NOTE### - any date in PINK and BOLD is an event pre-NASCAR - but is associated to bringing about the sport of NASCAR
1964 – LeeRoy Yarbrough would get his first CUP win here at Savannah Speedway in Savannah, GA. It was a 200 lap race on a ½ mile dirt track, and was the 20th event of the 62 race season. Jimmy Pardue started on the pole, but would fall out after 137 laps; finishing 11th in the 12 car field. After Pardue fell out of the race, Yarbrough would get the lead and pace the field for the final 63 laps. Marvin Panch finished second with Richard Petty, Buddy Baker, and Cale Yarborough rounding out the top five. This tied for the smallest starting field ever for a CUP race. T his size field happened six other times.
1978 – Johnny Sauter’s Birthday
1983 – Jimmy Means would claim his best career finish in this race – The Winston 500 held at Talladega AL. Means would start 41st, and by the end of the race he found himself in 7th spot. A good run for the low-funded independent driver. Cale Yarborough would win the pole with Joe Ruttman on the outside. The race would feature 27 lead changes among 13 different drivers; and a big crash that saw Phil Parsons flip wildly several times, and collect many other cars. Pole sitter Yarborough was one of those eliminated. Ruttman wouldn’t fair a lot better as he blew a motor four laps from the end. Richard Petty would lead 52 laps and claim win #197. Benny Parsons finished second, two car lengths back. Lake Speed, Harry Gant, and Bill Elliott rounded out the top five. Crash video via YouTube here.
1988 – Five years after his fierce crash at Talladega, Phil Parsons would get his revenge by winning this race. Davey Allison won the pole, but would blow a motor and fall out of the race on lap 132. Ernie Irvan started second, but fell out on lap 169 with overheating problems. Geoff Bodine would lead 99 laps, but the best he could muster was a third place finish. The 1988 Winston 500 saw Parsons edge out Bobby Allison by 2/10 of a second. Terry Labonte would finish fourth, with Ken Schrader fifth. Parson's first win comes in his 111th start.
1982 – Darrell Waltrip passes Benny Parsons on the final lap and wins the Winston 500 at Talladega. Parsons starts on the pole with a record 200.176 mph qualifying lap, the first time in history a lap of 200 mph is surpassed in official qualifications.
1985 – Kyle Busch’s Birthday
2009 - On this date Jeremy Mayfield would make what is figured to be his final CUP start. It would be the Royal Crown 400 at Richmond Speedway in VA. Mayfield would qualify 38th, and finish 35th. He had an accident on the front stretch on lap 166, but after repairs finish 371 laps. More on Mayfield later. Brian Vickers would win the pole just edging out Jeff Gordon for the top spot. Vickers would lead 21 of the first 22 laps, but that would be the extent of his time at the point. It would be a great battle as several drivers spent short stints out front. Gordon was strong early, but got stout competition from Denny Hamlin, Kurt Busch, Clint Bowyer, Ryan Newman, Martin Truex, and Kyle Busch. With 100 laps to go, Gordon looked like he had the car to beat, but the yellow flew for an accident involving Kevin Harvick. The field headed for pit road, with the exception of Gordon. There was five more yellows before the end of the race; but Gordon had sealed his fate by not pitting. With 50 laps to go, the field pitted once again; this time for an accident involving Kurt Busch, and Bobby Labonte but Gordon saw this as his only chance to get back up front; so they again stayed out. With 26 cars on the lead lap it would be impossible to get back to the lead. Luckily with so many yellows he had only slipped back to eighth when the checkers flew. When the green waved with 43 laps to go, Kyle Busch easily motored by Gordon, and went on to claim the win by almost three seconds. The rest of the top five was Tony Stewart, Jeff Burton, Ryan Newman, and Mark Martin. Busch won on his 24th birthday. At that time, Cale Yarborough was the only other person to win a Sprint Cup race on his birthday. This duo was joined by Matt Kenseth who also won on his birthday in 2013. Just for the record Yarborough actually won on his birthday twice; in 1977 and in 1983.
2009 - As mentioned above; on this date Jeremy Mayfield would start his last CUP race. After driving for car owners Cale Yarborough and Michael Kranefuss early in his career, Mayfield would later driver for Roger Penske, Ray Evernham, Bill Davis, and Gene Hass. Mayfield would post three victories for Kranefuss, and two with Evernham. In 2009 Mayfield started his own team, but after the race at Richmond he was asked to take a substance abuse test by NASCAR and complied. He failed the test and was suspended. Mayfield claimed that his prescription medication, combined with some over the counter medication created a false positive on the test. NASCAR disputer that claim, and a whole legal battle ensued. The drug Mayfield had supposedly taken was kept secret by NASCAR, but Mayfield said he had taken the over the counter drug Claritin D. It was highly rumored that NASCAR's secrecy over Mayfield's results was politically motivated as to not smear the reputation of Claritin, who was a sponsor of Carl Edwards and NASCAR on Fox at the time. On June 9, ESPN.com stated that during the random drug screening on May 1 at Richmond International Raceway, Mayfield tested positive for methamphetamine. On July 1, 2009, the US District Court granted a temporary injunction, lifting Mayfield's suspension, concluding that the "likelihood of a false positive in this case is quite substantial." In granting the injunction, the court ruled that the "harm to Mr. Mayfield significantly outweighs the harm to NASCAR". However, even with the injunction, Mayfield was forced to sit out the next two races for want of a sponsor. On July 15, 2009, NASCAR stated that Mayfield had again tested positive for methamphetamine during testing on July 6, five days after his suspension was lifted. A federal appeals court reversed Mayfield's injunction on July 24, 2009. On May 18, 2010, the court threw out Mayfield's law suit against NASCAR, saying that Mayfield waived his right to sue NASCAR when he agreed to take part in NASCAR events. On November 1, 2011 sheriff's deputies searched Mayfield's home in Catawba County after getting a tip that Mayfield and four accomplices were staging burglaries to support Mayfield's meth habit. Mayfield was taken into custody after deputies found 1.5 grams of meth in a safe. Authorities later found $100,000 worth of stolen goods in Mayfield's home. Among the recovered items were heavy machinery that had been reported stolen from two businesses in a neighboring county in late 2010 and early 2011, as well as audiovisual equipment that had been stolen from the Red Bull Racing Team in nearby Mooresville NC in February 2011. By 2012, tax officials in Catawba County NC foreclosed on Mayfield's 388-acre spread there because he owed over $100,000 in back taxes. He also has judgments against him in excess of $2 million for failing to pay bills. In January 2013 Mayfield and his lawyer were working with court official on a plea deal for his crimes. He stated he is open to discussion, as long as it does not involve any jail time. Also in a strange twist, Mayfield called into a Motor Racing Networks NASCAR Live talk show while NASCAR CEO Brian France was a guest. Mayfield asked France "if he was willing to accept the fact I'd like to come back racing and if we could sit down and talk about it and figure out what we need to do to make that work.". France was receptive to the idea, but told Mayfield "You know the path back for you it's the path back for anybody. You have a welcome mat out anytime you want." To be reinstated Mayfield must complete NASCAR’s Substance Abuse Policy Road to Recovery Program and submit to random drug testing.
1981 – Bobby Allison drives a Harry Ranier-owned Buick Regal to victory in the Winston 500 at Talladega for his second win of the season. The Ranier-Allison team was forced to switch from the Pontiac LeMans to the Buick when NASCAR rules changes made the LeMans un-competitive.
1987 – Davey Allison would score his first CUP win at Alabama International Motor Speedway. Bill Elliott would put his Coor’s Ford on the pole, with Bobby Allison in his Miller Buick alongside. Elliott had qualified at 210 mph at Daytona for that years 500. After the Daytona 500, NASCAR implemented aero restrictions to slow down the Fords. Ironic that Elliott ran over 2 mph faster after the restrictions to slow them down; taking the pole at 212.809 mph. Cars motors did take a beating this day as eight drivers fell out with blown motors. Bobby Allison crashed out on lap 21 along with Ron Bouchard, and Cale Yarborough and several others. This would be Bouchard’s last CUP start. This was the race where Bobby Allison cut a tire in the tri-oval and went flying into the catch fence. There was a 2 ½ hour red flag period to fix the catch fence. It was the start of restrictor plate racing after this incident. Davey Allison’s car was fast this day, even Bill Elliott blew a motor on lap 150, trying to keep up. After Elliott fell out Davey Allison was the class of the field. Allison passed Dale Earnhardt Sr with 10 laps to go, and would lead until the checkered flag. The race was shortened to 178 laps due to darkness (because of the extended red flag). Allison's crash via YouTube here.
1992 – This would be the last CUP start for Buddy Baker. It would be his 700th career start. It was at Talladega Superspeedway. Ernie Irvan won the pole with Davey Allison also on the front row. Allison would lead 110 of the 188 laps, but it was a close finish as Allison nipped Bill Elliott by two car lengths, and it gave Ford a victory in all nine races thus far in the 1992 NASCAR Winston Cup season. Dale Earnhardt finished third, Sterling Marlin fourth, and Ernie Irvan fifth. It was an exciting finish. On the last lap, going into turn 3, Dale Earnhardt drove to the outside of Bill Elliott with Ernie Irvan in tow but couldn’t go any further. Elliott finished ahead of Earnhardt by a few feet. Earnhardt was ticked off at Ernie Irvan and said so in post race interviews (something about not working with him to beat the Fords), who won their 9th consecutive race to start the season. Allison won $100,000 bonus for winning the second leg of the Winston Million. Jimmy Spencer had an amazing ride on the back straight. His car flew up in the air, but somehow landed back on all fours. He put it in gear and drove away. Turns out he did have suspension damage and was out of the race. Crash Video via YouTube here.
1962 – Jimmy Pardue would win his first CUP event this date at Southside Speedway in Richmond, VA. Rex White started on the pole and would lead the first 134 laps. He would blow a motor and fall out shortly after Pardue took the lead on lap 135, and Pardue went on to claim the win. Pardue would win one other CUP race in his career. The top five finishers in this event were Jack Smith, Richard Petty, Joe Weatherly, and Jim Paschal.
1975 – Buddy Baker won the pole for this event that saw 12 different drivers lead, and had 51 lead changes. The race was At Talladega Speedway on the 2.66 mile track. Baker was always a ‘go or blow” type driver, and only knew one way to race. Wide open. Baker would lead 99 of the 188 laps, but David Pearson would finish just one car length behind. Dick Brooks finished third, also on the lead lap. Darrell Waltrip and CooCoo Marlin rounded out the top five, finishing six laps behind. This would mark the best career CUP finish for Bruce Jacobi bringing his Opal’s Truck Stop Chevy home in 8th place. The race was marred by a freak mishap in the pits which killed Randy Owens, 20, of Randleman, NC. Petty had pitted with a left front wheel-bearing on fire. Owens was attempting to put out the fire when a pressurized water tank blew up, sending Owens some 30 feet into the air. He was pronounced dead on arrival at the track hospital. Owens was Richard Petty's wife Lynda's younger brother. (Richard’s brother-in-law)
1986 – Bobby Allison fends off Dale Earnhardt in a dramatic last-lap duel in the Winston 500 at Talladega. Allison ends a two-year drought with the victory.
