NOTE### - any date in PINK and BOLD is an event pre-NASCAR - but is associated to bringing about the sport of NASCAR
1941 - Dave Marcis' birthday – The Richmond Fairgrounds Raceway hosted the Richmond 500. Richard Petty won the pole . Accompanying him on the front row was Bobby Isaac. Petty powered off when the green flew and lead the first 303 laps. Isaac took over from laps 304-340. From that point on James Hylton had the lead, and took the checkered flag. This was one of only two CUP victories in Hyltons career. The other was at Talladega. The top 5 was Hylton, Petty, Elmo Langley, Isaac, and Neil Castles. Hylton had 12 second places before he got his first win. He can from seven laps behind to get this win. This was Hylton's first start in a Ford after campaigning a Dodge for four years.
1976 - Travis Kvapil's birthday
1998 - Mark Martin won the first Race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway by out running his Jack Roush teammate Jeff Burton. Martin netted $313,000 for the win in his Valvoline Ford. Rusty Wallace, Johnny Benson and Jeremy Mayfield were the top five. Dale Jarret won the pole position.
???? - Harold Holly's birthday (crew chief) head wrench for five season with such drivers as Chad Little, Jeff Green, Scott Riggs, and Jeremy Mayfield.
1958 - Four days after the race, Lee Petty is declared the winner of the 100-mile NASCAR Grand National at Concord Speedway despite protests from Curtis Turner and Speedy Thompson, the apparent top two finishers. Scorecard data indicates that Petty finishes the 200 laps first although Turner starts on the pole and leads the entire distance.
1970 - David Reutimann's birthday
1971 - Bootie Barker's birthday (crew chief) has been the lead man for the last 11 CUP seasons. He has led such drivers as Dave Blaney, Scott Riggs, Michael Waltrip Casey Mears and others.
1975 - Ricky Rudd would make his debut on this date at North Carolina Motor Speedway in Rockingham, NC. Rudd had never made a lap in a CUP car until practice started for this race. He qualified 26th, and had a good run finishing 11th in his first start. Rudd would have a long career in the CUP series. He would become know as "the Iron Man" as he raced in an unbelievable 788 consecutive CUP races, and also won at least one CUP race for 16 years in a row. In the Bud Shoot Out in 1984 he had a horrible crash flipping over many times and destroying his car. YouTube video is here. This video also shows why Daytona has since paved the area between the race track and the infield wall. Also the car lifts and flips bachwards, and the passenger side window was installed as a safety feature to help prevent this. The following CUP race after the Daytona 500 was The Miller High Life 400 around the tough, flat track at Richmond. Rudd's eyes were so swollen he had to have them duct-taped open so he could see to drive. Rudd pushed his car past Darrell Waltrip to lead the last 20 laps and get the win. He to be pulled out of the car and given oxygen after the race. For his career Rudd ran 906 races, and got 23 wins. He finished second in the points race in 1991.
2003 - Matt Kenseth scampers away from the field in the final laps and finishes nine seconds in front of runner-up Dale Earnhardt, Jr., to win the UAW-Daimler Chrysler 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. It will be Kenseth's lone triumph in 2003; but consistent finishes led to a Championship; and ultimately to a new format to decide the season Champion.
1927 - Bruton Smith's birthday
1974 - Grant Adcox would make his initial CUP start here in the Carolina 500 at North Carolina Motor Speedway. Adcox would start and finish 18th. The entire race would be a duel between Cale Yarborough and Richard Petty. Yarborough would start on the pole and lead 164 laps on the day. Petty would pass Yarborough on lap 326 and go on to lead the last 167 laps. Beating Cale by over a lap. Third place finisher Bobby Allison was six laps in arrears. Fourth and fifth went to Charlie Glotzbach and George Follmer
1919 - Buck Baker's birthday
1923 - Johnny Beauchamp's birthday
1956 - Billy Myers won the final CUP race held at Palm Beach Speedway. A 1/2 mile paved track in West Palm Beach FL. The race was a 200 lap affair that only saw one yellow for three laps. Buck Baker started on the pole and grabbed the lead on lap one and held it until lap 33. Jim Reed had started 5th and worked his way up and took the lead away from Baker at that point and held it until he fell out of the race on lap 141 with tire problems. At that time Myers took over the lead and held it to the end. Baker ended up second followed by Herb Thomas, Joe Weatherly, and Fireball Roberts.
1957 - Rick Mast's Birthday
1961 – This was race number 6 of the 52 race season in 1961. It was held at Piedmont Interstate Fairgrounds in Spartanburg, SC. Ned Jarrett won the pole, with Junior Johnson on the outside pole. At the waving of the green hankie, Johnson jumped out to lead the first 102 laps. Cotton Owens led from laps 103-109. J ohnson again assumed the lead from 110-182. At that time Johnson has a fuel line issue and it put Owens back in the lead with just 18 laps remaining. Cotton went on to win, followed home by Richard Petty, David Pearson, Jimmy Pardue and Doug Yates. This was the first career start for Wendell Scott. He would start 9th, and end up 17th after motor problems.
1990 – Kyle Petty wins the GM Goodwrench 500 at North Carolina Motor Speedway and pockets $284,550. The total includes $220,400 in Unocal 76 money that goes to a driver who wins the pole and the race.
1972 - A.J. Foyt got his final win on the CUP circuit. It was at Ontario Motor Speedway in Ontario, CA. This track was built pretty much like Indianapolis Motor Speedway, except that the racing surface was one lane wider, and the short chutes were slightly banked instead of flat like at Indy... making the track faster. Foyt, driving the Purolator Mercury maintained by the Wood Brothers would win the pole, and lead 132 of the 200 laps in the 500 mile race. Only Bobby Allison who finished second and Buddy Baker who finished third were able to keep pace and stay on the lead lap. Foyt, Allison and Baker swapped the lead for the last 100 laps, but Foyt won by 4.2 seconds at the line. There was 31 lead changes, with most leaders just leading a few laps at a time. Richard Petty and Ray Elder finished fourth and fifth. 51 cars started the race, but 113 cars entered, so 62 cars failed to make the event. Foyt also won this race the year before driving for the Wood brothers. In fact he won the Daytona 500 in 1972 and the Firecracker 400 in 1965 driving for the Wood Brothers also. He also picked up another Firecrackers 400 win, and wins at Atlanta and Riverside. All in all he had 7 CUP victories. He only ran just a hand full of races a year, many years just one or two. Usually Daytona, Atlanta or Indy When driving always sticking to his preferred INDY car series, and after retiring in 1994 he became a car owner and raced primarily cars he owned on the INDY car circuit.
1978 - David Pearson rallies from a late spin, passes Benny Parsons, and drives to victory in the Carolina 500 at Rockingham's North Carolina Motor Speedway. It is the 100th win of Pearson's illustrious career.
1952 - Marshall Teague would claim his final CUP win here at Speedway Park, located in Jacksonville, FL. Teague would win the pole, lead all 200 laps, and claim the win driving his 1952 Hudson Hornet. Herb Thomas finished second, followed by Frankie Schneider, Tim Flock, and Tommy Moon. Teague only had four starts in 1952, and won two of them. The other being at the Daytona Beach Course. He also won the Daytona Beach race in 1951, and won five time in 15 starts in 1951.
