. Petty led at the drop of the green for the initial five laps. Pearson then took the lead for 25 the next laps. Cale Yarborough would take over the lead and lead laps 32 to 41. A t that point Yarborough fell out with over-heating problems. Pearson took the lead when Yarborough fell out and led for the next 73 laps. On lap 116 Petty retook the lead, and went on to win the event. He was followed across the line by Pearson, Ned Jarrett, Wendell Scott, and Curtis Crider . This race would be Ralph Earnhardt's last CUP start. Earnhardt never won a CUP race in his career, but he was known as a fierce competitor, and always came to the track with a strong race machine. In his 51 races, he posted 6 top five finishes, and 16 top tens. Concord Speedway is still in existence, and runs a weekly NASCAR short track schedule. It is now a very fast ½ mile paved track.
1976 - Matt Crafton's birthday.
1989 – This was the first race at Sears Points International raceway (mostly called Infineon Raceway now days). It is in Sonoma, CA. It was 74 laps around a 2.5 mile road course. This was another of those classic Rusty Wallace / Ricky Rudd road course battles. For several years they went at each other hard on the road race events. Wallace would start on the pole, and Mark Martin started second. Wallace led the first 10 laps with Rudd hot on his heals. Rudd got by Wallace, and led for 8 laps before Bill Elliott led three laps. Rudd would retake the lead, and Wallace would chase him to the checkers. Wallace's bid to take the lead with three laps to go is foiled by Rudd, who pushes his rival into the sandy runoff area on the scenic road course. Wallace drove his car for all he was worth trying lap after lap to bypass Rudd. Martin ran well and came in for a pit stop on lap 46 when the yellow came out. The crew chief made a last second decision to only change two tires instead of the four they had originally planned. The tire changer had already removed the lugs on the right rear, and as the jack fell Martin sped away, losing his tire and causing him to flip. They flipped Martin’s car back over and he completed the race a couple laps behind. The rest of the top five finishers were: Bill Elliott, Dale Earnhardt Sr., and Lake Speed.
1997 - John Hunter Nemechek's birthday.
2006 – Pocono Raceway would be the site of rookie Denny Hamlin’s first CUP win. It came on the 2 ½ mile paved tri-angle track. Hamlin started on the pole in his #11 Fed Ex Sponsored Chevy, and led 83 of the 200 laps. Along with being the first win for Hamlin, it was the first win for Fed Ex as a sponsor, and the first win for a car with #11 since Bill Elliott’s win at Darlington in 1994. Kurt Busch started second, and finished there 1.3 seconds behind. Tony Stewart was third, Brian Vicker's fourth and Matt Kenseth fifth. Hamlin would win his second career race at this same track later in the season.
1958 - This would be the only CUP race ever held at New Bradford Speedway in Bradford, PA. It was a 1/3 mile dirt track, and race #23 on the 53 race schedule. Bob Duell won the only pole of his career. Speedy Thompson joined him on the front row. Junior Johnson would wheel his 1957 Ford from his 6th place starting spot to claim the win. Lee Petty was second, with Duell, Jack Smith, and Billy Rafter rounded out the top five.
1973 - Jennifer Jo Cobb's birthday
1988 - This would be the final CUP race held at Riverside International Raceway. A great road race circuit that always provided exciting racing. The original races were 500 miles; but by now the race had been cut down to 95 laps -- 400K (248 miles). Ricky Rudd started on the pole with Rusty Wallace on the outside front row. Once again we have the classic Wallace / Rudd battle play out on a road course. They led all but 20 of the laps ran. Dale Earnhardt Sr. and Terry Labonte also joined the fray to make for some wild racing. In the end Wallace claimed the checkers, Labonte would finish second with Rudd, Earnhardt and Phil Parsons rounding out the top five. This would be the second of two career starts for current CUP owner Rick Hendrick. Both came at Riverside. Hendrick finished 15th.
1994 - Bob Keselowski would make his one and only CUP start here at Pocono raceway. Bob is the father of CUP Champion Brad Keselowski. Bob would start 42nd driving a Jimmy means Racing Ford, but fall out after only 17 laps after his power plant gave up. The drop of the green flag was delayed 15 laps because of fog; so the first at speed lap was lap 16. Rusty Wallace had the field covered as he led 141 laps but almost lost because of NASCAR's bumbling. This is the first year NASCAR started the 'wave around' rule. The leaders pitted with five to go, and when they exited pit road, Dale Earnhardt Sr was the first out after taking just two tires; with Wallace second taking all four tires. While NASCAR was trying to figure out the rule, the laps were dwindling away under caution. The field got the green with one to go and Rusty dove to the inside of Earnhardt in turn one and took the lead and held on for victory. Earnhardt managed to finish second, followed by Ken Schrader, Morgan Shepherd, and Mark Martin.
1997 – Rick Baldwin dies 11 years after injuries suffered in a race crash.
2013 – On this date we lost Jason Leffler - 2 time Nationwide winner, and one time Truck series winner; 4 time USAC Series Champion; Three years in a row in the USAC Midgets (1997-1999) and once in the USAC Silver Crown series in 1998; Leffler was inducted into the National Midget Hall of Fame in 2003. He died from injuries sustained while racing winged sprint cars at Bridgeport NJ.
2007 – Harry Melling's birthday
1954 – This would be the only CUP race held at Linden Airport (NJ), an airport configured into a two mile road course, that ran a 100 mile race. This was the first CUP race ever on a road course. Buck Baker won the pole in the 43 car field. Baker led the first 10 laps, and then Herb Thomas led briefly. On lap 23 Al Keller took the lead, and went on to win the race driving a Jaguar. It was the only time a foreign made car had won a CUP event, until recently when Toyota joined the CUP regulars and have won several times since. Joe Eubanks finished second, Buck Baker third, Bill Claren fourth, and Bob Grossman fifth. This would be Claren and Grossman’s best career finishes. It would also be Keller’s second and final CUP win. On a final note, there were several Foreign made cars entered in this event. Jaguar’s, MG’s, an Austin Healey, a Porsche, and a Morgan. All told there were 23 foreign made cars in the 43 car field. Four of the top six finishers were foreign makes.
