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NASCAR racing in January

Photo by Marcus Leno/TRE

NASCAR national series racing in January is a rare sight.

In the 74-year history of the NASCAR Cup Series, 2,714 points-awarding races have been sanctioned, but only 20 have ever been held in the month of January.

The first race held in January was at Palm Beach Speedway, a half-mile dirt track in West Palm Beach, Florida, on January 20, 1952. Two-time Cup champion Tim Flock was the victor that day. 

After a race at the Arizona State Fairgrounds, in Phoenix, in January 1956, the next 18 January races were held, in 1963 to 1968 and 1970 to 1981, at the 2.7-mile Riverside International Raceway road course in California.

The last Cup Series race in January was won by Bobby Allison on January 11, 1981, which is the earliest Cup Series race held in series history.

Since its series inception in 1982, no NASCAR Xfinity Series have ever been held in January.

The NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series, with its inaugural season in 1995, has had two races held in January. 

In 1997 and 1998, the Truck season opener was held at the Walt Disney World Speedway in Orlando, Florida.

01/20/52 W. Palm Beach Tim Flock
01/22/56 Phoenix Buck Baker
01/20/63 Riverside Dan Gurney
01/19/64 Riverside Dan Gurney
01/17/65 Riverside Dan Gurney
01/23/66 Riverside Dan Gurney
01/22/67 Riverside Parnelli Jones
01/21/68 Riverside Dan Gurney
01/18/70 Riverside A.J. Foyt
01/10/71 Riverside Ray Elder
01/23/72 Riverside Richard Petty
01/21/73 Riverside Mark Donohue
01/26/74 Riverside Cale Yarborough
01/19/75 Riverside Bobby Allison
01/18/76 Riverside David Pearson
01/16/77 Riverside David Pearson
01/22/78 Riverside Cale Yarborough
01/14/79 Riverside Darrell Waltrip
01/13/80 Riverside Darrell Waltrip
01/11/81 Riverside Bobby Allison


01/19/97 Disney Joe Ruttman

01/18/98 Disney Ron Hornaday, Jr.


Dominic Aragon View All

I am a co-owner and reporter for

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