Tag: NASCAR

September 14, 1969 – Dodge Charger Daytona makes NASCAR debut, wins at Talladega
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September 14, 1969 – Dodge Charger Daytona makes NASCAR debut, wins at Talladega

On this day in 1969 the inaugural Talladega 500 went under the green flag, despite many of NASCAR’s biggest names skipping the race. Richard Petty, David Pearson, Cale Yarborough, Wendell Scott, Buddy Baker and other members of the Professional Driver Association boycotted the event, due to concerns about tire safety. During Grand National practice at the new track, which held its first auto race just the day before, multiple drivers experienced blowouts. Many believed the cause of the trouble was the track being too fast, resulting in increased tire wear. To ensure the show went on, NASCAR founder Bill France enticed enough drivers from the previous day’s Grand Touring event to race the 500 too. Amid the controversy, a brand new car hit the track for the first time, the 1969 Dodge Ch...
September 5, 1960 – A deadly Southern 500
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September 5, 1960 – A deadly Southern 500

NASCAR’s Southern 500 is one of the sport's most storied races. With the exception of 2005-2008 (renamed for Dodge sponsorship), the Southern 500 has been held every year at Darlington Raceway in South Carolina since 1950. The race, historically run during Labor Day weekend, has been the site for a variety of incredible NASCAR feats, including Bill Elliott winning the Winston Million in 1985, and Jeff Gordon doing so in 1997. The race was also Darrell Waltrip's final career victory in 1992. However, the 1960 Southern 500, held on this day of that year, is famous for more catastrophic reasons. Above: David Pearson makes a pit stop with his 1959 Chevrolet during his first Southern 500 NASCAR Cup race at Darlington Raceway. (Photo by ISC Images & Archives via Getty Images). Top: T...
August 14, 1956 – NASCAR racer Rusty Wallace is born
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August 14, 1956 – NASCAR racer Rusty Wallace is born

NASCAR Hall of Fame inductee Rusty Wallace was born on this day in 1956 in Arnold, Missouri. Before hitting the NASCAR circuit, a young Rusty made a name for himself on short tracks across Florida. This included winning two local championships. After grabbing Rookie of the Year honors for the United States Auto Club's Stock Car division, Rusty leapt into the ring with the big boys. Rusty Wallace by Darryl Moran Top: Number 88 rookie car by Ted Van Pelt In his NASCAR debut at Atlanta in 1980, Rusty drove a Chevrolet for Roger Penske, and earned a second place finish. Over the course of the next three years, the young driver only appeared on a NASCAR track nine more times. In 1984 he was finally able to earn his rookie credentials when he joined the circuit full time. That year he...
June 7, 1992 – NASCAR founder Bill France Sr. died
Automotive, This Day

June 7, 1992 – NASCAR founder Bill France Sr. died

America’s prohibition era surely fueled the rise of NASCAR, but it took one man to make it official. Drivers who delivered illegal alcohol needed fast cars to outrun police, so they regularly tuned their vehicles for more power and better handling. Following prohibition, these drives still possessed a need for speed. They began to organize races, pitting their hopped up cars against each other, often in hopes of bringing home a cash prize. Daytona mechanic Bill France Sr., loved what the racing scene, but believed it could use more structure. With the assistance of a few partners, he developed a points system and race schedule for stock car racing. Above: The first NASCAR-sanctioned race was held on Daytona Beach in 1948 for modified-sportsman cars. (Photo by ISC Archives via Getty I...
May 16, 2013 – Short track legend Dick Trickle takes his own life
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May 16, 2013 – Short track legend Dick Trickle takes his own life

On this day in 2013 short track racing great Richard “Dick” Trickle took his own life. Trickle is estimated to have raced in more than 2,220 racing, logging more than a million laps while becoming a fan favorite, especially in his home state of Wisconsin. He is regularly billed as the most winning racer in short track history. His accomplishments include being the 1968 USAC Stock Car rookie of the year, 67 track wins in 1972, winning seven ARTGO Championships between 1979 to 1987, back to back ASA AC-Delco Challenge championships in 1984 and 1985, and being announced as the 1989 NASCAR Rookie of the Year, at age 48. Upon receiving the NASCAR Rookie of the Year trophy, Trickle took the podium, saying, "I guess I’d just like to thank everyone who gave a young guy like me a chance." Aside...
April 13, 1931 – American racing great Dan Gurney is born
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April 13, 1931 – American racing great Dan Gurney is born

