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Greatest NASCAR moments: Nos. 20-11
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The final masterpieceMoment Number 20: Dale Earnhardt records his final career victory at Talladega
Date: October 15, 2000
Location: Talladega Superspeedway. Talladega, Ala.
Top 50 NASCAR moments 50-41| 40-31| 30-21| 20-11| 10-1 Top moments in pictures
'It's going to be a drag race all the way back to the start/finish line'Moment Number 19: Kevin Harvick wins 2007 Daytona 500 by .02 seconds over Mark Martin
Date: February 18, 2007
Location: Daytona International Speedway. Daytona Beach, Fla. What happened: Almost a year to the date that the epic 2007 Daytona 500 took place, people continue to ask themselves one question: Where did Kevin Harvick come from? As the field came down for the final restart of the event under green/white/checkered conditions, it was then-race leader Mark Martin who looked to be heading towards a fairy tale finish as he appeared to be closing in on his first victory in 23 career Daytona 500 starts. Things were looking to be going to plan from the time Martin took the green flag to when he accepted the white flag, as he blocked second-place Kyle Busch from making any last gasp moves to take over the lead. But just when it looked like Martin defended his last attack, Kevin Harvick charged up the outside as the field entered Turn 3. Side-by-side, Harvick edged ahead of Martin as carnage started taking place behind them. Unlike past precedents, NASCAR decides against throwing out a caution, allowing Harvick and Martin to drag race down to the finish, where the driver of the No. 29 Shell Chevrolet won by a margin of 0.020 seconds. With the triumph, Harvick created a new record for lowest starting position for a race winner (34th) and for fewest laps led by a race winner (four total out of 202). Perhaps just as spectacular as the victory was the fireworks behind the first- and second-place drivers. Cars were wrecking and smashing into one another. And for one driver, the contact actually flipped his car but did so with enough momentum that he slid past the start/finish line. Mike Joy, NASCAR on FOX race announcer: This one is ranked too low, and as years go by will probably move to the top 10. It is certainly one of the top Daytona 500 finishes of all time. And yes, letting the leaders race to the flag was the right call. Dick Berggren, NASCAR on FOX pit reporter: I was on the pit wagon beside Ryan Pemberton watching his driver Mark Martin lose by inches! None of us could believe what was happening. Who wouldn't want Mark to win the Daytona 500?
The advent of the "Polish Victory Lap"Moment Number 18: Alan Kulwicki scores first career win
Date: November 6, 1988 Location: Phoenix International Raceway. Avondale, AZ. What happened: NASCAR fans love the story of the underdog, and perhaps the last true "underdog" of the sport was Alan Kulwicki. One of the last driver/owners to go through the sport, Kulwicki earned 1987 Rookie of the Year honors and slowly built a following for his dedication to the sport. However, it wasn't until late 1988 that he would break through in the win column. Competing in the inaugural Checker 500, Kulwicki took advantage of an engine failure that took out race leader Ricky Rudd, who had led 183 laps on the day with just under 20 laps remaining. Lead in hand, Kulwicki ran away with the victory that night, finishing the race 18.5-seconds ahead of second place Terry Labonte. As a sign of respect to his fans, the driver of the No. 7 Zerex machine celebrated his victory by doing a reverse victory lap, the "Polish victory lap," so that way he could put his window net down and thank the fans. Mike Joy, NASCAR on FOX race announcer: What Alan Kulwicki accomplished as an owner/driver made several good "independent" drivers hang up their helmets. I've never known anyone so focused, and so driven. Alan wanted his first win to be memorable, and he deserves to be in this top dozen of highlights.
'I won the Daytona 500!'Moment Number 17: Darrell Waltrip wins after 17 tries does the Ickey Shuffle
Date: February 19, 1989 Location: Daytona International Speedway. Daytona Beach, Fla. What happened: Along with respecting the little guy who is challenging the giants of the sport, NASCAR fans are also very respecting when they see a driver finally overcome his demons to conquer a particular track. For Darrell Waltrip, that demon was Daytona. Waltrip, once a villain who was capturing more and more fan appeal by the late '80s, secured his following in the 1989 Daytona 500 by finally winning the Great American Race on his 17th try driving car No. 17 for Rick Hendrick. Using fuel mileage to his advantage, DW went a seemingly endless 53 laps on just one tank of gas at Daytona International Speedway. By stretching his fuel consumption, Waltrip was able to build a 7.64-second advantage over Hendrick Motorsports teammate Ken Schrader, who led a race high 114 of 200 laps but finished second. Finally in Victory Lane at Daytona, a track he had visited 32 times in the past without a similar result, Waltrip's emotions were on display for the world to see, screaming out in Victory Lane "I won the Daytona 500!" and performing the Ickey Shuffle dance -- the endzone dance made famous by Bengals fullback Elbert "Ickey" Woods in the late 80s. Mike Joy, NASCAR on FOX race announcer: 17th try to win the race. Car #17, pit stall #17, race day: February 17th. Heck, he probably even finished the race with 17 ounces of fuel left in the tank! Chris Myers, NASCAR on FOX Prerace host: Darrell Waltrip winning after 17 years! The raw emotion and enthusiasm doing that "Ickey Shuffle" or something like it in his Tide gear, was one of the most genuine moments I've ever seen in sports.
