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January 18, 2024

Classic races to watch for 2024 Hall of Fame inductees

Jimmie Johnson shares a moment of celebration with Chad Knaus
Robert Laberge
Getty Images

NASCAR will hold its annual Hall of Fame ceremony this Friday, where Donnie Allison and Jimmie Johnson, along with crew chief Chad Knaus, will be inducted. Janet Guthrie will also be honored as the 2024 recipient of the Landmark Award for Outstanding Contributions. With so many great memories amongst these legends, decided to dig out some classic races for each person being honored at the NASCAR Hall of Fame.

Ken Martin and Seth Sharp contributed to this report.

RELATED: 2024 NASCAR Hall of Fame event information | More NASCAR Classics

Donnie Allison

1969 National 500 at Charlotte
Allison’s second career victory was nearly a four-hour-long race that was action-packed with nine cautions at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Allison, who qualified third, would go on to lead a race-high 161 circuits around the track. He also earned bragging rights over his older brother, Bobby Allison, who finished 16 seconds behind him in second place.

1970 Firecracker 400 at Daytona
Allison’s first win at Daytona International Speedway came in dramatic fashion. Driving with a borrowed engine, Allison wheeled his way to Victory Lane after his teammate David Pearson blew a tire with under 10 laps to go. Allison put on a show for a then-record-breaking crowd of 57,500 fans to claim his fifth career win.

1979 Daytona 500 at Daytona
The 21st running of the Daytona is regarded as one of the most important races in NASCAR history. It was the first 500-mile race broadcasted in its entirety, and with Donnie Allison and Cale Yarborough fighting for the win on the last lap, the two wrecked each other, leading to a fight that launched stock car racing to new heights.

Jimmie Johnson and Chad Knaus

2002 NAPA Auto Parts 500 at Fontana
The first win that would spark a magical run between Johnson and Knaus, who would go on to etch their names into the upper echelon of motorsport greatness. Not only was it the duo’s first race win together, but it was also the 10th race of Johnson’s rookie season, and he managed to outduel seasoned veterans Kurt Busch, Ricky Rudd and Bill Elliott to the checkered flag.

2006 Ford 400 at Homestead
While it might be difficult for Johnson to pick his favorite championship, there’s nothing sweeter than your first. In a title race where five drivers could mathematically win the championship, the season finale was set to produce sparks. While he may not have won the race, Johnson’s ninth-place finish was enough to capture the 2006 championship, the first of seven that he and Knaus would win together.

2011 Aaron’s 500 at Talladega
A three-wide thriller finish that was one for the ages. A hair-raising race with drafting duos all over the track, culminated with a pack of eight cars spreading out across the track, shooting out of the final turn and crossing the finishing line in a blink. Johnson claimed the narrow victory by 0.002 seconds, which is tied for the closest finish in Cup Series history.

2016 Ford Ecoboost 400 at Homestead
In a race that was tense from start to finish, it left fans on the edge of their seat as the witnessed history in the making. In an attempt to tie Richard Petty and Dale Earnhardt for career championships, Johnson didn’t even look like a favorite to win the title with where he was running in comparison to three other championship contenders for the majority of the race. But with cautions breeding more cautions down the stretch, all Johnson needed was three laps to take the crown and become a seven-time champion.

SHOP: Celebrate the 2024 Hall of Fame class

Janet Guthrie

1977 Daytona 500 at Daytona
Guthrie became the first female driver to qualify and compete in the Daytona 500. She started 39th and cruised her way to finish an impressive 12th in a 42-car field. The unprecedented accomplishment led to Guthrie breaking another barrier three months later when she became the first woman to qualify and race in the Indianapolis 500.