NASCAR has had its’ fair share of fun, strange, exciting, and incredible moments over the years. However, what makes these moments so special is the once in a lifetime nature of some of these moments. Here is a list of 10 NASCAR moments that may never happen again.
10. Brett Bodine’s Only Win Mired in Controversy (1990 First Union 400 @ North Wilkesboro)
While North Wikesboro coming back to the schedule seemed impossible until this season, the way Brett Bodine won his only career race will certainly never happen again. After a caution on lap 321 during a green flag pit stop cycle, NASCAR scoring was all out of sorts.
As a result, and extended, 18 lap caution period ensued as NASCAR tried to sort out the running order. Eventually, Bodine was given the lead and went on to win his only career Cup Series race. Darrell Waltrip, who finished second, still maintains to this day that he should have won this race.
Should Waltrip have won? We may never know, and we also will never have a moment like this again with NASCAR implementing electronic timing and scoring in 1993.
9. 1959 Daytona 500
The first annual Daytona 500 was a race years in the making, and it was well worth the wait. The race came down to the wire with Lee Petty and Johnny Beauchamp finishing side by side for the lead crossing the line. The problem…no one could tell who won.
Because of this, after unofficially calling Beauchamp the winner, Bill France sent out a call for any and all photographs taken of the finish. Three days later, it was Petty who won the Daytona 500 by merely one yard.
This would never happen again with modern NASCAR timing and scoring. Imagine having to wait three days before officially getting a trophy?
8. Jimmie Johnson Wins 5 Championships in a Row (2010 Ford 400)
Jimmie Johnson has stated his case for being the greatest stock car driver of all time. Is he? That is up for debate, but no one can deny his string of dominance from 2006-2010 was something to behold.
Five straight championships is a feat that with the advent of the modern playoffs, it is all but impossible to replicate. Then again, Johnson winning five straight championships originally seemed impossible at the time.
7. Bill Elliott comes From 2 Laps Down…Under Green (1985 Winston 500)
Bill Elliott was unstoppable on the big tracks in 1985. That was on display the most at the 1985 Winston 500, where mechanical issues put Elliott two laps behind the leaders. Miraculously, Elliott came back to win the race.
Coming back from two laps down seems feasible with the modern lucky dog rule. However, Elliott did it entirely under green flag conditions. Meaning he ran the leaders down and passed them not once, not twice, but three times over the course of a race.
With modern pack racing at superspeedways and the parity in the sport, this certainly could not happen today. Coming back from two laps down could happen, but doing it under green could not.
6. Pearson Backs off on the Last Lap…Still Wins (1974 Firecracker 400)
David Pearson led Richard Petty in the closing laps of the 1974 Firecracker 400 at Daytona. As the white flag waved, Pearson pulled down low and let Petty past seemingly handing the win to the 43. Except Pearson ran Petty down to steal the win.
Who would have that much confidence in their car nowadays to pull this off? No one would.
5. Championship Battle for the Ages (1992 Hooters 500)
There simply was no race like the 1992 Hooters 500. Richard Petty’s last race, Jeff Gordon’s first, and a championship battle for the ages between Bill Elliott and Alan Kulwicki. After championship leader Davey Allison crashed out, it came down to such a simple thing, who led the most laps.
Kulwicki stayed out an extra lap when he was not supposed to to lead an extra lap. When Elliott came in, Terry Labonte stayed out and led two laps, taking those precious laps from Elliott. Kulwicki finished second with Elliott winning, but Kulwicki led one more lap to win the championship by 10 points.
With the modern points system, no championship will get decided quite like this again.
4. Richard Petty’s 200th Career Win (1984 Firecracker 400)
President Ronald Reagan was in attendance for the July Daytona race in 1984, and he witnessed a battle between two NASCAR hall of famers. With only three laps to go, a caution came out as Yarborough and Petty had to race back to the line. Whoever beat the other back to the line would assume the lead and the win.
The two came across the line in a photo finish, but it was Richard Petty who had just enough of an advantage to get the win. No driver will ever win 200 races again. This moment will live forever as one of a kind.
3. Bill Elliott Goes 212 MPH at Talladega (1987 Winston 500)
NASCAR cars reached their fastest speeds in the mid-late 1980s, with Bill Elliott going the fastest. In qualifying for the 1987 Winston 500, Elliott put up a lap of 212.809 mph, a record that still stands.
Why can this never happen again? Bobby Allison’s crash in the race pushed NASCAR to slow the cars down at superspeedways. Add to that the push lower horsepower of the modern day, means that no stock car will ever match Elliott.
2. Pass in the Grass (1987 Winston)
In the final laps of the 1987 Winston, NASCAR’s All Star Race, Dale Earnhardt battled Bill Elliott. Elliott hooked Earnhardt down the frontstretch, sending the 3 car into the grass. Earnhardt miraculously put the car back on the track to maintain the lead and the win.
With modern cars being so low to the ground, it is simply not possible for this kind of move to happen again.
1. Hail Melon (2022 Xfinity 500)
Ross Chastain had only one chance to keep his championship hopes alive, and he took that chance. Chastain rode the wall around the final two turns at Martinsville to make up the spots he needed to get into the Championship 4. A move that was inspired by video games.
NASCAR officially outlawed this move before the 2023 season, putting it in the same category of an already existing rule regarding safety of the event. The hail melon car and wall are being preserved, forever a memento of that incredible day.
What other NASCAR moment could never happen again?