1982 – Tim Richmond would win his first CUP race here at Riverside International Raceway in Riverside, CA. It was a 2.6 mile road course than ran 95 laps (248 miles). Terry Labonte won the pole, and Darrell Waltrip started second. Waltrip would fall out with a burned piston after 28 laps. Labonte led 64 of the 98 laps. Richmond assumed the lead with five laps to go and went on to win by four seconds. Richmond was driving for J.D. Stacy who had a five car team called the “Stacy Pack”. Richmond's teammate Labonte finish second, with Geoff Bodine third, Dale Earnhardt Sr. fourth, and Neil Bonnett.
1993 – Kyle Petty runs away from his rivals and dodges a spectator who runs onto the track during green-flag conditions to win the Champion Spark Plug 500 at Pocono. Sixth-place finisher Davey Allison radios to his crew when he notices the dazed spectator on the speedway surface, "Guys, you ain't gonna believe this. There is some nut standing out here on the racetrack."
2007 – Dale Earnhardt, Jr., and Hendrick Motorsports announce a five-year deal for Earnhardt, Jr., to drive for the team starting in 2008.
2008 - Petty Enterprises sells majority interest in the family-owned race team to Boston Ventures, a private equity firm.
2010 - Landon Cassill would make his initial CUP start in a 400 mile race at Michigan International Speedway. Cassill would start 35th, but his James Finch Phoenix Racing Chevy would burn up a rear end gear after only 50 laps. Kurt Busch won the pole, and led 60 of the first 100 laps, but faded the second half of the event. Denny Hamlin then showed his dominance leading 82 of the final 86 laps to claim the win. The rest of the top five finishers were Kasey Kahne, Kurt Busch, Jeff Gordon and Tony Stewart.
1953 – This would be the only CUP race ever held at Five Flags Speedway in Pensacola, FL. It was a ½ mile paved oval with a distance of 200 laps. Dick Rathman started on the pole, but Herb Thomas would get the win. The race was shortened to 140 laps due to rain. Rounding out the top five was Rathman, Lee Petty, Buck Baker, and Tim Flock. Three of the top five finishers drove Hudsons. Frank Arford finished 12th this race. It was the fourth CUP race he ever ran. Unfortunately, Arford would be killed trying to qualify for the next race at Langhorne Speedway. Five Flags Speedway is still in existence today. They run a weekly race schedule, and host one of the largest, most famous Super Late Model races in the nation. That race is the SnowBall Derby; won by many top drivers in NASCAR, and it is a feather in any drivers cap to be called a Snowball winner.
1959 – This would be the final CUP race held at famous Lakewood Speedway in Atlanta, GA. It was 150 laps on a 1 mile dirt track. Drivers drew for their starting positions, (presumably because qualifying got rained out). J.C. Hendrix would start on the pole along side Larry Frank in the 40 car field. Frank would fall out on lap 119 with a broken transmission. Richard Petty would move from from his 27th place starting position and take the checkers first. Lee Petty finished second, with Buck Baker, Curtis Turner, and Tom Pistone making up the top five . Lee Petty protested the scoring, and after a re-check he was found to have claimed the win. Richard was moved to second place. It was the first time father and son had finished 1-2.
1968 - Richard "Slugger" Labbe's birthday. In 2001 Labbe joined Dale Earnhardt Inc to become crew chief for Michael Waltrip. Labbe bounced from team to team going to Evernham Motorsports in 2005, Yates Racing in 2006; MB2 Motorsports in 2007; TRG in 2009 and Richard Petty Motorsports in 2010. 2011 found him at Richard Childress Racing paired up with Paul Menard. Labbe has wrenched drivers to five CUP wins so far. Three times with Michael Waltrip (including the Daytona 500); once with Jeremy Mayfield, and once with Menard.
1987 – Tim Richmond makes his first start of the season and wins the Miller High Life 500 at Pocono. The seriously ill Richmond finishes just in front of runner-up Bill Elliott.
1992 – This date would see the final CUP win for Alan Kulwicki. It was the Champion Spark Plug 500 held at Pocono International Raceway. Kulwicki and Bill Elliott led most of the laps and had a battle throughout. They swapped the lead many times, and Kulwicki would take the lead from Elliott with 11 laps to go and went on to win by 2.3 seconds. Mark Martin would also bypass Elliott and finish second. Elliott was third, followed by Ken Schrader, and Davey Allison. Kulwicki would go on to claim the CUP championship be the closest margin in history (pre-chase) Kulwicki edged out Elliott by 5 points. Unfortunately Kulwicki’s life would be cut tragically short in 1993. Just prior to the race at Bristol. Kulwicki drove the Hooters sponsored car, and he had flown to Knoxville TN to do a public relations meet-n-greet. On the way back to Bristol, their plane encountered bad weather and crashed trying to land. All on board perished.
2011 – NASCAR announced the the inductees who will be inducted into the NASCAR Hall of Fame in 2012. This will be the third class of inductees. They are: Cale Yarborough, Dale Inman, Darrell Waltrip, Richie Evans, and Glen Wood.
1957 – This would be the final CUP race held at Newport Speedway in Newport, TN. Speedy Thompson would win the pole, and Marvin Panch would start second. Fireball Roberts would go on to win the event with Panch finishing second. Buck Baker was third, and followed to the finish by Jack Smith, and Jim Paschal. Two race were held at this track, both were won by Roberts.
1958 – Reading Fairgrounds held it’s first CUP race on this date. It was 200 laps around a ½ mile dirt track. Race #24 of a 51 race schedule. Speedy Thompson won the pole, and was joined on the front row by Junior Johnson. Thompson led the first 28 laps, and Johnson led the next five. Eddie Pagan led from lap 34 to lap 77 with Thompson taking the lead again for a few circuits. Buck Baker led laps 90-115, and Johnson took the lead for the final time on lap 116, and held it to the checkers flew on lap 200. Pagan finished second, with Baker, Lee Petty, and Thompson rounding out the top five . This track would host two CUP races, Johnson would win both.
1962 – This race at Bowman-Gray Stadium would prove to be the only career CUP win for Johnny Allen. Allen started second, and led 178 laps in the 200 lap race. Rex white finished second, Richard Petty third, Larry Thomas fourth, and Joe Weatherly fifth.