1955 - In the final of only two CUP races held at Oglethorpe Speedway, Lee Petty claimed the win on this 1/2 mile dirt track. The speedway was located in Savannah, GA. Dick Rathman started on the pole, and led the first 64 laps of the 200 lap race. Petty took the lead on lap 65 and led all the way to the end. He beat second place finisher Don White by four laps. Dick Rathman was third, Herb Thomas was fourth, and Eddie Skinner was fifth.
1969 - Russell Phillip's birthday
1988 - Neil Bonnett got his last win on this date at North Carolina Motor Speedway (Rockingham) Driving the Valvoline Pontiac Bonnett led 166 of the 492 laps and collected $45,000 in winnings. (Bonnet had also just won the week before at Richmond.) Coming home is second was Lake Speed, followed by Sterling Marlin, Alan Kulwicki, and Dale Earnhardt. Bill Elliott won the pole and finished sixth. The first four finishers are running Hoosier tires. During Bonnett's career he competed in 362 Cup events and garnered 18 victories. He also had 156 top 10's. In 1990 in the Spring race at Darlington Bonnett survived a grinding crash that left him with dizziness and amnesia. Bonnett retired from racing and then turned to being a color TV commentator for several networks that covered CUP races, and hosted his own show called "Winners". The passion to get behind the wheel still burned inside him, and in 1992 he did testing for Dale Earnhardt and his car owner Richard Childress; and tested for them threw 1993. Bonnett and Earnhardt were very close friends and they often went on fishing and hunting expeditions together. In 1994 Bonnett decided to return to the drivers seat and in testing for the Daytona he had a right front tire failure and hit the turn four wall nearly head on. He died on impact. Ironic he and Dale Earnhardt were such close friends and died on almost the exact same piece of track in exactly the same fashion.
1994 - Ward Burton would make his first CUP start here at Richmond International Raceway. Burton would start 29th, and finish 35th. He would also go on to win the 2002 Daytona 500. In this race Ted Musgrave would get the pole and Mark Martin would start second. Ernie Irvan would start seventh, but work his way into the lead on lap 106. Burton would lead 189 of the remaining laps to take the win. Rusty Wallace came home second, Jeff Gordon, Dale Earnhardt Sr., and Kyle Petty would round out the top five.
2006 - NASCAR Chairman Brian France announces that Charlotte, N.C., has won the bidding to be the host city for a new NASCAR Hall of Fame. Construction is due to be completed no later than spring 2010. A voting process to induct Hall of Fame members is still under consideration. Ground was broken for the $160 million facility on January 26, 2007, and it officially opened on May 11, 2010,
1935 - Sir Malcolm Campbell flies down the beaches of Daytona on a speed run in his "Blue Bird" at an amazing 276 mph. This is the final run ever for speed trials at Daytona.
1938 - Janet Guthrie's birthday
1965 – this event was held at the Atlantic Rural Fairgrounds and hosted the Richmond 250. Junior Johnson won the pole, and showed h was going to be a formidable opponent this day. Doug Cooper would start second. When the green flag flew Johnson surged out to lead the first 55 laps. Dick Hutcherson lead the next 15 laps. Doug Yates had moved up from his 8th starting position to take the lead. Yates lead for 14 laps. Johnson took the lead again on laps 87-96, Jarrett retook the lead on lap 987 and would hold it until lap 140. Jarrett had differential problems on lap 184 and fell out of the race. Johnson would go on to lead from lap 141 to the end. Johnson led a total of 175 of the 250 lap race. Finishing behind Johnson was Buck Baker, J.T Putney, Curtis Crider, and Bob Derrington. This would be one of only three top 5 finishes for Derrington
1993 - This is the date of Davey Allison's last CUP win. It was at Richmond Int'l Raceway. Allison led 155 of the 400 laps and won $70,000 driving his Havoline Ford. Rounding out the top five were Rusty Wallace, Alan Kulwicki, Dale Jarrett, and Kyle Petty. Little did anyone know such a bright and upcoming young star would be taken in just a few short months. In the 6 1/2 full seasons Davey raced, he amassed 19 wins in 183 races (just over 10%) and posted 92 top 10's (50%)
2004 - Kyle Busch would make his CUP debut in this date at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. This would not be his first NASCAR start however. He ran his first NASCAR race in the Power Stroke Diesel 200 in the Camping World Truck Series at the age of 16. In this race he would finish ninth. After running six races in the 2001 season, NASCAR decided 16 was too young of an age to be competing in the top levels of NASCAR, so they implemented a rule that you had to be at least 18 to enter an event. So, he had to set out until near the end of the 2003 season. In this event Busch would start 18th, but crash out on lap 11. Kasey Kahne won the pole, and Kurt Busch was second. Matt Kenseth started 25th but by lap 95 would have the lead. Harvick was running second late in the race when he ran out of fuel, relegating him to a 21st place finish. Kasey Kahne would finish second, followed by Tony Stewart, Jamie McMurray, and Mark Martin.
2016 - On this date we lost NASCAR driver Bobby Johns. Johns raced in the NASCAR series in the 1956–1969 seasons, with 141 career starts. He had two wins among his 36 top ten finishes and finished the 1960 season 3rd in the points. He also attempted to qualify for the Indianapolis 500 seven times and succeeded in both 1965 and 1969, where he finished 7th and 10th, respectively. He won his first race in the Atlanta 500 in 1960. His other win came at the Volunteer 500 at Bristol in 1962.
1920 - Ethel (Flock) Mobley's birthday
1936 - Daytona Beach holds a 240 mile late model stock car race to replace the speed trials. Milt Marion wheeled a 1936 Ford won; while a young Bill France would come him in fifth place. 1953 - Herb Thomas would win the one and only CUP race ever held at Harnett Speedway. A 1/2 mile dirt track in Spring Lake, NC. Thomas won the pole in his Fabulous Hudson Hornet, and would lead all 200 laps in wearing out the field. The second place finisher was Dick Rathman, more than 3 laps behind. Lee Petty finished third, Dick Passwater fourth and Hershel Buchanan fifth.
1958 - Kirk Shelmerdine's birthday (car owner & crew chief) was crew chief for Dale Earnhardt Sr. from 1981-1992. Together the won such major races at the World 600 (twice) and the southern 500 (three times).
1959 – Champion Speedway in Fayetteville, NC would host it’s final race on this date. It was an event for the convertible series. The track was a 1/3 mile paved oval and the distance was 150 laps. Glen Wood would win the pole, and Jimmy Massey, also in a Wood Brothers car; would start along side. Wood would lead the first 14 laps after the green flag. Gene White would take over and lead laps 15-44. Joe Lee Johnson had worked himself up from his 7th place starting position, and passed White for the lead. Johnson would go on to beat White by 2 car lengths. Third through fifth place were Roy Tyner, Richard Petty, and Glen Wood.
2008 - Kyle Busch wins the first NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race for Toyota. It's the 40th start in a points race for the manufacturer.
1940 - Roy Hall drives his 1939 Ford coupe to a win in the 160 mile Daytona Beach and road course stock car race.
