NOTE### - any date in PINK and BOLD is an event pre-NASCAR - but is associated to bringing about the sport of NASCAR
1941– Lloyd Seay once again wins the National Championship race at Lakewood Speedway in Atlanta. Only a week earlier Seay led all 160 miles to win the a race on Daytona Beach and Road Course. The day before the race at Atlanta he won with ease at High Point NC. The day after winning at Atlanta, Seay is shot and killed by his cousin Woodrow Anderson in a dispute. Anderson confronted Seay over sugar that Seay had purchased to make moonshine with that was and charged to Woodrow's account. Lloyd, (his brother) Jim, and Woodrow went to Woodrow's father's house to settle the dispute where it got out of hand and Seay was killed.
1952 – Banjo Matthews would make his first Cup start at the Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway. Banjo would qualify 53rd in the 66 car starting field. Fonty Flock would win the pole, and Joe Eubanks would start alongside. Flock would lead 341 of the races 400 laps, and win by over a lap. Johnny Patterson started 42nd and managed to move up and finish second. Herb Thomas was third, with Bub King fourth. Matthews would also make a nice move moving up from his 53rd spotting spot to finish fifth. This would be the best career finish for Patterson. Matthews made 51 starts in the Cup series, with a best finish of second. Matthews is probably better known for being a car builder for several of the biggest names in NASCAR in the 1960's and 1970's. Among those drivers were Fireball Roberts, AJ Foyt, Junior Johnson, Donnie Allison and Cale Yarborough. This race was also the Cup debut for Joe Weatherly.
1958 – GC Spencer would make his first Cup start here at Darlington Raceway in the Southern 500. Eddie Pagan would win the pole, with Fireball Roberts starting second. Pagan ran well, but crashed out on lap 136. Curtis Turner started fourth, but led 122 laps before his motor gave up on lap 195. Even though Roberts started second, he would not lead a lap until Turner blew up. From that point he would take the point and lead the final 196 laps, whooping the field by five laps. Buck Baker finished second, with Shorty Rollins, Jimmy Thompson and Marvin Panch making up the top five.
1976 – Marcus Ambrose's birthday
1980 – Terry Labonte would claim his first Cup win here at Darlington Raceway. Labonte had a special relationship with Darlington, winning both his first and last races in the Southern 500. Today would see as an exciting a race as a fan could wish for. Darrell Waltrip won the pole and led 196 laps, but fell out after 329 laps when he broke a timing chain and finished 25th. Cale Yarborough started second, but also had a bad day and finished 29th. The race saw 28 lead changes, among 12 drivers. The finish came down to an old fashion shoot-out between David Pearson, Dale Earnhardt Sr., and Benny Parsons. The race restarted with five laps to go, and the three drivers battled for the win. As the driver took the 'two to go' signal from the flagman; then Frank Warren blew a motor going into turn#1, and laid oil all over the groove. The three leaders went into the turn, hit the oil, then hit the wall. Pearson was able to continue, but Earnhardt and Parsons spun. Meanwhile Labonte had been running fourth at the time, had to bypass a couple lapped cars to try and catch Pearson before taking the yellow. Pearson was pushing his damaged car as fast as he could, but coming off of turn #4 Labonte caught him, and just beat Pearson to the finish line by a nose. The yellow and white flags waved at the same time, and the race was over. Harry Gant would finish third. Parsons would get his car going again and finish fourth with Neil Bonnett fifth. The video of the last five laps can be seen here.
1985 – Bill Elliott grabs his 10th win of the season and pockets the inaugural offering of the Winston Million $1 million bonus in Darlington's Southern 500. Elliott leads the championship chase by 206 points.
1941 – Lloyd Seay is killed in a dispute with his cousin. Bill France said "Seay was the best driver he ever saw; and he had seen 'em all" At the age of 18 Seay entered his first stock car race and won.
1957 – This date would mark the final start for Fonty Flock, one of the famous "Flyin Flocks" that ran in the Cup series. Flocks final start would be a disappointing one as he qualified 15; but got caught up in an early wreck and crashing out on lap 18 finishing 48th. Fonty got spun out and stalled at the end of the back straight. As the field came thundering but he was struck by the cars of Paul Goldsmith, and Bobby Myers. Flock was badly injured, and announced his retirement from his hospital bed. Bobby Meyers was fatally injured, and died at the scene. Myers was the father of Chocolate Meyers who was the famed Gas Man on the 'Flying Aces' pit crew that pitted Dale Earnhardt Sr. Speedy Thompson went on to lead 210 of the 364 laps to win by 3 laps. Cotton Owens finished second followed by Marvin Panch, Jim Reed, and Buck Baker. For his career Flock would claim 19 wins in his 153 starts. He also had 83 top five finishes. (over 50%) Eight wins came in the 1951 season when he was beaten out of the Championship by Herb Thomas. He ran the majority of the races in five different seasons. Four of those seasons he finished in the top five in points. This would also be the first Cup start for Cale Yarborough. The story goes that Cale wanted to race, but he was only 17, and the minimum age to race was 21. No problem for Cale. He had a friend who worked for the government, and she made him up a fake birth certificate, and Cale sent it to NASCAR in order to obtain a license. NASCAR, oblivious to this, sent him the license, and Cale was set to race in the Southern 500. However, following qualifying, NASCAR became suspicious and eventually Cale was found out. Bob Weatherly took his place behind the wheel. When race day came, Cale snuck in early though a hole in the fence which he used to sneak into the speedway grounds to watch races during his childhood. He then apparently hid against the floorboards of his 44 Pontiac until just before the command to start engines. Cale then shooed Bob out of the car, and took the green a few pace laps later. When NASCAR officials found Bob, who was supposed to be in the car, standing in the garage, they immediately became suspicious (yet again) and demanded to know who was piloting the car. Yet again, Cale was found as the culprit. NASCAR booted Cale off the track and told him never to return (which we know he did). Since Cale started the race, he received the points for the event, making this his first cup start, albeit being illegal.
1963 - The Southern 500 would be the final race for driver turned car owner Emanual Zervakis. The results seem to show there were several "start-n-park' cars in this race's field. 41 cars started the race with Zervakis starting 33rd. When the green flag flew, Zervakis was the first car in the garage, with nine other cars joining him before the end of lap eight. 13 cars would be out before lap 20 with various issues such as clutch, oil pressure, handling, etc. It paid $500 just to start, pretty good money for 1963. Junior Johnson started third, but had a strong mount that day. He led 163 of the first 234 laps. Then his car started over heating, and he was out by lap 257. Fireball Roberts would take the lead away from Fred Lorenzen with 33 laps to go, and go on to win by 17 seconds. Marvin Panch would finish second, followed by Lorenzen, Nelson Stacy, and Darel Dieringer. Roberts averages a record 129.784 mph in the caution-free event, the only nonstop Southern 500 in history.
1971 - Matt Borland's birthday (crew chief)
1981 – Brian Keselowski's birthday
1945 - Roy Hall outran a fiercely competitive Bill France to win a 75 mile race at Lakewood Speedway in Atlanta. It was the first stock car race after World War II.
1951 - This date would mark the last career start for 1949 Cup Champion Red Byron. This would be a race that featured an 82 car starting field. Frank Mundy would win the pole, but probably set a record that will last for all time buy starting first and finishing 82nd. 81 spots worse than where he started. Second place starter Herb Thomas would led 311 of the 400 laps. He would beat Jesse James Taylor by over a lap in a race that lasted over 6 1/2 hours. Buddy Shuman finished third, with Herschel McGriff, and Fireball Roberts fourth, and fifth. As far Byron, he would start 54th but crash out with 32 laps to go, finishing 25th. For his career, Byron raced three years competing in 15 races, getting two wins, and eight top five finishes in those 15 starts.
1962 - Larry Frank is declared the winner of the Southern 500 almost five hours after the checkered flag dropped in the Labor Day event. Junior Johnson had been flagged the winner, but after a check of the scorecards, Frank is given credit for his first NASCAR Grand National win.
2000 - Bobby Labonte, who fails to lead a single green-flag lap, wins the rain-shortened Pepsi Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway. After starting 37th, Labonte grabs the lead with a quick caution-flag pit stop and is out front when a thunderstorm brings the race to a halt.
