Milestone Chevrolet Victories
by Tom Jensen February 18, 2022
Heading into the 2022 NASCAR premier series season, Chevrolet looks to build on its record number of race victories.
Since the NASCAR Strictly Stock Division – what we know today as the premier series – began racing in 1949, 16 different automakers have won races.
Chevrolet didn’t race in the premier series until the sixth race of 1949, when North Carolina native Bill Blair finished fifth and Al Wagoner eighth in a race at Martinsville Speedway. And a Chevrolet driver didn’t win a premier series race until 1955.
But since then, the General Motors division has more than made up for its slow start. Heading into Sunday’s season-opening Daytona 500, Chevrolet leads all automakers with 814 race victories, 33 driver championships and 40 manufacturers’ championship, all of which are records.
Here are Chevrolet’s milestone premier series victories:
Win No. 1
One of the most colorful racers of his day, Truman Fontello Flock a/k/a Fonty, started Chevrolet’s path to glory by passing his brother, Hall of Famer Time Flock (2014) with 66 laps to go and holding on to win a 200-lap race on the 0.500-mile Columbia Speedway dirt track in Cayce, South Carolina, on March 26, 1955. For his efforts, Fonty claimed the $1,000 winner’s share of the purse.
Win No. 100
The 100th Chevrolet premier series triumph came at the same place the first one did, the 0.500-mile Columbia Speedway dirt track in Cayce, South Carolina. This time it was Hall of Famer Rex White (2015) who won the Sandlapper 200 by defeating Joe Weatherly (2015), the only other driver to finish on the lead lap. And just like Fonty Flock in 1955, White earned $1,000 for the win, which came on July 7, 1962.
Win No. 200
The purses had gotten a lot fatter by June 19, 1978, when Benny Parsons (2017) led an all-NASCAR Hall of Fame top three to win the NAPA 400 at Riverside International Raceway. By holding off Richard Petty (2010) and Bobby Allison (2011), Parsons was able to collect $22,750 for himself and team owner L.G. DeWitt, while giving Chevrolet its 200th premier series race victory.
Win No. 300
In a classic NASCAR short-track battle at North Wilkesboro Speedway, Dale Earnhardt prevailed in a three-way fight to finish two car lengths ahead of Ricky Rudd and Geoffrey Bodine in the 1986 First Union 400. The top three drivers led 387 of 400 laps at the 0.625-mile track with Earnhardt earning $38,550 for himself and car owner Richard Childress (2017). The ’86 season would be the first of six championships Earnhardt and Childress would win together.
Win No. 400
In 1994, Terry Labonte (2016) joined forces with Hendrick Motorsports, the team founded by fellow Hall of Famer Rick Hendrick (2017). It proved to be a wise move, as Labonte won three races in a season for the first time. One of those wins came in the Miller Genuine Draft 400 at Richmond Raceway, where Labonte finished 1.79 seconds ahead of teammate Jeff Gordon (2019) to earn $67,765.
Win No. 500
Just 47 of Jeff Gordon’s 805 career premier series starts came on road courses, but he made the most of them. Gordon won nine times on road courses, where he earned almost 10 percent of his 93 career victories. A triumph in the 2001 Global Crossing at the Glen at Watkins Glen International was one of six races Gordon won in what would be his fourth and final championship season. The victory at the Glen was worth $173,402 for Gordon and his Hendrick Motorsports team.
Win No. 600
NASCAR’s fifth-generation race car, a/k/a the “Car of Tomorrow,” made its debut in the 2007 Food City 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway. Kyle Busch won the race in a Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet and in his post-race interview complained about how badly the car handled compared to the prior generation car. Still, Busch won the race and with it the first-place purse of $179,400.
Win No. 700
Already a five-time champion, Hendrick Motorsports star Jimmie Johnson led 168 of 335 laps to capture the 2012 AAA Texas 500 at Texas Motor Speedway. The win was Johnson’s second at the 1.5-mile track and it paid $492,086. Johnson went on to win two more championships and five more races at Texas, where he leads all drivers with seven premier series race victories. Johnson ended his career with 83 wins, tied with Cale Yarborough (2012) for sixth overall among drivers.
Win No. 800
Call this one last but certainly not least: Competing in what could only be described as monsoon conditions, 2020 premier series champion Chase Elliott survived NASCAR’s first visit to the Circuit of the Americas road course in Austin, Texas, where he won the inaugural Echopark Texas Grand Prix. Still just 26 years old, Elliott, the son of Hall of Famer Bill Elliott (2015), already ranks third all-time in road course wins with seven, a total that trails only Jeff Gordon (2019), a nine-time road race victor, and Tony Stewart (2020), who won eight road races.