1959 - Mike Wallace's birthday
1964 - Atlantic Rural Fairgrounds in Richmond VA hosted the Richmond 250. Ned Jarrett won the pole alongside him was Billy Wade. At the drop of the green Jarrett lead for the first 104 laps. Wade took the lead from laps 105-137. Richard Petty assumed the lead from lap 138 to 162. Wade once again got the lead from 163 to 210. Petty took the lead away from Wade for four laps before David Pearson would assume the lead from Petty on lap 215. Jarrett's motor would expire about 25 laps from the finish. Pearson went on to win the race. Petty came in 2nd, with Wade third. All finished on the lead lap. Finishing 4th and 5th was Junior Johnson, and Doug Yates
1972 - Matt Kenseth's birthday
2001 - This would be a date that would bring some healing to the Richard Childress race team. Just three races before, they had lost their leader Dale Earnhardt Sr. on a last lap crash in the Daytona 500. Kevin Harvick had been tabbed to move up to the CUP series driving for Childress in 2002. But with Earnhardt's death, he moved up to fill the vacant seat. Harvick had a surprising qualifying run and he qualified fifth. Dale Jarrett would take the pole, with Jeff Gordon outside. Gordon had a good car this day, as did Dave Blaney, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Dale Jarrett, and Jerry Nadeau. It was a very competitive race with 11 different drivers leading, and 26 lead changes. As the race would down Nadeau was leading with just 7 laps to go. Earnhardt Jr. cut down a tire putting him out of contention. With six laps to go Jarrett passed Nadeau to take the lead. Over the next few laps Jarrett's and Nadeau's tires seems to fall out and lose a little speed. With five laps to go Harvick took the lead, with Gordon sucked up to his back bumper. The final five laps was a war between Gordon and Harvick. Gordon had the lead several times, but never at the start/finish line. As they came to the checkers Gordon passed Harvick on the inside, but Harvick was coming back as the momentum for the outside carried him forward. When they hit the finish line it was Harvick by .006 second. The rest of the top five was Nadeau, Jarrett, and Terry Labonte. A lot of numerology in this race. Dale Earnhardt drove car #3. This was the 3rd race since Earnhardt's death. It was only the 3rd CUP start for Harvick. Some other number weirdness was this. This was the 4th race of the season. Harvick drover car #29, and then he starts 5th, and finishes 1st. Dale Sr's Birthday was 4/29/51. You can see the final few laps here on YouTube.
2007 - Aric Almirola would make his first cup start at the Las Vegas Speedway in the UAW-Daimler 400. Almirola would start 31st but crash out on lap 46 finishing 41st. Jon Wood would also make his debut starting 41st and finishing 29th. Kasey Kahne would win the pole, but crash out with just 16 laps remaining, and finish 35th. Meanwhile Jimmie Johnson had worked himself from his 23th place starting spot into the lead by lap 22. Many drivers took a turn at the front, but with just 28 laps to go, Johnson would get by Jeff Burton to regain the lead, and go on to take the win. The rest of the top five were, Jeff Gordon, Denny Hamlin, Matt Kenseth, and Mark Martin. Burton would struggle to the finish and come home 15th.
1915 - Red Byron's birthday
1938 - Johnny Rutherford's birthday
1961 - Fireball Roberts won the final CUP race at Marchbanks Speedway. A 1.4 mile paved track in Hanford, CA. Roberts started on the outside front row, jumped to the lead, and lead all 178 laps (250 miles). Roberts outdistanced second place finisher Eddie Gray by more than 2 laps. Danny Letner was third followed by Tubby Gonzales, and Eddie Pagan
1963 - John Andretti's birthday
1970 - John Nemechek's birthday
1972 - Bobby Isaac won the final race of his storied career at North Carolina Motor Speedway. Isaac wheeling his famous K&K Insurance Dodge led 210 of the 492 laps and earned $17,000. Bobby Allison started 39, and by lap 68 he had made his way into the lead. He would lead 260 laps in his Coca-Cola Chevy before blowing a motor on lap 345 finishing 27th. Isaac out-ran Richard Petty by over a lap to get the win, Petty went on to finish second. The rest of the top five were Jim Vandiver, LeeRoy Yarbrough, and Dave Marcis. Isaac was the CUP champion in 1970 with 11 wins that season; he was also second in the points in 1968. For his career Isaac ran 308 CUP events, and won 37 times. Isaac was inducted into the National Motorsports Press Association Hall of Fame in 1979, the International Motorsports Hall of Fame in 1996, and was voted as one of NASCAR's 50 Greatest Drivers of all time in 1998. Isaac never got to enjoy any of these awards however. He pulled out of a 1977 Late Model Race with 25 laps to go and called for a relief driver, then collapsed on pit road. He was taken to the hospital, and died of a heart attack the next morning at the age of 45.
1978 - Casey Mears' birthday
1983 - Richard Petty ends a 43-race win-less streak and nips Bill Elliott by a bumper in the Carolina 500 at Rockingham. The triumph is the 196th of Petty's career.
1914 - Lee Petty's birthday
1927 - Bill Rexford's birthday
1947 - Tom Baldwin Sr's birthday
1984 - Aric Almirola's birthday
1970 - In the final CUP race ever ran at Savannah Speedway Richard Petty grabbed the checkered flag. Savannah Speedway was a paved 1/2 mile speedway with 20* banking located in Savannah GA. Petty started on the pole for this event and led 183 of the 200 laps. He beat second place finisher Bobby Isaac by over a lap, as the race had but one yellow for four laps. James Hylton finished third, Benny Parsons fourth and Dave Marcis fifth.
1980 - Rusty Wallace would make the first of his 706 CUP starts here at Atlanta Motor Speedway. He would have to wait until 1986 to get his first win. Buddy Baker would win the pole with Neil Bonnett starting second. Bonnett had issues with his rear-end soon after the race started, and retired from the event on lap 30. Baker would only pace the field for two laps. Dale Earnhardt Sr. would start 31st, lead 50 laps, and bring home the win. In his initial race Wallace would finish second 10 seconds behind. The top five would be Bobby Allison, Dave Marcis, and Dick Brooks.
1986 - Morgan Shepherd, driving Jack Beebe's un-sponsored Buick, holds Dale Earnhardt at bay in the final laps to win the Motorcraft 500 at Atlanta. The victory is the second of Shepherd's NASCAR Winston Cup career.
2003 - This would be one of the closest and most exciting finishes in NASCAR History. The site would be Darlington Raceway, also called "The Lady In Black", and "The Track Too Tough To Tame". Elliott Sadler won his first career pole, and Ryan Newman would start second in the 293 lap; 400 mile race. As the race wound down to it's final few laps, Kurt Busch, and Ricky Craven waged a war to see who would get the win. With two laps to go they entered turn #1 on the narrow one grooved track. Neither driver gave an inch and they tried to make it through side-by-side. Craven forced Busch high, and he got into the wall, but never slowed down. Busch pulled the cross-over move and got inside Craven crowding him into the wall. Busch was leading as they took the white flag with Craven right behind. Craven hounded Busch down the back straight, and as they entered turn 33 for the final time Craven made his move. He pulled along side Busch coming off of turn #4 and the cars slammed sides together coming to the line. As they crossed the line Craven had edged ahead to win by just .002 of a second. This would be the ONLY lap Craven led in the race. This would also be the final win of Craven's CUP career, and the final win for Pontiac. Dave Blaney would drive a great race, and finish third. Mark Martin was fourth, and Michael Waltrip fifth. For his career Craven collected two CUP wins, and 17 top five finishes. He won four races in the Xfinity series, but finished second in points in 1993, and 1994.