1950 – This date would be the first event of the historical Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway. The starting field was a huge 75 cars. The event would see Curtis Turner start on the pole with Jimmy Thompson alongside. Gober Sosebee started third, but would lead the first four laps. Turner would assume the lead on lap five, and hold the spot for 22 circuits. He would go on to crash out on lap 275. Cotton Owens started 38th, but moved up through the field quickly and would grab the lead on lap 27 and lead for 23 laps. After starting 43rd, Johnny Mantz would grab the lead and lead the final 351 circuits to claim the win by nine laps. Fireball Roberts finished second Red Byron, Bill Rexford, and Chuck Mahoney. This would be the lone win for Mantz in 12 career starts. This would be the first start for Joe Eubanks. He would start 21st and finish 19th. Hershel McGriff would also make his first Cup start. He would start 44th in the 75 car field, and battle his way to a fine ninth place finish.
1978 – Here at Darlington Raceway, Terry Labonte would make his first Cup start running in the Southern 500. Labonte qualified 19th, but by the time the checkers flew he had moved up nicely to claim a fourth place finish. Two years later Labonte would return to this track to claim his first win. In this race David Pearson won the pole and Darrell Waltrip would start second. Pearson would run well but crash out on lap 166. 10 drivers would lead the race and there would be 22 lead changes. Cale Yarborough would lead the final 107 laps, but Darrell Waltrip would keep the heat on finishing second just 3 seconds behind. Richard Petty was third, with Labonte fourth, and Bobby Allison fifth. DK Ulrich would miss the remainder of the 1978 season after he crashed, and NASCAR found a major rules violation. Officials found nitrous Oxide in his car which was an automatic suspension for the remainder of the season.
2005 – This would be the date that Kyle Busch won his first Cup race. It would come in his first full year in Cup competition, in his only his 31st career start. Carl Edwards would win the pole on the 2 1/2 mile D-shaped oval. Mark Martin would start second. The race featured 12 different leaders, with 31 lead changes. As the race wound down it was a battle between Tony Stewart, Robby Gordon, and Busch. Two laps from the checkers there was a crash on the back straight involving Rusty Wallace, Jeff Burton, and Scott Riggs. It all came down to a green / white / checker finish to who would grab the win. Busch was able to get a good restart and hold on to win. Greg Biffle ended up second, Brian Vickers third, Edwards fourth, and Stewart fifth.
2015 - NASCAR moved to a new "digital dash" for the race cars. NASCAR Cup teams were to begin using the new technology in August; however this is the first time a team has had the new piece in place for a race weekend. The digital dash display would be mandatory in all Sprint Cup entries beginning in 2016. "With digital dash, you get the same information everyone else does," Greg Zipadelli, Vice President of Competition for SHR, said Friday morning at Darlington. "Obviously … the digital dash offers an awful lot of data … just a ton of stuff depending on what kind of channels they allow us to use in the future." "It takes a little bit different (wiring) harness, a different dashboard," Zipadelli said. "(Kurt) was willing to run it. It allowed a group of our guys at the shop to just basically jump on it; we're just trying to be a little bit ahead for next year and get some feedback, how does it work, what does he like about it, let the other drivers see it. Stewart-Haas driver Kurt Busch was the only CUP driver to race with the new digital dash.
1950 – Gwyn Staley driving for car owner Julian Petty would win the second Cup event of his career. All three of Staley's Cup wins came in the span of four races. He also won a Convertible series race this season. This event was held at the New York State Fairgrounds, and one mile dirt oval with a 100 lap event. Staley won the pole and led the first 62 laps. Jim Reed would wrest the lead away from Staley on lap 63 and lead for 10 laps. Staley would take the lead back and lead the final 28 laps to get the win, out distancing second place finisher Lee Petty by one lap. Bill Walker would claim third, followed by Dean Layfield, and Fireball Roberts.
1955 – Dick Beaty would make his first Cup start here at Darlington, SC. Beaty raced part time over five season, competing in 38 races. He did have 10 top 10 finishes, and a best finish of 5th at Weaverville Speedway in 1957. Although Beaty never won a race in the CUP series but he was very well know. After Beaty retired in 1958 NASCAR became a NASCAR official, and was the NASCAR Cup Director from 1980 until 1992. As for the race Fireball Roberts won the pole but crashed out on lap 30. Fonty Flock, and Tim Flock would swap the lead several time during the first 150 laps of the 366 lap event. After leading 84 laps, Fonty Flock would crash out after 190 laps. From lap 150 until the end of the race Joe Weatherly and Herb Thomas would swap the lead back and forth. Weatherly would crash out after 317 laps, and Thomas would go on to grab the win. Jim Reed would finish second one lap in arrears, with Tim Flock, Gwyn Staley, and Larry Flynn making up the top five. This would be the career best finish for Flynn. Beaty would start 19th, but crash on lap 184 laps, finishing 53rd in the 69 car field.
1960 - Shorty Rollins would make his final CUP start here at Darlington Raceway in SC. Rollins would qualify 29th, and finish a respectable 15th in his final event. Fireball Roberts would win the pole, and Buck Baker would start outside. Roberts led 53 laps in the race, but fell out with 11 laps to go with a broken axle, finishing 9th. Richard Petty had a strong car and led 106 laps, but Buck Baker bypassed Petty and led the final 50 laps to take the win. Petty's car fell off the pace, and he finished 6th. Rex White would finish second, followed by Jim Paschal, Emanuel Zervakis and Ned Jarrett. The race saw tragic events unfold. Back in the early 60's there was no retaining wall between the pit area and the track. Bobby Johns and Roy Tyner crashed coming out of turn two and hit the pit area of Joe Lee Johnson. A NASCAR official and two other people were killed. One of those killed was Johnson's car owner Paul McDuffie. Johnson's car was withdrawn from the race after the accident.
1977 - Quick pit work nets David Pearson his second straight win in the Southern 500 at Darlington. Darrell Waltrip earns the nickname "Jaws" at the same event. Waltrip, Yarborough, and D.K. Ulrich are involved in a 227th-lap crash. In response to Ulrich's inquiry as to what happened, Yarborough says, "That Jaws ran into you."
1979 - Talladega Speedway would be the site of Kyle Petty's first Cup start. He would qualify a respectable 18th, and wheel his STP Dodge to a ninth place finish. Donnie Allison won the pole, but his Hoss Ellington owned Hawaiian Tropic Chevy would blow a motor after 83 laps. There were 34 lead changes, and on only three occasions did a driver lead more than eight consecutive laps. Darrell Waltrip would grab the lead 55 laps from the finish, and cruise to a 62 second win. David Pearson returned to Cup racing driving Rod Osterlund's #2 Olds in relief of injured rookie Dale Earnhardt. Pearson scored a strong second in the first of four races in the blue and yellow duece, which climaxed in a victory for him at Darlington. Richard Petty would finish fourth, while owner Junie Donlavey posted TWO cars in the top five as Ricky Rudd finished third, and Jody Ridley finished fifth. Donlavey seldom fielded two cars, and this is the only time he had two cars finish in the top five. This would be the 100th win for Oldsmobile
1983 - Bobby Allison withstands 97-degree heat and wins the Southern 500 at Darlington for his fourth win in the Labor Day classic. Bill Elliott finishes second for the eighth time in his career.
2004 – The Pop Secret 500 held at California Speedway in Fontana, Ca would be the site of Elliott Sadlers last Cup win. Sadler would start 17th in his M&M Ford, and work his way into the lead on lap 106. The pole was won by Brian Vickers with Jeremy Mayfield joining him on the front row. Sadler would lead 59 of the 250 laps including the final 27 to get the win. Kasey Kahne would finish second, Mark Martin third, Jamie McMurray fourth, and Ryan Newman fifth. This race was the debut for JJ Yeley.
1925 - Marty Robbins birthday
1954 – Elmo Langley would make his first ever Cup start at Darlington Raceway. Langley would start 41st in the 50 car field, and run a nice race in his 1954 Olds finishing a respectable 12th. Buck Baker won the pole and led the first 34 laps of the race. 30 laps later, Baker would blow a motor and be done for the day. Curtis Turner would be the class of the field, leading 266 of the 364 lap event. Only Herb Thomas could stay on the lead lap with Turner. With 20 laps to go, Thomas made his move, bypassed Turner, and held on to get the win. Marvin Panch finished third, two laps back, with Johnny Patterson, and Jim Paschal making up the top five. Langley would win two races, and run almost 120,000 laps. He's probably more well know for his time being the official pace car driver for NASCAR CUP races from 1989 through 1996. For his career Rollins only competed in 43 races and won just one event. A 150 lap race at State Line Speedway in Busti, NY. in 1958. He was voted the Rookie of the Year in 1958.
