This Saturday night, the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series returns to Bristol for the annual summer night race. The August event is one of the msot celebrated in the entire sport. In keeping with that fact, here is a look at the top night events in racing.
10. Firestone 600 (Texas Motor Speedway): Though the length of the race has changed several times in its 19-year run, IndyCar’s annual stop in Texas has been a favorite for many in the series for years and has seen some of the closest finishes in the sport’s history.
9. Sprint Unlimited (Daytona International Speedway): In 2003, NASCAR’s season opener was moved to night time. Although it pays no points, the exhibition race does provide a chance to start the season off on a high note for drivers elligible to be in the event and gives fans a warm-up before the Daytona 500 eight days later.
8. Federated Auto Parts 400 (Richmond International Raceway): Ever since the advent of the Chase in 2004, the summer Richmond event has been one of the biggest on the schedule, as the 26th and final race before the ten-race Chase playoff. Several times, a drive has raced there way in by the narrowest of margins and even needed to win to get in.
7. Iowa Indy 300 (Iowa Speedway): In 2011, Iowa Speedway, still relatively new, hosted its IndyCar race at night. For the three out of the following four years it has been run under the lights, the race has been lauded as one of the most exciting in IndyCar.
6. MudSummer Classic (Eldora Speedway): In 2013, NASCAR made its return to dirt when the Truck Series ran at Eldora Speedway in Ohio. The race, staged on a Wednesday night in July, has quickly become one of the most anticipated on the schedule.
5. Sprint All-Star Race (Charlotte): In 1992, Track President Humpy Wheeler announced the annual exhibition race would take place under the lights. Since then, the race has produced several memorable moments and become a must-see event.
4. Southern 500 (Darlington Raceway): Since 2004, one of the race’s early marquee events has taken place at night. The night has served as a fascinating backdrop for a grueling 500 mile race at NASCAR’s earliest speedways.
3. Irwin Tools Night Race (Bristol Motor Speedway): In 1978, the summer event at Bristol has held under the lights for the first time. Over the years, the race has become a must-see for fans. Boasting some memorable crashes and finishes, the race is a throwback for many to early stages of racing that permeate short tracks across America.
2. Coke Zero 400 (Daytona International Speedway): The summer event at the world center of racing has only been run at night since 1998, but does have some legendary moments. Like the Coke 600, the Coke Zero 400 features a holiday weekend date (Independence Day) and a legendary venue.
1. Coca-Cola 600 (Charlotte Motor Speedway): Since 1993, stock car racing’s marathon event has been contested as a nighttime affair. The venue, Memorial Day weekend and challenge of the extra 100 miles make it a fascinating night race.