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HomeNASCAR NewsThanksgiving Races in NASCAR: Past Events and Contentious Showdowns

Thanksgiving Races in NASCAR: Past Events and Contentious Showdowns

Thanksgiving Races in NASCAR: Thanksgiving sparks reflection, even in the world of NASCAR, where the historic question arises: has there ever been a race scheduled for this turkey-filled holiday in the sport’s 75-year legacy?

Surprisingly, there were a few instances, mostly around Thanksgiving weekend, and once on the actual day. Yet, such occurrences haven’t graced the 21st century tracks.

In 1960, Ned Jarrett’s victory at Columbia Speedway (Dirt) unfolded a year earlier in 1959, though his standings were recorded for the following year. Notably, just three years later, the Turkey Day 200 at Tar Heel Speedway took place on Thanksgiving, with Glen Wood dominating until an engine failure.

The 2001 New Hampshire 300 nearly touched Thanksgiving’s edge but missed the actual day. Originally set for September 16th, the event respectfully deferred after the tragedy of 9/11. Rescheduled for November 23rd, just after Thanksgiving, the race faced scorching heat, leading to tire problems, and NASCAR had to intervene with cautions for tire checks.

Merely five days before this event, Jeff Gordon secured his fourth Cup Series (Winston Cup) championship. His performance at New Hampshire was impressive, but the race etched its name for the intense showdown between Jeff and Robby Gordon in its closing laps.

Thanksgiving Races in NASCAR (2)

Their fierce battle resulted in repeated contact between the two, ultimately pushing Jeff out of the top 10, allowing Robby to claim his inaugural Winston Cup victory.

Addressing the press afterward, Jeff Gordon openly expressed his sentiments about the race, admitting, “I wish I could’ve deflated his tire so he wouldn’t have won. I know it wasn’t the fairest move, but neither were his actions.”

Jeff’s disappointment stemmed from Robby’s aggressive racing style, suggesting that the latter should feel uneasy about winning under those contentious circumstances.

Our Reader’s Queries

What races are on Thanksgiving Day?

Looking for a fun way to celebrate Thanksgiving? Check out these exciting events happening in Benicia, Fairfield, and Belmont Shore! The ‘Hand Up’ Thanksgiving Turkey Trot and Costume Contest in Benicia, the Thanksgiving Day Solano Turkey Trot and Kids’ Fun Run in Fairfield, and the Turkey Trot 5 & 10 K Run in Belmont Shore are all great options for getting active and enjoying the holiday. Whether you’re a seasoned runner or just looking for a fun way to spend the day, these events are sure to be a hit. So why not lace up your sneakers and join in the fun?

Who won the Thanksgiving Classic at Southern National Speedway?

Brenden Queen emerged victorious in the highly coveted Thanksgiving Classic at Southern National Motorsports Park, following an intense battle with Kaden Honeycutt and Josh Berry on Sunday. The race was nothing short of thrilling, with Queen ultimately coming out on top.

What is the most prestigious Nascar race?

The Daytona 500, which debuted in 1959 alongside the opening of the speedway, has been the Cup series’ season-opening race since 1982. Widely considered the most significant and esteemed event on the NASCAR calendar, it boasts the largest purse by a considerable margin.

Has Nascar ever raced in December?

NASCAR’s top series has hosted eight races in December, with one of its most significant events taking place on Dec. 1, 1963. This race, which preceded the Savannah event in the ’64 season, saw Wendell Scott emerge victorious in Jacksonville, Florida. Scott’s win remains the only one by an African-American at the highest level of stock car racing.

Khushal Bhatia
Khushal Bhatia
Khushal Bhatia, a distinguished BA (Hons) English graduate from St. Stephen College (University of Delhi) and a holder of a Post Graduate Diploma in Journalism (English) from IIMC Delhi, is an accomplished journalist. Currently affiliated with, Khushal is an expert in covering a range of sports topics with a specialization in motorsports, particularly NASCAR. His insightful articles explore the nuances of the sporting world, providing readers with comprehensive analysis and the latest updates. With a commitment to unbiased reporting, Khushal's expertise and authoritative voice make him a reliable source for sports enthusiasts.


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