NASCAR is one of the most viewed professional sports in the USA, with some of the most devoted fans of any professional sport. Fans show up to races from all over the country to get rowdy while watching drivers speed up to 200mph. You could say that here at Black Clover, we’re kind of big fans.
Like many other sports, there are moments that define the sport, launching it into a vital part of American culture. NASCAR is no different. Here are our top 7 favorite defining moments in NASCAR history:
- 1979 Daytona 500 Ends and Puts NASCAR on the Map. The first fully televised Daytona 500 had a lot of excitement for fans. First, the 1st and 2nd place drivers, Cal Yarborough and Donnie Allison, wreck each other on the last lap. Then, Richard Petty gets his 6th Daytona 500 win. As Petty crossed the finish line, CBS’s TV cameras caught another piece of excitement: Yarborough and the Allison brothers in the midst of a heated argument that quickly escalated into a fist-fight. All the excitement makes this moment a turning point in stock-car racing, putting it on the map to become a mainstream sport.
Image 1 Photo by RacingNews.co
- Richard Petty Wins 200th Race in Front of Ronald Reagan. Not only is 200 wins the highest number of wins ever in NASCAR history, but driving legend Richard Petty did it in front of President Ronald Reagan. Reagan was the first president to attend a NASCAR race, even giving the opening race command, “Gentlemen, start your engines,” from the phone on Air Force One. Unfortunately for Petty, this was his last NASCAR win even though he continued racing for another 8 years.
Image 2 Photo by 365DaysofMotoring.com
- 1963’s Jacksonville Win Goes to First (and Only) African American. Wendell Scott still stands as the first and only African American to win a NASCAR Cup Race. During his career, Scott fought racism from fans and promoters. That victorious day for Scott was an exciting day. He finished the race two laps ahead of the second place driver, taking the checkered flag after his win was initially denied. Scott went on to win 100 other races, but this was his only elite Spring Cup level series win.
- Pass in the Grass. One of the most legendary moments in NASCAR history happened at the 1987 Winston All-Star Race. Dale Earnhardt and Bill Elliott battled lap after lap during the race, and with 7 laps remaining Earnhardt went to block Elliot as he went low to make a pass. Earnhardt’s block went even lower: he drove his car into the infield grass before muscling his car back onto the track and never losing the lead. Elliot didn’t take Earnhardt’s win too well and slammed his car into Earnhardt’s during the cool down laps. It was this race that earned Earnhardt the title “The Intimidator”.
Image 3 Photo by Nascar.com
- Dale Earnhardt Wins Daytona 500 after 19 Tries. Dale Earnhardt had several rough races at Daytona. One time, he hit a bird and another time he got a flat tire. It wasn’t until 1998 that he finally won the race, resulting in the most famous post-race celebration with every member of every team lining up to shake his hand as he drove by.
Image 4 Photo by WashingtonPost.com
- 2013 Crash Injures Dozens of Fans. A wreck that involved 12 cars and occurred about 50 yards from the finish line. Amazingly, none of the drivers were hurt, but it was one of the scariest moments for fans in NASCAR history. More than 30 fans were injured by car parts flying into the stands at Daytona International Speedway. Witnesses have said that it was a matter of luck that nobody was killed.
Image 5 Photo by MassLive.com
- Dale Earnhardt Dies in Daytona 500 Crash. After failing to win any of his 462 starts, Michael Waltrip finally won a race in 2001. However, his win was overshadowed by a pivotal moment in NASCAR history by the death of Dale Earnhardt in the final lap. The crash occurred after Earnhardt lost control of his car and was then hit by Ken Schrader. The impact of the crash sent Earnhardt nose first into the wall where he was then taken from the car by medical personnel. His death sparked a safety revolution within NASCAR and nobody has died in a NASCAR race since.
These moments helped define NASCAR. The wins, the losses, the crashes, the celebrations. They have all contributed to making NASCAR one of the biggest American pastimes.
But when it comes to NASCAR, the most important part of the sport is the fans. You’ll have a hard time finding a fanbase as rowdy as NASCAR fans.
That’s why Black Clover is proud of our partnership with Kyle “Rowdy” Busch. With 183 NASCAR wins and a great foundation committed to empowering families, communities and children, Kyle is our favorite NASCAR villain.
In partnership with Kyle, we’ve created a line of hats so fans can show off how rowdy they get. Use coupon code rowdy20 and save 20% on your order from our Kyle Busch collection, Rowdy Signature Series!