2008 - This would be Dale Jarrett's final career start. Driving the first events for Michael Waltrip Racing to guarantee the car makes the field by using his past Champions provisionals, Jarrett raced the first five events of 2008. This race was at Bristol Motor Speedway. Right near the end of the race Kyle Busch had power steering problems, Tony Stewart Spun and Denny Hamlin had fuel pick-up problems on the final restart... if not for those problems Joe Gibbs racing could of had a 1-2-3 finish. The finish worked out with the top three being Jeff Burton, Kevin Harvick and Clint Bowyer, so Richard Childress Racing got the 1-2-3 finish instead. Jarrett won the Daytona 500 three times. The first time being in 1993. It came down to a battle between Dale Jarrett, and Dale Earnhardt Sr. It's now commonly know as the "Dale and Dale Show" Dale's father Ned Jarrett was in the booth calling the race, and it exciting hearing Ned root his son to the victory. He also won the Brick Yard 400, and the Coke 600. Jarrett and his team started a tradition as they "kissed the bricks" after winning the Brickyard in 1999 race, a tradition that continues to this day. For his career Dale Jarrett had 32 wins, 7 of those coming in the year of his most victories, 1997. However he only managed to finish second in the points as Jeff Gordon edged him out by 14 points. Jarrett did win a championship in 1999, and finished in the top five in points six years in a row.
1929 - Tom Piston's birthday
1957 – Wilson Speedway in Wilson NC would be the location of Ralph Moody's final CUP win. Fireball Roberts won the pole, and Marvin Panch started second. Roberts would jump into the lead, and lead until the half way mark. At that time Moody took away the top spot and went on to collect the win. He beat second place finisher Buck Baker by two laps, with Speedy Thompson, Lee Petty, and Tiny Lund making up the top five.
1962 – The St. Patricks Day 200 was held at Savannah Speedway. This was the first CUP race held at this track. Rex white won the pole, and Darel Dieringer started along side. Dieringer would crash out on lap 36. Joe Weatherly took his third place starting position, and thrust his car into the lead on lap 1. He would lead for the next 36 laps. On Lap 37 Ned Jarrett would grab the lead, and would lead until lap 117. Jarrett would fall out a few laps later with a busted oil pan. Cotton Owens then took his turn at the point as he led from lap 118-152. Jack Smith would get around Owens, and go on to win by ¾ of a lap. The top 5 was Smith, Owens, Weatherly, Curtis Crider and Rex White.
1963 – Junior Johnson won the pole and jumped out and led the first 59 laps in the Atlanta 500. Johnson's motor developed problems, and he fell out at lap 63. By that time FireBall Roberts had moved up from his 17th starting position to assume the lead. Roberts, Paul Goldsmith, and Fred Lorenzen had a spirited battle over the next 10 laps until A.J. Foyt grabbed a hold and would lead until lap 126 when he fell out with transmissions problems. Roberts, Rex White, Lorenzen, and Bobby Johns engaged in a tight battle for the next 20 laps. Joe Weatherly then assumed the lead and held it until lap 211. Lorenzen grabbed the lead back and held it for four laps before being over taken by Bobby Johns. Johns would go on to lead the next 50 laps. Lorenzen re-assumed the lead on lap 268 and drove away to win the 334 lap race. At the end Lorenzen won by over a lap. FireBall Roberts would finish second, followed by Bobby Johns, Joe Weatherly, and Tiny Lund. This would be the last start for Roberts in his Banjo Matthews prepared Pontiac.
1968 – In 1968 David Pearson was able to defend his 1967 Southeastern 500 win at Bristol. Richard Petty started on the Pole, Pearson started 2nd, Cale Yarborough started 3rd, and Lee Roy Yarbrough started 4th. This would be a classic Petty, Pearson, Yarbrough battle. Petty would lead for 10 laps before Pearson got by and lead the next 50 laps. Lee Roy Yarbrough showed he was going to be a player this day and he led from laps 97-123. Not to be outdone, Cale Yarborough lead from laps 124-167. Cale would fall out of the race on lap 237 with rear end problems. Petty, Pearson, and Yarbrough exchanged the lead several times over the next 150 laps. Pearson would lead from 316-348, with Petty assuming the lead for laps 349-403. Yarbrough grabbed the lead and held on to it until lap 470. Pearson got the lead and held it until the end. Pearson was followed home by Petty, Yarbrough, Darel Dieringer, and Bobby Isaac.
1985 - Driving with a broken leg suffered in a crash at Rockingham, Bill Elliott outruns Geoff Bodine by 2.64 seconds to win the Coca-Cola 500 at Atlanta. Elliott wins two of the first four races, but ranks a distant fifth in the points standings.
2002 - This would be the final CUP win for Sterling Marlin. It came at Darlington Raceway in Darlington, SC. Jeff Gordon was the dominate driver in this race, but Buckshot Jones crashed on lap 227 and Gordon, Tony Stewart, Mark Martin and others were swept up in the wreck. When the green flew again for the final time on lap 241 Dale Earnhardt found himself in the lead and led until lap 250 when Sterling Marlin would motor by him and drive off to a 3 1/2 second win. This was Marlins second win in three weeks, as he had won two weeks earlier at Las Vegas driving his Coors Light, Ganassi owned Dodge. Marlin had 10 wins in his career with his best finish in the championship chase being third in 1995 and 2001.
2006 - NASCAR Sprint Cup driver Bobby Hamilton announces he has been diagnosed with cancer, causing him to bow out of the 2006 season. The 2004 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series champion would lose his battle with the disease on January 7, 2007, at age 49.
1937 - Mark Donohue's birthday
1984 - Benny Parsons crossed the finish line first to grab the final win of his career at Atlanta International Speedway in the Coca-Cola 500. Parsons led 150 of the 328 laps and had $51,000 in earnings and out run Dale Earnhardt Sr who finished second and Cale Yarborough, Richard Petty and Bobby Allison who rounded out the top five. Buddy Baker won the pole but dropped out of the event with a blown motor with 26 laps to go. Parsons raced full time from 1970 to 1981, then only part time until racing full time again his last two years in 1987 and 1988. In total he ran 526 races, and earned 21 wins. He had 283 top 10's (53%) and 4.4 million dollars in earnings. Benny won the CUP championship in 1973 while claiming only one win. (hhuumm sounds like when Kenseth won HIS title a couple years back with only one win). We didn't see Bill France jumping up and changing the points system, and have some stupid thing like the 'chase'... Me thinks Bill was MUCH smarter than Brian.) Parson is credited with talking Harry Melling into taking a shot on a young Bill Elliott and trying him on a part-time sponsorship and see if he had what it took. Parsons told Melling the kid had talent, he just needed some backing. Parsons is also credited with discovering current CUP driver Greg Biffle at a "Gong Show" in Arizona. After Parson permanently retired from racing in 1988, he became a broadcaster for ESPN, NBC, and TNT. Parsons broadcast up until he died from lung cancer in 2007.
