NASCAR 75: Looking back on iconic moments in NASCAR’s history for 75th anniversary NASCAR Power Rankings: Two-time winner William Byron is No. 1 Jimmie Johnson to run at COTA, Coca-Cola 600 Denny Hamlin’s comments about incident with Ross Chastain on NASCAR’s ‘radar’ Josh Berry answers critics with Phoenix run

75 years on the track is something worth celebrating. Throughout the season, NBC will be celebrating NASCAR’s 75th anniversary and counting down some of the most iconic moments in the history of the sport.

Since 1948, the roar of engines and the thrill of high speeds have conquered the whole world. Now, many years later, the excitement is unabated as the next generation kicks off another exciting season.

Whether it was Red Byron’s first NASCAR championship win in 1949 or Ross Chastain’s unforgettable “video game move” in 2022, there are countless memories to relive from a track that will stand the test of time.

We take a look at some of the most incredible moments in NASCAR history, updated regularly throughout the season. Stay tuned to NBC Sports for memories and moments from over seven decades of competition.

CONNECTED: Click here for the full NASCAR schedule for 2023.

Talladega 2004: Jeff Gordon Advantage Dale Earnhardt Jr. in a controversial ending

Earnhardt’s name is magical on Talladega Superspeedway, where Dale Sr. and Dale Jr. have had success after success. But it was Jeff Gordon who came to victory in a controversial finish on the 2.66-mile course in 2004.

Gordon and Earnhardt Jr. were battling for the lead with five laps to go when Brian Vickers crashed, prompting a caution. At the time, the green-and-white-checkered overtime rules were yet to go into effect, and NASCAR determined the winner—in this case, Gordon—based on which driver was ahead at the time of the flag. Gordon was ahead by about half the length of the car and he was careful to put up checkered flags for the win.

The decision did not sit well with many in the Talladega stands. Drink cans, seat cushions and other debris, some of which got into Gordon’s car, were thrown onto the track by fans as Gordon completed the honorary lap.

Gordon led the last six laps of the race, including the last four with caution.

Daytona 500, 2013: Danica Patrick wins first women’s pole win

Danica Patrick’s decision to leave IndyCar racing for NASCAR caused a wave of publicity at the top level of stock car racing, and she made headlines in qualifying for the 2013 Daytona 500 at the start of her first full season in Cup racing.

Patrick, driving for Stewart Haas Racing, ran a lap of 196.434 mph and won the 500 pole, becoming the first woman to do so. Jeff Gordon qualified second. Patrick finished eighth in the race.

Patrick’s hopes for a successful NASCAR career were dashed. She hasn’t won a single pole since the 2013 Dayton run and has never won a race.

In her five-plus seasons in the Cup, she has never finished in the top five and finished in the top ten seven times.

2020 The Real Heroes 400 at Darlington: Return to Racing

The NASCAR Cup Series ran its first four races of the 2020 season before the COVID-19 pandemic hit the US in early March.

It will be more than two months before drivers and teams take to the track again. The start of the dramatically changed 2020 Cup schedule took place on May 17 at Darlington Speedway.

With strict COVID-19 security protocols, Real Heroes 400 took place behind closed doors. Only essential personnel were present at Darlington for the race, which was one of the first major professional sporting events in the US since the start of the pandemic.

Kevin Harvick reached a milestone by winning his 50th career Cup Series and celebrated by eating donuts at the start/finish. When he got out of his Ford, he was greeted only by silence.

“The weirdest part of the day for me was when I got out of the car and didn’t hear anyone cheering,” Harvick said.

It was a day unlike any other in NASCAR history. But the mission of the sport was completed. Racing is back.

1959 Daytona 500: photo finish decides first winner

For years, cars have raced along the shores of Daytona Beach, Florida, but Bill France Sr. had another idea – to build a 2.5-mile race track with high banks a few miles from the Atlantic Ocean.

The first NASCAR race took place in 1959. Johnny Beauchamp was declared the winner, crossing the line in a trio with Lee Petty and Joe Weatherly’s lapped car.

Petty claimed to have won the race, but it wasn’t until three days later that photographic evidence was discovered showing that Petty had passed Beauchamp to the finish line. The photo was taken by T. Taylor Warne, who received the NASCAR Squier-Hall Award for Excellence in Media and was honored at the 2023 NASCAR Hall of Fame induction ceremony.

Richard Petty’s father won his third title in the series, taking crowns in 1954 and 1958.

2020 GEICO 500 at Talladega: NASCAR stands for unity Bubba Wallace

During a race weekend in June 2020 at Talladega Superspeedway, a member of Bubba Wallace’s team informed NASCAR that a noose had been placed in Wallace’s garage.

