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75 best NASCAR races list provides fans with unique ways to watch them

As part of its diamond anniversary celebration, NASCAR has released a list of its subjective 75 best NASCAR races that is also objectively the best way to consume them.

The sanctioning body unveiled a new website overnight on Wednesday, christened NASCAR Classics, making available for free high definition videos of over a thousand Cup Series races with features that allow fans to immediately jump in and experience the most pivotal moments in league history.

The archive dates all the way back to the Daytona Beach street race from 1951 and runs all the way through the Cook Out 400 at Richmond Raceway several weeks ago. In addition to being made available for free, the archive is also ad-free, and includes a ‘timeline’ feature that allows fans to seek out the biggest moments from any given event.

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In addition to the ‘timeline’ feature, fans can also navigate the races through dropdown menus that filter races by era, year or tracks. Users can also simply use a search function to find a specific they might want to re-watch — like ‘2007 Daytona 500’ for example.

The interactive website was built in-house by NASCAR alongside software company Twizted Design, the latter provides the over-the-top platform called Videoflow.

“NASCAR Classics is a significant addition to our digital content offerings that for the first time ever gives fans around the world free, uninterrupted access to enjoy decades of past NASCAR Cup Series action whenever and wherever they’d like,” said Tim Clark, senior vice president and chief digital officer at NASCAR.

Related: NASCAR schedule

Respectfully absent are races in which drivers were seriously absent or killed in competition. The NASCAR curated 75 greatest races list can be viewed below.

Best NASCAR races of all time – From 1 to 75

Feb 17, 1985; Daytona Bch, FL, USA FILE PHOTO; NASCAR Winston Cup driver Richard Petty (43) races alongside Dale Earnhardt Sr (3) during the Daytona 500 at the Daytona International Speedway. Mandatory Credit: Manny Rubio-USA TODAY Sports

1. Detroit, Aug. 12, 1951

As part of the 250th-anniversary celebration of the city of Detroit, NASCAR runs a 250-mile event at the Michigan State Fairgrounds. The race was won by Tommy Thompson, the only victory of his Cup career.

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2. Daytona, Feb. 10, 1952

For the second consecutive season, Marshall Teague wins at Daytona in his “Fabulous Hudson Hornet.”

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3. Darlington, Sept. 5, 1955

Four months after suffering serious injuries in a crash at Charlotte, Herb Thomas wins his third career Southern 500. The race was a complete sellout, with 50,000 tickets sold.

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4. Darlington, Aug. 26, 1956

Curtis Turner dominates the seventh running of the Southern 500, leading 224 of the race’s 364 laps en-route to victory.

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Related: NASCAR standings

5. Daytona, Feb. 23, 1958

Paul Goldsmith captures the final race on the Daytona beach course. He led all 39 laps in the event and held off Curtis Turner by just a few car lengths.

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6. Daytona, Feb. 22, 1959

The inaugural Daytona 500 ends in a photo finish between drivers Lee Petty and Johnny Beauchamp. It took Bill France Sr. three days to officially crown a winner of the event.

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J. Taylor Warren | NASCAR

7. Darlington, Sept. 4, 1961

Nelson Stacy pulls off the upset, passing Marvin Panch with less than 10 laps remaining and holding on to win the Southern 500. Panch was relieving Fireball Roberts in the No. 22 car after dropping out of the race early in his No. 42 for Petty Enterprises.

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8. Daytona, July 4, 1962

After winning his Daytona 500 qualifying race, as well as the Daytona 500, Fireball Roberts returns to Daytona in July and captures the 250-mile event at the track.

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9. Daytona, Feb. 24, 1963

Marvin Panch, driver of the Wood Brothers No. 21 Ford, misses the Daytona 500 after suffering injuries in a fiery crash. Panch was pulled out of the wreckage by Tiny Lund and was replaced in the 500 by Lund, who promptly went out and won the race.

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10. Charlotte, June 2, 1963

Race leader Junior Johnson blows a tire with four laps remaining. Fred Lorenzen takes advantage of Johnson’s misfortune to capture the victory.

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11. Darlington, Sept. 2, 1963

Fireball Roberts wins in what was the fastest Southern 500 at the time, at an average speed of 129.784 mph.

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12. Rockingham, Oct. 31, 1965

Curtis Turner captures the checkered flag in a race that sees 14 lead changes among seven drivers. It was the 17th and final victory of Turner’s career.

