This Week in NASCAR History: May 18-24
by Tom Jensen May 18, 2020
Four NASCAR Hall of Fame drivers who won multiple premier series championships figure prominently in the record books.
May 18, 1968
In the Tidewater 250 at Langley Field Speedway in Hampton, Virginia, Hall of Famer David Pearson (2011) scored one of his career-high 16 victories en route to his second of three NASCAR premier series championships. Driving a Holman-Moody Racing Ford with engines built by Hall of Famer Waddell Wilson (2020), Pearson and the team earned $1,000 for the victory.
May 19, 1957
After leaving his championship ride with car owner Carl Kiekhaefer, Hall of Famer Buck Baker (2013) picked up right where he left off with his own car, this one a 1957 Chevrolet known as “The Black Widow.” Baker took the victory in the Virginia 500 at Martinsville Speedway and continued his march in becoming NASCAR’s first back-to-back champion in the Cup Series.
May 20, 1971
Born on this date in Columbus, Indiana, Hall of Famer Tony Stewart (2020) would go on to have a remarkable racing career. The only driver to win championships with title sponsors Winston, Nextel and Sprint, Stewart also was the first USAC Triple Crown champion and a title winner in the Indy Car Series. Stewart also was the car owner in Kevin Harvick’s premier series championship season of 2014.
May 21, 1950
At Martinsville Speedway, NASCAR’s longest continually operating track, Hall of Famer Curtis Turner (2016) finished two laps ahead of the field to claim victory in a 150-lap race. On the day, Turner led 140 laps, dominating the action to win his second consecutive race of the season and pocket $1,000 for his efforts.
May 22, 2004
Matt Kenseth delivered a victory in the Nextel All-Star Challenge for Hall of Fame team owner Jack Roush (2019), taking the checkered flag 0.571 seconds ahead of Ryan Newman and Hall of Famer Tony Stewart (2020). Kenseth’s big victory at the annual all-star tilt at Charlotte Motor Speedway was worth a cool $1,044,000 for the winner and his team.
May 23, 1971
Driving the No. 71 K&K Insurance Dodge for team owner Nord Krauskopf, Hall of Famer Bobby Isaac (2016) won the Kingsport 300 at Tennessee’s Kingsport Speedway by 5 laps over second-place Elmo Langley. Isaac, the 1970 NASCAR premier series champion, led 294 of 300 laps, capturing the $1,800 purse for himself and the team.
May 24, 1953
The Fabulous Hudson Hornet carried Hall of Famer Herb Thomas (2013) to victory in a 200-lap race at the half-mile Powell Motor Speedway dirt track in Columbus, Ohio. Thomas won $1,000 for his third victory of the season, which would help him become the first two-time NASCAR premier series champion.
Photos courtesy of Getty Images.