This Week in NASCAR History: July 20-26
by Tom Jensen July 20, 2020
A big week for Hall of Fame team owners Junior Johnson, Glen and Leonard Wood, Joe Gibbs and Roger Penske.
July 20, 1961
Hall of Famer Cotton Owens (2013) won nine times as a driver and 38 times as a team owner during his career. In 1961, Owens won four races behind the wheel of his own Pontiacs, including a 200-lapper on the 0.500-mile Columbia Speedway dirt track in Cayce, South Carolina. At that track, Owens passed Jim Paschal with 8 laps to go to take his only lead of the race, holding on to capture the $950 first-place prize.
July 21, 1991
The Miller Genuine Draft 500 was cut from a scheduled 200 laps to 179, but that was no problem for Hall of Famer Rusty Wallace (2013), who passed Ernie Irvan with 11 laps to go to win for the second time in the season. The top six finishers all drove for Hall of Famers: Wallace piloted a Roger Penske (2019) Pontiac, while Mark Martin (2017) was second in a Ford owned by Jack Roush (2019). Junior Johnson (2010) drivers Geoffrey Bodine and Sterling Marling ran third and fifth, respectively. Hut Stricklin took fourth in a Bobby Allison (2011) Buick, while Dale Jarrett (2014) was sixth in the No. 21 Wood Brothers Ford fielded by brothers Glen (2012) and Leonard (2013) Wood. The win paid $34,100 for Wallace and Penske.
July 22, 1973
The 1973 season was an amazing one for Hall of Famer David Pearson (2011), who wheeled the Wood Brothers Racing Mercury owned by Hall of Fame brothers Glen (2012) and Leonard (2013) Wood to 11 victories in just 18 races. One of those victories came in the Dixie 500 at Atlanta International Raceway (now Atlanta Motor Speedway), where The Silver Fox led 178 of 328 laps to finish one lap ahead of fellow Hall of Famer and South Carolina native Cale Yarborough (2012). Pearson passed Yarborough on Lap 164 and went on to lead the final 165 circuits around the Georgia track.
July 23, 1950
In the second season of the NASCAR premier series, the sanctioning body returned to the site of its first race. Charlotte Speedway was a 0.750-mile dirt track near where Charlotte-Douglas International Airport stands today. Before a crowd estimated at 11,000 people, Hall of Famer Curtis Turner (2016) qualified on the pole in John Eanes’ Oldsmobile and led all 200 laps to pocket the $1,500 winner’s payout.
July 24, 2016
Driving a Toyota fielded by Hall of Fame team owner Joe Gibbs (2020), Kyle Busch joined Jimmie Johnson as the only drivers in history to win the Brickyard 400 in consecutive seasons, a record subsequently tied by Kevin Harvick in 2019-20. Busch utterly dominated the field at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, leading 149 of 170 laps, including the last 109 circuits around the historic 2.5-mile track, to claim his fourth victory of the season.
July 25, 1970
During his lone championship season, Hall of Famer Bobby Isaac (2016) won 11 premier series races, with a career-best 32 top-five finishes, as well as 38 top 10s and 13 poles. One of Isaac’s victories came in the Nashville 420, where he led 214 of 420 laps in Nord Krauskopf’s No. 71 K&K Insurance Dodge. The victory was worth $3,310 to Isaac and the team. Hall of Famer Bobby Allison (2011) finished second, two laps behind Isaac.
July 26, 1981
When Hall of Famer team owner Junior Johnson (2010) hired Hall of Fame driver Darrell Waltrip (2012), the partnership produced immediate results. The duo won their first of three championships in 1981, with Waltrip capturing a career-best 12 race wins and 11 poles, another career record. One of those victories came at Pocono Raceway in the Mountain Dew 500, where Waltrip led 120 of 200 laps and collected $23,640. Coincidentally, the race sponsor was also the sponsor of Waltrip’s No. 11 Buick.
The NASCAR Hall of Fame is open Wednesday through Monday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. To purchase tickets, go to nascarhall.com/tickets.