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13. Daytona, July 4, 1974

David Pearson backs off to allow Richard Petty to take the lead as the two drivers take the white flag. Pearson then uses his horsepower to slingshot past Petty for the win.

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14. Daytona, Feb. 15, 1976

The thrilling conclusion to the Daytona 500 sees race leaders Richard Petty and David Pearson crash in Turn 4, with Pearson limping past Petty’s demolished car for the victory.

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15. Daytona, Feb. 20, 1977

Janet Guthrie becomes the first woman to compete in the Daytona 500.

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16. Daytona, Feb. 18, 1979

Richard Petty wins the Daytona 500 in the first flag-to-flag coverage of a 500-mile race. His win is overshadowed by a late-race crash that ends with Cale Yarborough and the Allison brothers, Donnie and Bobby, brawling on the backstretch.

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17. Darlington, April 8, 1979

The final lap of this thriller at Darlington sees four lead changes as Darrell Waltrip holds off Richard Petty for the victory.

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18. Daytona, Feb. 15, 1981

A late-race pit stop helps propel Richard Petty to his seventh victory in the Daytona 500.

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19. Daytona, July 4, 1984

With President Ronald Reagan on hand on the Fourth of July, Richard Petty captured his 200th and final Cup Series victory.

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20. Talladega, July 29, 1984

Dale Earnhardt passes race leader Terry Labonte on the high side on the final lap at Talladega to grab the checkered flag. The race features an insane 68 lead changes.

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21. Darlington, Sep. 1, 1985

Bill Elliott makes history by becoming the first driver in series history to capture the Winston Million, a $1 million bonus to any driver who could win three of the four crown jewel races in a season.

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Syndication: The Tennessean
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22. Richmond, Feb. 23, 1986

Kyle Petty is the beneficiary of a hard late-race crash between Dale Earnhardt and Darrell Waltrip, grabbing his first career Cup Series win.

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23. Charlotte, May 25, 1987

The thrilling finish to the third annual All-Star Race sees race leader Geoffrey Bodine spin late. This sets up a battle that leads to the “Pass in the Grass,” with Earnhardt holding on as his car slid through the grass, keeping the lead in the process.

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24. Pocono, June 14, 1987

After missing the first 11 races of the 1987 season due to an illness, Tim Richmond returns at Pocono, leads the final 47 laps and grabs the checkered flag.

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25. Daytona, Feb. 14, 1988

It’s a special Valentine’s Day for the Allison family as Bobby Allison holds off his son Davey to win the Daytona 500. The duo celebrates together in Victory Lane.

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26. Phoenix, Nov. 6, 1988

Alan Kulwicki wins his first career Cup Series race. He celebrates with a “Polish Victory Lap,” which sees him drive counterclockwise around the track as he waves to the fans in the grandstand before taking his car to Victory Lane.

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27. Daytona, Feb. 19, 1989

Driving the No. 17 car for Rick Hendrick, Darrell Waltrip finally captures his first Daytona 500 victory in what was his 17th attempt.

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28. Charlotte, May 21, 1989

Contact from Rusty Wallace sends Darrell Waltrip around, as Wallace goes on to capture the All-Star event. This led to a brawl between the two teams in the pit area following the on-track incident.

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29. North Wilkesboro, Oct. 15, 1989

Late-race contact between leaders Dale Earnhardt and Ricky Rudd allows Geoffrey Bodine to get by to take the checkered flag and leaves both Earnhardt and Rudd trading words in the pits and through the broadcast following the race.

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30. Michigan, Aug. 18, 1991

The first victory of Dale Jarrett’s career comes in dramatic fashion as he holds off Davey Allison to capture the victory.

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31. Martinsville, Sep. 22, 1991

Harry Gant miraculously overcomes a late-race spin and some damage to capture his fourth consecutive Cup Series victory.

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32. Atlanta, Nov. 15, 1992

One of the most important races in NASCAR history sees Alan Kulwicki win the title over Bill Elliott and four other drivers who entered the race with a chance to win it. The race also marks the final start for Richard Petty and the debut of Jeff Gordon.

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33. Daytona, Feb. 14, 1993

“The Dale and Dale Show” sees Dale Jarrett hold off Dale Earnhardt to capture his first Daytona 500 triumph, as his father Ned Jarrett calls him home to the finish from the broadcast booth.

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34. Charlotte, May 30, 1993

Three different penalties couldn’t hold Dale Earnhardt down, as he recovers to win the 600-mile marathon.