1923 – Smokey Yunick’s birthday
1928 – Bob Welborn’s birthday
1956 – Bobby Johns would make his first CUP start. The race was held at Columbia Speedway in Columbia, SC. 200 laps on a ½ mile dirt track. Johns would start 15th, but crash out on lap 40 and finish 23rd. Buck Baker would start on the pole, with Speedy Thompson outside. Lee Petty would start 7th, but pass all in front of him and lead the first lap. He would hold the lead until lap 60, from there Curtis Turner would take over and hold the lead through lap 120. Both Petty and Turner would have their problems. Petty fell out on lap 111 with steering issues. Turner broke a tie rod on lap 142, and was done for the day. Speedy Thompson took the lead on lap 120, and held it until the checkers on lap 200. Thompson won by over two laps over Buck baker. Joe Weatherly would finish third. Tiny Lund would finish fourth, claiming his first top five finish. Bob Flock rounded out the top five.
1968 – Pete Hamilton would make his first career CUP start in his 1968 Ford. It was at Asheville-Weaverville Speedway in Weaverville, NC. A 300 lap race around a ½ mile paved track. Hamilton would start 11th, and finish 12th after breaking a wheel. David Pearson would start on the pole, and lead all 300 laps except one led by Buddy Baker. Bobby Isaac finished second followed by Richard Petty, James Hylton, and Elmo Langley,
1974 – This would be Neil Bonnett’s first CUP start. He was wheeling a Robert’s Racing sponsored 1972 Chevy. He started 33rd, and after oil line problems he finished 45th. David Pearson would lead 58 laps in route to the win. Benny Parsons finished second with Richard Petty third, Charlie Glotzbach and Lennie Pond rounded out the top five. During the 1974 season all NASCAR races were reduces by 10% due to the energy crisis, so this race actually only went 170 laps.
1985 – In one of the most miraculous comebacks in NASCAR history, Bill Elliott rallies from a five-mile deficit without the aid of a caution flag and wins the Winston 500 at Talladega. A broken oil fitting had knocked Elliott nearly two laps off the pace early.
1956 – Concord Speedway would host it’s first CUP race. Concord was a ½ mile dirt track, hosting a 200 lap event. Speedway Thompson would win the pole, and Billy Myers would start alongside. Thompson would lead the first four laps, before Myers got around and led lap five. Thompson got back around Myers on lap six, and from there on it would be the Speedy Thompson show, and he led 119 laps in his 1956 Chrysler. Thompson wheeled a Carl Kiekhaefer Chrysler to victory in the 100-mile race at Concord, N.C. It marks the fourth consecutive NASCAR Cup event that a Kiekhaefer team has swept the top two spots. Myers would fall out of the race with a blown motor on lap 17. Buck Baker was the only driver able to keep pace, and finish on the lead lap. Herb Thomas would finish third two laps behind, followed by Tim Flock and Rex White. This would be White’s first career top five.
2009 – on this date we lost Kevin Grubb - Grubb's only CUP attempt came in 2002 when he attempted to qualify at Richmond, but missed the field. He had a best finish of second in the Xfinity series.; he failed a substance abuse test administered by NASCAR in March 2004, he was reinstated in 2006; he ran five Xfinity races before being suspended indefinitely for refusing to take another substance abuse test after a second lap crash at Richmond; he died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head, reportedly no illegal substances were found at the scene.
2009 – Hendrick Motorsports announces Mark Martin will return to the team to drive another full schedule in 2010. Martin was initially going to drive part-time; sharing a ride with Brad Keselowski. But after a big win at Phoenix in April, Martin agree to another full season.
2016 – Steve Turner; a Texas businessman and NASCAR team owner passed away on this date. He co-owned both Truck series and Xfinity series teams after he bought out Braun racing. In 2012 Turner lead his team to the Truck series Championship with son-in-law James Buescher at the wheel. Turner fielded a team for one CUP start. It happened in 2012 when he fielded the #50 car. The entry was Sponsored by Wal-Mart and the number represented Wal-Marts 50 year anniversary. It was wheeled by 1988 CUP Champion Bill Elliott. In 2013 Turner joined with Harry Scott to form Turner/Scott Motorsports but parted ways at the end of the 2014 season.
1955 – Junior Johnson would claim his first CUP win on this date at Hickory Speedway in Hickory, NC. It was a 200 lap race on a 4/10 mile dirt track. Tim Flock would claim the pole, and Johnson would start outside. Even though Johnson started on the front row, he would not lead any laps until lap 65. Once Johnson got the lead he would lead 123 of the final 135 laps. Flock would finish second, with Jim Paschal, Lee Petty, and Jimmie Lewallen were the top five. Johnson would claim five wins in 1955, and have the most career wins without ever claiming a NASCAR title. Johnson served 11 months in jail for the production and distribution of illegal alcohol.
1972 – Three time CUP champion Darrell Waltrip would make his first CUP start this date at Talladega Speedway. Waltrip would pilot his self sponsored 1971 Mercury to a 38th place finish. Waltrip qualified 25th, but fell out of the race with a blown motor on lap 69. Bobby Isaac started on the pole in his K & K Insurance Dodge, with David Pearson’s Purolator Mercury outside . Pearson and Isaac combined to lead 156 of the races 188 laps. The two had a classic battle as Pearson used the patented sling shot move to pass Isaac with two laps to go and hang on for the win. Buddy Baker finished third, with Fred Lorenzen and Richard Petty rounded out the top five. For those newer racing fans, restrictor plates aren’t a new thing. They ran restrictor plates back in the 70’s to slow the cars down at Talladega and Daytona. This is the race that Robbins ran the race without his restrictor plate. Marty ran the race without a restrictor plate because he knew he wasn't a contender and he "just wanted to see what it felt like to blow by those guys". He said he was grinning from ear to ear in his car passing the top guys left and right. And the drivers he was passing were astounded to see Robbins blow by them. After the race, Robbins went to the tech inspectors and confessed to his indiscretions. Here is a video of a Marty Robbins interview where he talks about his racing. Video via YouTube here.
1995 – Dale Earnhardt forges past Mark Martin with two laps to go and records his first career win on a road course with a victory at Sears Point International Raceway. It is Earnhardt's 36th career start on a road course.
2005 – Greg Biffle wins the first night race at Darlington Raceway. The race goes into overtime when a yellow flag comes out after Mark Martin spins with four laps to go. The caution erases Ryan Newman's four-second lead. It is Biffle's third win of the season and the fifth win in 10 races for Roush Racing.
2011 - This is the date Regan Smith broke through to win his first CUP race. It came at the tough old track at Darlington SC in the Southern 500. Smith started 23rd for the event as Kasey Kahne won the pole. Kahne led the most laps, but brushed the wall lap in the event. With 10 laps to go Jeff Burton blew a motor laying oil on the track. Smith was running fifth, and when the pits opened he stayed out and didn't pit assuming the lead. On the restart there was an accident on the front stretch that sent the race into overtime. Smith got a great start on the final restart, and drove away to the win. It is one of the greatest upsets in modern day NASCAR racing. Regan drove for an under funded race team, and was a single car team. It was also the first win for Furniture Row racing. The finish after Smith was Carl Edwards, Brad Keselowski, Kahne, and Ryan Newman.
1964 – Bobby Labonte’s birthday.
1976 – Sterling Marlin would make his first CUP start here at Nashville Speedway in Nashville, TN. Marlin would start 30th, and fall out with a broken oil pump finishing 29th. The Music City USA 420 was a 420 lap race on a .596 mile track (250 miles). Benny Parsons won the pole, with Cale Yarborough starting outside. There was 16 lead changed among seven drivers. But Yarborough lead 398 of the 420 laps running away to the win. Richard Petty finished second, and Benny Parsons, Buddy Baker, and Bobby Allison rounded out the top five.
1989 – Bob Newton, president of Hoosier Tire Co., announces he will withdraw from NASCAR competition following the 1989 season. Newton's 18-employee Indiana-based company began making tires for NASCAR Cup series cars in 1988. Hoosier stood toe-to-toe with corporate giant Goodyear for two seasons, and registered more than a dozen victories. Facing impossible odds, Newton finally tossed in the towel. "Even though we are considered to be the world's smallest tire manufacturer, we compete with the world's largest to demonstrate that the small guy can also be a winner," said Newton.
1967 – Tim Fedewa's birthday
1970 – David Pearson scores his first win of the season in the Rebel 400 at Darlington. Richard Petty is injured when his Plymouth flips on the front chute. ABC Sports picks up live coverage a few minutes before Petty's crash.
1971 – South Boston Speedway in South Boston VA hosted their last CUP event, the Halifax County 100. It was a 281 lap race on a .357 mile paved track with a race distance of 100 miles. Bobby Isaac would win the pole and lead the first 181 laps. Benny Parsons would lead briefly for 7 laps, and then Richard Petty would lead 22 laps before Isaac retook the lead. He held it until lap 247 when he blew a motor and fell out of the race. Parsons would be there to pounce when Isaac had problems and would lead until the checkered flag. Following Parsons across the line was Richard Petty, James Hylton, Walter Ballard, and Cecil Gordon. This was Parsons first CUP win. Even though this would be the last CUP event held here,.. this track hosted Xfinity races for nearly 20 years up until 2000.
2001 - On this date we lost Smokey Yunick; one of the most creative and inventive car owners and mechanics in NASCAR history. He died at age 77 after a fight with leukemia.
1966 – Middle Georgia raceway in Macon GA would host the Speedy Morelock 200; it’s first ever CUP event. It was a ½ mile paved track running 200 laps. Richard Petty would start on the pole in his 1966 Plymouth, and lead 159 of the 200 laps. Tom Piston was the only other driver able to keep pace and finish on the lead lap with Petty. Bobby Allison would finish third, three laps behind. Allison was followed home by James Hylton, and Neil Castles rounding out the top five.
1975 – Darrell Waltrip would come to his home track, and capture his first race win in the Music City 420 at Nashville Speedway. Waltrip would win the pole, and Benny Parsons would start outside. Waltrip led the first 47 laps, but it seemed Cale Yarborough was the stoutest car in the race . Yarborough would bypass Waltrip on lap 48, and lead until lap 320. At that time Yarborough's motor expired, and Waltrip reassumed the lead and led the final 100 laps to grab the win driving his Terminal Transport Chevy. Parsons would finish second two laps down, followed by CooCoo Marlin, Dave Marcis, and Cecil Gordon. Waltrip is one of the greatest short track racers ever; with 57 of his 84 wins on short tracks.