1962 - Jeff Green's birthday
1992 – Hall of famer Darrell Waltrip would win his final Cup race in this event held at Darlington Raceway. Sterling Marlin won the pole in his Junior Johnson owned Maxwell House Coffee Ford, with Ernie Irvan on the outside. Irvan would fall out with transmission problems on lap 266. Marlin also had issues and only completed 241 laps. Twelve different drivers led the field at some point during the race. Davey Allison had the strongest car and was leading when he pitted on lap 278. Crew chief Larry McReynolds sent a crew member to the NASCAR trailer to check the weather radar as the sky was getting heavy with black clouds. The crewman saw green all over the radar and thought that was good. He returned and told McReynolds it was all good, so McReynolds brought Allison in to pit. Waltrip stretched his fuel and the rain came while he was leading. It was Waltrip's only Southern 500 win. The rest of the top five finishers were Mark Martin, Bill Elliott, Brett Bodine, and Allison.
1997 – Kenny Irwin Jr would make his first career Cup start on this date at Richmond International Raceway in VA. The 3/4 mile paved D-shape oval would see Irwin start second in his first race. He was edged out for the pole by veteran Bill Elliott. This was Elliott's last pole as an owner/driver. The race saw Elliott lead the first 8 laps until the yellow hankie flew for a dust-up between Wally Dallenbach and Rusty Wallace. Only eight more laps of green and there was an accident involving Robby Gordon, Kyle Petty, Mark Martin, Ernie Irvan, Steve Grissom, and Jeff Burton. Seemed none of the cars received major damage. The race fell into a nice pace, as there would be 168 laps raced before the third yellow flew. During this time, drivers Bobby Hamilton, Irwin, and Lake Speed would lead... and drivers Burton and Martin would recover from their spin and find themselves in the front. A quick spin on lap 173 by Chad Little would bring out the fourth and final caution. The final 220 laps would be run under green. During this time Burton would lead over 120 laps, but with 39 laps to go Dale Jarrett would surge to the front, and hold off Burton for the win by just over one second. The rest of the top five was Jeff Gordon, Geoff Bodine, and Rusty Wallace. Eight of the top 11 finishers piloted Fords. Irwin would finish eight in his first start, but have a very promising career cut short in a practice crash at New Hampshire in 2000.
2015 - Darlington Raceway saw it's famed Southern 500 return to it's original Labor Day Weekend date in 2015. This was the first time the Southern 500 was conected on Labor Day weekend since it was moved to the spring 12 years earlier. In honor of the big event Darlington Speedway went 'all out' to celebrate the race coming back "home". Darlington encouraged race teams to race with some 'throw-back" race schemes. They had hoped eight or so teams would jump on the band wagon. They were thrilled when 30 teams showed up with historic paint schemes for the race. The teams bought into the throwback idea, the sponsors did and the crew guys did. Even GoodYear got in on the act supplying race cars with their 'traditional' white GoodYear sidewall lettering. But Darlington was different. From start to finish, it was fun. Fourteen NASCAR Hall of Fame members showed up to share tales of their memories of the 'Lady in Black.' Crews dressed in old-school uniforms from the 1970s. Drivers grew mustaches and beards like folks wore back in the day. Even some of the media wore throwback 1970s duds. Aric Almirola brought back the famous STP Petty paint scheme, Kyle Larson had Kyle Petty's Mello Yellow ride, Brad Keselowski drive the iconic white Miller High Life ride Bobby Allison made famous; Ricky Stenhouse wheeled the #17 gold and blue paint scheme David Pearson posted many wins in; Perhaps most poinginat was Clint Bowyer driving the #15 Buddy Baker drove. It was a nice seeing it as we lost Buddy less than 30 days before the race and you couldn't help but think of the "Gentle Giant". The team went all out on this car too. In a time when the whole car is covered in one giant 'decal', Clints cars was entirely handed painted - right down to included the sponsor decals. The TV networks even had past race announcers broadcast various segments of the event. It was like old times when we heard Ned Jarrett; Ken Squire; Eli Gold, and Dale Jarrett calling the play by play. Darlington also offered back stretch tickets for sale for the old throw-back price of $18 per seat. Darlington has promised to continue this new tradition for the upcoming years.
1939 - Donnie Allison's birthday
1947 - The new track in Martinsville, Va., opens to a large crowd. Red Byron finishes first in a 50-lap event that is marred by deplorable dust conditions.
1953 – Junior Johnson would strap in and make his first Cup start here at Darlington Speedway in SC. Johnson would go on to have a successful NASCAR career, but this would not be one to remember. He started 26th in his 1953 Olds, and ran 222 of the of the 364 laps before crashing out and finishing 38th. Fonty Flock would win the pole, with Joe Eubanks starting outside. Eubanks luck would be worse than Johnson's as he would break a spindle, and fall out after only 40 laps. Flock would run well, and lead 48 laps. But Buck Baker would lead a race high 151 laps to claim the win with Flock second. Curtis Turner would finish third, followed by Dick Meyer, and Herb Thomas.
1958 – Fairgrounds Speedway located in Birmingham, AL would host it's first Cup race. It was a 200 lap race that ran on a 1/2 mile dirt track. Cotton Owens would start on the pole, and lead the early laps. But by the time the checkered flag fell Fireball Roberts would have the lead, and grab the win. He was followed across the line by Buck Baker. Second place starter Lee Petty would go on to finish third with Joe Eubanks fourth, and Tiny Lund fifth.
1959 - The Southern 500 would be the site of Jim Reed's final Cup win. He would start 14th, and not lead until lap 188. But from there on he led 152 of the final 177 laps winning by a margin of over two laps. Bob Burdick would cross the finish line second, followed by Bobby Johns, Richard Petty, and Tommy Irwin. Just an item of note: Richard Petty would lead laps 93-99; the first one's he'd lead in his Cup career.
1964 – Race #51 if the 62 race schedule in 1964 would prove to be the final win for Buck Baker. The Southern 500 held at Darlington Raceway would be a great last race to win. Richard Petty would win the pole, and David Pearson would start outside. Richard Petty would lead the early part of the race, and go on to lead 252 laps. But he wasn't able to keep pace with Baker as Petty finished third, four laps down. Pearson would crash out 66 laps from the finish and end up 12th. Baker would start 6th, but not be able to get to the front until there was just 63 laps to go. From there he would go on to lead to the checkers. Jim Paschal would finish second two laps back, with Ned Jarrett fourth, and Jimmy Pardue fifth. These would also be the last laps led by Baker, even though he ran 134 more Cup events.
1979 – ESPN would launch on this date.
1951 – This would be the first of seven races held at Central City Speedway located in Macon, GA. Bob Flock won the pole, with brother Tim Flock started along side in the front row, with Fonty Flock starting third. Bob Flock would lead the first 11 laps before being bypassed by Jesse James Taylor who would lead the next 95 laps. Tim Flock had early problems and finished last. Taylor was leading when he had over heating problems, and fell out of the event after 106 laps. Herb Thomas would assume the lead, and lead the rest of the way to the checkered flag. He won by two laps over second place finisher Gober Sosebee. Jim Paschal finished third, followed by Fonty Flock. and Donald Thomas.
1977 – Jim Hurtubise would make his final Cup start here at Dover Downs International raceway in Dover DE. Hurtubise would qualify in 29th position, but get swept up in the races first accident, and finish 39th . Hurtubise was better known for his prowess in the INDY car and Sprint car series. He raced in 36 Cup races over a 13 year span, winning the 500 mile race at Atlanta Motor Speedway in 1966. It was a popular win as Hurtubise was fighting back from serious burns suffered earlier in an INDY car race. As for this race, Neil Bonnett would grab the pole just edging out Benny Parsons. The first 1/2 of the race was a battle between Parsons and Donnie Allison. Bonnet would have a water pump fail, and fall out just 31 laps from the end. After the half way point the only driver able to stay on the lead lap with Parsons was David Pearson. Pearson would never get the lead and the best he could so was second as Parsons took the checkered. Cale Yarborough finished third with Donnie Allison's car falling off the pace back to fourth. Darrell Waltrip wound up fifth.
