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Cup Series history of racing on the Fourth of July

51st Annual Coke Zero 400
DAYTONA BEACH, FL – JULY 04: Tony Stewart, driver of the #14 Burger King Chevrolet, leads Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 Interstate Batteries Toyota, and Denny Hamlin, driver of the #11 FedEx Office Toyota, during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series 51st Annual Coke Zero 400 at Daytona International Speedway on July 4, 2009 in Daytona Beach, Florida. (Photo by John Harrelson/Getty Images for NASCAR)

For over 30 consecutive seasons, the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series sanctioned points-awarding races on Independence Day.

From 1956 to 1987, the series competed on the nation’s birthday with a majority of the events held at Daytona International Speedway.

In total, 37 races have been held on the national holiday, with the most recent Fourth of July race held in 2009.

Tony Stewart was the victor in a last-lap pass on Kyle Busch that resulted in a crash for the latter. 

Only six of the 37 races were not held at Daytona.

The first race held on July Fourth was in 1952. The championship winner that season, Tim Flock, picked up victory at Wine Creek Race Track in Owego, New York.

It is unknown how many laps Flock led in the event, per, as the information is not available for the race, but he and Herb Thomas were the only lead-lap finishers at the half-mile dirt track.

The next two years, the races were held at Piedmont Interstate Fairgrounds in South Carolina and Asheville-Weaverville Speedway in North Carolina. The events were won by Lee Petty an Herb Thomas respectively.

While a July Fourth race was not held in 1955, the next 32 seasons featured a July Fourth-sanctioned event.

The next three races — 1956 to 1958 — were held at the 1-mile Raleigh Speedway in North Carolina. Fireball Roberts won the 1956 and 1958 events while Paul Goldsmith won the 1957 race.


Fireball Roberts
Fireball Roberts. Photo courtesy of ISC Archives

Fireball Roberts was the first winner at Daytona in 1959 when the series moved the holiday venue to the 2.5-mile speedway.

In total, 21 drivers have won a Cup Series race on the Fourth of July.

David Pearson and Fireball Roberts lead the category with five wins apiece.

Three times, the winner of the July Fourth race went on to win the championship in the same year: Tim Flock (1952), Richard Petty (1975) and Cale Yarborough (1976).

Richard Petty won his 200th and final Cup Series race in the 1984 Daytona race.

Greg Sacks scored his only win in NASCAR’s premier series in the 1985 race.

1952 Tim Flock
1953 Lee Petty
1954 Herb Thomas
1956 Fireball Roberts
1957 Paul Goldsmith
1958 Fireball Roberts
1959 Fireball Roberts
1960 Jack Smith
1961 David Pearson
1962 Fireball Roberts
1963 Fireball Roberts
1964 A.J. Foyt
1965 A.J. Foyt
1966 Sam McQuagg
1967 Cale Yarborough
1968 Cale Yarborough
1969 LeeRoy Yarbrough
1970 Donnie Allison
1971 Bobby Isaac
1972 David Pearson
1973 David Pearson
1974 David Pearson
1975 Richard Petty
1976 Cale Yarborough
1977 Richard Petty
1978 David Pearson
1979 Neil Bonnett
1980 Bobby Allison
1981 Cale Yarborough
1982 Bobby Allison
1983 Buddy Baker
1984 Richard Petty
1985 Greg Sacks
1986 Tim Richmond
1987 Bobby Allison
1992 Ernie Irvan
2009 Tony Stewart


Dominic Aragon View All

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