Taking turnsMoment Number 16: 75 lead changes in one race
Date: May 6, 1984
Location: Talladega Superspeedway. Talladega, Ala. What happened: With the slingshot pass working in full effect, the May 6, 1984 Talladega race will surely be remembered as one of the most competitive, if not most thrilling, in history. Starting off with polesitter Bill Elliott, who qualified with a top speed of 202.692 mph, the race saw a whopping 75 lead changes among 13 different drivers. Although Benny Parsons led the most laps on the day, 56 total, it was Cale Yarborough who grabbed the lead from Harry Gant on the final lap to win the Winston 500.
Presidential momentMoment Number 15: Richard Petty's 200th win in front of President Ronald Reagan
Date: July 4, 1984
Location: Daytona International Speedway. Daytona Beach, Fla.
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Family affairMoment Number 14: Bobby Allison defeats his son Davey to become the oldest driver to win Daytona 500
Date: February 14, 1988
Location: Daytona International Speedway. Daytona Beach, Fla. What happened: While the 1988 Daytona 500 had more than its share of historical significance, beginning with the fact that this was the first restrictor-plate race in history, nothing trumps the fact that the world got to witness a thrilling father-son battle to decide the winner of the event. Bobby Allison, a former two-time winner of the Great American Race, was in strong contention to win his third in 1988 after driving his No. 12 Miller High Life Buick for the Stavola Brothers for a race total of 70 laps on the lead that afternoon. But if he was to hold on to the victory, he would have to hold off his son Davey who was charging strong towards the end of the event. Davey made his move, trying to make the pass in Turns 3 and 4 late in the event, but it was to no avail as Bobby held off all comers to win the event by two car lengths over his son and third-place finisher Phil Parsons. To date, this remains the last father-son 1-2 finish in NASCAR history.
The Dale and Dale showMoment Number 13: Dale Jarrett wins over Dale Earnhardt, while Jarrett's father, Ned, commentates the race from the booth
Date: February 14, 1993 Location: Daytona International Speedway. Daytona Beach, Fla. For each disappointment Dale Earnhardt faced at the Daytona 500, there was always a great back story that made it okay to celebrate the other person's victory and keep cheering for The Man in Black's breakthrough. In 1993, that back story involved three people. With his father Ned in the television booth, and his mother Martha sitting in her van so as to keep her emotions in check, Dale Jarrett was able to charge forward and take over the lead of the Great American race on the final lap from Dale Earnhardt, who had led 107 laps on the day. "Exactly like you told me all along Dad, thanks for everything, I appreciate it," Jarrett told his father, who at the time was a broadcaster for CBS. "This is a great day ... You came so close in 1963 when you ran out of fuel, I thought we'd get this one for the whole family." Although he led just eight laps total, the fifth fewest total for a Daytona 500 winner to date, he was able to win his first race for Joe Gibbs Racing, and second of his career, by a margin of 0.16-seconds over Earnhardt and Geoffrey Bodine. Rounding out the top five on the day was Hut Stricklin and rookie Jeff Gordon, who led the first two laps of what is still is an illustrious career. Mike Joy, NASCAR on FOX race announcer: I was a pit reporter on that telecast, and as the cars reached turn two on the final lap, producer Bob Stenner hit the "all call" key and told us "Everybody lay out! Ned ... call your boy home." The next minute of live television was priceless, as the "Dale and Dale show" played out to the delight of one of racing's great families. Steve Byrnes, NASCAR on FOX and SPEED host and reporter: Dale Jarrett's 1993 win with his dad, Ned in the CBS broadcast booth calling the race. I worked with Ned Jarrett from 1985 to 1990, and knew intimately about the struggles Dale had endured. It was also a race Ned had never won.
Kulwicki takes the title by 10 pointsMoment Number 12: Alan Kulwicki wins enough points to win claim title
Date: November 15, 1992
Location: Atlanta Motor Speedway. Hampton, Ga.
Beating and banging until the endMoment Number 11: Ricky Craven holds off Kurt Busch to win by .002 seconds
Date: March 16, 2003
Location: Darlington Raceway. Darlington, S.C. What happened: "How close can you get it?" That was the question asked by NASCAR on FOX announcer Mike Joy after calling the side-by-side duel between Ricky Craven and Kurt Busch at Darlington Raceway on March 16, 2003. The answer? 0.002 seconds. Since taking the lead on lap 270 of 293, Busch worked well out front blocking any and all challenges for the lead ... until Craven found his way right next to him with three laps to go. Although Craven could not take the lead when they went side-by-side, he showed he was not scared to knock fenders as the two rammed into each other going into Turn 1. That moment proved to be prophetic as the two once again collided on the final lap of the race when Busch started dropping down on Craven coming off Turn 4. The two continued beating and banging up until the checkered flag, where Craven was able to stick his Pontiac's nose in front for the closest victory in NASCAR history. Don't forget to tune in this Sunday, Feb. 17, at 2 p.m. ET for the running of the 50th Daytona 500 on FOX.