Today would have seen the Cup Series hold its 128th race at Richmond Raceway.
The race would have fallen on the same day that Richmond hosted its inaugural event in 1953.
Then, instead of a .750-mile paved short track, NASCAR’s pioneers competed on a half-mile dirt track at the Atlantic Rural Fairgrounds.
According to the next day’s Richmond Times-Dispatch, about 5,000 fans watched Lee Petty claim the win. He took the lead with 10 laps to go and went on to beat Dick Rathmann (after an evaluation of scoring cards resulted in Buck Baker being moved back to third).
The race also was highlighted by who wasn’t in it.
Brothers Tim and Fonty Flock boycotted the event. When it came to qualifying, the Flocks had wanted to wait for track conditions to improve before they made their attempts. But after NASCAR gave all drivers a 30-minute window in which to make their runs, the Flocks refused. NASCAR then asked them to start from the rear of the field, according to “Forty Years of Stock Car Racing: The Beginning.” The Flocks objected, packed up and left.
Also on this this date:
1964: Fred Lorenzen crossed the finish to win at North Wilkesboro just in time. His engine almost immediately blew after coughing its way through the final five laps, according to “Forty Years of Stock Car Racing: The Superspeedway Boom.” Lorenzen survived to beat Ned Jarrett by about 200 yards.
1997: Steve Park led the final 71 laps to win the Xfinity Series race at Fairgrounds Speedway Nashville. Park became the first driver not named Dale Earnhardt to win in the Xfinity Series for Dale Earnhardt, Inc.
1998: Ron Hornaday Jr. passed Jack Sprague with five laps to go and won a Truck Series race at Phoenix Raceway.
2010: Denny Hamlin took the lead on a restart with 12 laps to go and led the rest of the way to win at Texas Motor Speedway over Jimmie Johnson. It was Hamlin’s second of eight wins that season.
2015: Matt Kenseth won at Bristol Motor Speedway in a race named after NASCAR reporter Steve Byrnes, who would pass away two days later from cancer.