The Frontstretch: That's History! NASCAR's Checkered (Flag) Past, One Story at a Time: First Time's the Charm by Amy Henderson -- Monday February 6, 2006

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It’s here at last! With racing once again heating up, it’s time to look forward to a new season. There are sure to be many moments in 2006 that will one day be a part of the fabric of NASCAR’s history, moments that in a few years from now may soon become part of this very column.

After a lengthy offseason, what better way to honor of the first NASCAR race of 2006, the first NASCAR driver (Casey Mears) to be the overall winner at the Rolex 24 Hours at Daytona, and the first edition of That’s History! for 2006 then to look at some other firsts from over the years.

First All-Time Driver Alphabetically: Paul Aars
Aars has one start to his credit, at Riverside back in 1958, and he certainly made the most of the opportunity. Aars started 45th that day and finished tenth, taking home a check for $800.

First DNF of the 21st Century: Jeff Purvis
The journeyman Nextel Cup driver comes by this forgettable honor by way of finishing 43rd in the 2001 Daytona 500, when his James Finch Chevrolet blew a tire and slammed into the Turn 4 wall. The subsequent debris on the racetrack caused the first caution of the 21st century.

First NASCAR Busch Series Winner West of the Mississippi: Jeff Green
The Busch Series didn’t cross the river until 1997, when the series traveled all the way to Las Vegas. Green won the Las Vegas 300 from the pole.

First Win by a non-American Car Manufacturer: Jaguar
Jaguar was one of several European companies to make sporadic NASCAR starts in the 1950’s, along with Volkswagen, Porsche, and others. But Jaguar was the only foreign manufacturer to score a win at what is now the Nextel Cup level.

First Rookie to Lead Cup Series Point Standings: Jimmie Johnson
Surprisingly, one only need look as far back as 2002 to find this series first. Johnson took the points lead late in the season for a few weeks before eventually finishing fifth in points. And Johnson didn’t even win Rookie of the Year honors for his efforts; the award went to Ryan Newman, who finished the season sixth in points.

First Craftsman Truck Series Lead Change: February 5, 1995
In the series inaugural race, polesitter Ron Hornaday held the lead until lap 24, when Terry Labonte took over the top spot. Mike Skinner won the race to become the series’ first winner.

Only time will tell if any new firsts are added to the record books this year. However, everytime something happens for the first time, it alters racing’s past and future…and THAT’s history.

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©2000 - 2008 Amy Henderson and Frontstetch.com. Thanks for visiting the Frontstretch!

cecil
02/07/2006 06:22 PM
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WHO WAS THE FIRST TWO TIME CHAMPION IN WHAT IS NOW AS THE NEXTEL CUP . TONY STEWART WAS THE LAST AND NUMBER 14 ?

Amy
02/07/2006 08:36 PM
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That would be Herb Thomas, Cecil.

 

Contact Amy Henderson

Recent articles from Amy Henderson:

Earnhardt Ganassi Racing Announces Partnership with Cessna, Textron
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Want to know more about Amy or see an archive of all of her articles? Check out her bio page for more information.