1985 – Alan Kulwicki would make his first Cup start at Richmond Fairgrounds Raceway in the 400 lap event on the 1/2 mile track. Kulwicki would go on to win a Cup Championship in 1992, but would be killed in 1993 in a plane crash as they were returning to Bristol Speedway after a meet-n-greet at a Hooters Restaurant in Knoxville. Kulwicki would qualify 19th, and do a good job in the race completing 392 of the 400 laps, and getting much needed seat time. Geoff Bodine won the pole, with Harry Gant second. This would be a good race as seven different drivers led the race, and there was 15 lead changes. Darrell Waltrip would move his Budweiser sponsored Chevy past the Piedmont sponsored car of Terry Labonte with five laps to go to get the win. Rounding out the top five was, Richard Petty, Dale Earnhardt Sr., and Ricky Rudd.
1949 – Felix Sabate’s birthday - car owner
1956 – Jeff Hammond's birthday - crew chief and NASCAR announcer.
1956 – On this day the one and only race would be held at Chisholm Speedway in Montgomery, AL. It was 200 laps on a 1/2 mile dirt track. Tim Flock and Lee Petty would start on the front row. Flock led the first 50 laps, but fell out on lap 139 with brakes failure. On lap 51 Jack Smith would take the lead from Flock, and lead until just before the 1/2 way mark. Marvin Panch would lead 41 laps before Buck Baker would take the lead and go on to win the race. Ralph Moody (of Holman & Moody fame) would finish second, followed by Panch, Fireball Roberts, and Johnny Allen.
1970 – Jerry Nadeau’s birthday
1917 - Ralph Moody's birthday
1961 – California State Fairgrounds, located in Sacramento, CA would host it's final Cup event. It was a 100 lap race on a 1 mile dirt track. West coast driving ace Bill Amick won the pole but had his rear end go out after only 25 laps. Eddie Gray would assume the lead, and pace the final 75 laps to win the race by a lap over Bob Ross. Danny Weinbery would finish third, followed by Frank Secrist and Don Noel. This would be Secrist best career finish.
1965 – Hickory Motor Speedway would be the site of Jack Ingram's first Cup start. Ingram would start 26th, and park the car after four laps into the race with handling problems. Junior Johnson won the pole with Curtis Turner starting second. Turner would fall out after 35 laps with overheating issues. Johnson would go on to lead and was leading with just 40 of the 250 laps remaining. Johnson must have suffered some type of issue, and with 40 laps to go he got bypassed by Richard Petty who went on to lead to the end. David Pearson finished second, Ned Jarrett would finish third, with Johnson fourth, both two laps behind. JT Putney would finish fifth. Ingram didn't have much success in his Cup career as he only posted one top five in his career. He raced 19 events in his Cup career. He ran from 1965 to 1968, had an 11 year gap, and then ran a few races in 1979 and 1981. In 1982 at the age of 46, he debuted in the Xfinity Series. He ran in that series through 1991. He was given the nick-name as the "Iron Man" because he ran so well for his age, and raced full time in the series through 1989. He won the championship in his rookie year in 1981, and also in 1985. In 1982, and 1983 he finished second both years . From 1981 through 1989 he only finished worse then fifth in the points race on one occasion. He ran 275 races, and collected 31 wins, with 122 top fives.
2005 – Ryan Newman benefits from Jamie McMurray's lap 362 crash to claim the final spot in the Chase for the NASCAR Cup. Fan favorites Jeff Gordon and Dale Earnhardt, Jr., fail to qualify for The Chase.
2016 – When the smoke cleared from the Federated Auto Parts 400 at Richmond Raceway; Denny Hamlin had grabbed the checkered flag and these 16 drivers advance to the Chase portion of the season to compete for the NASCAR Championship - Chris Buescher, Kurt Busch, Kyle Busch, Austin Dillon, Carl Edwards, Chase Elliott, Denny Hamlin, Kevin Harvick, Jimmie Johnson, Matt Kenseth, Brad Keselowski, Kyle Larson, Joey Logano, Jamie McMurray, Tony Stewart, and Martin Truex. Buescher and Elliott became the first ever rookies to qualify for the Chase.
1929 – Joe Lee Johnson’s birthday
1949 – Langhorne Speedway located in Longhorne PA hosted it's first Cup race on this date. It was the fourth Cup event after the formation of NASCAR. The track was a one mile dirt track whose race was 200 laps. Red Byron won the pole with Gober Sosebee starting second. 4 5 cars started this race. Curtis Turner started 11th, and came through the field to grab the win, his first win in the newly formed Cup series. Bob Flock would finish second, with Byron third. Frank Munday finished fourth with Bill Blair fifth. Female driver Sara Christian finished sixth. In all there were three ladies entered in this race. Christian, Louise Smith, and Ethel Mobley. This would be the first Cup start for Bill Rexford, who would go on to win the championship the next year. Dick Linder would make his first Cup start also. He would start 35th, and bring his 1949 Kaiser home to a 26th place finish.
1962 – Dog Track Speedway located in Moyock, NC would host it's first Cup race on this date. The track was a was a 1/4 mile dirt track that hosted a 250 lap race. Ned Jarrett would win the pole, and lead all 250 laps to win by over a lap. Joe Weatherly finished second, followed by Curtis Crider, Melvin Bradley, and George Green. This would be Bradley's best career finish.
1977 – Neil Bonnet would claim the first of his several Cup wins on this date by winning the Capital City 400 held at Richmond Fairgrounds Raceway in Richmond, VA. Benny Parsons won the pole, and Bonnett started second. He had a stout car on this day as he led 250 of the 400 laps; including the final 100. He beat Richard Petty to the checkers by seven seconds. Parsons went on to finish third, followed by Cale Yarborough and Lennie Pond.
1999 – In his Rookie year Tony Stewart would claim his first Cup win. It would come at the 3/4 Richmond International Speedway. Stewart had signed with car owner Joe Gibbs to drive the Home Depot Pontiac. Before the season he would claim three Cup wins. On this day Stewart was clearly the class of the field. Mike Skinner was the surprise pole sitter, with Stewart starting second. Jeff Gordon also had a strong ride, and gave Stewart all he could handle for much of the race. Gordon was leading on lap 311 when his motor let go, and he was done for the night. Stewart took over the lead for the final 89 laps; leading 333 laps for the race. Finishing behind Stewart was Bobby Labonte, Dale Jarrett, Sterling Marlin, and Kenny Irwin Jr. This marked a 1-2 finish for the Gibbs team. For his career (at the end of the 2016 season) Stewart has ran 618 races, and posted 49 wins, and 187 top five finishes. He won three Cup championships. 2002, 2005, and 2011. The 2011 season Stewart won five races. Those were all in the ten races of the Chase. He needed all of those wins to edge out Carl Edwards for the championship by three points. Stewart started his professional racing career in the INDY car series. He ran in 26 races, winning three times; all for Team Menard.
2004 - David Green would make his last Cup start and it would come here at Richmond Speedway. He would start 34th and finish 31st. Meanwhile in this; the final race before the cut to make the Chase, Jeremey Mayfield came into the race 14th in points but led the most laps on the way to victory and sealed a spot in the Chase. Mark Martin was on the Chase bubble coming in and spun in a mid-race incident but recovered to finish in the top-5 and make the Chase. The rest of the top five finishers would be Dale Earnhardt Jr second, Jeff Gordon third, and Mike Bliss fourth.
1946 – Ron Keselowski’s birthday
1950 – Ken Ragan’s birthday
1954 – Central City Speedway in Macon, GA would host it's final race on this date. It was 200 laps on a 1/2 mile dirt track. Tim Flock started on the pole in his 1951 Olds that was owned by Buck Baker. Flock had the dominant car in the race, and led the first 180 laps of the event. Knowing the car was illegal Flock faded back in the pack to avoid post-race inspection. Hershel McGriff led the final 20 laps and Buck Baker finished second. Bakers car was disqualified in post-race inspection, and Flock was moved up to second place. Lee Petty wound up third followed by Joe Eubanks and Ralph Liguori.
1956 – Ricky Rudd’s birthday
1958 – Gastonia Fairgrounds located in Gastonia, NC would host it's only Cup race on this date. The track was a 1/3 mile track that hosted a 200 lap race. Tiny Lund started on the pole, but only completed one lap as his A-frame failed. Buck Baker started outside the front row and would go on to win the race. Lee Petty and Bob Welborn finished second and third on the lead lap. Whitey Norman, and Speedy Thompson rounded out the top five.
