The 2021 NASCAR season is wrapped up in time for the holidays as it traditionally is, but 20 years ago it ran longer than expected for the most awful reason imaginable.
Following the events of 9/11, the Cup Series went on hiatus with the rest of the American sports world, skipping the following weekend before it resumed on Sept. 23 at Dover International Speedway.
Earnhardt won the Cal Ripken 400 at Dover International Speedway upon NASCAR’s return to racing following the 9/11 attacks. (Getty Images/Jamie Squire/ALLSPORT)
Dale Earnhardt Jr. won that event and proudly carried an American flag during his victory celebration in front of the 140,000 assembled fans, many holding their own flags or dressed in red, white and blue.
Jeff Gordon led the field to start the New Hampshire 300. (Robert Laberge/Getty Images)
The missed race that was scheduled for New Hampshire International Speedway was moved to the week after the originally planned finale at Atlanta and held on Friday, November 23 to accommodate a possible delay for a New England snow storm.
Qualifying was canceled and the field set using the points standings as they were following the Sept. 9 race at Richmond. That put Jeff Gordon, who had already clinched his fourth and final career championship in Atlanta, on pole.
Robby Gordon won his first Cup Series race at the 2001 New Hampshire 300. (Getty Images/Darrell Ingham/ALLSPORT)
Gordon won, but not Jeff. Instead it was Robbie Gordon who grabbed his first Cup Series victory after Jeff Gordon was black flagged for retaliatory contact against the eventual winner as the two were battling for the lead and finished a lap down in 15th place.