Marvin Panch

May 8 in NASCAR: Matt Kenseth gets Darlington Xfinity win after Kyle Busch cuts tire

Leave a comment

It was Kyle Busch‘s race to lose and he lost it under caution.

On May 8, 2009, Busch dominated the Xfinity Series race at Darlington Raceway, starting from the pole and leading 143 laps.

But Busch’s chances at a victory ended in a whimper.

Busch led when the caution came out on Lap 147 of 153 for a wreck between Joe Nemechek and Scott Lagasse, Jr.

As the field slowly made its way around the 1.366-mile track, Busch’s No. 18 car drove through debris from the wreck on the backstretch.

The team soon realized Busch’s right-rear tire was going down.

After a few more circuits of the track, Busch was forced to bring his car to pit road. That gave Matt Kenseth the lead as Busch returned to the track in 18th.

Kenseth wouldn’t have to worry about keeping the lead very long. Moments after the field took the green flag as part of a green-white-checkered finish, Morgan Shepherd crashed into the inside wall on the frontstretch, bringing out the caution and effectively ending the race.

It gave Kenseth the win, his only Xfinity victory in 15 starts in 2009.

Also on this date:

1955: Tim Flock completed a marathon of running in two races in two states on back-to-back days. After finishing second in a 100-mile race at Hickory (N.C.) Speedway, Flock took the private plane of team owner Carl Kiekhaefer and flew to Arizona. At Fairgrounds Raceway in Phoenix, Flock started second and led all 100 laps on the 1-mile dirt track to claim the win over Marvin Panch. According to “Forty Years of Stock Car Racing: The Beginning,” Panch was able to compete in the race due to receiving a weekend pass from the U.S. Army. After competing in the following weekend’s race in Tucson, he wouldn’t race again until July.

1976: Cale Yarborough led all but 22 laps to win the Music City 420 at Fairgrounds Speedway in Nashville. An 18-year-old Sterling Marlin made his first of 748 Cup Series starts. He started last and fell out after 55 laps due to an oil pump failure.

1982: Darrell Waltrip led all but one of 420 laps to win at Fairgrounds Speedway in Nashville. It was his fifth win in the first 10 races.

1993: Ward Burton led 227 of 300 laps to beat Bobby Labonte in a Xfinity Series race at Martinsville. It was his only national NASCAR victory in his home state of Virginia.

2004: Martin Truex Jr. led 123 laps and won the Xfinity Series race at Gateway International Raceway. He was joined by two other “Juniors” in the top five. Ron Hornaday Jr. placed second and Bobby Hamilton Jr. finished fourth.

 

April 26 in NASCAR: Morgan Shepherd’s upset win at Martinsville

Leave a comment

While Morgan Shepherd‘s first Cup win came relatively early, in his 15th career start, his win at Martinsville Speedway on April 26, 1981 came 11 years after his first start.

Shepherd, a rookie at the age of 39, surprised the field when he led 203 of 500 laps to claim the victory on the short track.

Driving the No. 5 Pontiac for owner Cliff Stewart, Shepherd beat Neil Bonnett, who was the only other driver on the lead lap, by 16 seconds.

It was the first Cup Series win by Pontiac since a victory by Joe Weatherly in October 1963.

“It didn’t sink in until I came around for the checkered flag,” Shepherd said according to “Forty Years of Stock Car Racing: The Modern Era.” “I almost cried.”

Shepherd would go on to make 517 starts in the Cup Series through 2014. He’d win only three more times, with each one occurring at Atlanta Motor Speedway.

Also on this date:

1964: Fred Lorenzen led all but 13 laps to win at Martinsville over Marvin Panch for his fourth straight win. He’d win in his next start two races later at Darlington. Lorenzen won eight times in 16 starts that year.

1987: With a victory at Martinsville, Dale Earnhardt completed a run of four wins in a row. He took the lead with 17 laps to go when leader Geoffrey Bodine spun from contact with Kyle Petty.

1992: Mark Martin won at Martinsville. He led the final 27 laps after Brett Bodine’s suspension broke. It was the 12th straight Cup win for Ford.

2009: Brad Keselowski won his first career Cup Series race, scoring the victory at Talladega after contact with race leader Carl Edwards sent Edwards into the fence coming to the checkered flag.

2014: Joey Logano passed Jeff Gordon, Brad Keselowski and Matt Kenseth in half a lap and led the final four laps to win at Richmond.

April 11 in NASCAR: Chase Elliott wins at Darlington with last-lap pass

Leave a comment

On April 4, 2014, Chase Elliott scored his first career Xfinity Series win at Texas Motor Speedway, leading 38 laps and beating the likes of Kyle Busch, Kyle Larson, Kevin Harvick, Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Matt Kenseth.

Then the 18-year-old JR Motorsports driver went out and one-upped himself.

A week later, on April 11, Elliott competed in his first race at Darlington Raceway, the track his father Bill Elliott won at five times in his Cup Series career.

The younger Elliott led 51 laps in the first half of the Xfinity race. The cautioned waved on Lap 142 for an incident involving Larson and Tanner Berryhill.

After a round of pit stops, Elliott restarted sixth on the outside of the third row. Ahead of a two-lap shootout to the checkered flag, Elliott was behind Busch, Kenseth, Denny Hamlin, Larson and leader Elliott Sadler.