1953 – Central City Speedway in Macon, GA would be the site of speedy Thompson's first win. Joe Eubanks started on the pole and led the first 11 laps. Gober Sosebee showed his strength as he led 73 of the 200 laps but as the race wound to it's conclusion, Thompson would get around Lee Petty to lead the last 24 laps and claim the win. Petty came home second, with Sosebee third. Eubanks, and Tim Flock rounded out the top five.
1987 – Ernie Irvan would kick off his Cup debut here at Richmond Fairgrounds Raceway in Richmond VA. Irvan would qualify 20th, but his day had an early end as his Chevy over-heated after only 35 laps, finishing 29th. Alan Kulwicki would put his Zerex Ford on the pole, with Darrell Waltrip just outside. Kulwicki would lead the first lap, but his car would never be at the point again. Kulwicki would crash out just short of 1/2 way. Waltrip, Dale Earnhardt Sr. and Jimmy Means took turns holding the lead during the first 145 laps of the 400 lap race. Means had a strong car, and the independent owner / driver gave Earnhardt all he wanted for the first 250 laps. When the race reached it's 1/2 way mark Earnhardt moved to the point, and led 156 of the final 250 laps. Waltrip, Ricky Rudd, and Bill Elliott were the only cars able to hang on the lead lap as they made up the top four finish positions. Richard Petty was fifth one lap behind. Means would finish three laps behind in ninth when the checkers flew, the effects of being a low budget team showing as the race wound down.
1947 – A huge crowd of 20,000 turns out for the 160-lap race at North Wilkesboro. Marshall Teague wins as more than 1000 carloads of racing fans are turned away due to lack of parking space.
1952 – Lee Petty drives his Plymouth to victory in the tragic 250-mile NASCAR Grand National event at Langhorne Speedway. Rookie driver Larry Mann, competing in only his sixth race, overturns on the 211th lap and dies of massive injuries. Mann defied a long-standing racing taboo by painting his Hudson green.
1964 – Here at the Virginia State Fairgrounds in Richmond VA, Cotton Owens would get his final Cup win. Ned Jarret won the pole, and Billy Wade started second. Jarrett would never lead a lap, as wade jumped to the lead when the green flew. Junior Johnson was by far the best car, as he led 171 of the 300 laps around the 1/2 mile dirt track. With just 35 laps to go, Johnson motor blew, and Owens was there to capitalize of Johnson back luck. Owens would lead the final 35 laps to get the win, beating David Pearson by over a lap. Richard Petty would come home third, followed by Larry Thomas, and Ned Jarrett. Owens would just one more race after this start, and then retire.
1965 – In New Oxford, PA, the Lincoln Speedway hosted a 200 lap race on a 1/2 mile dirt track. The Pennsylvania 200 saw Richard Petty win the pole, with Dick Hutcherson starting second. Petty led the first 78 laps before have suspension problems, and finally fell out after 101 laps. Hutcherson went on to lead the final 122 laps to get the win. His margin of victory was 8 laps. GC Spencer would finish second, with David Pearson, Ned Jarrett, and Buddy Baker rounding out the top five.
1969 – This race unfolded as a strange event. This would be the first event held at Talladega Speedway. Due to the high speeds on the 2.66 mile track Richard Petty led a drivers boycott over concerns of safety of the tires. The rough track at Talladega proved to be a catalyst provided a boycott. Drivers wanted to postpone the race to wait for safer tires to be developed that could handle the surface, but officials refused. Most of the drivers loaded up their cars and went home. The first official drivers boycott in NASCAR history had become a reality. Bill France held his ground and the race was ran with the drivers that wanted to compete. Charlie Glotzbach won the pole with a speed of 199.9 mph, but he withdrew and supported the boycott. There were only seven different leaders in the race, but between them there was 36 lead changes. Richard Brickhouse led 33 total laps, including the final 11 laps to go on to claim his only CUP win. Jim Vandiver and Ramo Stott finished second and third. The top five was rounded out by Bobby Isaac and Dick Brooks. The feared tire problems turned out to be a non-issue. Richard Childress made his first career CUP start. He would never win a CUP event, in fact his best career finish was the Nashville 420 where he finished third in 1978. He was more widely know as the car owner who supplied CUP Champion Dale Earnhardt Sr. the ride for six CUP championships.
2008 – Dubbed "the greatest thing since sliced bread" by fellow driver Mark Martin, Joey Logano made his CUP debut. It would come at the flat, one mile New Hampshire Speedway in NH. Logano would start 40th, run a good clean race, get some seat time, and finish 32nd. After winning the first race of the Chase the week before, Kyle Busch would win the pole, but he had problems, finished 34th, and dropped to 8th in the points, and wouldn't contend for the Championship. Carl Edwards started second, and he, Jimmy Johnson, and Greg Biffle would battle for the win. Together the led 215 of the 300 laps. Johnson was strong as the race wound down. He claimed the lead on lap 216, and would lead the next 73 laps. But Biffle would push by and grab the lead, holding on to win by 1/2 second. Edwards finished third, Jeff Burton fourth, and Dale Earnhardt Jr. fifth. Logano would go on to win his first race at this same track the following year.
1953 - Jimmy Fennig's birthday
1957 – As you probably saw above Langhorne Speedway hosted it's first race on 9/11. On this date it would host it's final Cup race. There were Cup events from 1949 through 1957. There were always big field for this event including this one that had 48 starters. This was 300 laps on a one mile dirt oval. Paul Goldsmith won the pole, with Fireball Roberts second. Goldsmith had problems with a gas line on lap fell out after 162 laps. Gywn Staley would claim the win by two laps over Whitey Norman. This would be be the last win for Staley, and the best career finish for Norman. Johnny Allen finished third, followed by Rex White and Buck Baker.
1957 – This would be the only race held at Santa Clara Fairgrounds, located in San Jose, CA. It was 200 laps on a 1/2 mile dirt track. Another West coast driving ace Lloyd Dane won the pole, and Eddie Pagan started outside. 22 cars started the race, but there was a lot of attrition in the event. On lap 116 there was a crash that involved virtually every car still running. The race was called at this point with Marvin Porter declared the winner. Pagan finished second, followed by Dane, Ernie Young and Jim Blomgren.
1960 – This was the one and only Cup race held at Gamecock Speedway located in Sumter, SC. David Pearson would win his first career pole with Ned Jarrett outside. The race unfolded as a battle between Pearson, and Jarrett as they lapped the field. Jarrett managed to grab the win from Pearson. Third through fifth place finishers were Junior Johnson, GC Spencer, and Lee Petty.
1968 – This year would be it's final Cup event held at Occoneechee Speedway (later renamed Orange Speedway) located in Hillsboro, NC. This was one of the tracks on the original 1949 Cup schedule It was a 167 lap race on a 9/10 mile dirt track. Richard Petty would win the pole, and go on to lead the first 74 laps. David Pearson started second, and took the lead from Petty, and led the next 11 laps. Pearson had motor problems and fell out on lap 120. Petty led 81 of the final 82 laps to claim the win by over seven laps. James Hylton would bring home his 1967 Dodge in second place, with Neil castles, John Sears and Worth McMillion rounding out the top 5. This would be McMillion best career finish, and the final Cup start for Curtis Turner.
2002 – New Hampshire Motor Speedway would be the site of Ryan Newman's first Cup win. Newman had a strong car all weekend, and showed it by winning the pole. Johnny Benson also had a good car, and would start second. Newman took the lead at the drop of the green, and led the first 83 circuits. Benson showed his strength by taking away the lead, and leading the next 53 laps. From that point on Newman would lead all but 11 laps to get the win. On lap 207 the skies opened up and rain caused the race to be called complete. Kurt Busch would be credited with second, with Tony Stewart third. Benson would have a nice fourth place finish followed by Bobby Labonte.
1962 – Fred Lorenzen drives a Ford owned by 19-year-old Mamie Reynolds to victory in the 100-mile NASCAR Grand National event at Augusta Speedway in Georgia. Reynolds is the daughter of U.S. Senator Robert R. Reynolds, and is the first female car owner to win a race.