2007 – Dale Earnhardt, Jr., announces he is leaving Dale Earnhardt, Inc., the team founded by his father in 1996 and now owned by Teresa Earnhardt.
2012 - car designer and racer Carroll Shelby would pass away on this date. Shelby was an American Icon whose designs influenced NASCAR race cars, and he himself was a formitable Formula 1 racer. He is best know for his involvement with the AC Cobra, and the Shelby Mustang performance cars. Chrysler CEO Lee Iacocca brought Shelby over into the Dodge fold where he designed several high performance Dodge autos, including the Dodge Shelby Charger and the Dodge Viper. Shelby returned to working with for after 2000, and designed such cars as the Shelby GT 500. Shelby also helped work on the Shelby GT-h. A car designed for Hertz rent-a-car available only as a rental from Hertz. Shelby died after having been in the hospital for several weeks, suffering from pneumonia at the age of 89.
1924 – Tim Flock’s birthday.
1958 – Greensboro Fairgrounds in Greensboro NC would host it’s final CUP event. It was a 1/3 mile dirt track and a distance of 150 laps. Bob Welborn would get the pole in his 1957 Chevy, and Jack Smith would start outside. Smith would lead the first 25 laps when the green flag flew. Smith would later fall out on lap 57 with a broken spindle. Welborn took the lead on lap 26 and held it to the end of the race. Lee Petty finished second one lap behind. Junior Johnson was third, followed by Speedy Thompson, and Doug Cox. Greensboro was also one of several tracks to host NASCAR convertible races. They hosted two events. One was won by Welborn, and the other by Curtis Turner.
1963 – Joe Weatherly prevails in a confusing, two-part running of the Rebel 300 at Darlington Raceway. The race is run in a doubleheader format, with Weatherly winning the opening 150-miler and Richard Petty taking the second half. A complicated points system is used to determine the race winner. Weatherly edges Fireball Roberts by 6.1 points.
1968 – David Pearson scores his first super speedway victory since 1961 in the Rebel 400 at Darlington Raceway. Pearson's Holman-Moody Ford is powered by a small 396-cid engine, which allows him to run 293 pounds lighter than most of his rivals under the new power-to-weight ratio rules.
2010 – NASCAR Hall of Fame opens in Charlotte NC
1925 – Jack Bebee’s birthday. - car owner
1935 – Hoss Ellington’s birthday. Ellington drove made 31 CUP starts, but is better know for being a successful car owner. He fielded the winning car four times for Donnie Allison, and once for David Pearson. Pearson's last win would be in the Ellington car. Hoss also fielded cars for other CUP drivers such as Buddy Baker, Benny Parsons, Kyle Petty, Sterling Marlin, Dale Jarrett and others.
2000 – on this date we lost Adam Petty - Petty's only CUP start came just five weeks earlier in the DirecTV 500 at Texas Motor Speedway. Unfortunately his Father Kyle Petty missed making the field, so the duo never got to race together. Petty was at the New Hampshire International Speedway in Loudon, NH. While entering turn three, his car lost traction and broke loose. He over corrected and went head-on into the wall. Petty was killed instantly due to a basilar skull fracture. In October 2000 five months after Adam's death, his family partnered with Paul Newman and the Hole In The Wall Gang Camp to begin the Victory Junction Gang Camp in Randleman, NC, as a memorial to Adam. It is a camp for terminally ill and chronically ill children. The idea for the camp came from Adam himself when he used to visit ill kids in the hospital.
1954 – NASCAR president Bill France is escorted out of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway garage area. AAA chief stewart Harry McQuinn says, "We have a long-standing disagreement with NASCAR on what constitutes good racing."
1966 – Starlight Speedway would host it’s one and only CUP event. It was a ½ mile dirt oval with a race distance of 250 laps. It was race #18 of the 49 races this season. James Hylton would win his first career CUP pole, and lead the first three laps to notch his first laps led. Hylton would break a tie-rod 50 laps into the race and retire from the event. Elmo Langley would start second but have differential problems, completing just 155 laps. The story of the day would be all about Darel Dieringer and his 1964 Ford. He would lead 178 laps and pull away to an eight lap win. Clyde Lynn would finish second, followed by Wendell Scott, Neil Castles, and Henley Gray. 25 cars started the race, however only 7 finished. Promoters at the 1/2-mile dirt track refused to allow any Chrysler factory entries in wake of the Ford boycott. A small crowd of 2500 attends the event.
1967 – Richard Petty guides his Plymouth to victory in the Darlington Rebel 400, finishing a lap ahead of David Pearson. It is Petty's 55th career NASCAR Grand National win, putting him first on the all-time victory list.
1996 - Oh this date we lost crew chief Harry Hyde. During the 1960-1980'd Hyde was one of NASCAR's leading crew chiefs winning 56 races. He led Bobby Isaac to the 1970 CUP Championship. Hyde died in 1996 of a heart attack brought on by a blood clot
2013 – Justin Allgaier would make his first CUP start in the Geico 400 at Chicagoland Speedway. Allgaier would start 34th, and complete all but one lap driving for new CUP owner Harry Scott. Matt Kenseth and Kyle Busch would battle for the lead all day as the two of them combined led 156 of the 267 laps. Kenseth would pass Busch with 23 laps to go and hold him off to claim the checkers. The rest of the top five was Kevin Harvick, Kurt Busch, and Jimmie Johnson
1979 – Steve Letarte’s Birthday - was an American NASCAR crew chief. Letarte began working for Hendrick Motorsports part time in 1995. In 1996, at the age of 16, he joined the group full-time. Letarte was promoted from car chief to crew chief after the #24 DuPont Chevrolet of Jeff Gordon missed the 2005 Chase for the Cup. He was promoted after 26 of the 36 races in the 2005 season. In Letarte's sixth race as crew chief with Gordon, he visited victory lane for the first time in October 2005, winning the Subway 500 at Martinsville Speedway, in Martinsville, Virginia. from 2006 threw 2010 the duo posted 10 CUP wins and made it into the chase each season. Finishing second in 2007 and third in 2009. On November 23, 2010, Letarte was named the crew chief for Dale Earnhardt, Jr. beginning in the 2011 season. The pairing of Letarte and Earnhardt, Jr. showed strong results early in the 2011 season but a series of just bad racing luck saw them go win-less for the season. 2012 finally saw the pair break through and win mid way through the season at Michigan; a win that would break Jrs. 143 race win-less streak. On February 23, 2014, Letarte and Earnhardt, Jr. won the 2014 Daytona 500, narrowly edging out Denny Hamlin and Brad Keselowski. On June 8, 2014 Letarte and Earnhardt earned their second win of the season after Brad Keselowski moved up behind a lapped car to remove a piece of trash from his grill. Earnhardt took advantage and won at Pocono Raceway for the first time in his career. The Earnhardt/Letarte pair triumphed again at Pocono on August 3, and later collected what was Earnhardt's first Martinsville clock when the two scored a victory in the Goody's Headache Relief Shot 500 at Martinsvillle Speedway on October 26. The 2014 season marked the first time Earnhardt posted multiple wins in a season since 2004. Letarte announced in early 2014 that he would leave Hendrick Motorsports -- the only placed he's ever worked -- at the end of the season. The long-time crew chief is hanging up his head set to move into the broadcast booth with FOX Sports network.
2004 - NASCAR announces that North Carolina Speedway in Rockingham will no longer host a NASCAR Cup event in 2005, and Darlington Raceway, the nation's first super speedway, will host only one race in '05. NASCAR also announces that the Phoenix and Texas tracks will each host a second race in '05.
2005 - This race was held at Richmond International speedway in Richmond, VA. It was 400 laps on a ¾ mile track. Kasey Kahne would win the pole, and go on to claim his first CUP win. Kahne and Tony Stewart raced each other hard for the win. Together they lead 375 of the 400 laps. Kahne outrun Stewart to win by 1.5 seconds. Ryan Newman was third, Kyle Busch fourth, and Kevin Harvick fifth. Kahne first win came after six career second place finishes.
1955 - This date would see the only CUP event held at Tucson Rodeo Grounds in Tucson AZ. The track was a ½ mile dirt oval hosting a 200 lap event. Bill Amick would start on the pole, and Ed Brown would be along side. Amick led the first 28 laps at the drop of the green before Brown would get by to lead until lap 54. Marvin Panch would lead a few laps before Brown took the lead back. Allen Adkins would lead all but 30 of the next 110 laps when Danny Letner would lead for the first time. Adkins would lead until two laps to go. Letner would lead the final two circuits with Adkins finishing second. Lloyd Dane finished third, followed by Chuck Meekins and Amick.
1958 – Starkey Speedway in Roanoke VA would host it’s first CUP race; a 150 lap event around a ¼ mile paved oval. Jim Reed won the pole, and led all 150 laps to claim the win. Rex White would start third, and finish second. Eddie Pagan finished third, with Frankie Schneider and Curtis Turner rounding out the top five. This would be Reed’s second CUP win; the first coming on his previous start held at Old Bridge Stadium in Old Bridge NJ. This would be Schneider’s last CUP start.
1964 – Langley Speedway in Hampton VA. would host the Tidewater 250. This was a ¼ mile dirt track with a 250 lap race. David Pearson would win the pole with Doug Cooper joining him on the front row. Cooper’s luck wasn’t good as he would fall out after only five laps. Pearson did lead the first 23 laps before Ned Jarrett took the lead and led the final 227 laps. Pearson had issues with oil pressure, and fell out on lap 87. Jarrett would win by over three laps. The other top finishers were Marvin Panch, Buddy Baker, Wendell Scott and Curtis Crider.
1970 – This would be the final CUP race held at Beltsville Speedway in Beltsville, MD. It was a 300 lap event on a ½ mile paved track. James Hylton won the pole, with Bobby Allison joining him on the front row. This was the third of four career poles for Hylton. Hylton led the first 14 laps. Bobby Isaac took the lead away on lap 15 and held it until lap 128. Bobby Allison, Hylton, and Neil castles exchanged the lead over the next 15 laps before Isaac took the lead for good and claimed the checkered flag. Isaac ended up leading 271 of the 300 laps in his K & K Insurance Dodge. Hylton came home second, followed by Allison, Castles, and Dave Marcis.
2009 – on this date we lost Frank Mundy - 3 time race winner; finished fifth in CUP points in 1951; died of complications of a fall.
1953 – Historic Hickory Speedway would host it’s first ever CUP event. At that time Hickory speedway was a ½ mile dirt track that held a 200 lap event. Hickory hosted CUP events through 1971. Currently it is still active and runs a full yearly race schedule. In this event Tim Flock would drive his 1953 Hudson to the victory. Joe Eubanks would finish second, followed by Ray Duhigg, Dick Passwater and Dick Rathman. Flock would go to victory lane with his co-pilot Jocko Flocko (pet monkey) riding the race in the car. Jocko, a rhesus monkey, has a driver's uniform and a custom-made seat. It is the first time a NASCAR Grand National winner has a copilot.
