The Frontstretch: That's History! NASCAR's Checkered (Flag) Past, One Story at a Time: How Useless Can You Be? by Amy Henderson -- Tuesday March 14, 2006

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The thing I love about NASCAR is that history is added or changed every week. A new qualifying record here, a winless streak there, and over there a stack of interesting statistics. There is always something. This week, I pulled some facts from that stack (Useless? Of course!) and put together a little quiz. Don’t worry, there’s a cheat sheet: the answers are at the end.

So tell me, is each of the following true…or a figment of my imagination:

1. A single driver once won fifteen races in a single season…from the pole.

2. A Busch Series race has ended with only one car on the lead lap.

3. No Nextel Cup driver has ever won the first three races of the season.

4. A foriegn-born driver has a Craftsman Truck Series victory.

5. Ken Schrader has made more top-ten speeches at the Waldorf-Astoria than Jimmie Johnson and Dale
Earnhardt, Jr.-put together.

6. NASCAR had a 47-year-old champion in 2004.

7. New Jersey has hosted a Nextel Cup road race.

If you said that every one of these facts is true, you’re right. All because…

  • Richard Petty won from the pole 15 times in 1967.
  • A Busch Series race has indeed ended with one driver on the lead lap…twelve times. (In case you’re interested, the most recent was at Orange County in 1991)
  • Jimmie Johnson is off to not only the best start of his career, but the best start in NASCAR history with a 1st, 2nd, and a 1st in three starts. (Yep, history made just yesterday)
  • Canadian Ron Fellows has won two Truck races, both at Watkins Glen.
  • Schrader has eight Top 10 points finishes, compared to to Dale Earnhardt, Jr.’s three and Johnson’s four.
  • The Craftsman Truck Series crowned 47-year-old Bobby Hamilton its champion in 2004. No, Kurt Busch doesn’t just look really young…
  • And finally, New Jersey has the distinction of hosting the very first road course race in what is now the Nextel Cup Series. The honor went to the Linden Airport, back in 1954.

Trivial as they may seem,these are all a part of the sport that is NASCAR. If nothing else, they’re good for a water-cooler conversation and a “Hey, I didn’t know that…”. Sometimes, that’s history at its finest.

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Today on the Frontstretch:
Championship Caliber? What Does That Even Mean?
Mirror Driving: Winning Vs. Points, Needing a Boost, and The Lady’s Last Dance?
Nuts for Nationwide: The Curious Case of Elliott Sadler
Happiness Is…Arrogance, Less, Next, and the Outdoors
Frontstretch Foto Funnies: It’s Not Gonna Fit…


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

03/14/2006 06:20 AM

Call the race what it was back then… wasn’t a “N” Cup Series race..they still had rotary phones…..if you must use that “N” word then say, Grand National race that is now “N” Cup Series. Don’t change history like NA$CAR does…..

03/14/2006 07:23 AM

Dear Fran;
Give me a break. Back then we had real racers like Lee Petty and Curtis Turner, who drove the wheels off truly stock cars. Why are you so pumped, because until NASCAR rewrote history, they were compteting for the Winston Cup. The bottom line is that racing was a no holds barred, balls to the wall sport in the early days, and I personally doubt that the children driving race cars today would have either the intestinal fortitude [balls] or the physical stamina that it took to win back then. If you look at the records, to run 500 miles in the early days took a lot longer with the lower speeds, but then again they didn’t drop the yellow every time somebody sneezed.


Contact Amy Henderson

Recent articles from Amy Henderson:

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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.