1975 – Jason Leffler’s birthday
2006 – At the age of 65 Morgan shepherd made his final Cup start. This start came in the Sylvania 300 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. As of 2017 he still runs in the NASCAR Xfinity series on a part-time basis. Running his team the last several years out of his pocket, Shepherd wasn't very competitive. He started 43rd in his Victory In Jesus Dodge, and finished 41st. Kevin Harvick would win the pole, and lead 196 of the 300 lap race. Tony Stewart started 34th and managed to work his way up to finish second. Jeff Gordon finished third, followed by Denny Hamlin, and Brian Vickers. For his career shepherd started 514 Cup races, many with under-funded teams. In the late 1980's and early 1990's Shepherd did drive some competitive cars fielded by Bud Moore, and also by the Wood Brothers. When he had a decent ride he managed to post four wins, and run competitive seasons. During those years he managed to post finishes of fifth, sixth, and seventh in the points standings. On a side note, while staying in Las Vegas between races, the 69-year-old Shepherd chased down, tackled and restrained a young shoplifter who had run out of a Wal-Mart.
2007 – Clint Bowyer would pilot his Richard Childress owned; Jack Daniels sponsored Chevy to the finished line first to claim his first ever Cup win. Bowyer won the pole and led 222 of the 300 laps, and claimed the win over Jeff Gordon by six seconds. Tony Stewart led 39 laps but the best he could muster was a third place finish. Kyle Busch was fourth, and Martin Truex was fifth. This was the first time in the 'modern' NASCAR era that all 43 cars finished the race.
1934 – Johnny Allen’s birthday 1938 - Lee Roy Yarbrough's birthday
1939 – "Rapid Roy" Hall wheels his Ford to the win in a 150 mile race in Salisbury, NC; while Bill Frances come home second.
1950 – Fonty Flock would nab his first career Cup win here at Langhorne Speedway in PA. Wally Campbell would win the pole, and Tim Flock would start second. Curtis Turned started third, but would lead the first 31 laps. At that point Flock would take the lead away, and hold it for 69 laps. Flock and Blair battled the entire race with Blair leading from laps 101 to 137. Flock would retake the lead and hold it until the checkers; winning by about 1/2 lap. After Blair in second, would be Fireball Roberts, Lee Petty, and Neil Cole.
1960 - Gil Martin's birthday
1975 – Jimmy Johnson’s birthday
2000 – Jeff Burton leads all 300 laps in his win at New Hampshire International Speedway. Burton becomes the first driver to lead every lap in a super speedway event since Fireball Roberts did it at Hanford, Calif., in 1961.
1918 – Johnny Mantz’s birthday
1949 – Hamburg Speedway located in Hamburg, NY was a 1/2 mile dirt track that hosted it's first Cup race on this date. Glenn Dunaway would win the pole, but break a wheel after 134 laps, ending his day. Jack White got the lead after Dunaway's bad luck, and led the final 66 laps to post his only career win. Ray Erickson finished second, with Billy Rafter, Mike Egan and Bill Rexford rounding out the top 5. Eagan posted the top five finish in his only Cup start.
1955 – Dick Rathman would make his final start at Langhorne Speedway in PA. Rathman would start fourth but burn a piston after 80 laps and finish his final race in 30th position. His car was strong while it ran, as he led 65 of the races first 80 laps. For his career Rathman would compete in 128 races, and get 13 wins, and 69 top fives over five season. This final season he ran less than 1/2 the races. On the other four season he finished second, third, and fourth in the Cup points. He also posted an eighth place finish in the points his rookie season.
1962 – Boris Said’s birthday
2009 – Mark Martin announces he will drive full time through 2011 in the Sprint Cup Series.
1953 - NASCAR's first nighttime super speedway, a 220-mile Modified-Sportsman race at Raleigh Speedway, is marred by tragedy. Bill Blevins and Jesse Midkiff are killed in an opening-lap crash. Officials are unaware that Blevins' car has stalled on the backstretch during the pace lap. The 60-car field gets the green flag and the crash occurs seconds later. Buddy Shuman wins the race, which is shortened to 170 miles.
1976 - The Delaware 500 at Dover Downs DE would be the site of Tommy Ellis' first Cup start. He would start 31st in his Sunny King Ford, and finish 21st. Cale Yarborough won the pole, led 219 laps, and outran Richard Petty by seven seconds to get the win. Third through fifth went to, David Pearson, Bobby Allison, and Buddy Baker.
1999 – Joe Nemechek would win his first Cup race on the one mile flat oval of New Hampshire Motor Speedway. Rusty Wallace would win the pole driving the "Blue Deuce" sponsored by Miller Lite. Dale Jarret would start second. Wallace would be the first of 12 different leaders, leading the first 53 laps. The race would have 11 yellow flags for a total of 53 laps. It was a competitive race as 15 drivers finished on the lead lap. Joe Nemechek would grab the lead with 71 laps to go, and go on to claim the win. The race finished under yellow as Terry Labonte, and Hut Stricklin tangled with just two laps to go. Nemechek would go on to claim four Cup wins most of the time driving for low budget teams, in sub-par equipment. It is Nemechek's first career NASCAR Winston Cup win and the first victory for team owner Felix Sabates since 1995.
2007 - At a press conference in Dallas, TX, Dale Earnhardt, Jr., announces his Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet will wear number 88, which became available after Robert Yates agreed to release the number.
2011 - Josh Wise's birthday.
2012 - On this date we lost Cecil Gordon. Cecil’s racing career spanned the years from 1968 through 1985. After that, he spent 10 years as Shop Foreman for RCR before moving to Travis Carter Racing with Jimmy Spencer’s team from 1995 until 2000; when he retired after knee surgery. Gordon passed away in his home in Lexington, NC after a short battle with cancer; he was 71.
1964 – Cotton Owens would make the final Cup start of his career at Orange Speedway in Hillsboro, NC. David Pearson would put his 1964 Dodge on the pole, with Jimmy Pardue starting second. Pearson would show the strength of his Dodge leading 118 of the 167 laps. On lap 130 he fell out with a broken fan belt, and Ned Jarrett took over the lead. Jarrett went on to win the race by a lap over Cotton Owens. In two starts in 1964 Owens finished second and won the other race. Larry Thomas would finish third, Wendell Scott fourth, and Buddy Arrington fifth. This would be the last start for Pardue as he was killed during a tire test two days later. For his career Owens ran 160 races and claimed 9 wins, with 52 top five finishes. He would finish second in the Cup points in 1959, a distance behind Champion Lee Petty.
1975 – Juan Pablo Montoya’s birthday
1998 – This would be the first start for Matt Kenseth. Kenseth was called into action after Bill Elliott's father George Elliott died the day before the race, and Elliott had to be at the funeral. The MBNA Gold 400 was held at Dover Downs International Speedway. Mark Martin won the pole and dominated the race leading 379 circuits. In fact he had lapped 31 of the 43 starters by lap 80. Jeff Gordon would finish second with Jeremy Mayfield coming from a lap down to finish third. Bobby Labonte was fourth with Rusty Wallace fifth. Kenseth would have a great results bring home the McDonald's Ford in sixth.
1945 – Richard Childress’s birthday
1952 – This would be the final race held at Dayton Speedway in Dayton, OH. The race was 300 laps on a 1/2 mile dirt track. Fonty Flock won the pole, and led the first 156 laps. Lee Petty then led for two laps before Flock retook the lead and would lead 105 more laps. Flock encountered problems with his gas tank, and fell out after 163 laps. Dick Rathman was there to take advantage of Flocks problems, and went on to lead the final 37 laps and grab the win. Petty pressured Rathman the entire event, but finished two seconds behind. Ray Duhigg, Lloyd Moore, and Herb Thomas finished in the top five. Currently the location of the speedway has been turned into a landfill.
2003 – Ryan Newman makes up a two-lap deficit to win the MBNA 400 at Dover International Speedway. For the race, NASCAR implemented a rule that prohibits racing back to the caution flag, and gives a lap back to drivers who aren't on the lead lap. The new rule was announced in the wake of drivers narrowly avoiding a collision with Dale Jarrett's crashed car a week earlier at New Hampshire.
1904 – Red Vogt’s birthday
1964 – Jimmy Pardue, who ranks fourth in the points race, dies in a tire-test crash at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Pardue is the third NASCAR driver to lose his life during the 1964 season.
1988 – Colin Braun’s birthday
1991 – Harry Gant, the new "Mr. September," grabs his fourth consecutive win at Martinsville Speedway, overcoming a crash late in the race that knocks him a lap off the pace.