1964 – on this date we lost Bob Flock - 4 time race winner; Flock qualified on the pole for NASCAR's first ever CUP race; retired from driving when he broke his back in an on track accident in 1956; died of natural causes.
1993 – At the age of 66 Hershel McGriff would make his final CUP start. It would come at Sears Point Raceway in Sonoma CA. in the Save Mart 300K. McGriff would start 42nd, but blow a motor after only 27 laps and finish 43rd. Dale Earnhardt Sr won the pole with road course ace Ricky Rudd outside. Earnhardt had the car to beat on this day, but Derrick Cope spun Tommy Kendal and it took of the nose of Earnhardt's machine. After Earnhardt's misfortune it turned into a great race for the lead between Rudd, Geoff Bodine, and Ernie Irvan. An accident on lap 62 between Wally Dallenbach, Brett Bodine, and Dirk Stephens set up a 10 lap shootout. Dorsey Schroeder spun with two laps to go setting up a one lap dash to the checkers. Bodine held off a hard charging Ernie Irvan, and Ricky Rudd to get the win. Ken Schrader and Kyle Petty made up the rest of the top five. Earnhardt rallied from 36th to finish sixth after his late race problems. This would be the last win for legendary car owner Bud Moore. The last 10 laps is shown in a YouTube video here. Take note of the track configuration then compared to now. They still used turns 5, 6 and 7 and the carousel. It made for better racing, and added another great passing zone.
2013 - on this date we lost Dick Trickle - Trickle was without question the winningest short track driver of all time. He amassed over 1200 short track wins, but no one knows for sure how many more. He didn't start racing full time in the CUP series until in 1989 at the age of 48. He won Rookie of the Year honors that season, the oldest to ever get the award. In all he ran 303 CUP events with a best finish of third (on five occasions). He had two wins in the Nationwide series. Trickle died on this date from a self inflicted gunshot wound. Prior to shooting himself he placed a call to 911. He told the 911 operator "there's going to be a dead body. Suicide." When the 911 operator asked who was about to commit suicide, Trickle responded: "I'm the one."
1929 - Sonny Hutchins birthday
1953 - Glen Wood would pilot his Wood Brothers Ford in his first CUP start at Martinsville Speedway. Wood's first start wouldn't be very productive as he had problems early and would finish 30th in the 35 car field. Joe Eubanks won the pole but fell out on lap 85 with a broken spindle after leading the first 71 laps. Herb Thomas led until the checkered flag, but somehow NASCAR claimed there was scoring error, and handed the victory to Lee Petty. Thomas was credited with second, with Dick Rathman, Ray Duhigg and Ralph Liguori making up the top five. Glen Wood would log a handful of races each of the next 11 seasons. He claimed four wins, three of those in 1960. His final win would come in his final start in 1963 at Starkley Speedway in Roanoke, VA. The Wood Brothers race team has competed since 1950, and in all those years have only raced Fords. To date (1/1/2017) the Wood Brothers have competed in 1474 races. Their cars have been driven by such NASCAR greats as Banjo Matthews, Bob Welborn, Junior Johnson, Fred Lorenzen, Speedy Thompson, Parnelli Jones, Curtis Turner, Tiny Lund, Dan Gurney, Donnie Allison, Marvin Panch, AJ Foyt, Buddy Baker, Cale Yarborough, Dale Jarrett, Neil Bonnett, David Pearson, Kyle Petty, Ricky Rudd, Bill Elliott and the 2011 Daytona 500 winner Trevor Bayne. To date the Wood Brothers has amassed 98 CUP victories.
1959 – The Legendary “Tiger” Tom Pistone would win his first CUP race at Trenton Speedway in Trenton, NJ. Bob Burdick won the pole, but would fall out of the race when his car caught on fire on lap 64. Cotton Owens would start second, and lead the race’s first 95 laps. Pistone led the next 7 laps, and Jim Reed led for 3 laps. Then Pistone retook the lead and led the final 45 laps to capture the win driving his Rupert Safety Belt 1959 T-Bird. Owens would wind up second, followed by Lee Petty, Jim Reed, and Tommy Irwin. As an interesting side note; Pistone wore a life preserver and an aqualung in the Daytona 500, after Tommy Irwin ended up in Lake Lloyd earlier in the week while racing in the qualifying races. Pistone would have two career CUP wins, both coming this season. The other win would come at Richmond in June. Pistone raced only occasionally, but in 1959 he ran 22 of 44 race events and finished 6th in the points. His best result.
1978 – Ted Musgrave’s birthday
1981 – The Mason-Dixon 500 would be the final start for Elmo Langley. Langley would start 29th, and would fall out with a broken drive shaft after only six laps; finishing 29th. David Pearson started on the pole, and Morgan Shepherd started outside. Pearson would blow an engine after only 57 laps. Neil Bonnett, and Cale Yarborough were the class of the field this day. Bonnett and Yarborough swapped the lead, with the two of them leading 436 of the 500 laps. Bonnett got out front and lead from laps 196 to 459, and looked like he would walk away with the win. Then on lap 459, Bonnett’s motor expired. Yarborough took over the lead when Bonnett had problems, and led until lap 480 when his motor blew. Jody Ridley took the lead for the first time, and claimed the win. This would be the only career win for Ridley in his 140 starts. It would also be the only win for team owner Junie Donlavey, who had been fielding cars since 1950. Ridley's best finish in the points was this year, finishing fifth. The top five behind Ridley was Bobby Allison, Dale Earnhardt Sr., D.K. Ulrich, and Ricky Rudd. This would be Ulrich’s best career finish and only top five.
2008 – Kasey Kahne wins the NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race at Lowe's Motor Speedway. He is the first driver in the history of the event to win after being voted in by the fans.
1947 – Fonty Flock wins the inaugural event put on by promoter Bill France; at North Wilkesboro NC Speedway. The race is a smashing success, with over 10,000 spectators in attendance.
1968 – This would be the final time that "Tiger" Tom Pistone would climb behind the wheel to do battle in the CUP series. Pistone would qualify fifth and finish a very respectable seventh in his final start. The race would be held at Langley Speedway in Hampton, VA. and be another legendary duel between David Pearson and Richard Petty. Between them they led all but 19 of the events 250 laps. Bobby Isaac managed to keep pace with the two to make it a three way battle. Petty led 106 laps, but had issues late in the race and finished in sixth place. Pearson held off Isaac to to get the win, as Isaac was the only car to be able to stay on the lead lap with Pearson. Third through fifth place finishers were, Buddy Baker, James Hylton, and Pete Hamilton.
1975 – Cecil Gordon would record his best career CUP finish this day at Dover Downs International Speedway in Dover DE. David Pearson won the pole, and Buddy Baker joined him on the front row. Pearson, Baker, Cale Yarborough, and Benny Parsons had a fierce battle, and between the four of them lead 496 of the 500 laps. Baker, Parsons, and Yarborough would all fall out with blown motors trying to keep pace with Pearson. Pearson wheeled his Purolator Mercury to the win, beating Gordon by over 7 laps. Richard Petty finished third, with James Hylton, and David Sisco finishing fourth and fifth. Jeff Gordon wasn’t the first “Gordon” to run the #24. Cecil Gordon did it almost his entire career.
1942 – Jody Ridley’s birthday
1963 – Southside Speedway in Richmond, VA. would host it’s last CUP race. It was a 300 lap affair on a 1/3 mile paved bullring. Ned Jarrett would start first, and Richard Petty would start second. This is the way they would finish as Jarrett led 193 laps, and Petty led 107. They were the only two leaders. Jarrett beat Petty by over two laps with Larry Thomas third, Jimmy Pardue was fourth and Ray Hendrick fifth.
1946 – Dave Despain’s Birthday - TV Announcer - his first time to be on TV came when ABC's Wide World of Sports asked him to be the lead announcer for a prestigious motorcycle race. Through the 1980's and 1990's Despain was a pit reporter for both motorcycle races, and NASCAR races on CBS and WTBS. He then went to ESPN as host of it's pre-race shows. He also hosted the show NASCAR Inside Cup, and This Week In NASCAR. In 2003, Wind Tunnel with Dave Despain debuted, which saw Despain preside over an hour racing-centric call-in show.
1971 – Tony Stewart’s birthday
1984 – Richard Petty drives his Mike Curb-owned Pontiac to victory in the Budweiser 500 at Dover for his 199th career NASCAR Cup triumph. Petty outruns Tim Richmond by four seconds.
1924 – Cotton Owen’s birthday
1950 – Donald Thomas would make his first CUP start here at Martinsville Speedway in Martinsville VA. Donald Thomas was the younger brother of Herb Thomas. In the race, Buck Baker won the pole, and led the first 10 laps. On lap 11 Curtis Turner would take over the lead and hold onto it until the checkers waved on lap 150. Jim Paschal would finish second, two laps behind. Lee Petty was third, Glenn Dunnaway fourth, and Clyde Minter fifth.
1961 – Lloyd Dane would win his final CUP event in his 1961 Chevy. It was at Riverside International Raceway, in Riverside, CA. Riverside was a 2.58 mile road course, and the race was 39 laps. Eddie Gray won the pole, and Dane joined him on the front row. Don Noel was the only driver to stay on the lead lap with Dane, and finished second. Dick Smith was third, Jim Cook was fourth, and Bob Perry rounded out the top five. Dane had four wins in his career, and was three time NASCAR West champion.
1961 – This date would mark the start of Bobby Isaac’s CUP career. Isaac would start 15th in his Holly Farms Pontiac, and finish 18th after having a coil go out. He only completed two laps. Fred Lorenzen would win the pole with Banjo Matthews outside. Lorenzen lead the first 34 laps before Ralph Earnhardt led laps 35-43. Richard Petty took over the lead from Earnhardt, and led until the checkers flew, holding off Earnhardt by 8 seconds. Bob Welborn, Bobby Johns, and Fred Lorenzen were the top five finishers. This was Petty’s first win on a super speedway.
1971 - New Asheville Speedway was located in Asheville, NC. and would host it’s final CUP race. The track was a 1/3 mile paved track for a 300 lap distance. Richard Petty would win the pole, and Elmo Langley would start beside him. Driving his 1971 Plymouth, Petty would take the lead for the first 13 laps. Langley would bypass Petty and lead for 52 laps. Petty reassumed the lead, and lead all but 5 of the final 243 laps. Petty would win by over four laps. Elmo Langley would finish second, with Cecil Gordon, Jabe Thomas, and Bill Champion rounding out the top five. 17 cars started this race, but the independent drivers, who were fed up with NASCAR’s small purses, and lack of appearance money pulled out in the very early laps of the race. Only five cars were running at the finish. This was the last time Elmo Langley led a lap in his CUP career. It was also the best career finish for Jabe Thomas. Finally, even though Dick May pulled out well before the ½ way mark, he had a career best finish of 6th.
