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CP MOTORSPORTS: TOM HIGGINS: A MEMORABLE SOUTHERN 500 AND THE LEGEND OF MILLION DOLLAR BILL

 

It appeared that Bill Elliott’s bid for a $1 million bonus had gone up in smoke.

A thick, white plume enveloped his Ford in turn four and down the frontstretch at Darlington Raceway in the Southern 500 on Sept. 1, 1985.

The smoke was spewing from a Ford driven by leader Cale Yarborough. There seemed no way a blinded Elliott, following closely, could get through it from second place without losing control and crashing.

As Yarborough slowed, Elliott flashed from the fog, taking the lead on the 324th of 367 laps at the historic 1.366-mile track. He never gave up the front spot, although Yarborough rallied from a failed power steering line—not a blown engine as thought—to mount a strong challenge.

CP MOTORSPORTS: TOM HIGGINS: A MEMORABLE SOUTHERN 500 WITH NED

 

On Sept. 5, 1965, the eve of the Southern 500, NASCAR star Ned Jarrett spoke to a Methodist Youth Fellowship group at a church near Darlington.

As the articulate Jarrett prepared to depart, the impressed kids followed him to his car. “They said very sincerely that they were going to pray for me to be safe and do well in the race,” said Jarrett, the sanctioning body’s 1961 premier series champion.

Hickory native Jarrett started his Bondy Long-owned Ford 10th in a 44-car field led by pole winner Junior Johnson.

CP MOTORSPORTS - NASCAR'S BETTY JANE FRANCE PASSES

 

Betty Jane France, a philanthropist in support of children’s health causes, passed away Monday evening. France is the mother of NASCAR Chairman and CEO Brian France and International Speedway Corporation CEO Lesa France Kennedy.
 
A native of Winston-Salem, North Carolina, the former Betty Jane Zachary was the widow of the late NASCAR Chairman and CEO William C. France, who passed away in 2007. Betty Jane France was executive vice president and assistant treasurer of NASCAR and the chairwoman emeritus of the NASCAR Foundation.

NASCAR SPRINT CUP - KYLE LARSON CAPTURES EMOTIONAL FIRST VICTORY AT MICHIGAN

 

Kyle Larson, driver of the #42 Target Chevrolet, takes the checkered flag to win the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Pure Michigan 400 at Michigan International Speedway on August 28, 2016 in Brooklyn, Michigan. (Jeff Zelevansky/NASCAR via Getty Images)

In the last few laps of Sunday’s Pure Michigan 400 at Michigan International Speedway, tears began to well up in Kyle Larson’s eyes.

When Larson subsequently took the checkered flag to win the first NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race of his career, the emotion was all but overwhelming—and for good reason.

The victory came in Larson’s 99th start in the series, long after most observers expected Larson to record his first win. It also broke a 99-race drought for Chip Ganassi Racing, dating to Jamie McMurray’s victory at Talladega in October 2013.

CP MOTORSPORTS: TOM HIGGINS: A MEMORABLE SOUTHERN 500 WITH JUNIOR

 

Junior Johnson didn’t hesitate when asked what he planned to do with the victor’s winnings from the Southern 500 on Sept. 3, 1962, at Darlington Raceway.

“I’m going to build some more chicken houses,” said the popular

Johnson, a folk hero and former moonshine hauler who was also a poultry producer who drove race cars very fast.

But even as Johnson envisioned carpenters hammering nails on his Wilkes County farm, some rivals were hollering “foul!”

X-FINITY SERIES - MCDOWELL GETS FIRST NASCAR WIN AT ROAD AMERICA

 

Michael McDowell drives the #2 Rheem Chevrolet poses with the trophy after his victory at the NASCAR Xfinity Series Road America 180 fired up by Johnsonville at Road America on August 27, 2016 in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin. (Michael McDowell drives the #2 at Road America on August 27, 2016 in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin.)

Michael McDowell’s Twitter handle is @Mc_Driver.

After Saturday, he may want to consider changing it -- to something like @Mc_Winner.

McDowell led 24 of the final 25 laps of the NASCAR XFINITY Series Road America 180 Fired Up by Johnsonville for his first victory in 94 series races.

NASCAR TRUCKS - BRETT MOFFITT BEATS RED HORSE TEAMMATE TO CHECKERS AT MICHIGAN

 

Brett Moffitt, driver of the #11 Red Horse Racing Toyota, races during the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Careers for Veterans 200 at Michigan International Speedway on August 27, 2016 in Brooklyn, Michigan. (Jeff Zelevansky/NASCAR via Getty Images)

In five NASCAR Camping World Truck Series starts, Brett Moffitt had never led a lap.

But in Saturday’s Careers for Veterans 200 at Michigan International Speedway, Moffitt picked the perfect time to take the point for the first time.

 

CP MOTORSPORTS – MONTE DUTTON: ROSIN, RESIN, TOMATOES, TOHMAHTOES

Rain is awful.

At this point, someone is reading this and thinking, ah, but we need it.

I don’t like a drought any more than the next guy. If it didn’t rain, I couldn’t mow the lawn. I’m just not fond of the recent timing. They don’t need the rain in Louisiana right now. They didn’t need the rain in Bristol. That was a great race strung out over a night, a day and another night.

CP MOTORSPORTS: TOM HIGGINS: BIG DALE JARRETT WINS BIG

 

As Dale Jarrett’s career as a second generation NASCAR star progressed, he gradually gained a reputation for being at his best in the biggest events.

This was punctuated into stock car racing lore on Aug. 4, 1986, at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

As the Cup Series teams gather once again at the world’s most famous track, standing out in memory is Jarrett’s clutch pass of Ford teammate Ernie Irvan six laps from the finish to win the third running of the Brickyard 400.

CP MOTORSPORTS - HARVICK WINS RAIN-DELAYED SPRINT CUP RACE AT BRISTOL

 

Past Sprint Cup Champion Kevin Harvick outlasted both the soggy weather and his opponents en route to a victory in Sunday's rescheduled Bass Pro Shops NRA Night Race at Bristol Motor Speedway. 

The win for Harvick, who finished 1.933 seconds ahead of second place finisher Ricky Stenhouse, Jr., is his second victory of the 2016 season and his second career victory at Bristol. Harvick's other triumph at Bristol came all the way back in the Spring of 2005. 

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