1991 - Wally Dallenbach Jr would make his first CUP start here at Atlante Motor Speedway in the Motorcraft Quality Parts 500. He would start 33rd, and finish 26th. Alan Kulwicki would win the pole, with Brett Bodine second. Kulwicki may not have won the race, but he won a sponsorship. Mark Stahl started driving the Hooters machine this season, but after had failed to qualify all four races so far. Hooter's Took Mast out of the seat, and Kulwicki promptly put it on the pole. He would lead but eight laps, but a solid seventh place finish got contract negotiations started between Kulwicki and Hoot's, and he drove for them the rest of his career. There were 16 lead changes, and the battle was close at the front. Ken Schrader drove his Hendrick Motor Sports Kodiak Chevy past Sterling Marlin with 43 laps to go and never looked back. Marlin would stay hot on his heals and he finished second just three second behind. The rest of the top five was Dale Earnhardt Sr., Morgan Shepherd, and Michael Waltrip.
1992 - Ryan Truex's birthday
1967 – Darel Dieringer won the pole for the Southeastern 500 at Bristol Speedway. Fred Lorenzen started outside. Dieringer would lead the first two laps before third place starter Richard Petty passed to assume the lead. That lead would be short lived as Petty crashed out of the event on lap 6. Dick Hutcherson assumed the lead and would lead until lap 54. J Paschal seemed to have a strong mount, and would take the lead and hold it for 60 laps. Paschal would run well, but his motor would give out on lap 289. Hutcherson reassumed the lead on lap 114 for the next 10 laps. David Pearson took the lead and held it for the next 60 circuits. Dieringer re-assumed the lead for 20 laps with Hutchinson leading for the next 3 laps. Dieringer again took the lead ad led from laps 212-292. Cale Yarborough made his presence known as he took away the lead on lap 382 and held it until Hutcherson took it back on lap 425. Hutcherson looked to be the class of the field, and could have had the win in the bag,… but while leading on lap 482; just 18 laps from the checkers, Hutchersons motor let go. Yarborough inherited the lead and held on to it from lap 282 to 494. With 6 laps to go, Pearson was able to power by and go on to the win. Yarborough did manage to finish second followed home by Dieringer, and Neil castles. Hutcherson still managed to finish 5th, even though he had blown up, and was 18 laps down.
1960 – This edition of the Southeastern 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway saw David Pearson seem to be the dominate car. Pearson won the pole, and lead the first 142 laps when the green flag fell. Fred Lorenzen led lap 143, but Pearson charged back into the lead and led until lap 242. Marvin Panch took the lead for 40 laps, but would have engine problems and fall out on lap 328 Pearson took the lead back on lap 288 and held it until lap 331. Dick Hutcherson would jump in and lead 5 laps before Pearson would re-assume the lead and hold it until lap 382. Pearson would later break a timing belt and fall out of the event 100 laps from the end. Hutcherson took the lead on lap 382, and would lead the rest of the way to the checkers. Hutcherson would go on to win by 4 laps. Paul Lewis finished 2nd, followed by James Hylton, Elmo Langley, and Sam McQuagg. 32 cars started the event, and only 7 finished.
1988 – Lake Speed speeds to his first NASCAR Winston Cup triumph in Darlington Raceway's TranSouth 500. Speed's Oldsmobile finishes a half-lap in front of runner-up Alan Kulwicki.
1993 - Morgan Shepherd won the final CUP race of his career at Atlanta Motor Speedway leading 46 of 328 laps driving the Wood Brothers Citgo Ford; an event postponed six days due to a blizzard. He won $70,000 as he outdistanced Ernie Irvan by 17 seconds for the win. Pole sitter Rusty Wallace was third followed by Jeff Gordon and Ricky Rudd. Shepherd has raced in the CUP series for 27 years and has four wins. Two other wins also coming at Atlanta and one at Martinsville. Shepherd has 168 top 10 finishes and over 10 million dollars in earnings. As of 1/1/2017 he continues to race in the NASCAR XFinity series, as well as the ARCA series. (at the age of 75)
2005 - Carl Edwards would get his first CUP win on this date at Atlanta Motor Speedway in the Golden Corral 500. He would show off his now famous victory back-flip, (from standing on his drivers window). He also won the Nationwide race the previous day. The race started off with a massive wreck just two laps in. Involved were the cars of Shane Hmiel, Robby Gordon, Bobby Labonte, Matt Kenseth, Jeff Burton, Jeff Gordon, Kurt Busch and several others. This would be the CUP debut for Hmiel and Mike Garvey. Atlanta had become known for it exciting finishes. This year would be no different. Jimmie Johnson was leading with 25 laps to go, but Edwards was reeling him in. On the final lap Edwards made a great move, and swept by Johnson coming off of turn #4 go grab the win by just 2/100th of a second. Johnson led 156 laps in the race, while third place finisher Greg Biffle led 151. Only a total of 17 laps would be led by the other drivers. Mark Martin and Kasey Kahne finished fourth and fifth. Edwards would win four CUP races this season.
1920 - Fonty Flock's birthday
1987 - On this date we lost John Nemechek. - younger brother of Joe Nemechek; raced mainly Truck series races; died of racing crash.
1999 - Jeff Burton's crumpled Ford lies in a smoking heap on the frontstretch at Darlington Raceway as rain begins to fall, securing his victory in one of the zaniest finishes in NASCAR history. Burton is involved in a crash on lap 163, but manages to keep his car rolling until heavy rains curtail the scheduled 400-miler.
2017 - Pete Hamilton would pass away on this day. Hamilton raced in NASCAR for six years, where he won four times in his career (including the 1970 Daytona 500), three of thosetimes driving for Petty Enterprises.
1932 - Billy Hagan's birthday - he was a car owners for 21 years, fielding cars for drivers such as Terry Labonte, Sterling Marlin, and John Andretti.
1959 – Johnny Beauchamp would win his first CUP race at Lakewood Speedway in Atlanta. Buck Baker would qualify first with Beauchamp outside. At the drop of the green hankie, Beauchamp shot out to the lead, and never looked back. He led all 100 laps around the one mile dirt track, winning by over a lap. Baker would finish second with 'Tiger' Tom Pistone third. The rest of the top five was Speedy Thompson and Joe Eubanks.
1964 – Marvin Panch won the pole, and Fred Lorenzen started on the outside pole for the Southeastern 500 at Bristol. At the drop of the green Panch would lead the first 6 laps. Lorenzen passed Panch on lap 7, and lead all the way to the checkered flag. Lorenzen didn’t have it as easy as it sounds. Fireball Roberts stayed within shouting distance, and finished on the lead lap. Paul Goldsmith finished 3rd three laps down, Buck Baker 4th, and Marvin Panch 5th.
