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NASCAR’s history of racing on Labor Day

Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Bojangles' Southern 500
DARLINGTON, SC – SEPTEMBER 03: NASCAR Hall of Famer Richard Petty drives the #43 STP Plymouth prior to the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Bojangles’ Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway on September 3, 2017 in Darlington, South Carolina. (Photo by Sarah Crabill/Getty Images)

NASCAR and Labor Day are synonymous with racing at Darlington Raceway. 2018 marked the fourth consecutive year NASCAR raced at Darlington during the holiday weekend.

But what about NASCAR racing on the holiday itself?

NASCAR’s premier series raced on Labor Day in 34 of its first 35 years of existence, with all races held at Darlington Raceway.

The first Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series held on Labor Day was in 1950. Johnny Mantz picked up his only career win in the series when he led 351 of the 400 laps.

The last driver to win on the federal holiday was Bobby Allison in 1983, the year he won his lone Cup Series championship.

The race moved to Monday from Sunday in 1984 for a couple of reasons, according to a former Darlington Raceway official, who spoke to The Racing Experts on the condition of anonymity.

State laws in South Carolina prevented professional automobile racing on Sundays, along with the sales of alcohol, the official said.

The laws were eventually changed, the race was moved to Sunday and it allowed Monday to be used as a travel day or an extra day if the race was postponed, the official added.

Other venues that played host to NASCAR Cup Series races on Labor Day weekend were Auto Club Speedway and Atlanta Motor Speedway.

Labor Day is celebrated on the first Monday in September.

Congress signed an act into law, according to the United States House of Representatives, to make the first Monday of September a national holiday.

1950 – Johnny Mantz (Darlington Raceway)
1951 – Herb Thomas (Darlington Raceway)
1952 – Fonty Flock (Darlington Raceway)
1953 – Buck Baker (Darlington Raceway)
1954 – Herb Thomas (Darlington Raceway)
1955 – Herb Thomas (Darlington Raceway)
1956 – Curtis Turner (Darlington Raceway)
1957 – Speedy Thompson (Darlington Raceway)
1958 – Fireball Roberts (Darlington Raceway)
1959 – Jim Reed (Darlington Raceway)
1960 – Buck Baker (Darlington Raceway)
1961 – Nelson Stacy (Darlington Raceway)
1962 – Larry Frank (Darlington Raceway)
1963 – Fireball Roberts (Darlington Raceway)
1964 – Buck Baker (Darlington Raceway)
1965 – Ned Jarrett (Darlington Raceway)
1966 – Darel Dieringer (Darlington Raceway)
1967 – Richard Petty (Darlington Raceway)
1968 – Cale Yarborough (Darlington Raceway)
1969 – LeeRoy Yarbrough (Darlington Raceway)
1970 – Buddy Baker (Darlington Raceway)
1971 – Bobby Allison (Darlington Raceway)
1972 – Bobby Allison (Darlington Raceway)
1973 – Cale Yarborough (Darlington Raceway)
1974 – Cale Yarborough (Darlington Raceway)
1975 – Bobby Allison (Darlington Raceway)
1976 – David Pearson (Darlington Raceway)
1977 – David Pearson (Darlington Raceway)
1978 – Cale Yarborough (Darlington Raceway)
1979 – David Pearson (Darlington Raceway)
1980 – Terry Labonte (Darlington Raceway)
1981 – Neil Bonnett (Darlington Raceway)
1982 – Cale Yarborough (Darlington Raceway)
1983 – Bobby Allison (Darlington Raceway)

Labor Day History

The First Labor Day

Time and Date 


Dominic Aragon View All

I am a co-owner and reporter for

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