1991 – Brandon McReynold’s birthday
2008 - Humpy Wheeler, president and promoter of Lowe's Motor Speedway, announces he is retiring from the speedway after 33 years. It was Wheeler's idea to light a super speedway for night races.
2014 – NASCAR announced the the inductees who will be inducted into the NASCAR Hall of Fame in 2015. They are: Bill Elliott, Wendell Scott, Rex White, Fred Lorenzen, and Joe Weatherly.
1934 – Bobby John’s birthday.
1966 – This race would be Marvin Panch’s final CUP win. It would come in the prestigious World 600 in Concord, NC. Panch would wheel his Petty Enterprises 1965 Plymouth and win by two laps. Richard Petty started on the pole, but fell out with motor problems on lap 236. Jim Paschal also started on the front row, and also blew a motor, as did third place starter Earl Balmer. Panch had to get out of his car on lap 358 due to the seat irritating an old racing injury. Petty got into Panch’s car as a relief driver and took it to victory lane. Even though Petty was the driver when the car crossed the checkered flag, the victory is credited to Panch because he was the starting driver. G.C. Spencer would post his best career finish as he finished second. The rest of the top five was Don White, James Hylton, and Neil castles. Blown motors were frequent in the race, as 24 of the 42 starts exited the race with problems with their power plants.
2007 – NASCAR announces that the new car will be used full time in 2008. The original plan was to use the new car in 16 races in 2007, 26 races in 2008, and the full 36-race schedule in 2009.
2013 – NASCAR announced the the inductees who will be inducted into the NASCAR Hall of Fame in 2014. They are: Tim Flock, Jack Ingram, Dale Jarrett, Maurice Petty and Fireball Roberts.
1951 – Ricky Knott’s birthday.
1954 – Sharon Speedway in Sharon PA. would host it’s only CUP event. Sharon Speedway was a ½ mile dirt track with a 200 lap event. Dick Rathman would start on the pole and lead the first 46 laps. Buck Baker driving his 1953 Oldsmobile passed Rathman and lead laps 47–100. Lee Petty pushed his 1954 Chrysler by Baker and would lead the final 60 laps. The race was shortened to 160 laps due to rain. Baker would finish second, followed by Rathman, Joe Eubanks, and Laird Bruner.
1963 – Wally Dallenbach Jr’s birthday
1971 – Kingsport Speedway located in Kingsport TN. would host it’s final CUP race. It was a 1/3 mile paved track that had a 300 lap event. Bobby Isaac would win the pole and lead every lap except for five laps mid-race when Richard Petty was at the point. Petty would fall out of the race with rear end problems after 166 laps. Isaac claimed the win with Elmo Langley finishing second. James Hylton, Cecil Gordon, and Bill Champion would round out the top five.
2008 – Richard Petty, Junior Johnson, Dale Earnhardt, Bill France Sr and Bill France Jr becomes the first five members inducted into the NASCAR Hall of Fame in Charlotte NC. 2010 – The NASCAR Hall of Fame inducted it's inaugural class. Inducted in this initial class was; Bill France Sr; know as "Big Bill" spearheaded the formation of NASCAR and directed it until 1972 when his son assumed control. He helped to lay out the beach-road course in Daytona Beach. Starting in 1938 he helped promote races on the sands at Daytona. After World War II, France became the driving force behind the establishment of the National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing. NASCAR, it was called, resulting from a famous meeting at the Streamline Hotel on State Road A1A in Daytona Beach. In January 1972, France stepped down as president of NASCAR and handed the reins to his son William C. France. The elder France continued to be a consultant for a number of years, in addition to serving as ISC Chairman/President. - Bill France Jr; is remembered – and revered – as the man who followed his visionary father at NASCAR’s helm, in the process becoming a visionary himself, as he guided NASCAR to unprecedented levels of popularity. France grew up in the formative years of stock car racing, living and learning every detail of the sport from his own experiences and those of his father William Henry Getty France. Bill Jr became only the second president of the world’s largest auto racing sanctioning body. His emergence coincided with the sport’s emergence, and its eventual ascent to become America’s No. 1 form of motor sports and the nation’s second-most popular sport overall. He remained president until November 2000, when Mike Helton took over the position. At that time, France announced the formation of a NASCAR board of directors on which he served as chairman and CEO until October 2003 when he was replaced by his son, Brian Z. France. - Richard Petty; what can you say; seven time CUP series champion, seven time Daytona 500 winner, 200 wins, most wins in a season (27) and most wins in a row (10) in a storied career. Very rarely in sports do you find the all-time greatest competitor double as the all-time greatest ambassador. The countless autographs he signed and the hands he shook made him a fan favorite and pushed NASCAR toward the front of the American conscience. Credit Petty for making NASCAR what it is today – the most fan-friendly sport in the world. - Junior Johnson; is unique in NASCAR history, with tremendous success both as a driver and a car owner. Johnson won the second annual Daytona 500 in 1960 and in the process, became credited with the discovery of “drafting” on the massive super speedways. He won 50 races in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series then surprised many people by retiring from driving to become an owner. As a competitor, Johnson never missed a beat; through the years his drivers won 132 races. There also were six series championships produced with Cale Yarborough (1976-78) and Darrell Waltrip (1981-82, ’85). - Dale Earnhardt; Earnhardt’s passionate all-or-nothing driving style – and modest every man background – made him a fast fan favorite. His dominance didn’t hurt, either. Earnhardt co-holds the record for most NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championships (seven) with Richard Petty amd Jimmie Johnson. In only his second full season, 1980, Earnhardt nabbed his first championship. After that, the crowns came in bunches. He won consecutive titles on three separate occasions (1986-87, ’90-91 and ’93-94). Earnhardt’s 76 victories rank seventh all-time.
2011 – David Pearson, Bobby Allison, Lee Petty, Ned Jarrett and Bud Moore are announced as the inductees for the class of 2011.
2012 - NASCAR Adds Media Excellence Award To Annual Hall Of Fame Honors: Following the announcement of the 2012 NASCAR Hall of Fame class tonight, NASCAR announced the creation of a new award to honor the contributions of media to the success of the sport. This award, which will become part of the annual NASCAR Hall of Fame ceremonies beginning in February 2013, will bear the names of the first two award winners, legendary broadcasters Ken Squier and Barney Hall, and be called the Squier-Hall Award for NASCAR Media Excellence. A special exhibit will be created as part of the existing media section within the NASCAR Hall of Fame to recognize the careers of Squier and Hall, as well as honorees in the years to come.
1924 – Jack Smith’s birthday.
1953 – Powell Motor Speedway in Powell, OH. would host it’s only CUP race. Fonty Flock would start on the pole in his 1953 Olds, with Herb Thomas outside in his 1953 Hudson. Flock would have problems and only run 111 laps… while Thomas had much better luck, and won the event. The top five was Dick Rathman, Buck Baker, Curtis Turner, and Pop McGinnis. This would be one of only two top five finishes of Pop’s career.
1958 – Chip Ganassi’s birthday. - Car Owner - Ganassi was also a driver in the INDY car series; making 32 starts; his time behind the wheel effectively ended after a huge crash at Michigan International Speedway. His car flipped and landed top first on the inside guardrail, which caused a concussion, a broken sternum, and collar bone. He is better know for his success as a car owner in various series of racing. He currently owns two teams in the NASCAR Cup series, two teams in the American Grand Am series, and four teams in the INDY car series. He currently fields cars in NASCAR for Jamie McMurray and Kyle Larson. In his 11 years in NASCAR he so far has netted seven wins. Four with Sterling Marlin, and one each with McMurray and Larson and an additional win with Juan Pablo Montoya. He has been highly successful on the INDY car and Grand Am circuits. His teams won INDY cars titles in 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2003, 2008, 2009, 2010, and 2011. His teams also won the INDY 500 in 2000 (Montoya); 2008 (Scott Dixon); 2010 and 2012 (Dario Franchitti). In 2013 Ganassi's Grand Am team won the Rolex 24 at Daytona for the fifth time. He has six Grand Am Championships.
1958 – This would be event 19 of a 51 race CUP season. Bowman-Gray in Winston-Salem, NC would host 150 lap race on a ¼ mile paved track. Rex White would get the pole, and Eddie Pagan would start outside. White jumped to the lead and led the first 100 laps. Bob Welborn would take the lead in his 1957 Chevy and hold it until the checkered flag. White would finish second, followed by Jim Reed, Fred Harb, and Barney shore.
1964 – Fireball Roberts would make the final CUP start of his career here at Concord NC in the World 600. Jimmy Pardue won the pole in his 1964 Plymouth, and Fred Lorenzen started outside. Early in the race on lap 7, there was a crash coming off of turn two as Ned Jarrett and Junior Johnson tangled. Roberts spun trying to avoid the crash. Roberts then slid down the backstretch, with the car hitting the opening in the inside retaining wall and flipping onto it’s roof. The impact caused the fuel tank to split, and also split the firewall inside the passenger compartment. The resulting fuel spill ignited, causing a massive fire. Roberts was not seriously injured by the crash itself, but was trapped when his ankle became pinned up under the dashboard, caught by either the clutch or brake pedal Jarrett and Johnson rushed to Roberts aid, as Jarret braved the flames to pull Roberts out of his upside-down, fire-engulfed car. Roberts was badly burned and was rushed to the hospital. Roberts was in the hospital for over a month and was recovering from his injuries. Unfortunately as he was recovering he became septic, slipped into a coma, and died a few days later. Roberts was the original super star of the super speedway era. He had already accepted a job working for Falstaff, but wanted one last chance to win the only major race he had yet to win. As far as the race itself, Jim Paschal passed Fred Lorenzen with 126 laps to go, and went on to the race win. Richard Petty was second, followed by Rex White, Lorenzen, and Billy Wade. Crash video via YouTube here
1966 – Ricky Craven’s birthday.
1987 – Kyle Petty survives a day of heavy attrition and captures Charlotte's Coca-Cola 600 for his first super speedway win. Driving the Wood Brothers Ford, Petty gives the Stuart, Va., team its 70th super speedway win.
1990 – Joey Logano’s birthday
1992 – Dale Earnhardt avoids the watchful eye of NASCAR officials as he exceeds the 55-mph speed limit down pit road for his final stop, then outruns Ernie Irvan to win the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte. Earnhardt trails by more than three seconds entering the pit stop, but returns to the track 1.27 seconds ahead of his closest rival. Other contenders howl in protest after the race.
1998 – The Coca-Cola 600 would be the first CUP start for Elliott Sadler. Sadler qualified 31st, and would run 208 laps before losing his power plant. Even though he ran over ½ of the race, he would finish 42nd. Jeff Gordon won the pole, and Ward Burton started alongside. Mark Martin clearly had the strongest car as he led 164 of the 400 laps. The race came down to a late race pit stop . Martin, Rusty Wallace, Bobby Labonte, and Dale Jarrett all pitted for two tires. Gordon took on four, and drove through the field to claim the win. The top five were Gordon, Wallace, Labonte, Martin and Jarrett.