After Elliott gave a big shove to Kenseth’s rear bumper on the backstretch, Elliott was in fourth when the field entered Turn 3 and third in Turn 4.

By the time Elliott crossed the start-finish line for the final lap, he was second behind Sadler.

With a huge run off Turn 2, Elliott got Sadler loose, opening the door for the JR Motorsports rookie. Elliott cleared Sadler in the middle of Turns 3-4 and cruised to the win.

“Holy cow … that was crazy,” Elliott told ESPN in Victory Lane. “That had to be fun to watch, it was fun to be a part of.”

Also on this date:

1965: A.J. Foyt finished 30th in a race at Atlanta Motor Speedway, but he also won. While the record book says Marvin Panch was the victor, it was Foyt driving Panch’s car who took the checkered flag. After Foyt was eliminated on Lap 91 for a mechanical problem, he took over for an ailing Panch, his Wood Brothers Racing teammate, on Lap 212. It was technically Panch’s first speedway win since the 1961 Daytona 500.

1966: With a victory at Bowman Gray Stadium, David Pearson capped off a streak of wins in four races held over nine days.

1999: Rusty Wallace led 425 laps and scored his seventh career Cup Series win at Bristol Motor Speedway. It was the first of three Bristol wins for Wallace in four races.

 

April 7 in NASCAR: Joey Logano earns overtime win vs Jeff Gordon

Getty Images
Leave a comment

Joey Logano had a rough go of it in the first five full-time years of his NASCAR Cup Series career.

From 2009-13, the Connecticut native earned only three wins, with two years separating his first and second wins with Joe Gibbs Racing.

His third win came in 2013 in his first season with Team Penske.

Logano finally started hitting his stride on April 7, 2014 at Texas Motor Speedway.

After having led 107 laps, the race came down to an overtime finish with Logano restarting third behind Jeff Gordon. Logano was on four new tires while Gordon was on two new tires.

Gordon led the first lap of overtime, but Logano was side-by-side with him as they took the white flag.

By the time they reached Turn 1, the lead was Logano’s.

One lap later, Logano had his fourth career win. He was the seventh different winner through seven races.

Two races later Logano would claim career win No. 5 at Richmond Raceway. He’d end the year with five wins and would be part of the first Championship 4 in Miami.

Also on this date:

1957: Fireball Roberts led a 1-2-3-4 sweep by Peter DePaolo’s team in a 100-mile race at North Wilkesboro. Roberts won over Paul Goldsmith, Ralph Moody and Marvin Panch. It was the first of three wins in a row for Roberts.

1966: Ford began a boycott of the Cup Series by its factory teams over regulations on its OHC engine. The boycott lasted until August after a race at Atlanta.

1974: David Pearson won the Rebel 450 at Darlington over Bobby Allison. Similar to many races that year, the race distance was cut by 50 miles due to the national energy crisis. Ironically, according to “Forty Years of Stock Car Racing: The Modern Era,” Pearson led the final 11 laps and had to coast across the finish line after running out of fuel.

1991: Michael Waltrip led 208 of 367 laps at Darlington before a 37.4-second pit stop due to a jammed air hose relegated him to an eventual third-place finish, according to “NASCAR: A Complete History.” Ricky Rudd wound up with the win over Davey Allison.

NASCAR Hall of Fame fan vote underway

Getty Images
Leave a comment

Fan voting for the 2020 NASCAR Hall of Fame class has begun.

Fans can vote online and the five nominees receiving the highest percentage of votes will comprise the Fan Vote ballot.

The fan vote ends on May 20 at 11:59 a.m. ET. The class will be formally voted on and announced at the Hall of Fame on May 22.

Here are the 20 nominees for the 2020 class:

Sam Ard, NASCAR Xfinity Series pioneer and two-time champion

Buddy Baker, won 19 times in the NASCAR Cup Series, including the Daytona 500 and Southern 500

Neil Bonnett, won 18 times in the NASCAR Cup Series, including consecutive Coca-Cola 600 victories

Red Farmer, three-time Late Model Sportsman champion; 1956 Modified champion

Ray Fox, legendary engine builder, crew chief and car owner

Harry Gant, winner of 18 NASCAR Cup Series races, including two Southern 500 victories

Joe Gibbs, combined for nine car owner championships in Cup and XFINITY series

John Holman, won two NASCAR Cup Series championships as co-owner of Holman-Moody Racing

Harry Hyde, 1970 NASCAR Cup Series championship crew chief

Bobby Labonte, won a championship in both the Cup Series and XFINITY Series

Hershel McGriff, 1986 NASCAR west series champion

Ralph Moody, won two NASCAR Cup Series championships as co-owner of Holman-Moody Racing

Marvin Panch, won 17 times in the NASCAR Cup Series, including the 1961 Daytona 500

Jim Paschal, 23 of his 25 NASCAR Cup Series wins came on short tracks

Larry Phillips, first five-time NASCAR weekly series national champion

Ricky Rudd, won 23 times in NASCAR Cup Series, including the 1997 Brickyard 400

Mike Stefanik, winner of record-tying nine NASCAR championships

Tony Stewart, three-time NASCAR Cup Series champion, two-time Brickyard 400 winner

Red Vogt, the first master mechanic of NASCAR, and a founding member

Waddell Wilson, won three NASCAR Cup Series championships as an engine builder

Click here to vote on the Hall of Fame class.