Charlotte Motor Speedway is known for the often frantic battles for the win. Drivers step up in the closing laps of the NASCAR Sprint Cup races at the track, creating some memorable moments and races over the years. Carl Edwards, seen here celebrating his win after tearing up his car racing across the frontstretch, knows all about the unforeseen happening at the track. But what are some of the best races and racing moments in the track's history? Take a look.
2000 all-star race
Before he was known for his ability to contend for wins, Dale Earnhardt Jr. made his mark on the sport. In 2000, his rookie season, Earnhardt Jr. and his team opted to pit for four tires late in the race - and then started charging back through the traffic. Dale Jarrett, his car coughing smoke, held the lead at the white flag. Earnhardt Jr. pulled to his outside and slowly pulled past Jarrett - to take the prestigious win in his rookie year.
1996 all-star race
In 1996, Michael Waltrip was hungering for a win. The Cup driver had been racing 10 seasons without a victory, a stretch of 309 Cup races, but raced his way into the main event during the all-star weekend. A field inversion put him in contention, then he watched as frontrunners Terry Labonte and Dale Earnhardt almost wrecked vying for the lead – and then slipped past them. Driving for the Wood Brothers, he earned his first career victory and became the first driver to win the race after earning a bid through a qualifying race.
1997 all-star race
The name would be legendary, even years later. The T-Rex. Named for it's Jurassic Park paint scheme and designer Rex Stump, it is one of the hottest cars ever brought to a NASCAR track. Everything about Jeff Gordon's car was legal - it passed inspection before dominating the 1997 all-star race and NASCAR had been told that it was a project to push the envelope. But thanks to ensuing tightening of the rules and some of the gray areas exploited, it would never appear at a NASCAR track again.
1961 World 600
David Pearson was known for having a certain flair in his racing career. That started in 1961. At that time, a good car and a good driver could pick up several laps on the field and pull away to a win. While that wasn't unusual, Pearson added another element to it in this race when he blew a tire with a lap to go - and still managed to ride around on the wheel and take the checkered flag.
2005 Coca-Cola 600
Before he was a five-time champion, Jimmie Johnson was already making history. In 2005, Johnson and Bobby Labonte waged a stellar battle for the win in the Coca-Cola 600. In the end, Johnson edged Labonte by .27 of a second, the closest margin of victory in the race.
1966 World 600
In the 1966 World 600, Marvin Panch and Richard Petty proved to be a tough combo. Panch took the lead as cars began to fall out of the race, but he wasn't able to run the entire race. Burned in an accident earlier in his career, he told the Associated Press after the race that the burns were being rubbed by the seat. He knew that teammate Richard Petty had already been sidelined in the race, so Petty stepped in as a relief driver with 120 laps to go and held on for the win.
1965 National 400
In 1965, things really heated up at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Fred Lorensen, A.J. Foyt and Dick Hutcherson treated fans to some stellar racing. They went three wide battling for the lead - and maintained the heated push for 44 laps. It was unlike racing seen in the past. Then, with six laps to go, Foyt hit the wall and was out of contention. Finally, Lorenzen surged ahead of Hutcherson and held on for the win.
1992 all-star race
In 1992, Charlotte Motor Speedway moved into a new era, adding lights for the races. And what a night race it was. Kyle Petty restarted in the lead following a late caution, trailed closely by Dale Earnhardt and Davey Allison. Earnhardt took the lead, then Petty challenged him with four to go. Earnhardt crashed on the final lap. Petty slowed and Allison caught him. Then those two made contact right before Allison took the checkered flag. Allison lost control, though, and hit the retaining wall. He waved to the crowd just before being taken to the hospital, missing out on the chance to celebrate his win.
1987 - Pass in the grass
The race is known not for a crash, but for Dale Earnhardt’s fantastic save, dubbed the "Pass in the Grass." Earnhardt and Bill Elliott had been fighting for the lead when Earnhardt came down toward Elliott. He slid across in front of Elliott – and into the grass. He maintained his straight line, though, and moved back up on the track and kept the lead. He went on to win the race.
1989 all-star race
Things sure can change fast in NASCAR, something the 1989 all-star race proved. Darrell Waltrip was leading Rusty Wallace to the checkered flag when Wallace tagged Waltrip coming off the final turn – and sent him sliding across the infield grass. Crews scuffled over the outcome. Wallace won the race, but an angry Waltrip won the day. He gained fan support and Wallace became viewed as the overly aggressive driver in the series.