2015 - On this date; Chris Buescher would make his first CUP start. It would happen in the Auto Club Speedway in Fontana CA in the Auto Club 400. Buescher qualified 33rd and would run a clean race finishing 20th on the lead lap. How Buescher even ended up in the car is an interesting story - As has been reported Kyle Busch broke his leg and feet in the Xfinity races at Daytona the previous month. Buescher piloted the #34 car owned by Front Row Motorsports; and he filled in for David Ragan; who had went to fill in for the injured Kyle Busch. Kurt Busch would win the pole with Kevin Harvick starting alongside. The scheduled race distance was 200 laps and the drivers Busch, Harvick, Denny Hamlin and Matt Kenseth led a combined total of 198 circuits. Busch most certainly looked to have the win in hand when a very late race yellow flew coming to the white flag. Always the riverboat gambler; Brad Keselowski's crew chief Paul Wolfe called Brad in for a four tire change. The move put him a ways back in the field as several cars took two tires, and some didn't pit at all. The first attempt at a green-white-checkers saw Brad move strongly up through the pack; but just two laps wasn't going to get him the win. Then the yellow flew again for debris setting up a second green-white-checkered finish. This time Brad was able to bypass Kurt Busch on the last lap to lead the only lap he led all day and grab the win. The rest of the top five was Harvick, Busch, Paul Menard and Ryan Newman.
1923 - Johnny Beauchamp's birthday
1969 – Bobby Isaac would win the pole for this event at Bristol. David Pearson would roll off second. Isaac would pull out to a lead and pace the field for the first 142 laps. Bobby Allison would lead for 5 laps before Pearson led for the next 25 circuits. Isaac re-assumed the lead and held it for 100 laps. Pearson got the lead away from Isaac on lap 276, and on lap 422 Isaac returned the favor. Pearson lead fro 448 to 492. As Pearson blew a motor. Just 8 laps from the end Allison took the lead and held on to take the checkers. Allison was followed across the line Lee Roy Yarbrough, Pearson, Yarborough, and Donnie Allison.
1997 – Phil Parsons would make his final CUP start here at Darlington Raceway in the TranSouth 400. Parsons would make this start, filling in for Joe Nemechek who was grieving the loss of his younger brother in a racing accident just a few days earlier. Parsons would start 29th, and finish 31st. Dale Jarrett would win the pole and be strong all day. He would pass Ernie Irvan with 126 laps to go, but just nudge out Ted Musgrave by 1/10th of a second for the win. Jeff Gordon would finish third, Jeff Burton fourth, and Bobby Labonte fifth.
1956 - Jimmy Makar's birthday - he was the crew chief for Rusty Wallace, Dale Jarrett (Makar is Jarrett's brother-in-law), and also Bobby Labonte when he won the 2000 Championship. Maker won 23 races; 21 of them with Labonte. They won such races as the Daytona 500 with Jarrett, and the Coke 600, Southern 500 and Brickyard 400 with Labonte.
1968 – The Virginia State Fairgrounds hosted the Richmond 250 at Richmond VA. The pole was won by Bobby Isaac with Charlie Glotzbach starting along side. When the green flew Isaac took the lead and lead for the first nine laps. Glotzbach led from laps 10-41. David Pearson quickly worked his way up from his 16th starting position to take the lead on lap 42. Glotzbach re-assume the lead on lap 45 and held it to lap 73. Pearson got back around Glotzbach, and led for 15 laps (until lap 90) until Richard Petty got around him. Petty lead until lap 137 until he blew a motor and was eliminated. Glotzbach again re-assumed the lead, but within 15 laps Pearson had passed him again. Pearson lead nearly the last 100 laps to claim the win. The top five was Pearson, Glotzbach, Elmo Langley, Neil Castles, and Lloyd Lynn.
1970 – During a Goodyear tire test at Talladega, Buddy Baker becomes the first man to break the 200-mph barrier on a closed course. Baker turns in a lap of 200.447 mph to establish himself as the "Fastest Man on Four Wheels."
2002 – Kurt Busch would get his first win here at Bristol Motor Speedway. Jeff Gordon would win the pole, and a surprising Robby Gordon would start outside. Robby would jump the start, and get the black flag causing him to lose two laps. He made one of them up to just finish one lap behind. Jeff would spin on lap 165 and never be in contention again. Dale Earnhardt has a strong car, leading a race high 181 laps. Busch would move his car from his 27th place starting position to claim the lead on lap 411. He and Jimmy Spencer would wage a battle the final 89 laps with Busch bumping Spencer out of the way with 15 to go to get by and get the win. This initiated a feud between then that would last for years. Finishing third would be Ricky Rudd, with Dale Earnhardt Sr. and Bobby Labonte fourth and fifth. Rick Mast would realized the seriousness of race car drivers exposure to carbon monoxide in the final 100 laps of the race. He was 12 laps behind, when he came to pit road feeling physically terrible. He got back out and finished 37 laps down, but he would run his final race 10 races later at Richmond when he realized his life was in danger for the carbon monoxide.
???? - Doyle Ford's birthday (flagman)
1948 - Butch Lindley's birthday
1956 - Here at Lakewood Speedway in Atlanta, GA. Paul Goldsmith would make his first CUP start. Goldsmith, driving Smokey Yunick's 1956 Chevy would start seventh, but crash on lap 36 and be out of the event. Tim Flock won the pole, but he had back luck also, and blew a motor on lap 55 of the 100 lap event. Buck Baker led the final 50 laps to take the win over Speedy Thompson. The rest of the top five was Herb Thomas, Jimmy Massey, and Lee Petty. Goldsmith would make nine starts this season, and in six of them he would finish in the top eight. Before he retired in 1969, Goldsmith would win 9 races, including the final race at the Daytona Beach course. Baker's and Thompson's cars were both owned by Carl Kiekhaefer. This would be the first of 16 consecutive wins for Kiekhafer. During the stretch he would have four drivers claim wins. The other two was Tim Flock and Herb Thomas.
1973 - Cale Yarborough, back in NASCAR's fold after a two-year exile in USAC Indy Cars, drives Junior Johnson's Chevrolet to an overwhelming victory in the Southeastern 500 at Bristol. Yarborough leads all 500 laps.
1982 - Danica Patrick's birthday
2001 - Elliott Sadler would claim the first of his CUP wins. It would come at Bristol Motor Speedway. Sadler qualified a disappointing 38th and didn't have as good a car as many others. The Wood Brothers took a chance and pitted his car with 150 laps to go, and stayed out to the finish. As all of the lead cars pitted later in the race, Sadler eventually found himself in the front, and lead the final 54 laps under green to get the win. John Andretti would finish second, followed by Jeremy Mayfield, Jeff Gordon, and Ward Burton. This would be the last win for the Wood Brothers until they claimed the Daytona 500 in 2011 with Trevor Bayne at the wheel. Sadler becomes the third first-time winner in the first six races of the season, while it is the Wood Brothers' first win since 1993.
2004 - Jeff Gordon wins the controversial Aaron's 499 at Talladega when a caution flag freezes the field as Dale Earnhardt, Jr., attempts a decisive pass for the lead. Rules implemented in late 2003 prohibit "racing back to the flag" during a caution period.
