While we await a return to the race track, NASCAR.com will be looking back at some of the most iconic races the sport has ever seen. Stay tuned each day as a new race replay is unveiled and our memories are refreshed.
In Carl Edwards’ first full-time season as a NASCAR Cup Series driver, he wasted no time finding Victory Lane. In just his fourth start of the 2005 season, he picked up the very first Cup win of his career at Atlanta Motor Speedway.
Relive the emotional 2001 Cracker Barrel Old Country Store 500 from Atlanta Motor Speedway that saw Kevin Harvick get his first NASCAR Cup Series win by holding off a hard-charging Jeff Gordon just weeks after the passing of Dale Earnhardt.
Bill Elliott’s storied NASCAR Hall of Fame racing career includes a 1988 NASCAR Cup Series championship, the Winston Million in 1985 and 44 Cup wins. But did you know he went seven years between wins?
Jimmie Johnson had to come from the rear to win his seventh championship and only led three laps during the race at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
There had never been a tie for the NASCAR Cup Series championship … that was until the 2011 title came down to the wire between Tony Stewart and Carl Edwards at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
Before the NASCAR Cup Series could even begin with the annual opening Daytona 500, the driver of the No. 18 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota was sidelined with injuries to both legs. Busch missed the first 11 races but later won five of the 25 he did compete in, including the finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway. The Nov. 22, 2015, victory granted Busch his first championship — he added a second in 2019.
NASCAR.com rekindles those 20-year-ago memories Thursday with a full-race replay of the DirecTV 500 at Texas Motor Speedway from April 2, 2000. Earnhardt led a race-high 106 of the 334 laps for the first of his 26 victories in what is now called the NASCAR Cup Series.
The 2017 spring race was the first look at the reprofiled, repaved Texas Motor Speedway. Contested over 334 laps on the 1.5-mile oval, the O’Reilly Auto Parts 500 was the seventh race of the ’17 NASCAR Cup Series season.
Chase Elliott’s 2014 rookie season in the Xfinity Series doubled as his first full-time season in NASCAR overall, and it took him just six Xfinity races to make it to Victory Lane.
The playoff race at Texas Motor Speedway in 2014 saw more than just bumps on the race track. The AAA Texas 500 was the eighth of 10 races in what was then known as the Chase for the NASCAR Cup Series championship. Brad Keselowski and Jeff Gordon were both seeking a spot in the coveted Championship 4. Then what happened?
The 2010 playoff race at Texas Motor Speedway had a little bit of everything. Two of the more mild-mannered drivers in the garage getting physical in a mid-race confrontation? Check. An unheard of mid-race pit crew change? Check. Oh and how about title implications in the third-to-last race of the season? Check.
When you think of Jeff Gordon and Rusty Wallace, the thrilling 1997 Food City 500 finish at Bristol Motor Speedway is quite possibly the first thought that comes to mind. It was a bump-and-run in the final corner of the white flag lap that saw triumph for one driver and heartbreak for the other.
Need more of Jeff Gordon bumping Rusty Wallace out of the way at Bristol Motor Speedway? Well, we’ve got you. The 2002 Bristol night race featured another classic battle between the Nos. 2 and 24 where Gordon knocks Wallace out of the way with three laps to go for the win, snapping a 31-race winless streak.
It’s not often you see a car like Terry Labonte’s No. 5 from the 1995 Bristol Night Race in Victory Lane. Often, you see it on the hook of a wrecker being towed off the track, incapable of running any longer.
It may be the most famous sentence Dale Earnhardt ever said: “I didn’t mean to really turn him around, I meant to rattle his cage though.”
That sentence was uttered in Victory Lane after the 1999 Bristol Night Race, a race that saw Terry Labonte spin off of the bumper of Earnhardt’s infamous black No. 3.
Fans couldn’t ask for a better duo than Dale Earnhardt and Ricky Rudd to battle it out for a win at Bristol Motor Speedway, as the two combined to lead 377 out of the 500 laps in the 1985 Valleydale 500.
Somehow, someway, Earnhardt pulled through for the victory despite running the last 400 laps without power steering. Rudd ended up second after a late-race battle.
The 1990 500-lap spring race at Bristol Motor Speedway came down to the final 10-lap stretch with Mark Martin in the No. 6 Folgers Ford stalking the back bumper of Davey Allison’s No. 28 Texaco/Havoline Ford.
On the last circuit, Sterling Marlin got turned while running third, setting up a dash to the finish between Martin and Allison. Allison kept his car high, Martin went low, and by the width of a bumper, Allison took the win.
Harry Gant has a few nicknames in and around the NASCAR garage. “Handsome Harry” is one, and another is “Mr. September.”
The latter was earned in the fall of 1991 when the then 51-year-old drove his No. 33 Skoal Bandit Oldsmobile to four straight wins in the NASCAR Cup Series. Gant kicked things off with a victory on Sept. 1 at Darlington Raceway. He then won at Richmond Raceway, Dover International Speedway and Martinsville Speedway.