On race day, riders and crew members pushed Wallace’s car onto pit road in solidarity. Wallace finished 14th in the race.

An FBI investigation later ruled that there was no hate crime because the garage rope had been like this since last October, and there was no way to know that Wallace’s team would get that garage a few months later.

After the FBI’s results were made public, Wallace said he was “relieved” that he was not specifically targeted, but also disappointed with the ensuing backlash, which led some on social media to question his honesty and accuse him of a prank.

After the incident, Wallace became the winning driver at the Cup level.

In October 2021, he scored his first career Cup Series victory at Talladega, becoming the first black driver to win a race in NASCAR’s top division in nearly 58 years.

A second Cup win followed in September 2022 at Kansas Speedway.

2011 Daytona 500: Trevor Bain adds surprise winners to Daytona legacy

The Daytona 500 is not only NASCAR’s biggest race, it’s also one of the most unpredictable.

Nine drivers took their first NASCAR Cup Series victory in the Daytona 500. In fact, this happened in both 2021 and 2022 (Austin Sindrik – 2022, Michael McDowell – 2021).

Prior to this, the last rider to accomplish this feat was Trevor Bain.

The Tennessee native captured a 2011 Daytona 500 driving Wood Brothers Racing, a team that has been in NASCAR since 1950 but only competed part-time in 2011 (the team returned to full-time status in 2016).

It’s even more upsetting: Bain won just the second Cup Series start of his career, coinciding with the all-time Cup record set by Jamie MacMurray in the 2002 season

When Bain took the checkered flag in overtime, his scream on the No. 21 team’s radio summed up not only him, but everyone watching, “Are you kidding me?!? What?!?”

1993 Daytona 500: “The Dale and Dale Show”

The 1993 Daytona 500 was coming to an end, and mother and father could only wonder what fate had in store for their son.

As Dale Jarrett raced for the win, his mother, Martha, watched from a van on the track, while his father, Ned, helped cover the race for CBS Sports.

The last laps have come, and Dale Jarrett has a chance. But can he beat the dominant Dale Earnhardt?

Under the white flag, the opportunity presented itself and Dale Jarrett made his move. He eventually vacated Earnhardt from first place.

CBS producer Bob Stenner then silenced lead announcer Ken Squier and told Ned Jarrett “Call your son home and be a dad.”

Ned’s ensuing call has been echoed in NASCAR history since:

“…It’s The Dale & Dale Show as we exit Turn 4! You know who I’m fighting for, it’s Dale Jarrett. Bring her inside, Dale! Don’t let him go down! He’s going to do it! Dale Jarrett will win the Daytona 500!”

Moments after Dale Jarrett won, CBS cameras caught a shocked Martha Jarrett in a van.

After a moment, she closed her eyes and folded her hands in prayer.

Visit NASCAR on NBC for more memorable moments and historical tracks the entire season and stay tuned for NBC, USA and peacock to cover the 2023 season.

Four races in the NASCAR Cup Series, William Byron is the winner 50% of the time.

Byron added his second win of the season on Sunday to an overtime win at Phoenix Raceway, propelling him to first place in the NBC Sports NASCAR Power Rankings. The drivers of Hendrick Motorsports occupy three of the top five places in this week’s rankings.

MORE: Denny Hamlin comments on Ross Chastain incident on NASCAR ‘radar’

NBC Sports NASCAR Power Ranking

1. William Byron (5th last week) — Byron was the best at the beginning and at the end of Sunday’s race. He led 59 of the first 60 laps before recovering with a late-race caution to take his second victory.

2. Kyle Bush (second last week) Bush bounced back after a hard day and finished eighth on Sunday.

3. Alex Bowman (fourth last week) Bowman was a strong ninth in Phoenix, a good enough finish to put him in first place in the standings. Among full-time drivers, he has the best average result in the season – 6.25.

4. Ross Chastain (first last week) – Chastain falls from the first line of the rating after a collision with an old enemy. Denny Hamlin on the final lap in Phoenix, ruining what could have been a strong finish.

5. Kyle Larson (8th last week) — Larson drove 201 laps in Phoenix to once again show the strength of the No. 5 Chevrolet this season. Fourth place lifts him three positions in the rankings. Larson is one of five riders to finish in the top five twice this season.

6. Christopher Bell (sixth last week) “The Toyota contingent couldn’t make a lap in Phoenix, but Bell had another solid race and came home in sixth.

7. Kevin Harvick (ninth last week) Closer had the door slammed in his face on Sunday as a late-race caution and pit stop strategy hurt his chances of winning. He led 36…


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