7 Of The Greatest Moments In NASCAR History

7 Of The Greatest Moments In NASCAR History

With the start of the NASCAR season just around the corner, I thought I would take a look at seven of the best moments in NASCAR history, just to get us in the auto racing mood.

Richard Petty’s 200th Career Win

Let’s start with “The King” Richard Petty’s 200th career win. It happened on July 4th, 1984, at the famed Daytona International Speedway. This was Petty’s last career victory, but he was already far and wide the biggest winner in NASCAR history. To put 200 career victories into perspective, Jeff Gordon has the most victories of any current driver, and, after a 20 year NASCAR Sprint Cup career, Gordon only has 88 victories! This truly may be one record that might never be broken.

Cale Yarborough And The Allisons Fight

Another memorable moment in NASCAR history occurred on February 18, 1979 at the Daytona 500. This was the first Daytona 500 that the CBS Network aired live from start to finish. It wound up being one for the ages, not really because of what happened on the track, but for what happened on the infield after the race. During the race’s final lap, Donnie Allison was leading when Cale Yarborough went to try to pass him on the inside. The two cars made contact and wound up wrecking in the third turn. Afterwards, Allison and Yarborough exchanged some heated words, when Donnie’s brother, Bobby Allison, stopped by. The heated exchange escalated into an all out fist fight that was captured by CBS cameras and broadcast all across America. Even today people still talk about the famed fight between the Allisons and Cale Yarborough. The winner of that Daytona 500, by the way, was Richard Petty.

The Pass In The Grass

No post on the history of NASCAR would be complete without mentioning Dale Earnhardt. There is a legend that says that the late driver of the number 3 Chevrolet could actually see the wind, and that’s what made him so great. He had his share of memorable moments during his legendary career, but perhaps none more famous, or infamous depending on how you look at it, than the “pass in the grass.” It happened at the Charlotte Motor Speedway on May 17, 1987, at the brand new all-star event called The Winston. Earnhardt and Bill Elliott had been jockeying each other for position when Elliott’s car touched Earnhardt’s as they exited turn four. Earnhardt’s car was sent into the infield grass, however somehow he maintained control of the car and came back onto the track…in the lead! NASCAR experts were left speechless as to how Earnhardt maintained control of his car on the grass, much less came out in first place. Nowadays such a pass would be considered illegal per NASCAR rules, which now state that a driver cannot drive below the line on the inside of the track and advance their position. Back then it was perfectly legal, though, and it established Dale Earnhardt’s legacy as one of the greatest drivers in NASCAR history.

Million Dollar Bill From Dawsonville

Speaking of Bill Elliott, he is one of the most popular drivers ever in NASCAR history, and he accomplished something that very few drivers have ever accomplished. In 1984, NASCAR’s top sponsor, R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company, offered a one million dollar bonus to any driver who could win three of NASCAR’s four major races in the same season. Elliott won the Daytona 500, the Winston 500 in Talladega, Alabama, and the Southern 500 in Darlington, SC, in 1985, becoming the first driver to claim that million dollar bonus, earning him the nickname of “Million Dollar Bill.” The Winston Million, as it was known, was only offered for thirteen seasons, and only one other driver, Jeff Gordon, was able to claim it. In 1985, Bill Elliott also won a NASCAR record 11 races, earning him a place as one of the best drivers in NASCAR history.

Jimmie Johnson Wins Sixth Championship

In the modern era of NASCAR, no driver has been more successful than Jimmie Johnson. The driver of the number 48 Chevrolet is the defending Sprint Cup Series Champion, the sixth of his relatively young career. To put that into perspective, there are only two drivers in NASCAR history who have won more championships than Jimmie Johnson, and they are both legends. Only Richard Petty and Dale Earnhardt have won more championships, with each winning seven. Perhaps even greater than the six championships is the fact that Jimmie won five of these championships in a row. As competitive as NASCAR is today, that is amazing. Jimmie Johnson is also the first NASCAR driver ever to be named the Associated Press Male Athlete of the Year. By the time his career is over, Jimmie Johnson may actually surpass Petty and Earnhardt as the best NASCAR driver of all time.

Alan Kulwicki Wins The 1992 NASCAR Sprint Cup Championship

One driver that true NASCAR fans will remember is Alan Kulwicki. Alan Kulwicki drove the number 7 Hooters Ford Thunderbird for his own team. In 1992, Kulwicki won his first and only NASCAR Sprint Cup Championship by the narrowest margin of victory in the pre-Chase format era, 10 points over Bill Elliott. He was the last owner/driver to win the pre-chase Championship until Tony Stewart won in 2011.