It’s one of the best finishes at Richmond Raceway in recent memory. Carl Edwards puts the perfect amount of pressure on Kyle Busch’s back bumper in Turns 3 and 4 on the final lap of the 2016 Toyota Owners 400. Kyle shoots up the track, and Carl was able to power by and make off with the checkered flag and the bigger check.
In 1999, Tony Stewart put up incredible numbers for a rookie at NASCAR’s highest level. “Smoke” finished the season with 21 top 10s, 12 top fives and three wins that all came inside of the last 10 weeks of the season
That first win came in the fall at Richmond Raceway. Stewart started the night on the outside pole and for a good part of the night battled Jeff Gordon, who at one point during the race radioed his crew and said “look at him go” after Stewart drove around him.
JR Nation vs. Rowdy Nation under the lights.
That was the unexpected show we saw in 2008 at Richmond Raceway. Kyle Busch spun Dale Earnhardt Jr., sending Earnhardt’s allegiance of fans at the Virginia short track and those watching from home into a frenzy. As you can imagine, not many people sided with No. 18.
And, oh yeah, Clint Bowyer won the race.
Kevin Harvick gave Ricky Rudd a run for his money under the Virginia lights, but it was the veteran who prevailed and a rivalry was born.
Watch as the “Rooster,” Rudd, teaches a young Harvick all about retaliation and the bump-and-run at Richmond Raceway. The win was the 22nd of Rudd’s career and his second-to-last win in the NASCAR Cup Series.
Dale Earnhardt put on a performance for the ages in the fall of 2000, driving through the field at Talladega Superspeedway over the waning laps to claim what would be his 76th and final victory in the NASCAR Cup Series.
This marked Earnhardt’s 10th trip to Victory Lane at Alabama’s 2.66-mile tri-oval. He was running 18th with 15 laps to go and managed to make his way all the way up to first come checked flag. Kenny Wallace was .119 seconds behind Earnhardt in second.
Relive the closest finish in Talladega Superspeedway’s rich history as Jimmie Johnson edges out Clint Bowyer at the finish line. One of Talladega’s all-time best drivers, Dale Earnhardt Jr., shoved Johnson to the win.
Johnson’s margin of victory was .002 seconds and is tied for the closest finish of all time in NASCAR history with the 2003 event at Darlington Raceway.
Relive the 1982 Winston 500 that saw its fair share of excitement on the last lap.
On the final circuit, Darrell Waltrip made his way around Benny Parsons, holding off a hard charge from Terry Labonte to win at Talladega Superspeedway.
Relive the 1970 Alabama 500 at Talladega Superspeedway with this rare NASCAR footage. Pete Hamilton wins the second ever NASCAR Cup Series race at the 2.66-mile oval. Later that year, Hamilton would complete sweep by winning the Talladega 500.
Relive the wild race and finish in the 2009 Aaron’s 499 at Talladega Superspeedway that saw Brad Keselowski get his first career NASCAR Cup Series win with last-lap contact on Carl Edwards, who did his own “Ricky Bobby” impression. Keselowski has gone on to compile quite the resume at the 2.66-mile track with this being his only non-Penske win to date.
There was a long period of time where Dale Earnhardt Jr. was nearly invincible at Talladega Superspeedway. The 2003 spring race at the 2.66-mile track was no different.
Earnhardt overcame front-end damage during the “Big One” in Turn 1 on Lap 5 to win his fourth consecutive race at NASCAR’s biggest track. Relive every moment of it with this classic race replay.
Relive the insanity that was the last lap of the 2006 UAW-Ford 500 at Talladega Superspeedway that saw Brian Vickers turn his teammate Jimmie Johnson into Dale Earnhardt Jr. to go on to get his first-ever NASCAR Cup Series win.
The victory was one of four straight for Hendrick Motorsports at the Alabama track and was also part of a run where Chevrolet won 17 out of 18 races at the track.
This trip to Dover International Speedway for the NASCAR Cup Series came down to a last-lap battle between then-Hendrick Motorsports teammates Jimmie Johnson and Kyle Busch. Busch fought hard to make a run on the No. 48, but Johnson was able to hold him off to secure his third of 11 race victories to date at the “Monster Mile.” Look back on this incredible battle between two future champions of the sport.
Relive the 2007 Autism Speaks 400 at Dover International Speedway that saw Martin Truex Jr. grab his first-ever NASCAR Cup Series win.
Relive the 2001 MBNA Cal Ripken, Jr. 400, NASCAR’s first race back after the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Dale Earnhardt Jr. won and proudly displayed the American flag in front of the packed grandstands.
Relive the 1996 Tyson Holly Farms 400 at North Wilkesboro Speedway that saw Jeff Gordon hold off a hungry Dale Earnhardt to win the final NASCAR Cup Series race held at the historic track.
Relive the closest finish in NASCAR Cup Series history that saw Kurt Busch and Ricky Craven go door-to-door in a finish that was “Too Tough to Tame.” Enjoy this upload of the 2003 race from Darlington Raceway.
1997 The Winston