On this day in 1931 American race car driver Daniel Sexton Gurney was born in Port Jefferson, New York. Gurney would move to California as a teenager, quickly getting caught up in the hot rod culture that had taken the state by storm. By 1958 he would be on the fast track to the racing hall of fame. Gurney competed quite successfully in multiple disciplines of auto racing. He took home first place trophies in Sports Cars in 1958, Formula One in 1962, NASCAR in 1963, and Indy Car in 1967. He was the first of only three drivers to accomplish such a feat. Gurney is also credited with a few other important racing traditions and inventing some critical components. After taking home the gold at the 1967 24 hours of Le Mans with A.J. Foyt, he sprayed champagne from the podium, starting a tra...
March 31, 1998 – NASCAR pionner and champ Tim Flock dies
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March 31, 1998 – NASCAR pionner and champ Tim Flock dies

Julius Timothy (Tim) Flock, a pioneering NASCAR driver, passed away at the age of 73 on this day in 1998. Flock was part of a flock of Flocks that flocked to the early NASCAR tracks. His brothers Bob and Flonty Flock, as well as his sister Ethel Mobley, all raced on the circuit. Ethel, who brother Tim said their dad named after the fuel he used in his car, became the second woman to race in the series. Tim Flock placed 5th in the inaugural NASCAR Strictly Stock race at Charlotte in 1949 driving an Oldsmobile 88 he borrowed from his neighbor. No word on its condition upon return. Tim placed 8th in the series in its first year, then sat out the 1950 season to recover from injuries. He returned in 1951 with the pedal to the metal. That year he won seven races, but the best was yet to com...
March 25, 1982 – Danica Patrick is born
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March 25, 1982 – Danica Patrick is born

Danica Patrick, one of the most successful woman in open wheel racing, was born on this day in 1982. Patrick got her start in racing at age 10 after getting behind the wheel of a competition go-kart. She has since raced in numerous circuits, including Indy, starting in 2005, and top tier NASCAR beginning in 2013. A prominent highlight of her career is a win at the 2008 Indy Japan 300. This represents the only female win in the IndyCar Series. Patrick is also the only woman to win the pole position for a NASCAR race, which she did for the 2013 Daytona 500.
March 24, 1970 – Buddy Baker breaks 200 MPH barrier on closed circuit
Automotive, This Day

March 24, 1970 – Buddy Baker breaks 200 MPH barrier on closed circuit

On this day in 1974 Buddy Baker drove a 1969 Dodge Charger Daytona to 200.447 MPH at Talladega during "transmission testing." During the run he became the first person to break 200 MPH on a closed circuit track. Scroll down to see video of the run and then check out great this article from Hagerty about Larry Rathgeb, one of the engineers of the Daytona program. He unfortunately passed away in 2020 due to complications with Coronavirus. (Video below). Original video of the record setting run: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y1rz4W560P0
March 14, 1914 – NASCAR great Lee Petty is born
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March 14, 1914 – NASCAR great Lee Petty is born

The patriarch of the Petty racing family, Lee Arnold Petty, was born on this day in 1914. Petty got a late start in racing, first taking the wheel in professional competition at age 35. Soon after getting a taste for the dirt, he participated in the first NASCAR sanctioned race at Charlotte Motor Speedway. His beginnings did not foreshadow the success he would find on the track. During that race on June 14, 1949, Petty drove a 1948 Buick Roadmaster that he borrowed from his neighbor. He informed the neighbor that the prize money he'd earn would cover any damages the car may incur during the race. Petty rolled the car. Petty rose to fame in the 1950s and 1960s as one of NASCAR’s early superstars, even winning the inaugural Daytona 500 in 1959. During his NASCAR career he would rack up t...