1969 – This date would see the first CUP race held at Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn MI. A 2 mile track with a race distance of 500 miles. Donnie Allison won the pole, with LeeRoy Yarborough also on the front row. Yarbrough would lead the first 13 laps, but there were numerous lead changes all throughout the race. There was 35 lead changes among 9 drivers. Most times a driver only held the lead for a few laps before it was taken away. Pole sitter Donnie Allison blew a motor and fell out on lap 115. In fact almost one half of the field blew a motor or crashed out. (mostly blown motors). From lap 100 to the finish it was the Yarborough and Yarbrough show. Either Cale Yarborough or LeeRoy Yarbrough lead all of the remaining laps except for about 50; They swapped the lap back and forth frequently, and staged a fierce battle for the win. On the last lap Yarborough, and Yarbrough tangled with each other. Cale Yarborough went on to the win as LeeRoy Yarbrough wasn’t able to limp around to the checkers. He finished fourth, one lap down. David Pearson, and Richard Petty finished second and third. Charlie Glotzbach finished fifth.
1997 – Ernie Irvan’s final CUP win would come here at Michigan International Speedway. Dale Jarrett won the pole, with Joe Nemechek having a great qualifying run and starting second. However Nemechek would blow a motor and fall out after only 69 laps. Ted Musgrave had a fast race car this day, and led a race high 68 laps. Irvan never led until lap 163, but from that point led 33 of the final 38 laps. Bill Elliott finished second. The best ever finish in his self-owned #94 McDonalds racing effort. Mark Martin finished third with Ted Musgrave and Jeff Gordon fourth and fifth. In 1994 Irvan had a terrible crash while qualifying for a race at Michigan. Irvans injuries were so serious he was only given a 10% chance to survive the night, and if he did live, doctors said he would not be able to care for himself. Still however, he returned 13 months later to Martinsville Speedway to race in a NASCAR Truck. Irvan started 11th and finished 8th. Due to side effects of his injuries, he sometimes had double vision, and therefore had to wear an eye patch over one eye to be able to race. In 1996 Irvan returned to his #28 Texaco sponsored Ford and won at New Hampshire and Richmond. At this event almost three years after he near fatal injury, Irvan beat the track that almost claimed his life. This was Jerry Nadeau’s first CUP start.
1924 - Dick Beaty's birthday. He was the Sprint CUP director in the 1980's and early 1990's. Beaty was one of the most respected of all NASCAR officials because; as several owners have said "He used common sense and compassion when ruling the NASCAR garage". He was NASCAR's "top cop" and known as fair and knowledgeable. Every one also knew he genuinely cared about the sport and it's competitors. Beaty DID compete in the CUP series. He ran in 38 events and had a best career finish of fifth at Asheville-Weaverville Speedway in 1957.
1951 – This would be the initial CUP race Columbia Speedway in Columbia, SC. It was 200 laps on a ½ mile dirt track. Frank Mundy would start on the pole with Joe Eubanks joining him on the front row. Eubanks would have a short night as he fell out early and finished 33rd in the 34 car field. Mundy’s night would be much better as he led 167 laps and cruised to a one lap victory. He piloted his 1951 Studebaker to his first CUP win and the first win for Studebaker. Bill Blair finished second, followed by Marshall Teague, Herb Thomas, and Buck Baker. This would be Mundy’s first career win. Mundy would go on to win three races in 1951; the only wins of his career. It is the first NASCAR Cup event to be staged under the lights.
1962 – The Myers Brothers 200 held at Bowman-Gray Stadium in Winston-Salem NC would see Johnny Allen win his only CUP race. Rex White won the pole with Allen outside. White would jump to the lead, but Allen bypassed him on lap 23 and led the final 178 laps to take the win. White hadn't given up, and he pushed his car as fast as it would go. As they came to the checkers White pulled along side, but Allen held him off by just six inches; then crashes over the wall after taking the checkered flag. There is more damage to Allen's Pontiac than the winner's prize of $580 will cover. Richard Petty finished third, Larry Thomas fourth, and Joe Weatherly fifth. For his career, Allen competed in 173 races over a 13 year period.
1968 – This race at North Carolina Motor speedway in Rockingham, NC would be where Donnie Allison won his first CUP race. 500 laps around a one mile paved oval. LeeRoy Yarbrough won the pole, and David Pearson started outside. Temperatures were high, and the hot temps took it’s toll on men and machine. Yarbrough had clutch issues and fell out on lap 217. Pearson blew an engine and was out on lap 142. 44 cars started the race, and only 14 would see the checkered flag. Allison led the final 128 laps to collect the win. Brother Bobby Allison finished second two laps in arrears. James Hylton was third six laps behind, followed by Richard Brickhouse 30 laps behind the winner. Roy Tyner would finish fifth. This would be the first start for Brickhouse, and the first top ten finish for Dave Marcis. This track was taken off the CUP series in 2004. The track still holds major races, and many would like to see this track added back on the CUP schedule.
1974 – Michigan International Speedway would host the race of Marty Robbins best career finish. Robbins was more widely know as an actor, musician, songwriter and singer. He accumulated numerous awards over his career along with many number one hits. David Pearson won the pole with Cale Yarborough joining him on the front row. Nine different drivers led during the race, with Richard Petty leading 80. Petty led the final 14 laps in claiming the win. Earl Ross finished second, David Pearson was third, Gary Bettenhausen fourth, and Robbins fifth. Robbins raced in the CUP series for 13 season, never running more than five races in any season. Robbins was an avid race car driver, with six top 10 finishes, including the 1973 Daytona 500. In 1967, Robbins played himself in the car racing film Hell on Wheels. Robbins was partial to Dodges, and owned and raced Chargers and then a 1978 Dodge Magnum. His last race was in a Junior Johnson-built 1982 Buick Regal in the Atlanta Journal 500 on November 7, 1982, the month before he died. In 1983, NASCAR honored Robbins by naming the annual race at Nashville the Marty Robbins 420.