1956 – In only his 8th career Cup start, Paul Goldsmith would win his first Cup race. Buck Baker would win the pole, and Goldsmith would join him on the front row. Baker would lead the first nine laps, but his day would end with oil line problems after only 51 circuits. Goldsmith would prove to be the class of the field; leading 182 of the 300 laps, and would beat Lee Petty by seven laps. The rest of the top five finishers were Speedy Thompson, Jim Paschal, and Herb Thomas.
1983 – Regan Smith’s birthday
1984 – Two time NASCAR Xfinitye Series driver Sam Ard would make his only Cup start here at Martinsville Speedway. Ard only ran three years in the Nationwide Series, but won two championships, and finished second in the third. In his only Cup start he didn't fair as well starting 27th, and finishing 31st with steering problems. In the race Geoff Bodine would win the pole, but fall out on lap 40 with a broken oil pump. Various drivers led up until lap 185, but after that point it was the Darrell Waltrip show. Waltrip all but two of the remaining 315 laps, beating second place Terry Labonte by over a lap. Bill Elliott would finish third, followed by Harry Gant, and Neil Bonnett.
2008 – NASCAR announces a new random drug-testing policy. Also, all drivers, officials, and over-the-wall crew members will be tested in the preseason. 2014 - 2015 rule changes were announced. A reduction in horsepower with the horsepower reduction, from 850 to 725, will be obtained in part through the use of tapered spacers, also flat valve lifters will be replaced with roller valve lifters; lower differential gear ratios (targeting 9,000 RPM) will be in use. A shorter rear spoiler will be in effect for 2015 with the rear spoiler height will be reduced from 8 inches to 6 inches. An optional driver adjustable track bar are among the nearly five dozen changes that encompass the 2015 rules package for NASCAR Sprint Cup Series teams. In addition to the changes in "hard parts," NASCAR has banned all private testing by teams for next season. Organizations will be invited to participate in NASCAR/Goodyear tests only. Vehicle weight drops from 3350 pounds to 3300 pounds (without driver).
1921 – Jim McKay’s birthday - TV Announcer
1961 – Allen Bestwick’s birthday - TV announcer
1972 – Nick-named NASCAR's "Golden Boy" for his blonde hair, and good looks, Fred Lorenzen made his last CUP start here at Martinsville Speedway on the 1/2 mile track in VA. Lorenzen was still a great driver, and qualified his Hoss Ellington owned Chevy in fifth spot. However he'd have motor issues, and fall out of the race just past the 200 lap mark. The race was a duel between Richard Petty, and Bobby Allison. Allison started first, with David Pearson second. Allison would lead large chunks of the race, then Petty would grab it away before Allison led another large segment. At the checkered flag, Allison had won the battle by leading 436 laps; but Petty would win the war by claiming the win by six seconds. Pearson would finish third, with Buddy Baker, and Jimmy Hensley making up the top five. In his career, Lorenzen would win 26 times. He only ran the series part time, just racing 158 events in 12 years. He managed to finish third in the Cup series points in 1963, even though he just ran 29 of the 55 races. Lorenzen won the Daytona 1965 Daytona 500. From 1961-1967 he drove the famous Ford for Holman-Moody. But announced his surprise retirement in 1967. He did return to run a few more Cup races, and was competitive in all of them. This would also be the last Cup start for LeeRoy Yarbrough. Yarbrough won 14 races in his 12 year career. Like Lorenzen he never ran enough events to challenge for the Cup championship. He did win the Daytona in 1969, along with six other races that season. He also won the FireCracker 400 at Daytona, along with Darlington's Rebel 400 and Southern 500. He also won the World 600 at Charlotte lapping the field twice. He was admitted to a mental institution in 1980 after trying to kill his mother. Attempts to rehabilitate him failed, and in 1984 Yarbrough died after suffering a fall and sustaining a traumatic brain injury. Both Lorenzen and Yarbrough were named one of NASCAR's 50 Greatest Drivers in 1998.
2000 – This would be Kurt Busch's first Cup start. It would come at Dover Downs Speedway in Dover DE. in the MBNA 400. Busch would surprise everyone by qualifying 10th in his first race. He ran a solid race and finished 18th two laps off the lead. Jeremy Mayfield would win the pole, but blow a motor 228 laps into the event. Rick Mast started second, and managed to finish tenth. When the checkers fell Tony Stewart had led 163 laps, and took the win. Johnny Benson finished second six seconds back. Ricky Rudd, Steve Park, and Bobby Labonte rounded out the top five. Stewart would go on to sweep both races at Dover in 2000.
2006 - The Dover 400 would be the first Cup race for David Ragan. He would start 37th in his Jack Roush Ford, and finish 42nd. Teammate Matt Kenseth would lead the most laps, and have the car to beat, but as the race wound down, it turned into a fuel mileage race, and Kenseth would come up just short. Both he and Reed Sorenson were running in the top three when they run out on the final lap. Jeff Burton spent the last fuel run biding his time, saving fuel wherever he could. He bypassed Kenseth with six laps to go and led the final laps to get the win; the only ones he led all day. This broke a five year win less streak; as he had not won since 2001. Carl Edwards finished second, followed by Jeff Gordon, Kurt Busch, and Greg Biffle.
2016 - This was the first race of the initial year the Chase format would be used in the NASCAR Xfinity series. The twelve drivers that qualified to advance into the Chase included Justin Allgaier, Ty Dillon, Brendan Gaughan, Brandon Jones, Erik Jones, Blake Koch, Brendan Poole, Ryan Reed, Elliott Sadler, Ryan Sieg, Daniel Suarez, and Darrell Wallace.
2016 - This was the first race of the initial year the Chase format would be used in the NASCAR Camping World Truck series. The eight drivers that qualified to advance into the Chase included Christopher Bell, William Byron, Matt Crafton, Daniel Hemric, Ben Kennedy, John Hunter nemechek, Timothy Peters, and Johnny Sauter
1923 – Jimmy Florian’s birthday
1949 – This would be the inaugrial race held at Martinsville Speedway in VA. This is the only track that is still currently on the Cup schedule. 15 cars would start the event with Curtis Turner and Bob Flock on the front row. Flock would lead the first 16 laps before being over taken by Fonty Flock. Flock would lead 103 laps. Red Byron led the final 97 laps to grab the win. He out ran Lee Petty by three laps, Ray Erickson finished third follow by Clyde Minter and Bill Blair. This would be the final win of Byron's career. But he would be the first ever Cup champion this season.
1966 – Fred Lorenzen is flagged the winner of the Old Dominion 500 at Martinsville, but has his victory stripped due to an over-sized fuel tank. Three days later, NASCAR reverses its decision and restores Lorenzen's victory, even though the fuel cell in his Ford held 23.1 gallons of fuel, 1.1 gallons too many. NASCAR announces that since the fuel cell in question was bought directly from a Firestone dealer, the spirit of the rules wasn't encroached.
1909 - Bill France Sr birthday
1925 – Marty Robbin’s birthday
1963 – Joe Nemechek’s birthday
1968 – Rob Moroso's birthday
1993 – Ernie Irvan wins the Goody's 500 at Martinsville in his fourth start with the Robert Yates team. Irvan is wearing a Davey Allison T-shirt under his uniform in honor of the late driver he replaced on the Yates Ford team.
2004 - The MBNA 400 at Dover DE would be the final CUP start for Joe Ruttman. He would start 40th in his James Finch owned Dodge, and after rear-end failure would finish 41st. Ryan Newman would absolutely blister the field on this day. He led 325 of the 400 laps; including the final 135. The rest of the top five consisted of Mark Martin, Jeff Gordon, Dale Jarrett, and Kurt Busch.
1987 - Darrell Waltrip barges through Dale Earnhardt and Terry Labonte on the final lap to score his first win with Hendrick Motorsports in the wild Goody's 500 at Martinsville Speedway. Labonte and Earnhardt spin in the third turn as Waltrip shoots the gap to score the win.
