Dale Earnhardt Bristol
Photo: ISC Archives

This Day in NASCAR History: April 1

April 1, 2017 – Chase Elliott won the NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series Alpha Energy Solutions 250 at Martinsville Speedway for his second series victory. Elliott took advantage of contact between Christopher Bell and Austin Cindric to speed by for the top spot on Lap 234 and was able stay in front the rest of the way.

April 1, 2012 – Ryan Newman outran AJ Allmendinger to the checkered flag to score a thrilling victory in a wild ending to the Goody’s Fast Relief 500 at Martinsville Speedway. Newman prevailed in a green-white-checkered finish to score his first victory of the season. Jeff Gordon dominated the race and was locked in an epic battle with Hendrick Motorsports teammate Jimmie Johnson for the lead as the race wound down. But a late-race caution, brought out when David Reutimann came to a stop on the track, bunched the field up for a restart that saw Clint Bowyer try to make a three-wide move inside of Gordon and Johnson racing through Turn 1. Bowyer made contact and Gordon’s car collided with Johnson’s to trigger a chain reaction accident that before it ended saw Newman slip by for the lead.

April 1, 2007 – Jimmie Johnson won the Goody’s Cool Orange 500 at Martinsville Speedway when he held off his Hendrick Motorsports teammate Jeff Gordon. After Gordon raced him clean in the closing laps, Johnson was able to hold on for the victory by a scant 0.065 seconds, his third win in the first six races of the 2007 season. However, on the final lap, Gordon tried his best and made contact with Johnson and got his car out of shape, allowing the No. 24 Chevrolet to get a strong run on the No. 48 Chevrolet headed to the checkered flag.

April 1, 2006 – David Starr outran Ted Musgrave to the checkered flag to win a caution-filled Kroger 250 at Martinsville Speedway. In front of a crowd of 43,000, Starr won his fourth and final NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series race. After pitting once on Lap 55, Starr led 121 laps to pick-up the win by three truck lengths over Musgrave in the race that featured 16 cautions. Clint Bowyer, who made his first series start, led one time for 84 laps early in the race.

April 1, 2001 – Dale Jarrett took the lead from Johnny Benson with six laps to go and then held off Steve Park to score the victory in the Harrah’s 500 at Texas Motor Speedway. Jarrett led the most laps – 122 of 334 – and came from sixth on the final restart with 18 to go.

April 1, 2000 – Mark Martin won for the second consecutive time at Texas Motor Speedway in the NASCAR Xfinity (Busch) Series when he took the checkered flag in the Albertson’s 300. Martin led 38 laps en route to his third Texas win ahead of Matt Kenseth, who led 41 laps. The race was delayed by rain for nearly four hours and ended under the lights. Martin’s win was his fourth in his first five series starts of the season.

April 1, 1995 – Steve Grissom won the Goody’s 250 at Bristol Motor Speedway. He got by Mark Martin, who led 196 laps, and with 23 laps to go led the rest of the way in the race that ended under caution. It was the ninth of 11th NASCAR Xfinity (Busch) Series wins for Grissom, who swept both races at BMS in 1995.

April 1, 1990 – Dale Earnhardt won the TranSouth 500 at Darlington Raceway after leading 129 laps. The win was his second in the run of three straight at “the track too tough to tame.” Mark Martin and Davey Allison finished second and third, respectively.

April 1, 1989 – Geoffrey Bodine captured his second consecutive win in the spring NASCAR Xfinity (Busch Grand National) Series race in the Country Squire 200. Bodine led 68 laps and won the race ahead of Mark Martin for his sixth career series win.

April 1, 1984 – Darrell Waltrip captured his seventh straight win at Bristol Motor Speedway in the Valleydale 500 after leading 205 laps. The win was his ninth of 12 overall at the half-mile oval.

April 1, 1979 – Dale Earnhardt scored his first career NASCAR Cup Series win at Bristol Motor Speedway in the Southeastern 500. It was his first of two consecutive victories in the spring race, and nine overall, at the half-mile track. Earnhardt, who went on to win Rookie of the year in 1979, led 163 laps in the No. 2 Chevrolet for Rod Osterlund that day at Bristol.

April 1, 1973 – David Pearson won the Atlanta 500 after leading 155 laps. The win was one of 11 in only 18 starts that season driving the No. 21 for the Wood Brothers.