Sadly, Alan Kulwicki would not get the opportunity to repeat at Champion. Just a few short months after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Championship, Kulwicki and three others were killed in a plane crash just outside of Bristol, Tennessee. That same weekend, Rusty Wallace honored Kulwicki’s memory after winning the spring Bristol race by running his victory lap in the opposite direction, something that Kulwicki had started doing during his victory celebrations, calling it a “polish victory lap.”

The Closest Finish In NASCAR History

And just what was the closest finish in NASCAR history? That occurred at the 2003 Carolina Dodge Dealers 400 in Darlington, SC. Ricky Craven defeated Kurt Busch by just .002 seconds in what was one of the best finishes ever. Craven and Busch raced side-by-side for the final lap, touching several times as they came to the checkered flag. It was a photo finish that showed Craven just barely edging out Busch. Both competitors were very grateful after the race for an exciting yet clean finish.

What Are Your Favorite Moments In NASCAR History?

So, there are just a few of they many great moments in NASCAR history. Feel free to share your favorite NASCAR moments with us, and tell us what moments we missed that are your favorites.

About Jay Crawford

Jay is a die hard sports fan {football and college basketball being his favorites}. His favorite teams are the Carolina Panthers and Tarheels and, of course, his alma mater, the Appalachian Mountaineers. He spends his free time listening to music, especially KISS, Def Leppard, the Eagles and a lot of the newer country music, and watching comic book and action movies. The more special effects - the better.


  1. We live within 20 minutes of Bristol Motor Speedway and I’ve never been to a NASCAR race! My husband often watches the race on TV though. I usually only catch the last lap.
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  2. I don’t know much about NASCAR, but I do know Jimmie Johnson- I often think it might be exciting to go see a race in person some day, but then I think the sheer volume of the cars would terrify me. I’ll stock to horse racing 🙂

  3. I can honestly say I’ve never seen a race but it looks cool

  4. I don’t know too much about NASCAR, but I know some die-hard fans. I have watched some races on TV. I hear they are amazing in person.

  5. When we lived in Arizona we got to see some races because my hubs was friends with the racers family!! It was really fun to see it from the “inside”. We had some fun NASCAR parties too.
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  6. I’ve never been to a NASCAR race, but that would be a super amazing experience to see it from the inside! What a great list!
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  7. Have to admit, not a huge Nascar fan although I used to watch races back in my younger days, lol. I’m not sure I have any favorite moments other than catching a glimpse of a cute driver now and then. 😉
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    • Dawn McAlexander

      Lol! When Jeff Gordon races in the Busch Grand National series, I used to think he was the cutest thing. Then he shaved his moustache off and I lost interest.

  8. I went to richmond raceway a long time ago. I always wanted to hit Bristol it is such a fun time!

  9. My friend probably knows most of these. She is huge into nascar!
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  10. I don’t know much about Nascar but those do sound like some great moments.
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  11. Perhaps it’s because he has passed, but Dale Earnhardt’s story has to be my favorite.

  12. Sending this to my friend she will love it! I think she will cry thinking of these moments. 🙂

  13. Wow, I never knew that NASCAR was so exciting.
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  14. You are definitely a fan!
    I rarely watch and only know about it when I want to show my son the driving.
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  15. I used to like watching Nascar but then life happened. Becoming a mother doesn’t give me many options other than cartoons and kids apps 🙂
    You seem very fond to Nascar and I like the thorough presentation.
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  16. We have friends who love NASCAR. I bet they’d have tons of moments in a second to share! 🙂
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  17. Elisebet F says

    Not going to lie, Nascar is something that has never interested me, possibly because I grew up in Canada. I do have friends that really get into it though, but I have no idea what they’re talking about!

  18. Chasity Boatman says

    Growing up in Indiana, NASCAR was a way of life. My parents are still huge fans.

  19. great information. I am not a Nascar fan but my son would enjoy this!
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  20. My brother-in-law is a huge Nascar fan. I will have to show him this.
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  21. A lot of people in Finland are huge motor sports fans. And it’s a lot of fun to watch!
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  22. We have the Honda Indie here in Toronto(at least I think that’s what it’s called?) anyways it gets crazy here in the summer as people from all over come to see the race.
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  23. I’ve never been a Nascar Fan but it runs in my family. My uncle who I never met used to race cars.
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  24. I agree with all of these except two. To avoid debate I’m not going to say which two 😛
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