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The Best Races to Watch on NASCAR Classics from BEFORE The Modern Era

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Joshua Lipowski

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NASCAR's new "NASCAR Classics" website has become incredibly popular amongst the NASCAR community. NASCAR has a lot of races from well back in NASCAR history featured on the website. What are the best races that NASCAR has featured on the site from before NASCAR's modern era?

NASCAR’s new “NASCAR Classics” website has become incredibly popular amongst the NASCAR community. NASCAR has a lot of races from well back in NASCAR history featured on the website. What are the best races that NASCAR has featured on the site from before NASCAR’s modern era?

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5. 1963 Daytona 500

The 1963 Daytona 500 featured one of the most improbable winners in NASCAR history. Tiny Lund ended up piloting the 21 car for the Wood Brothers after 1961 Daytona 500 winner, Marvin Panch, was saved by Lund after a fiery crash in the lead-up to the race. As Lund was driving the car towards the front, an incredible race was going on up front.

Superstars like Ned Jarrett, Fireball Roberts, A.J. Foyt, and Fred Lorenzen swapped the lead throughout the day. It came down to fuel mileage, and Tiny Lund was able to save just enough fuel to win the race.

4. 1969 Daytona 500

The first Daytona 500 to be settled by a last-lap pass. LeeRoy Yarbrough had been beaten late by Cale Yarborough the season prior, and he was not going to be denied on this day. He slowly worked his way through the field throughout the day before taking the lead for the first time with 40 laps to go.

After Charlie Glotzbach took the lead with 23 laps to go, Yarbrough was charging hard in the final laps. Yarbrough passed Glotzbach heading into turn three on the final lap. Yarbrough would hold on to win the 11th Daytona 500.

3. 1968 Southern 500

The 1968 Southern 500 was a battle between two NASCAR Hall of Famers. Cale Yarborough was driving the iconic number 21 car for the Wood Brothers, and David Pearson was in his prime driving for Holman-Moody. Two iconic drivers, two iconic cars, and the iconic Southern 500 at Darlington.

Yarborough dominated the race down the stretch as he led 146 of the final 161 laps, taking the lead from David Pearson. In the final laps, Pearson would try to find a way around Yarborough, but to no avail. Yarborough would win by four car lengths.

2. 1951 Motor City 250

1951 was only the third year of the NASCAR Cup Series, and the fact that NASCAR was able to preserve footage of a 1951 race was truly remarkable. In those days, stock cars were truly “Stock cars”. They looked exactly like those on the showroom floor in those days.

According to Racing Reference, this race featured 59 cars on a 1.0-mile dirt track. Imagine a NASCAR race at Dover or New Hampshire with 59 cars today. This is simply an incredible time capsule to what NASCAR was originally.

1. 1959 Daytona 500

The race that was meant to show just how fast a stock car could go, the Daytona 500, was born in 1959. NASCAR Classics preserved a version of this race as well, and is it incredible. In those days, a track this big with banks this steep was simply unheard of.

Cars and drivers were pushed to their absolute limit on this track, and that was shown in this caution-free race. The story has been told for decades. From the photo finish to deciding the race three days later. One of the most significant moments in NASCAR history.

This is only a sliver of what NASCAR Classics has to offer. What more could be added to that website?

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Picture of Joshua Lipowski

Joshua Lipowski

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