NASCAR’s history of racing on Father’s Day
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.
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)
|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)
|2015||Erik Jones||Chicagoland Speedway|
|2016||Sam Hornish Jr.||Iowa Speedway|
Dominic Aragon View All
I am a co-owner and reporter for TheRacingExperts.com.
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