Given that Charlotte Motor Speedway opened way back in 1960, it’s hardly surprising that the 1.5-mile track has seen a lot of feats of greatness over the years.
And if you check the record book, you’ll find a lot of firsts, including these nine drivers who made their first start at Charlotte in what is now the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series.
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Michael Waltrip, 1985
Waltrip was just 22 years old when he made his first Cup start in the Coca-Cola 600, where he started 24th and finished 28th. Waltrip was one of 20 drivers who were DNFs in the race, sidelined by transmission failure on Lap 278.
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Elliott Sadler, 1998
The popular Virginia driver qualified 31st in the Coca-Cola 600, but the engine failed in his Gary Bechtel-owned Chevrolet after 208 laps and he finished 42nd.
Dale Earnhardt Jr., 1999
On a hot Carolina night when Tony Stewart ran the Indy 500-Coca-Cola 600 double, Earnhardt Jr. qualified eighth and finished 16th in his Cup debut in the No. 8 Dale Earnhardt Inc. Chevrolet. A year later in this race, Earnhardt would get his first career Cup pole.
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Jimmie Johnson, 2001
In his Cup debut in the UAW-GM Quality 500, Johnson qualified 15th but crashed on Lap 192, finishing a disappointing 39th in a 43-car field. Fortunately for Johnson, he recovered from that stumble and went on to win eight points races and four all-star races at Charlotte, plus seven Cup championships.
Brian Vickers, 2003
Wow. Vickers, the youngest NASCAR XFINITY Series champion, was just 19 years old when he made his Cup debut in the UAW-GM Quality 500. In that race, he started 20th and finished 33rd.
Just a few weeks back, Stenhouse got his first Cup victory at Talladega. But his first Cup race was the Coca-Cola 600, where he performed very well. Driving the No. 21 Wood Brothers Racing Ford, Stenhouse qualified ninth and finished 11th.
Three drivers made their respective Cup debuts in the 2013 Bank of America 500. Driving the Leavine Family Racing Ford, Koch started 43rd and finished 38th, retiring after 216 laps with a vibration. He’s only made five Cup starts since.
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Brian Scott, 2013
A driver who turned out to have a short career, Scott started 19th and finished 27th in the Bank of America 500, where he drove a Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet. Scott decided to retire after last season to spend more time with his family.
Right now, Larson is the Cup points leader, enjoying a breakout season with Chip Ganassi Racing. But his start in Cup series was a little bit humbling as he qualified 21st and finished 37th in the Bank of America 500 after the engine let go in his Harry Scott-owned Chevrolet on Lap 247.