1923 – Smokey Yunick’s Birthday
1925 – Bud Moore’s birthday - Car owner for such great drivers as Cotton Owens, Fireball Roberts, Joe Weatherly, David Pearson, Rex White, Darel Dieringer, Bobby Allison, Cale Yarborough, Tiny Lund, Donnie Allison, Bobby Isaac, Darrell Waltrip, Benny Parsons, Dale Earnhardt Sr, Ricky Rudd, Geoff Bodine, and Morgan Shepherd. Moore owned cars that competed in 959 CUP events. His cars claimed 63 wins, and two Championships (both with Joe Weatherly) Also owned the cars that claimed the Southern 500 (1966), and Daytona 500 (1978). Moore was a decorated veteran of World War II, at 18, he was a machine gunner with the 19th Infantry Division. He was with the troops that invaded France on D Day, and was also in the Battle of the Bulge (where he helped capture 15 enemy soldiers). Five times he was wounded, and five times he was patched up and sent back into battle. In addition to five Purple Hearts he also won two Bronze Stars for heroism.
1957 – Paul Andrew’s Birthday - Crew chief for Alan Kulwicki when he won his CUP Championship in 1992. Andrews was scheduled to be on the ill fated plane flight that killed Kulwicki in 1993, but remained behind to work with the pit crew on pit stop times. He also led Steve Park to two wins, and was the head wrench for such drivers as Bobby Labonte, Lake Speed, Geoff Bodine, and Michael Waltrip.
1975 – Dale Earnhardt Sr. would make his CUP debut at Charlotte Motor speedway in Concord, NC. It was 400 laps around the 1.5 mile paved track. Earnhardt would start 33rd in his 10,000 RPM speed Equipment Dodge. He completed 355 of the 400 laps and finished 22nd. David Pearson started on the pole, with Lennie Pond joining him on the front row. Pond’s day would be short as he fell out at the mid-point of the race with transmission problems. Richard Petty would pilot his STP Dodge, and lead 234 laps, including the last 102 circuits. Petty out raced second place finisher Cale Yarborough by over a lap. Pearson would finish third with Darrell Waltrip and Buddy Baker rounding out the top five.
1985 – Darrell Waltrip passes Harry Gant with two laps to go and wins the inaugural The Winston NASCAR all-star race at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Waltrip captures the World 600 the next day and pockets $290,733 for his back-to-back wins.
1986 – This would be the first race for Brett Bodine. It came at Charlotte Motor Speedway in the Coke 600. He would start 32nd in his Rick Hendrick owned Exxon Chevy. He ended up in 18th. His brother Geoff Bodine won the pole, and Tim Richmond started on the front row also. Cale Yarborough would lead the most laps, but finish third. Dale Earnhardt Sr. in his Wrangler Jeans Chevy would claim the win, with Tim Richmond second. Harry Gant, and Darrell Waltrip rounded out the top five.
1993 – Ross Kenseth’s Birthday; son of Matt Kenseth
2009 – David Reutimann would claim his first career CUP win here in Concord, NC. at the Coca-Cola 600. “The Rocket Man”, Ryan Newman qualified on the pole with Kyle Busch joining him on the front row. Busch was the class of the field. He led 173 laps of the 227 ran. Reutimann had been running mid-pack all night. The yellow flew for a light rain, and most of the teams figured the rain would quit, and they would go back to racing. The teams all came down pit road to service their cars, and Reutimann (running 22nd) stayed out and gambled the rain would not stop. Reutimann’s gamble would pay off as the race was never restarted. On a couple of occasions as NASCAR almost got the track dried, it would rain again. Finally the race was called official and many claimed Reutimann had ‘stolen’ the win. Also staying out was Newman, and Robby Gordon. The race off pit road with the teams had pitted had Carl Edwards getting out first, followed by Brian Vickers and Kyle Busch. These drivers would finish 4th through 6th. Reutimann is still active on the CUP circuit.
2016 – NASCAR announced today the inductees who will comprise the NASCAR Hall of Fame Class of 2017. The five-person group -- the eighth since the inception of the NASCAR Hall of Fame in 2010 -- consists of Richard Childress, Rick Hendrick, Mark Martin, Raymond Parks and Benny Parsons. In addition, NASCAR announced that Martinsville Speedway founder H. Clay Earles won the Landmark Award for Outstanding Contributions to NASCAR. Richard Childress - Long before he became one of the preeminent car owners in NASCAR history, Richard Childress was a race car driver with limited means. Childress, the consummate self-made racer, was respectable behind the wheel. Between 1969-81 he had six top-five finishes and 76 top 10s in 285 starts, finishing fifth in the NASCAR premier series standings in 1975. Having formed Richard Childress Racing in 1972, Childress retired from driving in 1981. He owned the cars that NASCAR Hall of Famer Dale Earnhardt drove to six championships and 67 wins between 1984-2000. In addition to Earnhardt’s championships, Childress drivers have given him five others. Childress was the first NASCAR owner to win owner championships in all three of NASCAR’s national series, and his 11 owner titles are second all-time. Rick Hendrick - The founder and owner of Hendrick Motorsports, Rick Hendrick’s organization is recognized as one of NASCAR’s most successful. Hendrick Motorsports owns an all-time record 12 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series car owner championship titles -- seven with Jimmie Johnson, four with Jeff Gordon and one with NASCAR Hall of Famer Terry Labonte. Hendrick also has 14 total NASCAR national series owner championships, most in NASCAR history. Gordon and Labonte combined to win four consecutive titles from 1995-98. Hendrick’s 245 owner wins in the premier series rank second all-time. Mark Martin - He is often described as the "greatest driver to never to win a championship," but Mark Martin's legendary career is so much more than that. He came incredibly close to that elusive title many times -- finishing second in the championship standings five times. Over the course of his 31-year premier series career, Martin compiled 40 wins (17th all time) and 56 poles (seventh all time). Martin saw success at every level of NASCAR. He won 49 times in the NASCAR XFINITY Series, holding the series wins record for 14 years. He retired with 96 wins across NASCAR’s three national series, seventh on the all-time list. In 1998, Martin was named one of NASCAR’s 50 Greatest Drivers. Raymond Parks - Raymond Parks is one of stock-car racing’s earliest -- and most successful -- team owners. Funded by successful business and real estate ventures in Atlanta, Parks began his career as a stock-car owner in 1938 with drivers Lloyd Seay and Roy Hall. His pairing with another Atlantan, mechanic Red Vogt, produced equipment good enough to dominate the sport in the late 1940s and early 1950s. Red Byron won the first NASCAR title (modified, 1948) and first premier series title (1949) in a Parks-owned car. Parks’ team produced two premier series wins, two poles, 11 top fives and 12 top 10s in 18 events. Benny Parsons - Benny Parsons won the 1973 NASCAR premier series championship and could be called an everyman champion: winning enough to be called one of the sport’s stars but nearly always finishing well when he wasn’t able to reach Victory Lane. He won 21 times in 526 career starts but finished among the top 10 283 times -- a 54 percent ratio. One of Parsons’ biggest victories came in the 1975 Daytona 500. He was named one of NASCAR’s 50 Greatest Drivers in 1998. Parsons also was known as a voice of the sport making a seamless transition to television following his NASCAR career. He was a commentator for NBC and TNT until his passing in 2007, at the age of 65. Landmark Award for Outstanding Contributions to NASCAR; H Clay Earles - One of the original pioneers of stock car auto racing, H. Clay Earles played an integral role in the early years of NASCAR's development. Earles built and opened Martinsville Speedway in 1947, and the short track remains the only facility to host NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races every year since the series’ inception in 1949. The speedway held its first race on Sept. 7, 1947 -- three months before the creation of NASCAR. That initial race drew more than 6,000 fans to the track, which had just 750 seats ready. In 1964, Earles decided it was time for a "different" type of trophy for his race winners. He gave winners grandfather clocks, a tradition that continues today. Also Benny Phillips was named the sixth Squier-Hall Award winner. He will be honored during NASCAR Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony festivities on Jan. 20, 2017 and featured in an exhibit in the NASCAR Hall of Fame in Charlotte, North Carolina. In addition to his time at the Enterprise, Phillips wrote for Stock Car Racing magazine for 27 years and spent 12 years with TBS.
1967 – Stacy Compton’s Birthday
1974 – Sam McQuagg would make his last CUP start here in the World 600 in Charlotte. Sam would start 15th, but have ignition problems after 187 laps finishing 32nd in his Hoss Ellington owned Chevy. NASCAR Stars David Pearson and Richard Petty made up the front row. They were the class of the field as they outran the rest of the field by five laps. However the two gave the fans something to shout about as Pearson held off Petty by a scant 1/2 second to get the win. The rest of the top five was made up by Bobby Allison, Darrell Waltrip and Earl Ross.
1985 – Dick Brooks would make his final CUP start in the Coca-Cola World 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Brooks was driving a Chevy owned by Rick Hendrick and sponsored by Exxon. Brooks would start 31st, and make his final start a success with a finish of 10th. Bill Elliott won the pole, and Harry Gant joined him on the front row. Four drivers lead almost all of the race’s 400 laps. Elliott led 81 laps, Gant led 82, Darrell Waltrip led 91, and Dale Earnhardt Sr. led 97. Even though Earnhardt led the most laps, Waltrip would run down, and pass Gant going on to claim the win leading the final nine laps. This would be the first CUP start for Michael Waltrip. Waltrip started 24th and after transmission problems finished 28th, completing 278 laps. Gant finished second, and the top five was rounded out by Bobby Allison, Dale Earnhardt Sr. and Terry Labonte. For his career, Brooks had one CUP win in his 358 starts. He finished 6th in the championship points in 1977.
1992 – Johanna Long’s birthday
2005 - On this date we would lose Joe Lee Johnson. He would claim two CUP wins, including the inaugrial World 600 at Charlotte, He passed at the age of 75 after a battle with cancer.
1942 – Dick Berggren’s Birthday - Berggren began racing in 1967 and won 26 events before his driving career ended in 1981. He raced SuperModifieds, Modifieds, stock cars, and sprint cars. He stopped racing after his race car climbed a dirt bank at Boone Speedway, causing over 200 people to scatter to avoid being hit. As of 2017 he is a motorsports announcer and magazine editor; commonly seen wearing a trademark flat cap. Berggren began his announcing career at Arundel Speedway in Maine. He announced the 1979 Daytona 500 for the Motor Racing Network radio network. He began his television career at NASCAR races in 1981 as a pit road reporter for ESPN. He has announced for NASCAR races at CBS, TBS, and TNN. Berggren was the lead pit reporter for NASCAR on Fox from 2001-2012. He covered events in NASCAR's Cup Series from Daytona to Dover. In May 2012, Berggren announced he would retire after Fox's broadcast of the 2012 FedEx 400 at Dover International Speedway. Afterward he commented, "After the Fox portion of the year ends, I've always traveled to local tracks where I still enjoy sitting in the stands with a hot dog in one hand and a beer in the other, watching the local heroes. I can’t get enough of local-level racing so I'll do more of that now." His fellow broadcasters used to joke and call him "Dr Dirt" as in 'he is older than dirt'.
