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Historic Moments

This Week in NASCAR History: June 15-21

A lot of firsts this week, including the first NASCAR Strictly Stock Series race way back in 1949

Cale Yarborough won the first NASCAR race at Michigan International Speedway. Photo courtesy of NASCAR Archives & Research Center via Getty Images.

June 15, 1969

The Motor State 500, the inaugural race at Michigan International Speedway was won by Hall of Famer Cale Yarborough (2012), who finished 5 seconds ahead of Hall of Famers Richard Petty (2010) and David Pearson (2011). The victory is worth $17,625 for Yarborough and Wood Brothers Racing, the team owned by Hall of Famers Glen (2012) and Leonard (2013) Wood.

The first gas crisis led NASCAR to shorten races. Photo courtesy of NASCAR Archives & Research Center via Getty Images.

June 16, 1974

With a worldwide shortage of gasoline, NASCAR trimmed the length of its races by 10 percent, so what used to be the Motor City 400 at Michigan International Speedway – and before that the Motor City 500 – got trimmed down to a 360-mile race, won by Hall of Famer Richard Petty (2010). Canadian Earl Ross finished second with country musician Marty Robbins scoring the lone top-five finish of his career. Petty’s victory was worth $17,190.

Bill Elliott enjoyed tremendous success at Michigan. Photo courtesy of NASCAR Archives & Research Center via Getty Images.

June 17, 1984

Michigan International Speedway was Hall of Famer Bill Elliott’s (2015) best track, a place where he scored seven of his 44 career premier series victories. In the Miller Life 400, Elliott claimed the $41,600 first-prize share of the race purse by finishing 2 seconds ahead of Hall of Famers Dale Earnhardt (2010) and Darrell Waltrip (2012). It was Elliott’s second triumph at the 2-mile track.

Driver Terry Labonte (l) and team owner Junior Johnson have won 8 NASCAR championships between them. Photo courtesy of NASCAR Archives & Research Center via Getty Images.

June 18, 1989

It was a Hall of Fame effort at Pocono Raceway with driver Terry Labonte (2016) piloting a Ford owned by Junior Johnson (2010) to victory in the Miller High Life 500 at the three-turn, 2.5-mile Pennsylvania track. First place paid $54,807 for the driver and team.

The first NASCAR Strictly Stock race at Charlotte Speedway drew a huge crowd of fans. Photo courtesy of NASCAR Archives & Research Center via Getty Images.

June 19, 1949

The first NASCAR Strictly Stock (now premier series) race took place at Charlotte Speedway, a 0.75-mile dirt track. Jim Roper, who drove from his Kansas home in a 1949 Lincoln that he entered in the event, was declared the winner and recipient of the $2,000 first-place money after apparent winner Glenn Dunaway was disqualified for illegal bootlegger rear springs. The 35-car field featured six future Hall of Fame drivers: Lee Petty (2011), Herb Thomas (2013), Buck Baker (2013), Tim Flock (2014), Curtis Turner (2016) and Red Byron (2018).

Southern California short-track racer Ron Hornaday Jr. became the only four-time Truck Series champion. Photo courtesy of NASCAR Archives & Research Center via Getty Images.

June 20, 1958

On this day, NASCAR Hall of Famer Ron Hornaday Jr. (2018) was born in Palmdale, California. A second-generation racer, Hornaday grew up racing on West Coast short tracks before moving to the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series (now Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series), where he won four championships and 51 races.

Davey Allison (right) and Darrell Waltrip ran 1-2 at Michigan. Photo courtesy of NASCAR Archives & Research Center via Getty Images.

June 21, 1992

Six Hall of Fame drivers finished in the top 10 in the Miller Genuine Draft 400 at Michigan International Speedway, where Davey Allison (2019) took the $150,665 first-place money by finishing 3.31 seconds ahead of Darrell Waltrip (2012). Alan Kulwicki (2019) was third, with Mark Martin (2017) fifth and Dale Earnhardt (2010) and Bill Elliott (2015) coming home ninth and 10th, respectively,

Tom Jensen

Tom Jensen

Tom is the Curatorial Affairs Manager of the NASCAR Hall of Fame and a veteran of more than 20 years in the NASCAR media industry.

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