1985 – Bill Elliott wins his seventh super speedway race in nine starts, taking the checkered flag in Michigan's Miller 400. Darrell Waltrip finishes a distant second and trails Elliott by 86 points in championship race.
1961 – The Yankee 500 would be the only CUP event held at Norwood Arena in Norwood, Mass. It was a 500 lap event around a tight ¼ mile paved track. Even with the close quarters racing there was only one yellow flag. Rex White started on the pole, and Jim Paschal joined him on the front row. White would lead the first 125 laps. Emanuel Zervakis would lead the next 122 laps before Ned Jarrett took it away for 13 laps. Zervakis retook the lead, and held it until taking the checkered flag. This would be his second and final CUP win. Both wins came in 1961. Rex White would finish second, with Ned Jarrett, Buck Baker, and Jim Reed rounding out the top five. This would also be Wendell Scott’s first top ten finish.
2001 - This would be Wally Dallenbach's final Cup start. Wally Dallenbach was an American race car driver who formerly competed in the NASCAR Winston Cup Series. His last CUP series start would come at Pocono Raceway. He would start 43rd in his Andy Petree owned Chevy and drive his way to a 26th place finish. There were only five different leaders in the event as Jeff Gordon and Dale Jarrett were the class of the field. One of the two led all of the laps from 29-176. On lap 177 Rudd powered by Jarrett to take the lead and go on to grab the win and break a nearly three year win less streak. Gordon would come home second, followed by Jarrett, Sterling Marlin, and Mark Martin. Dallenbach retired from full-time driving, and became a race commentator for NBC Sports and Turner Sports. His primary responsibilities were for TNT's NASCAR coverage, a position he has held since 2001, and NBC Sports Network's IndyCar Series coverage. He competed in 226 Winston Cup races from 1991 to 2001 and had 23 top 10 finishes. The son of open wheel racer and former CART chief steward, Wally Dallenbach, Sr., Wally Jr. is also a road racer. Aside from NASCAR, Wally has raced in SCCA Trans-Am, IMSA Camel GT, CART, and the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb.
1918 – Frank Munday’s birthday.
1950 – This would be the first CUP race held at Vernon Fairgrounds in Vernon, NY. A 200 lap race around a ½ mile dirt track. There would be two CUP races at Vernon Speedway, the other would be in October of this same year. Chuck Mahoney would win the only pole of his career. Mahoney would lead the first 18 laps, but be passed by Lloyd Moore who led for five laps. Bill Blair took the lead and paced the field leading the final 176 laps until the checkers flew. This would be the first of Blair’s three CUP wins. Moore finished second, Mahoney was third with Dick Burns and Lee Petty fourth and fifth. This would be Burns best career finish, and one of only three top fives for Mahoney. Blair's final CUP win would come in 1953 at the Daytona Beach course. Fonty Flock led the first 38 laps, but ran out of gas on the final lap letting Blair grab the win. Blair would make his final CUP start in 1959 at the Lakewood Speedway in Atlanta, GA.
1955 – Fonda Speedway in Fonda NY would host it’s first CUP race on this date. It was a ½ mile dirt track with a 200 lap race distance. Tim Flock won the pole and was joined on the front row by Jim Reed. Flock jumped out to the lead when the green flew, and led the first 95 laps. Junior Johnson took the lead on lap 96, and led until the finish. Flock finished second, followed by Lee Petty, Buck Baker, and Bob Welborn. More races would be ran at this track, but it would be 11 years before NASCAR returned.
1959 – Columbia Speedway in Columbia, SC would be the site of Curtis Crider’s first CUP start. Crider has a rough go of it, qualifying 17th, but blowing a motor on lap 119 and finish 14th .Bob Burdick won the pole in his 1959 T-Bird. Joe Weatherly started second. Weatherly led the first 43 laps, and Buck Baker took the lead and led from laps 44 to 126. Tommy Irwin would lead the next 63 circuits as the race would down to it’s 200 lap conclusion. Baker briefly grabbed the lead from laps 190-193 before Lee Petty would bypass him with seven laps to go to grab the win. Irwin would finish second, followed by Baker, Benny Rakestraw, and Joe Weatherly. This would be Rakestraw’s lone top five finish.
1938 – Charlie Glotzbach’s birthday.
1949 – This would be the first sanctioned, points paying CUP race; and it would be held at Charlotte Speedway, in Charlotte, NC. The major highlight of this race is that is was the first ever CUP race ran. This race would be 200 laps around a ¾ mile dirt track. NASCAR’s first race had 33 drivers start, and even a disqualification. Bob Flock won the pole, and was joined on the front row by brother Tim Flock. Fonty Flock was also in the race. Bob Flock led the first five laps before Bill Blair took the lead and led all the way through lap 150. Jim Roper then took the lead, but it was Glenn Dunnaway who crossed under the checkered flag first. In post-race tech, Dunnaway was found to have illegal rear shocks, and the win went to Roper, who drove a 1949 Lincoln. Fonty Flock finished second, followed by Red Byron, Sam Rice, and Tim Flock. Rice only ran two career CUP races, and finished fourth both times. They had 13,000 spectators (wonder if any of them had an ideal of that this would turn into). Lee Petty entered the family car, raced it, and flipped it. Famous names taking part in the first ever CUP race included, Red Byron, Curtis Turner, Jimmy Thompson, Buck Baker, Jack Smith, Sara Christian, Lee Petty, Jim Paschal, Herb Thomas, Frank Mundy, and Tim, Bob, and Fonty Flock. NASCAR Publicity Director Houston Lawing reports more than 13,000 fans attended the race and more than 5000 fans were turned away due to lack of grandstand space.
1955 – This date would see the only CUP race ever held at Airborne Speedway in Plattsburg, NY. It was 200 circuits around a ½ mile dirt track. Lee Petty won the pole and led the first 25 laps. Buck Baker, who started second, took over the lead and led laps 26 to 62. Petty re-assumed the lead and led the final 137 laps to grab the win by over a lap. Baker finished second, followed by Tim Flock, Bob Welborn, and Carl Krueger. It was Krueger’s lone top five finish. It was also odd that the average race speed was faster than the pole qualifying speed.