1998 - The NAPA Autocare 500 would be where Mike Bliss made his first Cup start. He would start and finish 25th. The heat was brutal on this day, with several drivers needing relief drivers. The #9 of Jerry Nadeau finished 49 laps down because at one point, Jerry became extremely fatigued and needed a relief driver. Problem was, there weren't any. They had already been accounted for; Steve Grissom at one point was in one of the cars, Hut Stricklin was on standby the entire race to relive Rudd. Sterling Marlin looked to have the strongest car. Starting from lap 105 to lap 312 he led all but two laps. On lap 420 Marlin's car shut off, and he lost four laps getting it back to the pits and restarted. Rudd put in a gutty performance and stuck it out even with the extreme heat to get the win. Due to the extreme heat, Rudd couldn't even get out of the car under his own power after the race. He had to be lifted out, brought to a makeshift cot, and given oxygen before he could be interviewed from being in a car that reached temperatures in upwards of 150 degrees. Jeff Gordon finished second, followed by Mark Martin, Rich Bickle, and Jeff Burton. This fourth place finish for Bickle is his only top five finish for his career. After his incredible finish, was so choked up that he broke down while thanking "everyone who helped me get here," before saying "this is winning to me." Bickle was driving the Thorn Apple Valley Ford, owned by Cale Yarborough.
1932 – Paul Lewis' birthday
1952 – Herb Thomas creeps to victory in the 100-mile event at Wilson, N.C. Thomas averages only 35.398 mph, and takes almost three hours to complete the race. It is the slowest average speed in NASCAR Grand National history.
1958 - Joe Eubanks would claim his only Cup win here at Orange Speedway located in Hillsboro, NC. Tiny Lund would win the pole, but break and A-frame on lap 46 while leading, and be done for the day. Cotton Owens started second, but blew an engine after leading 32 laps, and fall out on lap 68. Junior Johnson picked up the lead on lap 47 and led for the next 52 laps. But Johnson crashed on lap 98, just 12 laps from the end. Eubanks would be there to take advantage of Johnson bad luck, and go on to claim the win. Doug Cox finished second, followed by Buck Baker, Tommy Irwin, and Lee Petty.
1974 – Canadian rookie Earl Ross outlasts Richard Petty and Cale Yarborough and outruns Buddy Baker in the final laps to win the Old Dominion 500 at Martinsville. Ross becomes the first Canadian driver to win a NASCAR Cup race.
1975 - The Old Dominion Speedway held at Martinsville Speedway would be the location of the first win for David Marcis. Cale Yarborough won the pole, and by far had the strongest mount on this day; as he led 272 of the first 394 laps. But on lap 394 he crashed and was done for the day finishing 19th. Marcis also had a strong car, and was there to grab the lead when Yarborough crashed. He led 52 laps on the day, including the final 41 to take the checkers driving his K&K Insurance Dodge owned by Nord Krauskopf. Benny Parsons would finish second, followed by Bobby Allison, Richard Childress, and Richie Panch. This would be Panch's final top five finish.
2003 - Michael Waltrip would win his final Cup race at this event held at Talladega Speedway in AL. Waltrip won four races in his career, all of them in the restrictor plate races at Daytona or Talladega. Elliott Sadler won the pole, but would take a wild ride flipping seven laps from the end. When the green flag flew with four laps to go it was some of the wildest racing there was. Waltrip led all four laps, but the snarling back behind him battled to get to Waltrip so they could grab the lead. On the final lap Waltrip pulled several daring blocks to break the momentum of those behind, and grab the win by .09 seconds. Waltrip's teammate Dale Earnhardt Jr. would finish second with Tony Stewart third, followed by Ryan Newman, and Jeff Gordon. Waltrip still races the restrictor place races as of 2017
2012 - On this day we lost American motorsports commentator, pit road reporter, and journalist Chris Economaki. Known as "The Dean of American Motorsports", he is responsible for introducing millions of Americans to auto racing as an expert TV commentator. Economaki had a storied career writing his first race column at the age of 14. Economaki became the editor of the National Speed Sport News in 1950. He began writing a column called "The Editor’s Notebook", which he continued to write over fifty years later. He eventually became owner, publisher, and editor of the National Speed Sport News. In the inaugural World 600 in 1960, Don O'Dell's Pontiac smashed the driver's door of Lenny Page's Chevy. Lenny Page, who was lucky to even survive the crash due to the safety systems at that time, was near death afterwards, but Economaki rushed to the scene and aided Page until safety crews arrived. He was later credited with saving Lenny's life. Economaki passed away at a nursing home in Wyckoff NJ from a heart attack at the age of 91.
1996 – This was another of the tracks that was on the original Cup schedule. North Wilkesboro Speedway located in North Wilkesboro, NC would host it's last Cup race on this date. There had been hope that the Cup series would return to this track in the future, but as of 2017 that has now faded. The race was the Tyson Holly Farms 400. It was 400 laps on a .625 mile paved track. Ted Musgrave won the pole with Jeff Gordon outside. Gordon had a stout car on this day and would lead 207 laps on his way to the victory. Dale Earnhardt Sr. would finish second followed by Dale Jarrett, Jeff Burton, and Terry Labonte. Every car was still running at the end of the race.
1951 - Wilson Speedway located in Wilson, NC hosted it first Cup race on this date. Fonty Flock won the pole, and went on to win the race on the 1/2 mile dirt track. Bob Flock would finish second, with Jimmie Lewallen, Jim Paschal, and Bill Snowden rounding out the top five.
1956 - Curtis Turner is declared the winner of the scheduled 100-mile NASCAR Convertible race at Asheville-Weaverville Speedway when a 14-car crash wipes out all but one car running in the event. Turner's Ford is the only car still in running condition when officials terminate the event after 181 of the scheduled 200 laps. The “official" finishing order would show Joe Weatherly second with Glen Wood Gwyn Staley and Jimmie Lewallen rounding out the top five. Before the 14 car pile-up nine other cars had fallen out of the event earlier.
1970 – This would be the final race hosted by North Carolina State Fairgrounds located in Raleigh, NC. This race hosted three races, the first in 1955. This track was still a 1/2 mile dirt track when the Cup series ran here in 1970. This was the last dirt track ever ran in the Cup series. This was race #42 of the 1970 48 race schedule and was a 200 lap event. John Sears won the pole driving his 1969 Dodge. Sears run into motor issues, and fell out of the race on lap #16. Sears would lead the first 10 laps before Benny Parsons would take the lead away and lead for 78 laps. Shortly after that Parsons would also have engine problems, and fall out of the event. Richard Petty would lead the last 112 laps and beat the field by two laps. Neil castles finished second, followed by Bobby Isaac, James Hylton, and Cecil Gordon. Of note the NASCAR truck series did return to dirt racing at Eldora Speedway in Ohio in 2015.
1990 – Rob Moroso would make his final Cup start on this day in a race held at North Wilkesboro Speedway In NC. Moroso was in his rookie season with a full time ride sponsored by Crown Petroleum. Moroso was an up and coming driver with a lot of talent. Rob's father Dick Moroso was a track owner, and former national drag racing champion. Moroso's family has been involved in the development of high performance racing and street parts. Rob would start 32nd, and finish 21st. After the race Moroso was driving his personal vehicle on his way home to Moorseville, NC. Moroso wrecked rounding a curve after loosing control at a high rate of speed and crossing the center line. He was struck in the drivers door, killing him and the driver of the other car. Moroso was the reigning Xfinity Series champion in 1989, and finished second in 1988. Moroso is the only Cup driver to win the Rookie of the Year award posthumously. For this race Kyle Petty would win the pole and lead from lap 2 to lap 65, but would eventually fall one lap off the pace. Second place starter Mark Martin would only lead 39 laps but grab the win. Dale Earnhardt Sr. would lead 291 of the 400 laps, but finish second. On the final pit stop, Martin's crew make a major adjust on the car and the car was blazing fast until the end. He pasted Earnhardt, and held the lead until the end. Brett Bodine was third, Bill Elliott fourth, and Ken Schrader fifth.
2001 – This would be the first Cup race held at Kansas Speedway in Mo. The Protection One 400 would see Jason Leffler win the pole and Jeff Gordon start second. This was Leffler's only Cup pole. Casey Atwood started fifth and spun on the first lap taking out John Andretti. Leffler led the first 8 laps but Gordon passed on lap 9 and held the lead for the next 14 lap. Rusty Wallace had a stout car, and led 117 laps. With 37 laps to go he was leading as the race restarted, and jumped the restart. He was black flagged, and was only able to get back to fourth by the time the checkered flew. The race had 13 yellows as 10 cars crashed out of the event. There were 14 different leaders, but Jeff Gordon led the final 22 laps to claim the win. He was follow across the line by Ryan Newman, Ricky Rudd, Wallace, and Sterling Marlin.