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The history of NASCAR racing on Father’s Day

For the first time in NASCAR’s modern-era, there are no races scheduled for Father’s Day weekend.

Last year, the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series ran at Knoxville Speedway the night before Father’s Day. Todd Gilliland won.

In 2021, the NASCAR Cup Series ran on Father’s Day at Nashville Superspeedway. Kyle Larson led 264 of 300 laps and won.

Larson also won the 2017 FireKeepers Casino 400 at Michigan International Speedway. Before the 2021 race, that was the most recent Cup Series race run on Father’s Day.

Kyle Larson Michigan 2017
Photo by Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images

Back in 2020, the NASCAR Cup Series was going to run the GEICO 500 on Father’s Day at Talladega Superspeedway. However, rain pushed the race to that Monday.

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. Riverside International Raceway and Pocono Raceway also held a Father’s Day race.

In 2000, the streak then ended, 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 NASCAR Xfinity Series even got a chance to host a Father’s Day race in 2015-16 and 2018-19.

In 2015, Erik Jones led 94 of 200 laps and won at Chicagoland Speedway.

Then in 2016, Sam Hornish Jr. led 183 of 250 laps and won at Iowa Speedway. When Xfinity Series racing on Father’s Day returned to Iowa in 2018-19, Justin Allgaier and Christopher Bell won.


Cale Yarborough and Junior Johnson
ISC Images & Archives via Getty Images

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

Three-time series champion Cale Yarborough won a record four Father’s Day races. 1988 champion Bill Elliott has three Father’s Day wins, which is the second-most.

Three Father’s Day winners 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 Father’s Day races. Pocono has also held eight races, Riverside has held three and Sonoma Raceway has held two. 


1972Ray ElderRiverside International Raceway
1973Bobby AllisonRiverside International Raceway
1974Richard PettyMichigan International Speedway
1975David PearsonMichigan International Speedway
1976David PearsonMichigan International Speedway
1977Cale YarboroughMichigan International Speedway
1978Cale YarboroughMichigan International Speedway
1979Buddy BakerMichigan International Speedway
1980Benny ParsonsMichigan International Speedway
1981Bobby AllisonMichigan International Speedway
1982Cale YarboroughMichigan International Speedway
1983Cale YarboroughMichigan International Speedway
1984Bill ElliottMichigan International Speedway
1985Bill ElliottMichigan International Speedway
1986Bill ElliottMichigan International Speedway
1987Tim RichmondRiverside International Raceway
1988Geoff BodinePocono Raceway
1989Terry LabontePocono Raceway
1990Harry GantPocono Raceway
1991Darrell WaltripPocono Raceway
1992Davey AllisonMichigan International Speedway
1993Ricky RuddMichigan International Speedway
1994Rusty WallaceMichigan International Speedway
1995Bobby LabonteMichigan International Speedway
1996Jeff GordonPocono Raceway
1997Ernie IrvanMichigan International Speedway
1998Jeremy MayfieldPocono Raceway
1999Bobby LabontePocono Raceway
2001Ricky RuddPocono Raceway
2002Matt KensethMichigan International Speedway
2003Kurt BuschMichigan International Speedway
2004Ryan NewmanMichigan International Speedway
2005Greg BiffleMichigan International Speedway
2006Kasey KahneMichigan International Speedway
2007Carl EdwardsMichigan International Speedway
2008Dale Earnhardt Jr.Michigan International Speedway
2009Kasey KahneSonoma Raceway
2010Jimmie JohnsonSonoma Raceway
2011Denny HamlinMichigan International Speedway
2012Dale Earnhardt Jr.Michigan International Speedway
2013Greg BiffleMichigan International Speedway
2014Jimmie JohnsonMichigan International Speedway
2015Erik Jones (Xfinity)Chicagoland Speedway
2016Sam Hornish Jr.Iowa Speedway
2017Kyle LarsonMichigan International Speedway
2018Justin AllgaierIowa Speedway
2019Christopher BellIowa Speedway
2021Kyle LarsonNashville Superspeedway


2 thoughts on “The history of NASCAR racing on Father’s Day Leave a comment

  1. What a letdown. I have been a true nascar fan for 50 years and went to MIS for years on Father’s Day or watched it on tv. Now what do I do for Father’s Day without nascar Get it together Nascar

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