1956 – This was the first CUP event held at Portland Speedway in Portland OR. It was a 150 lap race on a ½ mile paved oval. Even though John Kieper won the pole, the field was inverted, and Lyle Matlock, and Royce Haggerty would start on the front row. Matlock would finish 17th after running 124 laps. Haggerty would run 145 of the 150 laps finishing 11th. After starting in the back Kieper would work his way through the field, with second fastest qualifier Herb Thomas in hot persuit. When the checkered flag flew, Thomas had found his way around Keiper and would grab the win. Clyde Palmer would finish third, all on the lead lap. Ed Negre posted his best career finish in fourth, and Curley Barker finished fifth. Barker would only run four career CUP races, and three of his finishes would be in the top five… with the other being ninth.
1961 - This would be the final CUP race held at Ascot Stadium in Los Angeles CA. The track was a 1/2 mile dirt oval hosting a 200 lap race. This was also the last short track race on a West Coast venue. Danny Weinburg would start on the pole, with Eddy Gray on the outside. Gray would go on to win this event by over a lap. This was one of his four career CUP wins. Don Noel finished second, with Danny Weinburg, Jimmy Blomgren, and Ron Hornaday Sr rounding out the top five. Hornaday is the father of NASCAR Truck series driver and Truck series champion Ron Hornaday Jr.
1969 – Jeremy Mayfield’s birthday
2001 – Jeff Burton ends a personal slump with a big victory in the Coca-Cola 600 at Lowe's Motor Speedway. Tony Stewart finishes third after his sixth-place effort in the Indianapolis 500 on the same day. Stewart completes all 1100 miles of racing in a heroic doubleheader effort.
2007 – This would see Casey Mears get his only CUP win to date. (Mears is still active in the CUP series). It was at Charlotte Motor Speedway in the Coca-Cola 600. Ryan Newman won the pole, but had problems and fell out with a blown motor on lap 172. Kurt Busch started outside Newman, but crashed out on lap 296. Busch led the most laps in the race. The final results of the race flip-flopped with about five laps to go. This turned into a fuel mileage race, and drivers like Tony Stewart, Jimmy Johnson, Mart Martin, all pitted with five laps remaining. Mears was able to stay out and not pit, and ended up grabbing the win. JJ Yeley would have his best CUP finish to this point coming home second. Kyle Petty was third, Reed Sorenson, and Brian Vickers. All of the top five managed to make it to the end without pitting.
1917 – Raymond Fox’s birthday - Car owner for many winning NASCAR drivers such as Buck Baker, Buddy Baker, Junior Johnson, Darel Dieringer, David Pearson, Charlie Glotzbach, Paul Goldsmith, Fred Lorenzen, Fireball Roberts, Cale Yarborough, and LeeRoy Yarbrough. Fox claimed 14 wins as an owner.; nine coming with Junior Johnson at the wheel.
1926 – Marvin Panch’s birthday
1955 – This would be the first CUP event held at the North Carolina State Fairgrounds, in Raleigh NC. It was a 200 lap event on a ½ mile dirt track. It was stop #17 of the 45 race CUP schedule. Tim Flock started on the pole, and Junior Johnson would start outside. Flock would put his Mercury Outboards sponsored 1955 Chrysler to the lead when the green fell, and lead the first nine laps. He fell out of the race on lap 15 with brake problems. Junior Johnson took over the lead on lap 10 and led until lap 172 when the red flag flew and was called because of rain. Fonty Flock would finish second one lap behind, with Buck Baker, Lee Petty, and Gwyn Staley finish out the top five.
1961 – This race would be Tim Flocks final CUP start. Flock would start 24th, and fall out and finish 37th with a blown motor. Richard Petty won the pole, with Joe Weatherly outside. Petty would have problems, and also fall out on lap 332 with a blown motor. Joe Weatherly, David Pearson, Ralph Earnhardt, and Petty would wage a spirited battle for the first 270 laps with many lead changes. On lap 271 Pearson took the lead and would stay out front to take the checkers. It would be Pearson’s first CUP win. Pearson won by two laps, leading a total of 225 laps, but limped around the track the final three laps on a flat tire. Fireball Roberts finished second. The rest of the top five finishers were Rex White, Ned Jarrett, and Jim Paschal. Flock was a two time NASCAR champ, winning the championship in 1952 and 1955. This would also be the final CUP start for Joe Eubanks. Eubanks would start 33rd in the 55 car field, and finish 13th.
1972 - The World 600 would be the last start for Jim Paschal. Bobby Allison had a stout car, and won the pole. David Pearson was strong also and would start second, but he would blow off a water hose and be out on lap 251. Only four drivers led this event, and Allison would pace the field for 239 of the 400 laps. He was leading with 30 laps to go when he had two flat tires, and would have to pit. Buddy Baker would bypass Allison at this point and go on to win. Allison managed to finish second, on the lead lap. Charlie Glotzbach, Benny Parsons, and LeeRoy Yarbrough rounded out the top five. For his career Paschal would win 25 CUP events in 421 starts. His best career points finish was fifth in 1956. Paschal seldom ran enough races to be competitive in the championship chase, still he finished in the top 10 in points ten times.
1995 – Bobby Labonte would claim his first CUP win at Charlotte Motor Speedway in the Coca-Cola 600. One of the biggest races on the circuit. Jeff Gordon would start on the pole, but fall out on lap 283 with suspension problems. Labonte started second. Ken Schrader in his Budweiser Chevy would lead the most laps by far. Schrader led 169 laps but would fall out of the race with a blow motor on lap 358. Labonte had been competitive all day, leading 85 laps. When Schrader blew up, Labonte was there to pounce. He grabbed the lead on lap 359 and led all the way to the checkers. Terry Labonte would finish second, giving the brothers a sweep of the top two positions. Michael Waltrip finished third, with Sterling Marlin fourth, and Ricky Rudd fifth. Ricky Craven claimed his first career top 10. This would be the first time brothers have finished 1-2 in a NASCAR Winston Cup race since 1971, when Bobby and Donnie Allison did it at Charlotte.
2000 – Matt Kenseth would get his first CUP win this date at Charlotte Motor speedway in the Coca-Cola 600. Dale Earnhardt Jr. would win the pole, with Jerry Nadeau and Bill Elliott having the first three starting spots. Elliott would be the first car out of the event after blowing a motor 122 laps into the race. It rained shortly past ½ way with Jerry Nadeau leading. The rain stopped, and the race resumes. Nadeau and Dale Jr. battled all night long, but Nadeau’s motor expired less than 50 laps from the end. Earnhardt led 175 laps, while Nadeau led 115. 37 of the 42 starters were running at the end, with 37th place completing 371 of the 400 laps. This was Dale Jr. first CUP pole, after Nadeau it looked like he would drive to the win,.. but on the last pit stop he got a set of mis-matched tires, and wasn’t as fast as he had been all night. Kenseth went on to claim his first win, followed by Bobby Labonte, Dale Earnhardt Sr., Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Dale Jarrett. This was Kenseth’s rookie season, and he would win Rookie of the Year. Darrell Waltrip did not qualify for this race, but Carl Long did qualify, and he sold his ride to Waltrip so he could start the race. This was the 12th CUP event of the season, and DW had already used up his five past-champion provisionals, so buying Longs ride was the only way he could get into the field. Kenseth, who leads the final 26 laps, is the 11th different winner in the first 12 races on the 2000 calendar.
1922 – Joe Weatherly’s birthday
1939 – Al Unser’s Sr. birthday
???? – Todd Berrier’s birthday - as of the start of the 2015 season, Berrier had given up his crew chief position for Furniture Row Racing in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series; he is on the move to Joe Gibbs racing to become "Director of Inspections" so he can be closer to home and spend more time with his family. Previously, he was a crew chief at Richard Childress Racing, most notably with Kevin Harvick. In 2000, Berrier was first united with Harvick in the Xfinity Series, where they won three races; and Harvick was named Rookie of the Year. They won the championship together the following season. They then separated a for a few seasons, before coming back together in mid-2003. Berrier eventually added a win at the 2007 Daytona 500 to his resume with Harvick at the wheel.
1950 – Jimmy Means birthday
1955 – Ken Schrader’s birthday
1955 – This would be the first CUP event held at Forsyth County Fairgrounds in Winston-Salem, NC. It was race #18 of a 45 race schedule for 1955. The Final CUP race at this track would also come at this track in this same year (race #32 of the schedule in August). Fonty Flock won the pole and Buck Baker started outside front row. Flock would lead the first 41 laps in his Mercury Outboards Chrysler. Flock had oil pressure problems, and fell out after only 62 laps. Buck Baker would take over the lead and lead until lap 167 when he broke an axle and fell out. Lee Petty took over the lead and would battle Jim Paschal until the finish. Petty edged out Paschal by ½ second to get the win. Fred Dove finished third, while Dick Rathman and John Dodd Jr rounded out the top five. This would be career best finishes for Dove and Dodd.
1957 – Bobby Hamilton’s birthday.
1966 – Dog Track Speedway, located at Moyock, NC. would host it’s final CUP event. It was a 300 lap race on a tight 1/3 mile paved bull ring. Richard Petty won the pole with David Pearson on the outside. Petty would jump out to the early lead, but on lap 84 he would have ignition problems, and Pearson would get the lead. Pearson would lead the next 217 laps to take the checkered flag. Due to a scoring error, the race actually went 301 laps. Tiny Lund finished one lap behind in second, with James Hylton, John Sears and Wendell Scott rounding out the top five. This would be Scott’s final top five finish.
1994 – Charlotte Motor Speedway would be the site of Jeff Gordon’s first CUP win. Although he won,.. he wasn’t anywhere near the dominant car. Gordon started on the pole, and led the first lap. He never led again until lap 300; and then only for 3 laps. Then three more laps from 379-381. The race did have a great battle between Geoff Bodine, Ernie Irvan, and Rusty Wallace. As the race wound down Gordon crew chief (Ray Evernham) made the call to pit for a two tire stop, while Wallace’s crew chief opted for a four tire stop. Gordon was able to hold off Wallace for his win. Wallace did finish second four seconds behind. Geoff Bodine, Dale Jarrett, and Ernie Irvan rounded out the top five finishers. This would be the first ever win for a car with #24. John Andretti would be the first to do the Indy 500 / Coke 600 double; running both races the same day.