1960 - This would be the first 600 mile race in NASCAR, and the first CUP race at the 1 ½ mile Charlotte Motor speedway. It was the World 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Fireball Roberts started on the pole, and Jack Smith started outside. Roberts would lead 114 of the first 148 laps. Tom Pistone, Junior Johnson, Smith, and Curtis Turner would lead the other 35 laps. Turner would fall out on lap 154 with a blown head gasket. Roberts would crash out on lap 191. Pistone had brakes issues and fell out on lap 221. Jack Smith had taken over the lead on lap 160 and lead for almost 200 laps. With 47 laps to go Smith had a seven lap lead over the second place runner. A piece of asphalt flew up and knocked a hole in his gas tank; the track was taking a lot of abuse due to the large field and extended length. Joe Lee Johnson took over the lead and would win the event by four laps over Johnny Beauchamp. Third through fifth was Bobby Johns, Gerald Duke, and Buck Baker. This was Duke’s lone career top five finish. This would be the second (and final) win for Joe Lee Johnson.
1962 - This date would see the first time a CUP event was held at Augusta Speedway in Augusta, GA. Joe Weatherly and Jack Smith would make up the front row. Smith broke an a-frame and fell out on lap 143; while Weatherly went on to claim the win. Ned Jarrett, Richard Petty, Jim Paschal, and G.C. Spencer rounded out the top five.
1964 - Boyd Speedway in Chattanooga, TN would host it’s final CUP event. It was 300 laps around a 1/3 mile paved track. Richard Petty started on the pole, with David Pearson starting alongside. Pearson would lead the first 100 laps, before Petty got around him to lead 60 laps. Pearson retook the lead and sped to the victory leading the final 140 laps. Petty finished second two laps behind, with Buck Baker, New Jarrett and G.C. Spencer rounding out the top five.
1964 - Billy Wade wheels his Mercury to his fourth straight win in the 150-miler at Watkins Glen. Wade, the 1963 Rookie of the Year, is the first driver to win four consecutive NASCAR Grand National races. Fred Lorenzen won five straight starts earlier in the year, but not in consecutive races.
1969 – This was the first CUP race ever held at Kingsport Speedway in Kingsport, TN. It was 250 laps around a 4/10 mile paved track. Bobby Isaac won the pole in his 1969 Dodge, with Dave Marcis starting second. Isaac got the lead at the drop of the green, and led the first 73 laps. David Pearson then led for 20 laps before Isaac retook the lead and led until lap 209. Then his engine let go and he was done for the day. At that point Richard Petty assumed the lead and led the final 41 laps to claim the win. Richard Petty was driving a 1969 Ford. John Sears had his best career finish in second, followed by Pearson, Neil Castles, and G.C. Spencer.
1977 – David Stremme’s birthday
1988 – Bobby Allison would make his final career CUP start at Pocono International Speedway in Pocono, PA. Allison spun and hit the turn one wall, before being hit in the driver side door by another racer. Allison received severe injuries, and also received a bad head injury. He survived, but his head injury caused a loss of memory; even not being able to remember his 1-2 finish with his son Davey Allison in the Daytona 500 earlier that season. As for the race, Geoff Bodine would lead 90 of the 200 laps driving his Levi Garret sponsored, Rick Hendrick owned Chevy. Michael Waltrip would finish second, Rusty Wallace third, Mark Martin fourth, and Davey Allison fifth. For his career Bobby Allison would have 718 CUP starts, and claim 85 wins. He had 336 top five finishes, and 446 top tens. He was the CUP champion in 983, and finished second in the points five times.
2003 – NASCAR announces Nextel Communications will become the title sponsor of its top racing series in 2004. Nextel will replace Winston, which has provided sponsorship since 1971.
1958 – Ron Hornaday Jr’s birthday.
1970 – Morgan Shepherd made his first career CUP start here at Hickory Speedway in the Hickory 276. Shepherd qualified 10th, but had rear end problems and finished 19th. Bobby Isaac wheeled his #71 K & K Insurance Dodge to the win by over two laps. Dick Brooks was second, followed by Dave Marcis, GC Spencer, and Bill Seifert.
2010 – While leading, after shutting his car off and restarting it in an effort to save fuel under caution late in the race of the Toyota/Save Mart 350 K at Sonoma CA. Marcus Ambrose has trouble restarting and falls to seventh place before it retires, giving Jimmie Johnson the lead and the win.
1941 – Cecil Gordon’s birthday.
1957 – Phil Parson’s birthday.
1959 – This race would see “Tiger” Tom Pistone claim his final CUP win. It was at the ½ mile dirt track of Atlantic Rural Fairgrounds in Richmond, VA. Buck Baker started on the pole with Joe Weatherly outside. Weatherly would crash out on lap 81. Pistone started 12th while driving to the win in his 1959 T-Bird. Glen Wood would finish second, with Buck Baker, Bob Wellborn and Cotton Owens rounding out the top five. In 1960, he wore a life preserver and an oxygen tube in his car while racing at Daytona for fear of running into the lake in the middle of the speedway and drowning. This happened after Tommy Irwin ran into the lake in the first qualifying race. Irwin did not drown, however.
1971 - On this date we lost Joe Eubanks. He was a dirt track specialist and when he raced on them you could almost always count on at least a top ten finish. Eubanks was a pint sized star, at a meager 5'7" and never weighed more than 140 pounds; He died of a heart attack in his Jacksonville, FL home at the age of 45.
