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NASCAR’s Greatest Comebacks

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Joshua Lipowski

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What’s Happening?

Everyone loves a good comeback story, and NASCAR is no different. Some races will see drivers come from nowhere to take home the win. Today, we look at the greatest single-race comebacks in NASCAR history.

  • This article will focus on all of the best single-race comebacks. From multiple laps down early to closing down a massive gap in the final laps.
  • There have been some great season comebacks to win Championships before. However, today, we focus on single races.
  • Fans enjoy watching a great comeback story. It provides fans with some hope if their favorite driver has a tough opening race.

5. SVG Dominates the Streets of Chicago – 2023 Chicago Street Race

All seemed lost for Shane Van Gisbergen in the 2023 Chicago Street Race. Under a caution at lap 47, NASCAR declared the race would end 25 laps early due to darkness. While some cars were able to stay out to make it to the end on fuel, SVG was one of the cars that could not, and he started deep in the field.

Slowly, but surely, he made his way forward on the narrow city streets, avoiding carnage along the way as fellow frontrunners Tyler Reddick and Christopher Bell flamed out. With just a few laps to go, SVG passed Justin Haley for the lead, and that catapulted SVG into a full-time Xfinity Series ride for 2024.

4. Jeff Gordon Comes From 3 Laps Down – Martinsville 2005

Jeff Gordon’s Martisville record is incredible with 9 victories at the Virginia short track. However, he seemed out of sorts early in the 2005 spring race, qualifying 16th. Overheating issues forced Gordon to pit early, which dropped him 3 laps down.

From there, Gordon took advantage of some good fortune and good positioning to get his 3 laps back. That was only the beginning, as he slowly worked his way up the field. Gordon took the lead for the first time on lap 465, leading the final 36 laps to win.

3. Chase Elliott Hits the Wall, and Still Wins – Charlotte Roval 2019

Chase Elliott seemed set to run away with the 2019 Charlotte Roval race after a stage 2 victory. However, on a restart towards the beginning of stage 3, Elliott locked up going into turn one and piledrove the tire barrier. The car was damaged, and it seemed Elliott’s day was done.

After falling to the back end of the lead lap, Elliott started working his way forward on a 23-lap green flag run, taking advantage of a rash of late cautions to make up even more ground. With 6 laps to go, Elliott took the lead back, and he walked away with an improbable Roval win.

2. Dale Earnhardt Goes From 18th to 1st – Talladega 2000

With 4 laps to go in the 2000 Winston 500 at Talladega, all seemed lost for Dale Earnhardt. Mired back ni 18th place in a swarming pack of cars, a win seemed out of the picture. However, “The Intimidator” would not be denied.

He darted through the pack, filling every open gap he could, drafting his way to the front of the field. Eventually, Earnhardt passed both his teammate, Mike Skinners, and his son Dale Earnhardt Jr. on the last lap. Earnhardt took home the win, which would be his 76th and final career NASCAR win.

1. Bill Elliott Comes From 2 Laps Down – Talladega 1985

Bill Elliott was the driver to beat on superspeedways in 1985, and that was shown during the 1985 Winston 500 at Talladega. Elliott fell two laps down early due to mechanical problems, and it seemed his race was over. Well, people forgot that Elliott had the fastest stock car on the planet that day.

Elliott made up 2 laps to take the lead once again late in the race. Oh, by the way, he had no caution flags to bunch the field back up. He made up over 5 miles exclusively under green flag conditions. Likely something that would never happen again, and Elliott went on to win the race.

These comebacks show NASCAR fans that they should never turn off a race or leave the track early. Something crazy just might happen.

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Picture of Joshua Lipowski

Joshua Lipowski

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