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Tag: NASCAR

October 27, 1957 – Buck Baker becomes first consecutive NASCAR champion
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October 27, 1957 – Buck Baker becomes first consecutive NASCAR champion

Buck Baker with this Black Widow Chevy The 1957 NASCAR season was capped off by a dramatic 250 lap race on this day in 1957. The action unfolded on the ⅓ mile dirt track in Greensboro, North Carolina, with theatrics beginning on lap 35. During that spin around the track, an accident sent Marvin Panch end over end in his Ford. His car landed on its wheels and he kept going! After 16 more laps before finally called it quits. The crashes kept coming, making for a slow march to the finish for the The 2,500 fans shivering in the grandstands. Those who stuck it out in the chilly temperatures were treated to a high octane duel. Elzie Wylie “Buck” Baker Sr., in his Black Widow 1957 Chevrolet, and Lee Petty, in his Oldsmobile, swapped the lead four times throughout the race. Finally, on lap...
October 10, 1974 – Dale Earnhardt, Jr. is born
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October 10, 1974 – Dale Earnhardt, Jr. is born

Retired NASCAR racer and team owner Ralph Dale Earnhardt, Jr. was born on this day in 1974 for parents Brenda and Dale Sr. Growing up in North Carolina, the youngster didn't have the easiest childhood. His parents divorced shortly after he was born and he lived with his mom until her house burned down around his sixth birthday. With nowhere to go, Dale's mom gave up custody to his father, who spent the race season on the road with his new wife. During this time Dale Jr. received care from an elder sister, but by age 12 he was too much to handle and his father sent him to military school. Above: Dale Jr at Daytona in the #88. By Freewheeling Daredevil - Flickr, CC BY 2.0. Top: Earnhardt Jr. and the No. 83 NAVY Chevrolet in the 2008 NASCAR Nationwide Series. After God knows how many ...
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
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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.

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