1987 - Tim Richmond would claim his final CUP win here at Riverside International Raceway. Richmond won four times at Riverside. Terry Labonte won the pole and Geoff Bodine started on the outside. Bodine ran well, but his engine expired just nine laps from the end. Richmond dominated the race leading 48 laps after starting fifth. Ricky Rudd finished second followed by Neil Bonnett, Labonte, and Bill Elliott. Richmond had also won the previous race held at Pocono. Richmond became ill at the end of the 1986 season; a year in which he finished third in points and won seven races. He missed the opening 11 races of the 1988 season due to his illness (AIDS). He did make a comeback in race 12 at Pocono claiming the win in his first race back. He competed in eight races in 1988 before having to retire. He died about two years after his last race at the age of 34
1998 - Pocono raceway in Long Pond PA would be the site of Jeremy Mayfield's first CUP win. Jeff Gordon won the pole, with Rusty Wallace outside. At the green Wallace jumped the start, and was black flagged. He had to pit for his penalty, but blew his motor on lap 13. It was a long drawn out race as the race time was almost 4 and one half hours. It also has two rain delays of over one hour each. Mayfield had a stout car all day as he led 122 of the 200 laps. Mayfield said he had realized his childhood dream of passing Darrell Waltrip for a win. Both driver are from Owensboro, KY. This was also the first win for car owner Michael Kranefuss. His three wins as an owner were with Mayfield as his driver. 6-22
1957 – This would be the only CUP race ever held at Capital Speedway in Sacramento, CA. Art Watts would win the pole for this event. Clyde Palmer would also start on the front row. Bill Amick would start third, and go on to claim the win by over a lap. Lloyd Dane would finish second with George Seeger, Scotty Cain, and Danny Graves rounding out the top five. This would also be the one and only CUP win for Amick. Speaking of Art Watts. In 1957 Watts would run five CUP races; and win the pole in each of them. He would also win one CUP event in his career that same season at Portland Speedway, OR.
1968 – This would be the first CUP start for Cecil Gordon. Cecil was one of the true independent drivers in the CUP series. He was the first “Gordon” to regularly run the #24. Unfortunately he never had near the success of Jeff Gordon. Cecil ran 449 races, without a win, but did have 29 top five finishes, and 111 top tens. David Pearson won the pole and led 164 of the 200 laps. Richard Petty took away the lead on lap 170 and held on to claim the win. Pearson finished second, followed by John Sears, Clyde Lynn, and Jabe Thomas.
1979 - Kevin Hamlin's birthday. Hamlin was a crew chief for such CUP drivers as Morgan shepherd, Robby Gordon, Jeff Burton, Brian Vickers, Dale Earnhardt Sr and Kevin Harvick. Hamlin was the crew chief the race Earnhardt was killed at Daytona, and when Harvick steeped into to finish the season, Hamlin was his crew chief. Hamlin has not held the crew chiefs position since 2008, and compiled nine wins as the head wrench. Five of those coming with Dale Earnhardt.
1989 - Jeffery Earnhardt's birthday.
1991 - Cole Whitt's birthday.
1997 – This was the date of the first race held at California Speedway in Fontana, CA. Joe Nemechek won the pole, but was not the fastest qualifier. This was back in the era where NASCAR had two rounds of qualifying. All drivers could qualify the first day (round), and then if they wanted to they could elect to drop their first days time, and run again. Greg Sacks ran round 2 of qualifying, and posted the fastest speed of qualifying. So Joe Nemechek started on the pole with Ernie Irvan outside. This race only had four yellow flags, for 22 laps. One of them being Irvan blowing his motor on lap 202. This race turned out to be a gas mileage. Late in the race Mark Martin was leading trying to make it to the finish, Martin ran out of fuel, and Jeff Gordon took the lead. Other teams keep waiting for Gordon to run out of gas, but he made it to the finish. Terry Labonte finished second. Ricky Rudd was third, followed by Ted Musgrave, and Jimmy Spencer. Martin would of finished in the top five, but when he stopped to get a last splash of fuel, the team didn’t get enough fuel in and he ran out of gas finishing one lap down in 10th.
2008 - Austrialian road racing specialist Marcus Ambrose would make his first CUP start here at the road course in Sonoma CA. Ambrose showed he could drive the big heavy stock cars as he qualified seventh, and ran up front early. His finish wasn't indicative of he great run as he broke ans axle with just 29 laps to go and would finish 42nd. Jimmy Johnson led 27 laps early in the race, but Kyle Busch would lead 78 laps and go on to get his first road course event. David Gilliland had a fantastic run coming in second, followed by Jeff Gordon, Clint Bowyer, and Casey Mears. Italian Max Papis would also make his CUP debut starting 28th and finishing 35th.
1935 – Bruce Jacobi’s birthday.
1961 – Hartsville Speedway would host it’s only CUP race ever. It was a 1/3 mile bull ring that ran 150 lap distance. Emanuel Zervakis won the pole, and Ned Jarrett joined him on the front row. Zervakis ran well, but crashed on lap 101, and was out of the race. Buck Baker would start third, and bring home the victory. Jack Smith finished second, with Rex White, David Pearson, and Junior Johnson making up the top five.
1971 – Meyer Speedway would host it’s lone CUP race. The track was a ½ mile paved track located in Houston, TX. Bobby Allison would put his 1970 Coca-Cola sponsored Dodge on the pole. He would go on to lead 253 of the 300 laps and cruise to a two lap win. James Hylton finished second, followed by Walter Ballard, Elmo Langley, and Frank Warren. This was the fifth consecutive win for Allison, and he would garner 11 wins for the season.
1971 – Michael Annett's birthday.
2002 – The 1.9 mile road course of Infineon Raceway would be the site of Ricky Rudd’s last career win. Tony Stewart won the pole, and Kurt Busch started outside. Jerry Nadeau would start 22nd, but would work his way through the field and take the lead on lap 88. He seemed to be the class of the field, and looked to be pulling away for then win. After leading 20 laps, Nadeau broke a rear end just three laps from the finish. Rudd was there to take advantage of Nadeau’s bad luck, lead the final three laps and grab the win. Stewart would finish second, while Terry Labonte, Kurt Busch, and Jeff Green rounded out the top five. Rudd competed in 906 races, and accumulated 23 wins, 194 top fives, and 374 top tens. He finished second in the CUP points in 1991.
1956 – John Kieper would wheel his 1956 Oldsmobile to his only Career CUP win. It came at Portland Speedway in Portland, OR. Herb Thomas won the pole, and Kieper would start 12th. He was followed across the line by Clyde Palmer, Lou Sherman, Harold Beal, and Ed Negre. For his career Kieper would have only 16 starts over a six year span. He claimed the one win, five top fives, and eight top tens.
