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NASCAR’s history of racing on Father’s Day

5-Hour Energy 400
KANSAS CITY, KS – MAY 10: Ryan Blaney (R), driver of the #12 SKF Ford, talks to his father, Dave Blaney, on the grid prior to the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series 5-Hour Energy 400 at Kansas Speedway on May 10, 2014 in Kansas City, Kansas. (Photo by Jeff Zelevansky/NASCAR via Getty Images)

This year marks the third time in the last four years the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series will not run a points-awarding race on Father’s Day. The series will also have a scheduled off-week during the holiday weekend in 2019.

Altogether, 2018 is only the fourth time NASCAR’s premier series has not sanctioned a points race on the holiday.

Father’s Day became a national holiday in the United States on April 24, 1972, when President Richard Nixon signed into law the holiday to be observed on the third Sunday of June.

The first time NASCAR raced on the officially recognized holiday was at Riverside International Raceway on June 18, 1972.

Road course ringer Ray Elder picked up his second and final career win in the Cup Series driving for his father’s team.

The tradition continued for another 27 seasons with a majority of the races held at Michigan International Speedway. Other venues to hold a Father’s Day race were Riverside and Pocono Raceway.

In 2000, the streak came to an end, as inclement weather postponed the Pocono 500—originally scheduled for Father’s Day—to the Monday after.

The last Father’s Day race at Pocono to date was held the following year in 2001.

Michigan held races on the holiday thereafter through 2014, with the exception of 2009 and 2010 races at Sonoma Raceway.

The last Father’s Day Cup Series race was held in 2017 at MIS, when Kyle Larson led the most laps en route to victory in the FireKeepers Casino 400.

However, this Sunday will mark the third time the NASCAR XFINITY Series will run on the holiday.

The sanctioning body ran XFINITY Series races in 2015 at Chicagoland Speedway and 2016 at Iowa Speedway.

OVERALL

Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series FireKeepers Casino 400
BROOKLYN, MI – JUNE 18: Kyle Larson, driver of the #42 Cars 3/Target Chevrolet, celebrates with his son, Owen, in Victory Lane by placing the winner’s decal on his car after winning the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series FireKeepers Casino 400 at Michigan International Speedway on June 18, 2017 in Brooklyn, Michigan. (Photo by Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images)

Thirty drivers have won on Father’s Day in 43 total points-awarding Cup Series races.

Three-time series champion Cale Yarborough holds the record for the most wins on Father’s Day at four. 1988 champion Bill Elliott has the second-most wins at three.

Three drivers who won on Father’s Day went on to win the title in the same year—Richard Petty (1974); Cale Yarborough (1977, 1978); and Jimmie Johnson (2010).

Michigan has held 30 of the races followed by Pocono (8), Riverside (3) and Sonoma (2).

The next possible time the Cup Series could race on the holiday would be 2020.

NASCAR did not respond to a request for comment on this story.

FATHER’S DAY WINNERS (CUP)

YEAR DRIVER TRACK
1972 Ray Elder Riverside International Raceway
1973 Bobby Allison Riverside International Raceway
1974 Richard Petty Michigan International Speedway
1975 David Pearson Michigan International Speedway
1976 David Pearson Michigan International Speedway
1977 Cale Yarborough Michigan International Speedway
1978 Cale Yarborough Michigan International Speedway
1979 Buddy Baker Michigan International Speedway
1980 Benny Parsons Michigan International Speedway
1981 Bobby Allison Michigan International Speedway
1982 Cale Yarborough Michigan International Speedway
1983 Cale Yarborough Michigan International Speedway
1984 Bill Elliott Michigan International Speedway
1985 Bill Elliott Michigan International Speedway
1986 Bill Elliott Michigan International Speedway
1987 Tim Richmond Riverside International Raceway
1988 Geoff Bodine Pocono Raceway
1989 Terry Labonte Pocono Raceway
1990 Harry Gant Pocono Raceway
1991 Darrell Waltrip Pocono Raceway
1992 Davey Allison Michigan International Speedway
1993 Ricky Rudd Michigan International Speedway
1994 Rusty Wallace Michigan International Speedway
1995 Bobby Labonte Michigan International Speedway
1996 Jeff Gordon Pocono Raceway
1997 Ernie Irvan Michigan International Speedway
1998 Jeremy Mayfield Pocono Raceway
1999 Bobby Labonte Pocono Raceway
2001 Ricky Rudd Pocono Raceway
2002 Matt Kenseth Michigan International Speedway
2003 Kurt Busch Michigan International Speedway
2004 Ryan Newman Michigan International Speedway
2005 Greg Biffle Michigan International Speedway
2006 Kasey Kahne Michigan International Speedway
2007 Carl Edwards Michigan International Speedway
2008 Dale Earnhardt Jr. Michigan International Speedway
2009 Kasey Kahne Sonoma Raceway
2010 Jimmie Johnson Sonoma Raceway
2011 Denny Hamlin Michigan International Speedway
2012 Dale Earnhardt Jr. Michigan International Speedway
2013 Greg Biffle Michigan International Speedway
2014 Jimmie Johnson Michigan International Speedway
2017 Kyle Larson Michigan International Speedway

FATHER’S DAY WINNERS (XFINITY)

YEAR DRIVER TRACK
2015 Erik Jones Chicagoland Speedway
2016 Sam Hornish Jr. Iowa Speedway


SOURCES
Dummies.com
Racing-Reference.info
TimeandDate.com

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Dominic Aragon View All

I am a co-owner and reporter for TheRacingExperts.com.

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