1999 - On this date we lost car owner Harry Melling. Melling is credited with giving driver Bill Elliott his first big break. Elliott rewarded him by posting 34 wins driving for Melling and also the 1988 CUP Championship. Melling died of a sudden heart attack at the age of 53.
2011 - Ricky Stenhouse would make his first CUP start here in the Coke 600 at Charlotte Motor speedway. Stenhouse would have an impressive first start as he would start ninth, and bring home his Wood Brothers owned Motorcraft Ford home 11th. Matt Kenseth had the strongest car all day as he led 109 laps. However he would blow up with three laps to go and bring out the final yellow. Starting up front was a major factor, so few cars pitted on the final yellow; even though the extra laps put fuel mile in question. The race restarted with Biffle in the lead, and Dale Earnhardt Jr grabbed the lead and looked to be on the way to breaking his long losing streak. Coming to the checkered flag, Earnhardt's National Guard sponsored car ran out of gas and had to coast to the finish. Kevin Harvick was there to pounce and took the win. David Ragan finished second followed by Joey Logano, Kurt Busch, and AJ Allmendinger. Earnhardt ended up seventh. Ironically earlier in the day during the Indy 500, a car also sponsored by the National Guard was leading coming off of turn four and hit the wall, and ended up second. Tough day for the National Guard.
1950 – Canfield Speedway located in Canfield OH would host it’s first CUP event . It was a 200 lap race on a ½ mile dirt track. The speedway would only ever host three CUP events. All on May 30th. (1950-1951-1952) Jimmy Florian would start on the pole, with Frank Canale outside. This would be the only career CUP start for Canale. His day would be done when he had overheating problems after 74 laps. Curtis Turner started third, but would lead the first 120 laps. Bill Rexford would pass Turner on lap 121, and lead until the end. This would be Rexford’s only career CUP win. Glenn Dunaway would finish second; it was his career best finish. The others rounding out the top five were; Lloyd Moore, Lee Petty, and Bill Blair. Rexford went on to win the CUP champion in 1950, and to this point is one of only four drivers to ever win the championship with just one win in a that year (Ned Jarrett 1961; Benny Parsons 1973; Matt Kenseth 2003) Rexford is the youngest driver to ever win the CUP championship at age 21.
1952 – The 1952 Poor Man’s 500 would be the final CUP race held at Canfield Speedway. The name is a take off on the Indianapolis 500. This is the first non-Darlington race to carry the tag 500, yet there were only 200 laps equaling 100 miles. Dick Rathman would win the pole, and Tim Flock started outside. When the checkered flag flew Herb Thomas was the first one under the flag. Bill Blair was a close second, as Thomas outrun Blair by only a fender length. Bob Moore was third posting his career best finish, followed by Tim Flock, and Curtis Turner.
1953 – Raleigh Speedway in Raleigh, NC would host it’s first CUP race on this date. It would be a 300 lap race on a one mile paved oval. Slick Smith would lead the field to the green with Joe Eubanks outside. Smith would jump to the lead, and lead the first four laps. Bill Blair would lead laps 5 to 17, before Herb Thomas would slip by for a single lap. Blair would lead the next 35 laps. Blair would crash out of the race on lap 213. Herschel McGriff would grab the lead on lap 95, and pace the field for the next 100 laps. McGriff also fell out of the race with mechanical problems 25 laps from the finish. Fonty Flock would pilot his Red Vogt Special, 1953 Hudson into the lead on lap 196, and held onto it until the checkers fell on lap 300. Flock had started in the 43rd position to drive to the win. Speedy Thompson would finish second, two laps behind. Positions three through five were, Tim Flock, Herb Thomas, and Dick Passwater. This would be the race that Tim Flock’s monkey co-pilot Jocko Flocko would chew through his seat belts on his specially designed seat and ended up on the floor of the car and opened the tire inspection panel (at the time, a hole was cut into the floor so the driver could pull a cord and look at the tire to see if it was wearing). A rock came in, pelted Jocko upside his head, and he went crazy, apparently attacking Tim Flock. He had to pit and make an extra pit stop to give the monkey to his pit crew,.. costing him a second place finish. Jocko was not approved by NASCAR, and was smuggled into the car at the start of his first race. It apparently caused quite a stir when Tim would pass someone and they would look over and see a monkey waving back, clad in tiny driver's suit and helmet! Since he had run in one race, NASCAR decided they would let him run again. The extra pit stop cost Tim $600 difference in his race winnings, and Jocko Flocko was retired immediately.
1954 – This would be the final CUP series race held at Carrell Speedway in Gardena, CA. This was a ½ mile dirt track that hosted a 500 lap race. Danny Letner would start on the pole with Ben Gregory on the outside front row. Letner would lead the first 105 laps, and then Lloyd Dane would take over and lead until lap 285. John Soares took the lead away from Dane on lap 286 and would wheel his 1954 Dodge to the lead the final 210 laps. The race was shortened to 496 laps due to a scoring error. This would be Soares only career CUP win. Dane would finish second one lap behind. Letner was third, with Gregory and George Seeger rounding out the top five.
1956 – Eureka Speedway located in Eureka, CA. would host it’s first ever CUP race. It was a 160 lap race on a .625 mile track (100 miles). John Kieper would start on the pole, and be joined on the front row by Clyde Palmer. Palmer would burn a piston, fall out early, and finish 23rd. Herb Thomas would wheel his #300 1956 Chrysler to the win. The race was shortened to 125 laps due to poor track conditions. Gordon Haines finished second, followed by Lloyd Dane, Bob Keefe and Jim Cook.
1957 – Exactly one year after hosting it’s first CUP race, Eureka Speedway hosted it’s second and final CUP race. Parnelli Jones started on the pole; while Lemoine Frey started second. Lloyd Dane would wheel his 1957 Ford to the victory. The race was shortened to 153 laps due to a crash. George Seeger crashed but finished second. E ddie Pagan, Cliff Yiskis and Ed Negre rounded out the top five. This was Yiskis’ only Cup start.
1958 – Historic Trenton Speedway in Trenton NJ, would host it’s first ever CUP event. The Northern 500 was a 500 lap race on a one mile paved oval. Marvin Panch would start on the pole, with Speedy Thompson joining him on the front row. Panch would lead the first 59 laps before he was passed by Thompson on lap 60. Panch would have clutch problems, and fall out on lap 254. Thompson would lead until lap 100, when Junior Johnson took over the lead for 20 laps. Fireball Roberts moved up from his 17th starting position to assume the lead on lap 121, and would lead to the checkers, leading the final 380 laps. Roberts wheeled his 1957 Chevy to win by over two laps. Junior Johnson finished second, with Lee Petty, Jim Reed, and Eddie Pagan rounded out the top five. The race is the first 500-miler stock car race staged north of Darlington.
1965 – This would be the final of two events held at Harris Speedway in Harris, NC. It was stop 22 of the 55 race season in 1965, and was 334 laps around a 3/10 mile paved oval. Paul Lewis started on the pole, and G.C. Spencer outside him on the front row. Lewis would have ignition problems, and fall out of the race on lap 16. Spencer would lead the first 23 laps before being bypassed by Ned Jarrett who led the final 311 laps. Spencer would run out of gas, and finish second, Dick Dixon, Dick Hutcherson and J.T. Putney was the top five.
1971 – After being out of CUP races for nine year, Speedy Thompson would come back and run his final event in the World 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Thompson would start ninth, but with such a strong field of drivers, the best he could muster was a 16th place finish. Charlie Glotzbach won the pole, with Bobby Allison outside. Glotzbach and Allison was the class of the field as they swapped the lead many times over the first 226 laps. Glotzbach tangled with a lapped car, and would crash out of the race. Allison went on from there to lead all of the 173 remaining laps to claim the win. Donnie Allison would follow his brother Bobby across the line to get second place. Pete Hamilton was third, followed by Richard Petty, and Fred Lorenzen.
1976 – Janet Guthrie would make her first career CUP start this day at Charlotte Motor Speedway in the World 600. She started 27th, but would pilot her #68 Regal Ride Shocks Chevy to a 15th place finish. David Pearson would start on the pole, and the race would be dominated by Pearson, and Cale Yarborough. Between them they led 338 of the 400 laps. Pearson would win, with Richard Petty finishing second. Yarborough finished third with Bobby Allison and Benny Parsons fourth and fifth. This would also mark the final CUP start of Bobby Isaac’s career. Isaac would blow a motor 39 laps into the event.
1979 – Clint Bowyer’s birthday.
1996 – Erik Jone’s birthday.
1999 – This would be the day that Dale Earnhardt Jr would run his first CUP race. It would come at the same track that his father ran his first CUP event; Lowes Motor speedway in Concord, NC, just 24 years later. Dale Jr would do better than his famous father in his first start. Jr would qualify 8th, and finish 16th driving his #8 Budweiser DEI Chevy. Both Earnhardt's drove the #8 in their first CUP starts. Bobby Labonte, and Jeff Burton would start on the front row, with Labonte on the pole. They were the class of the field, and had a great battle between themselves the entire race. Together they led almost 300 laps of the 400 lap race. Burton would sneak by Labonte coming off of turn number four, and get by Labonte to win by .57 seconds. Mark Martin would finish third, with Tony Stewart and Dale Jarrett rounding out the top five. Stewart attempted to race 1,100 mile on one day. The 600 miles in the Coke 600, and also 500 miles in the Indy 500. He finished in the top 10 in both events. Finishing 9th in the Indy 500, and 4th in the 600. He finished four laps down at Indy,.. so he only completed 1,090 of the 1,100 miles. In 2001 Stewart would complete the total 1,100 miles. Stewart finished 6th at Indy, and third in the 600. John Andretti would be the first driver to do the Indy / Charlotte double in 1994.
1970 - On this date LeeRoy Yarbrough would get his last CUP victory. It would come in the National 500 at the 1 1/2 mile Charlotte Motor Speedway. Charlie Glotzbach would win the pole, but would be sidelined by a crash before lap 50. Richard Petty joined Glotzbach on the front row, but also crashed out. Yarbrough would lead the most laps, and would claim the win after passing Bobby Isaac with 12 laps to go when his motor expired. Bobby Allison finished second with the top five being Fred Lorenzen, Benny Parsons, and Isaac.
1974 - Krista Voda' birthday - an American sportscaster Voda was a pit reporter for NASCAR on Fox and was the host of The Setup, the pre-race show for coverage of the Camping World Truck Series, as well as Trackside on Fox Sports 1. On October 29, 2014, Voda was announced to be the pre- and post-race host for NBC Sports' NASCAR coverage, which includes hosting NASCAR America on NBCSN
2009 - Tony Stewart finishes second in the Autism Speaks 400 at Dover DE and it moves him into the lead in the points standings. It is the first time since Alan Kulwicki led in November 1992 that an owner-drive has led the points.