1961 – Hut Stricklin’s birthday
1965 – Rambi Speedway would host it’s final CUP race. It was located in Myrtle Beach, SC. and was race #27 on the 55 race schedule. Dick Hutcherson won the pole, and G.C. Spencer started outside. Spencer would lead the first three laps before being passed by Tiny Lund who led the next 115 laps. It took until lap 120 for Hutcherson to work his way into the lead. From there he raced to the checkers. Only Ned Jarrett was able to stay on the lead lap and he finished second. Lund finished third five laps behind, with Cale Yarborough and Spencer making up the top five.
1972 - Kevin Manion's birthday. Manion was the crew chief for John Andretti in 2003 before taking over those duties for Martin Truex from 2004-2009. He then became Jamie McMurry's crew chief in 2009 and stayed there through 2013. He moved to Tommy Baldwin racing at the start of the 2014 season as the lead wrench for Michael Annett; and remained there until May 5 2015. Then he joined Richard Petty Motorsports as Sam Hornish Jr.'s crew chief on the No. 9. in the Xfinity Series On December 10, Manion announced that he had left RPM. On January 6, 2016, it was announced Manion would become crew chief for a Kyle Busch Motorsports truck shared by Daniel Suárez and Cody Coughlin in the Camping World Truck Series. So far (as of 2017) Manion has had Cup five wins, four of then for McMurray; and 15 wins as an Xfinity series crew chief; winning 13 times with Martin Truex and twice will Dale Earnhardt Jr, He also got a win 2016 in the Truck Series with Suarez at the wheel.
1973 - David Pearson noses out Buddy Baker in the Motor State 400 at Michigan, the first race staged at the two-mile oval since Roger Penske became owner and promoter. The race is the only NASCAR event at Michigan in 1973. Penske elects to replace the summer NASCAR Winston Cup Grand National event with an Indy Car race.
2007 – At this race held at Infineon Raceway at Sonoma CA would be the first CUP race that Juan Pablo Montoya would win. Infineon Raceway is a 1.9 mile road course running 110 laps. Montoya started 32nd, and only led 7 laps to claim his win. Jamie McMurray won the pole with Robby Gordon outside. McMurray finished one lap down for a 37th place finish. Kevin Harvick started 22nd, but worked his way to a second place finish. Jeff Burton was third, followed by Clint Bowyer, and Greg Biffle. Although this was Montoya first CUP win he has an impressive racing resume’. He won the 24 Hours of Daytona in 2007, and 2008. He won the Indy Car championship in 1999, and in 2000 he had won the Indy 500, and was rookie of the race.
2008 - This was probably the final CUP start for road racing specialist Robby Gordon. It would come at the road course at Sonoma CA. Gordon started 34th after a problem in qualifying, but moved through the field nice before having steering issues relegating him to a 39th place finish. Gordon started off running off-road racing before moving to the stadium truck series, and then Indy cars. After retiring from NASCAR he has started his own Super Truck series. Marcus Ambrose started on the pole and led the first 11 laps. Jeff Gordon led the next 13 laps before Clint Bowyer took the lead and showed he was the man to beat. Bowyer would led 71 laps and take the checkers. Tony Stewart finished second, followed by Kurt Busch, Brian Vickers, and Jimmie Johnson.
1950 – Dayton Speedway in Dayton OH would host it’s first CUP race. It was a ½ mile paved track. This was the first CUP race ever held on a paved track. Dick Linder won the pole and led the first five laps. Curtis Turner took the lead from Linder and held it for 70 laps. Linder retook the lead and stayed out front until he was passed by Gayle Warren on lap 109. Warren would lead for ten laps before falling out and handing the lead to Jimmy Florian. Turner would lead again briefly before Florian retook the lead and held it until the checkers. Following Florian across the finish line was Linder, Buck Barr, Turner, and Art Lamey. This would be Barr’s best finish in two career starts; and would also be the lone win for Florian.
1989 - ARCA star Bill Venturini would make his first CUP start, and it would come at Michigan International Speedway. Venturini would take the green from the 38th position, but crashed head on into the wall on lap 80 and broke a vertabrea. He would finish 37th. Rusty Wallace would start ninth and lead 131 laps, 127 on a row. But Bill Elliott would power by Darrell Waltrip with eight laps to go to take the lead, and then the checkers. Wallace would finish second, followed by Waltrip, Ricky Rudd, and Brett Bodine.
2006 - David Gilliland would make his first CUP start at Sonoma CA at the road course of Infineon Raceway. Gilliland would start 31st and finish one lap down in 32nd. Kurt Busch won the pole and led the first 39 laps. Jeff Gordon would win the event beating out Ryan Newman. The rest of the top five was Terry Labonte, Greg Biffle, and Kurt Busch. Labonte gambled on fuel mileage, but it didn't work out. This wold be Labonte's last top five finish.
1953 – This would be the first CUP race held at Tri-City Speedway in High Point, NC. Like many other races of this era, it was a ½ mile track with a 200 lap distance. Herb Thomas won the pole, and would go on to win the race driving his 1953 Fabulous Hudson Hornet. Dick Rathman would finish second, followed by Joe Eubanks, Buck Baker, and Lee Petty.
1962 – Kevin Lepage’s birthday.
1963 – Steve Grissom’s birthday.
1971 – Greenville-Pickens would host it’s final CUP race. It was a ½ mile paved track that had hosted CUP races since 1951. The track was first paved in 1970. Bobby Allison was on the front row along with Richard Petty. When the race started Allison led 106 of the first 107 laps before falling out with a blown motor. From that point Petty led 89 of the final 93 laps, going on to win by one lap. Tiny Lund finished second with Bill Dennis, Elmo Langley, and Walter Ballard making up the top five. Greenville-Pickens still runs weekly NASCAR sanctioned short track races, and is one of the long time tracks of NASCAR.
1980 – Martin Truex’s birthday.