2007 - AJ Allmendinger would make his first CUP start here in the Food City 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway. AJ would start 43rd, and finish 40th. It was also the first start for Regan Smith. He started 12th and finished 25th. The race was a crash-fest with the yellow flying 15 times, and 90 laps being ran under the caution. This was the first race with the newly designed 'Car of Tomorrow'. Tony Stewart led 257 laps, but had issues and finished 35th. Denny Hamlin also had a strong car leading 177 laps; but his night would go all wrong when he was leading with 20 laps to go and fuel pump issues. When Hamlin had his problems, Kyle Bush was there to pounce, and would go on to get the win. After winning Busch got out of his car and proclaimed the new CoT the "biggest piece of junk he ever drove" (NASCAR must have agreed as the car was only ran a couple years before being phased out). Jeff Burton was second, and had a couple chances to punt Busch out of the way as the laps wound down; but chose not to. Jeff Gordon finished third, follow by Kevin Harvick, and Greg Biffle.
1961 - Part-time competitor Bob Burdick drives a family-owned Pontiac with used tires and a borrowed rear-gearing unit. Serviced by a rag-tag, rookie pit crew, Burdick led the final 43 laps to win the Atlanta 500 at Atlanta International Raceway. The 24-year-old driver from Omaha, Nebraska, recorded his only win in his 11th career start. Burdick only competed in 15 races during his brief career. With operating funds running low, Burdick headed back to Omaha, having driven his final NASCAR race at the age of 25.
1976 - Blaise Alexander's birthday
1990 - James Buescher's birthday
1939 - Cale Yarborough's birthday
1939 - Maurice Petty's birthday
???? – Gary DeHart - NASCAR CUP crew chief for 12 season. Led drivers such as Ricky Rudd, Brian Vickers, Kyle Busch, Bobby Hamilton and Terry Labonte among others. Was the crew chief for Terry Labonte's 1996 CUP Championship.
1960 – Lee Petty finishes first in the controversial 100-mile race at North Wilkesboro (N.C.) Speedway. Petty bumps his way past Junior Johnson with 14 laps remaining to claim his 49th career NASCAR Grand National win. Petty is pelted with rocks and debris in victory lane.
1966 – This was a very competitive race with several leaders and many lead changes. Richard Petty would win the pole, and go on to lead the first 31 laps. 5th place starter Jim Hurtubise run down Petty, and wrestled away the lead on lap 32. There were many lead changes over the next several laps. Lee Roy Yarbrough would lead lap 86, but he would later fall out with engine failure. Curtis Turner would lead lap 87, and Hurtubise would lead 88-89. Turner lead lap 90, but later fall out of the race with motor failure on lap 305. Johncock led laps 105-113, but Johncock would later fall out of the race on lap 278 with motor failure. Petty and Hurtubise would swap the lead several times before Ned Jarrett took a turn at the front for 2 laps. Later Jarrett fell out with motor failure. Petty would lead for the next 25 laps before also falling out with a blown motor on lap 185. It seems the torrid pace was too much for many of the motors to stand. Lorenzen would retake the lead from Hurtubise on lap 259 and lead to lap 277. Hurtubise would wrest the lead away from Lorenzen and drive away to the win. Lorenzen would come home second, a lap in arrears. Dick Hutcherson finished third, followed by Paul Goldsmith and Jim Paschal. Hurtubise was mainly a INDY car competitor and was very badly burned earlier in a Indy car crash. He fought back from the burns and would claim his only CUP victory on this date.
1983 - Ken Ragan would make his first CUP start here at Atlanta Motor Speedway. Ragan is the father of CUP competitor David Ragan. Ragan would start 40th, but run well until he crashed, and finished 27th. Ragan raced mostly on the major speedways, like Atlanta, Darlington, Daytona, Talladega, etc. Geoff Bodine won the pole, and would jump out to lead the initial 18 laps. At that point he dropped a valve, and was done for the day. The race was very competitive as it had 10 leaders, and 22 lead changes. Buddy Baker would start second, but would never be at the front of the pack. Dick Brooks and Joe Ruttman would have good runs, holding the lead as late as lap 258 in the 328 lap event. Then the 300 lap mark arrived Benny Parsons took the lead from Neil Bonnet, but just nine laps later Cale Yarborough would motor by Parsons, and go on to take the win. Finishing behind Yarborough was Bonnett, Baker, Ruttman, and Richard Petty. Yarborough's win came on his birthday. One of only two times that has happened to this date in NASCAR history. Kyle Busch did it the other time. 1988 - Here at Darlington Raceway in SC, Lake Speed would claim his only CUP win. Speed would start eight, and lead 178 laps; the last 48 to claim the win. The race featured 11 different leaders with 19 lead changes. Speed would be followed across the finish line by Alan Kulwicki, Davey Allison, Bill Elliott and Sterling Marlin. Video of Speeds win can be found on YouTube here. Speed had a second place finish in the 1985 Daytona, behind winner Bill Elliott. I've never saw anyone happier to finish second. That video can be seen on YouTube here.
1954 – Oakland Stadium in Oakland CA. hosted this 250 lap race. Hershel McGriff started on the pole. But fell out of the race on lap 129 with a broke tie-rod. Dick Rathman went on to lead 108 laps, and collect the checkered flag. He was followed by Marvin Panch, John Soars, Clyde Palmer, and Lloyd Dane. Rathman notched the first ever win for car #3. The track had paved straights, and dirt turns.
1954 – On the same day, on the East coast, Oglethorpe Speedway hosted it’s first NASCAR CUP race. The speedway was a ½ mile dirt oval located in Savannah GA. It was often customary in those days to have a race on the west coast, and the east coast on the same day. This day Herb Thomas would win the pole, but he would have a problem with a wheel hub, and finish 10th after falling out on lap 175. Al Keller would go on to win the event, leading 184 of the 200 laps. Two laps behind in second was Buck Baker. The rest of the top five was Gober Sosebee, Donald Thomas, and Joe Eubanks. This was Keller's first CUP win.
1955 – Fonty Flock wheels Frank Christian's Chevrolet to victory in the 100-mile NASCAR Grand National race at Columbia, S.C. It is the first win for the Chevrolet nameplate in NASCAR's premier stock car racing series.
1959 – Chris Myers birthday - TV announcer
1964 – Today's race at Greenville-Pickens Speedway would mark the first race for Dick Hutcherson. The rookie would put his car on the pole in his first CUP start. He led the first 60 laps, but had issues with broken lug bolts at lap 109 and fell out of the race finishing 15th. Ned Jarrett led 89 of the 200 laps, before David Pearson bypassed him to claim the win. Jarrett did finish second, followed by Marvin Panch, LeeRoy Yarbrough and Tiny Lund. Hutcherson ran four races this season; winning two poles, and placing in the top five twice.