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35. Charlotte, May 29, 1994

Sophomore sensation Jeff Gordon leads the final nine laps en-route to capturing his first career Cup Series victory.

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36. Indianapolis, Aug. 6, 1994

Pittsboro, Indiana’s Jeff Gordon captures the inaugural Brickyard 400 in front of more than 250,000 fans, after race leader Ernie Irvan cuts a tire in the final laps.

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37. Rockingham, Oct. 23, 1994

Dale Earnhardt holds off a last-second charge from Rick Mast to win at Rockingham, in turn clinching his record-tying seventh Cup Series title with two races left on the schedule.

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38. Bristol, Aug. 26, 1995

Terry Labonte limps his damaged and smoking No. 5 Chevrolet to Victory Lane after contact with Dale Earnhardt sends Labonte spinning across the start/finish line. Earnhardt is involved in a post-race altercation with Rusty Wallace that sees Wallace toss a water bottle at Earnhardt.

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39. Darlington, Aug. 31, 1997

Jeff Gordon joins Bill Elliott as the only drivers to capture the $1 million Winston Million bonus with his win in the Southern 500. Elliott leads the most laps in the event and finishes fourth.

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40. Daytona, Feb. 15, 1998

Twenty years of trying, 20 years of frustration: Dale Earnhardt holds off the field to finally capture his first Daytona 500 triumph.

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41. Bristol, Aug. 28, 1999

For the second time in four years, a last-lap battle at Bristol between Dale Earnhardt and Terry Labonte leaves with a damaged race car. This time though, it is Earnhardt taking the checkered flag.

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42. Atlanta, March 12, 2000

A thrilling photo finish sees Dale Earnhardt win by just 0.01 seconds over Bobby Labonte.

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43. Talladega, Oct. 15, 2000

Dale Earnhardt moves through the field, driving from 17th to first in the final six laps to capture what would be his 76th and final Cup Series victory.

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44. Rockingham, Feb. 26, 2001

As the NASCAR community was still shocked after losing Dale Earnhardt the previous week, his driver Steve Park captures the checkered flag at Rockingham. Park and his Daytona 500-winning teammate honor Earnhardt on the frontstretch following the race.

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45. Atlanta, March 11, 2001

Kevin Harvick holds off Jeff Gordon in a photo finish to capture his first Cup Series victory. Fittingly, it was just Harvick’s third career start after taking over the car following the passing of Dale Earnhardt.

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46. Daytona, July 7, 2001

Using lessons learned from his father, Dale Earnhardt Jr. goes from sixth to first to win the first race at Daytona after his dad passed away at the track in February.

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47. Darlington, March 16, 2003

“Craven got him!” Ricky Craven and Kurt Busch’s physical last-lap battle leads to the Craven edging Busch for the win by 0.002 seconds.

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48. Homestead, Nov. 21, 2004

An issue with Kurt Busch’s wheel leads to a tight battle for the championship, with Busch edging Jimmie Johnson and Jeff Gordon for the title by eight and sixteen points, respectively. This concludes the first Chase playoff format in series history.

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49. Atlanta, March 20, 2005

One day after capturing his first Xfinity Series victory, Carl Edwards defeats Jimmie Johnson by 0.028 seconds for his first win in the Cup Series.

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50. California, Sept. 4, 2005

Twenty-year-old Kyle Busch, the eventual Rookie of the Year, becomes the youngest winner in Cup Series history.

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51. Daytona, Feb. 18, 2007

One of the most dramatic Daytona 500 finishes ever sees Kevin Harvick edge Mark Martin at the line by 0.020 seconds, as Clint Bowyer slides across the start/finish line on his roof to finish 18th.

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52. Phoenix, April 21, 2007

Jeff Gordon’s 76th Cup Series victory ties Dale Earnhardt on the all-time wins list. Gordon honors Earnhardt after the race with a victory lap while holding a No. 3 flag.

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53. Watkins Glen, Aug. 12, 2007

Race leader Tony Stewart spins out of the lead, dropping back to 18th before recovering to take the checkered flag.

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54. Talladega, April 26, 2009

The first win of Brad Keselowski’s career comes in wild fashion, as he takes the checkered flag while Carl Edwards’ car crashes into the catchfence behind him.

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55. Daytona, Feb. 14, 2010

Thanks to a big push from Greg Biffle, Jamie McMurray holds off an epic last-lap run from Dale Earnhardt Jr. to capture his first Daytona 500 victory.

