On February 13, 1982, Dale Earnhardt crossed the finish line first in the Goody’s 300 at Daytona International Speedway to win the inaugural race in what is now known as the NASCAR Nationwide Series. Twenty-three champions and 136 race winners later, NASCAR’s No. 2 series approaches an historic milestone – its 1,000th race, on Sept. 6 at Richmond International Raceway (7:30 p.m. ET on ESPN2, Motor Racing Network Radio, SiriusXM Satellite Radio).
Through the years, drivers, owners and fans have witnessed some of the best racing in motorsports in the NASCAR Nationwide Series, beginning with Jack Ingram’s championship run in 1982, the series’ inaugural season.
Ingram drove the self-owned No. 11 Pontiac to seven wins that season, followed by five victories in 1985 to claim his second title. Next Friday at Richmond, Elliott Sadler will pilot the No. 11 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota carrying a paint scheme honoring Ingram’s upcoming enshrinement into the NASCAR Hall of Fame on Jan. 29, 2014.
“The NASCAR Nationwide Series always has been a perfect blend of young and veteran drivers, providing some of the most compelling and entertaining racing in motorsports,” said Mike Helton, NASCAR president. “We are very pleased with the progress the series has made over the last 32 years and continues to make in terms of competition, technology and providing a truly memorable experience for its legions of fans.”
Over the last 999 races, there have been a multitude of highlights that weave together the colorful tales of its drivers and epic battles on the track. Some of the top moments from the NASCAR Nationwide Series’ stories history include:
The NASCAR Nationwide Series long has been a proving ground for drivers trying to earn a seat in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. There are eight NASCAR Sprint Cup champions who competed in the NASCAR Nationwide Series before making their way to NASCAR’s top level: Alan Kulwicki, Dale Jarrett, Bobby Labonte, Jeff Gordon, Tony Stewart, Matt Kenseth, Jimmie Johnson and Brad Keselowski. Keselowski is the only driver to have won titles in NASCAR’s top two series.