1993 – Today's race at Darlington Raceway would be the final CUP start for James Hylton. He was 59 years old. He had a long and storied 27 year career in the CUP series. The last nine years he only ran a couple CUP races per year. Although he is a lesser know of the CUP drivers Hylton was a good driver, and was very competitive. In 1966, 1967, and 1971 he finished second in the CUP points. In 1969, 1970, 1972, and 1975 he was third. He finished in the top three in points in a seven times. Dale Earnhardt Sr. would win the pole for this race and toward the end of the event had the strongest car. He led 149 of the last 150 laps winning by 1.5 seconds. over Mark Martin. Dale Jarrett, Ken Schrader, and Rusty Wallace finished out the top five. Hylton was an Independent driver and under funded. Still he was competitive for the most part. In his 602 career starts he finished in the top ten in 301 of them. This would also be the last event for Alan Kulwicki. (See story below)
1993 – This race would be the final event for reigning NASCAR CUP champ Alan Kulwicki. It would be the TranSouth 500 held at Darlington Speedway. He would finish sixth. After a tight points chase in 1992, Kulwicki would edge out Bill Elliott for the Championship by 10 points. Kulwicki was one of the few owner/driver combos left on the CUP series, but he did things his way. He was an underdog that many rooted for. It was amazing how much he did with so little. In 1991 after another driver had problems making the field at Atlanta. Atlanta based Hooter's Restaurant approached him about putting their sponsorship on his car so they would be represented at their corporate headquarters. Kulwicki won the pole, and finished eighth. Hooters would go on to sponsor Kulwicki for the rest of his career. After the first five races of the 1993 Kulwicki and four others took a private flight from Bristol where the race would be that week; to do a meet-n-greet at a local Hooters in Knoxville. On the flight back, in bad weather and icey conditions, the planed crashed killing all on board. Kulwicki ran just 207 races over his nine year CUP career. Although he only won five times, (including two wins at Bristol) he was still a fan favorite and won the CUP title in 1992
1959 – Junior Johnson wins the 100-miler at Wilson Speedway in North Carolina for his first win of the 1959 season. Less than an hour before the race, the wooden grandstand catches on fire and burns to the ground. No one is injured, but the 8,000 spectators have to watch the race while standing along the catch fence.
1970 – Cale Yarborough won the pole, and Charlie Glotzbach was on the outside. Like in the 1969 event, Glotzbach jumped out to lead the first two laps, but fell out of the event on lap 10 with ignition failure. Buddy Baker would take over the lead, and hold it from laps 3 – 50. Richard Petty led for 5 laps, then James Hylton lead for the next 5. Pete Hamilton lead a couple laps before Baker took over and paced the field for the next 30 circuits. Baker would fall out on lap 263 with ignition problems. Donnie Allison led for 10 laps, then Petty led the next 3, and Allison led a couple more. Yarborough led for 30 laps, before Allison and Baker swapped the lead. Donnie Allison took over on lap 207, and lead to lap 243. donnie Allison would fall out of the race while fighting for the lead with just 17 laps to go. Bobby Allison had a battle as the race wound down to it’s conclusion. Yarborough led laps 244-319. Allison would lead lap 320, and Yarborough laps 321 and 322. Allison finally took the lead for the final time on lap 323, and held on to the end. At the checkers it was Bobby Allison, followed home by Yarborough, Pete Hamilton, Lee Roy Yarbrough and Richard Petty
1981 – Ron Bouchard would make his CUP debut here at Bristol Motor Speedway. Bouchard qualified a surprising third in his first race driving the Race Hill Farms Buick owned by Jack Beebe. He had a motor let go on lap 349 of the 500 lap race and finished 24th. Bouchard would go on to win this years Talladega 500 and also win Rookie of the Year. Darrell Waltrip would win the pole with Dale Earnhardt Sr' starting second. Earnhardt would crash out on lap 140 and finish 28th. Waltrip would go on to lead 323 laps to get his first of seven consecutive wins here at Bristol. Ricky Rudd finished second, Bobby Allison third, with Morgan Shepherd and Benny Parsons fourth and fifth.
2015 - Chase Elliott would make his first cup start here at Martinsville Speedway in the STP 500. Chase qualified 27; but showed good speed in practice. He ran inside the top 20 early in the event; but on a restart the field bunched up and he rear ended the car in front of him busting his radiator. He ended up 38th. The race saw 16 yellow flags for 112 laps. Kevin Harvick lead a race high 154 laps as the race saw 13 different leaders and 31 lead changes. As the race wound down the final yellow fell with about 35 to go. Tony Stewart had run mid-pack all day and gambled and stayed out and took the lead. When the green flew; he was quickly bypassed by Matt Kenseth but after only two laps Denny Hamlin passed Kenseth for the lead. Brad Keselowski had taken four tires and had to fight his way through the traffic; and as the laps would down he closed to the back bumper of Hamlin. With two to go Keselowski was there; but just couldn't get off the corners fast enough to mount a challenge. Hamlin claimed the win with Keselowski second; followed by Joey Logano, Kenseth, and David Ragan. Ragan posted a surprisingly good run in the #18 M&M's Toyota while filling in for the injured Kyle Busch. Danica Patrick finished well in seventh. One other note; Kyle Larson didn't get to race in this event because he passed out at an autograph session held on Saturday; and Regan Smith was tabbed to wheel his car.
1969 – This race held at Atlanta Motor Speedway saw Cale Yarborough defend his win from the previous year. Of the 40 cars that started the event, only 15 were running at the end. Charlie Glotzbach won the pole, and lead the first two laps of the event. It would be the only laps he would lead, as he exited the race on lap 142 with ignition problems. Cale Yarborough took the lead on lap 3 and held it until lap 51. Bobby Isaac led for the next 3 laps, but fell out with motor problems on lap 202. David Pearson lead fro laps 55 – 60. Yarborough again assumed the lead on lap 61 to 107. Pearson would re-assume the lead for 8 laps before Yarborough took the lead again on lap 117 and hold it until lap 275. The rest of the race was a two car affair with Pearson and Yarborough swapping the lead five times over the last 200 laps. Yarborough and Pearson were the only two drivers to finish on the lead lap, but Pearson made Yarborough earn the win, finishing just 3 seconds behind. Paul Goldsmith was 3rd, and Bobby Allison and Pete Hamilton 4th and 5th.
2008 – This race held at Martinsville Speedway would be the first start for Michael McDowell. He would qualify 34th in his Aaron's Dream Machine owned by Michael Waltrip; he would finish 26th. Jeff Gordon would win the pole and lead 44 of the first 45 laps. Denny Hamlin would start second, and lead 92 laps on the day; leading the final 74 laps and be out front when the checkers waved. Gordon would finish second, followed by Jeff Burton, Jimmie Johnson, and Tony Stewart.
1968 – Lee Roy Yarbrough started on the pole for this event at Atlanta Motor Speedway. Yarbrough would lead the first 22 laps, before being passed by 4th place starter Cale Yarborough. Yarborough would lead only 2 laps before being by passed by James Hylton. Hylton led 5 laps, Lee Roy led the next 5, and Sam McQuagg led the following 5 laps. Donnie Allison lead laps 61-62 before Yarbrough grabbed the lead for the next 30 laps. Allison retook the lead for laps 95-115, then Yarborough led for the next 40 laps. Lee Roy Yarbrough led for a couple laps, and then Bobby Allison held the point for the next 20 circuits. Yarbrough would assume the lead and hold on to it for the next 60 laps as the race ran down to 100 laps to go. Bobby Allison passed Yarbrough and lead for the next 20 laps, before Cale Yarborough led laps 260-300. Bobby Allison would crash out on lap 291. Lee Roy Yarbrough would get the lead one last time, before Cale Yarborough would pass Lee Roy and hold the lead until the checkers fell. The final finish had Yarborough and Yarbrough finishing first and second. Donnie Allison third; Charlie Glotzbach and Darel Dieringer ran a quiet race, and finished 4th and 5th.
1998 - On this date we lost Tim Flock. - 39 time race winner; two time CUP champion; died of cancer.