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56. Homestead, Nov. 20, 2011

Tony Stewart and Carl Edwards enter the season finale separated by just three points in the season standings. The race didn’t disappoint as the two drivers finish first and second in the race, creating a tie in points. Stewart captures the title thanks to a tiebreaker earned for winning more races than Edwards throughout the season.

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57. Watkins Glen, Aug. 12, 2012

Race leader Kyle Busch is turned by Brad Keselowski in the esses on the final lap, leading to an intense battle between Keselowski and Marcos Ambrose. The two drivers trade sheet metal on and off the track in a remarkable last-lap fight for the victory.

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58. Phoenix, Nov. 11, 2012

Jeff Gordon’s retaliation against Clint Bowyer leads to Bowyer sprinting across the garage to try to catch Gordon before a big scrum breaks out between the two teams. This overshadowed a green-white-checkered finish that sees Kevin Harvick win and multiple cars destroyed as they cross the start/finish line.

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59. Dover, June 2, 2013

Race-leader Jimmie Johnson is penalized for jumping the restart, setting up an intense late-race battle between Juan Pablo Montoya and eventual race winner Tony Stewart.

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60. Daytona, Feb. 23, 2014

Dale Earnhardt Jr. was the leader on the final restart and thanks to a handful of big blocks, he holds off the field to capture his second Daytona 500 victory.

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61. Homestead, Nov. 16, 2014

The first winner-take-all championship battle in series history sees Kevin Harvick hold off a late charge from another championship contender, Ryan Newman, to win his first Cup Series title.

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62. Homestead, Nov. 22, 2015

In a season that starts with Kyle Busch watching the Daytona 500 from a hospital bed, he overcomes a broken leg and shattered left foot to capture his first Cup Series championship.

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63. Daytona, Feb. 21, 2016

Matt Kenseth leads the field into Turn 4 on the final lap before Denny Hamlin and Martin Truex Jr. make it three-wide, setting up the closest finish in Daytona 500 history.

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64. Homestead, Nov. 20, 2016

The championship finale is full of drama, capped off by Carl Edwards crashing with just 10 laps remaining. This allows Jimmie Johnson to take control and capture his record-tying seventh Cup Series title.

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65. Martinsville, Oct. 29, 2017

Kyle Busch and Martin Truex Jr. leave Turn 4 on the final lap side-by-side as just about everyone wrecks behind them. Busch comes out victorious in the first race at the track under the lights.

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66. Chicago, July 1, 2018

An intense last-lap battle between Kyle Larson and Kyle Busch sees a “slide job!” and a bump-and-run with Busch taking the checkered flag.

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67. Charlotte Roval, Sept. 30, 2018

Race leaders Martin Truex Jr. and Jimmie Johnson spin right before the finish line, as Ryan Blaney sneaks by to win the first race at the Charlotte Roval.

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68. Daytona, Feb. 17, 2019

Denny Hamlin’s second career Daytona 500 victory comes after holding off his teammates Kyle Busch and Erik Jones in overtime. The 1-2-3 finish is bittersweet for the Joe Gibbs Racing team, as they were dealing with the loss of J.D. Gibbs, team owner Joe Gibbs’ son who passed away in January 2019.

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69. Bristol, Sept. 18, 2021

Kyle Larson’s win is overshadowed by the drama created by Chase Elliott and Kevin Harvick. The two drivers have disagreements both on the track and in the pits before discussing things further in the No. 9 hauler.

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70. Talladega, Oct. 4, 2021

An emotional Bubba Wallace becomes just the second Black driver to win a race in Cup Series history.

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71. Phoenix, Nov. 7, 2021

A late-race pit stop puts Kyle Larson in the lead, as he holds on for his 10th victory of the season and his first Cup Series championship.

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72. Circuit of The Americas, March 27, 2022

The second race at Circuit of The Americas sees a thrilling last-lap battle between Ross Chastain, Alex Bowman and AJ Allmendinger, with Chastain coming out on top for his first career victory.

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73. Charlotte, May 29, 2022

The first 600-mile event with the Next Gen car sees Denny Hamlin hold off his teammate Kyle Busch to grab the victory.

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74. Talladega, Oct. 2, 2022

Chase Elliott edges Ryan Blaney at the line by a margin of 0.046 seconds to earn a spot in the Round of 8.

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75. Martinsville, Oct. 30, 2022

Christopher Bell captures a walk-off win to keep his championship hopes alive. Ross Chastain’s dramatic “Hail Melon” move on the final lap moves him on to the next round.

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