2016 – On this date in the Toyota/SaveMart 350K at Sonoma Raceway Tony Stewart would claim his final NASCAR win. Stewart had announced that this would be his final season in the NASCAR series during the 2015 season. On January 31st Stewart injured his back while riding a dune buggy with a few of his fellow NASCAR drivers. It was determined Stewart had suffered a burst fracture in his lumbar vertebra. He would miss the first eight races of the 2016 season with the injury. In his second race back in the car here at Sonoma. Stewart's team employed smart pit strategy and pitted early; and when the yellow flew for debris on the track and all the leaders pitted; he found himself at the front of the pack. Stewart tried to get away from the cars that pitted and got fresh rubber and it was a matter if he could race to the checkers before the cars with new rubber ran him down. On the final lap Denny Hamlin caught Stewart and passed him roughing him up in the process. Stewart stayed on his rear bumper and going into the final corner Hamlin was afraid a 'pay-back' was coming. Hamlin over drove the corner and created an opening for Stewart to the inside. Stewart got inside and the two banged together exiting the corner; But it was too late as Stewart had pounced and took away the lead and grabbed the win. This would qualify Stewart to be in the Chase. Hamlin finished second with Joey Logano, Carl Edwards and Martin Truex rounding out the top five.
1927 – Bobby Myer’s birthday.
1954 – This date we would be the only CUP race ever held at Williams Grove Speedway in Mechanicsburg, PA. Dick Rathman started on the pole, and led the first five laps. Herb Thomas led the next five laps with Rathman taking the lead again for five laps. Once again Thomas took the lead for five laps before Rathman led for 40 laps. On lap 62 Thomas took the lead again and held on to the end of the 200 lap event. Rathman finished second with Hershel McGriff, Joe Eubanks, and Jimmie Lewallen making up the top five. Williams Grove is still open and operating. It has sprint car race every Friday night, an stock car races on Saturday nights. It is a ½ mile dirt oval.
1963 – Johnny Benson’s birthday.
1963 - Robbie Reiser's birthday. Reiser was a crew chief for Matt Kenseth and had been paired with Matt for his whole NASCAR career until 2008. In 2008 Reiser was crew chief for Carl Edwards, and after that season accepted a promotion from Jack Roush. Reiser and Kenseth were from the same town, and paired together back in their Late Model days before moving to NASCAR. The pair had success, even winning the CUP Championship in 2003. Reiser had 17 wins in his career, and has now moved up to Car Chief position Roush racing.
1965 – This was the last CUP race held at Valdosta Speedway In Valdosta, GA. It was 200 laps around a ½ mile dirt track. This track hosted three CUP races. In this event Dick Hutcherson driving his Holman-Moody Ford won the pole. G.C. Spencer also started on the front row. Hutcherson led the first 161 laps before having his rear end go out. He finished 12th. When Hutcherson fell out Spencer took over the lead, and led until 18 laps from the end. Cale Yarborough passed Spencer on lap 183 and would go on to win. Spencer blew his motor four laps from the end and finished third. J.T. Putney came home in second. This was Putney’s best career finish. Stick Elliott finished fourth with Harvey Jones finishing fifth. This was Jones only career CUP start. This would also be Yarborough's first CUP victory. During this era of NASCAR, they ran many more races than they do currently. From 1961 threw 1971 the ran at least 48 race events. The high was 62 races in 1964; with 55 races in 1963 and in 1965. Quite a grueling schedule.
1967 – Jim Paschal would claim his last career win here at Montgomery speedway in Montgomery, AL. It was 200 laps on a ½ mile paved track. Paschal started third and led 140 laps to win the event. Richard Petty won the pole, and finished second. Bobby Allison was third, James Hylton fourth, and Elmo Langley fifth. For his career, Paschal ran 421 CUP races with 25 wins. He claimed 149 top fives, and 230 top tens. He finished fifth in the 1956 points championship as a career best.
1931 – Junior Johnson’s birthday.
1957 – Mike Skinner’s birthday.
2009 – This date would see Joey Logano win his first CUP race. It was at New Hampshire Motor Speedway, a 301 lap race on a one mile track. Qualifying was rained out, and the field was set by points. Tony Stewart and Jeff Gordon was on the front row. Jimmy Johnson led the most laps (93) but got shuffled back in the field late in the race on a poor pit stop. Logano was far from having a top running car all day long. Twice he got a lap down, and twice he got the “lucky dog” to get back on the lead lap . A wreck that involved several front runners, had the leaders all come in for yellow flag pit stops. Logano chanced it as rain was in the area, and assumed the lead under caution. Before they could get the track clean and go back racing, the rains came, and the race was called official. Finishing behind Logano was Jeff Gordon, Kurt Busch, David Reutimann, and Tony Stewart.
1935 – Friday Hassler’s birthday
1952 – This was the final CUP race held at the Michigan State Fairgrounds in Detroit MI. It was 250 circuits around a 1 mile dirt oval. Dick Rathman won the pole, and Fonty Flock started second. This would seem to be the highlight of the weekend for these two drivers as Flock broke a tie-rod after 10 laps, and Rathman would retire after 64 laps because of overheating issues. Rathman did lead the first 44 laps, before Lee Petty took the lead away. Tim Flock took over the lead on lap 88, and held it until 110. Buddy Shuman would lead for a single lap, before Flock retook the lead and held it the final 138 laps until the checkers. Shuman went on to finish second, with Herb Thomas, Bill Blair, and Pat Kirkwood the top five.
1967 – Jeff Burton’s birthday.
1951 – This date would mark the lone CUP win for Lou Figaro. It would come at Carrell Speedway located in Gardena, CA. Figaro had a strong car this day as he won the pole, led all 200 laps, and won the race driving his 1951 Hudson. Chuck Meekins finished second, with Lloyd Dane, Fred Bince, and Fred Steinbroner making up the top five. For his career Figaro would compete in 16 races over a two year period, most races in 1951, and the last three in 1954. His final start came on October 24th 1954 at North Wilkesboro Speedway. Three laps from the end Figaro's car flipped and caved in the roof. He would die the following day from head injuries.
1957 – This would be the first CUP race ever held at Jacksonville Speedway in Jacksonville, NC. It was 200 circuits around a ½ mile dirt track. Lee Petty won the pole with Tiny Lund outside. Third place starter Buck Baker won the event; one of his 10 wins in the 1957 season. Jim Paschal finished second, followed by Tiny Lund, George Green, and Jack Smith. This would be one of Green’s three career top five finishes in 116 starts. Jackson speedway would host two CUP races, but the second race wasn’t until 1964.
1957 – Sterling Marlin’s birthday.