When Was the Last Time a NASCAR Cup Series Winner Was Disqualified?

by Jonathan Howard

This NASCAR season has been a wild one. But, this past Sunday might have been the biggest weekend of the season. Both Denny Hamlin and Kyle Busch, who finished P1 and P2, were disqualified after failing post-race inspection. The news shook the NASCAR world and has big implications for the playoff picture.

However, the one question everyone is asking is, when was the last time something like this happened? NASCAR winners aren’t often disqualified. In fact, this hasn’t happened in decades. Entire generations of racers have come and gone, won championships, and nothing like this happened that entire time.

In fact, you have to go all the way back to April 17, 1960, to find the last time a winner was disqualified following the postrace inspection.

Emanuel Zervakis was a good driver in his day. He raced 83 times in the Cup Series, then called the Grand National Series. When you look at his record, he has two wins, but it was almost three.

Emanuel Zervakis in the early 1960s. (Photo by ISC Images & Archives via Getty Images)

Following Race 1 at Wilson Speedway that season, Zervakis had his vehicle checked – his gas tank was too large. This allowed Joe Weatherly to be named the winner. Zervakis and Weatherly were the only two drivers that made it the whole 200 laps.

For that win, Weatherly earned himself $1,275 — or about $13,000 today.

How about these other names from the list of results? Also featured in the race were Lee Petty (P2), Richard Petty (P7), Junior Johnson (P10), and more. That’s quite the list. Just two years into Petty’s NASCAR Cup Series career – it was the same season he earned his first win as well.

Joe Gibbs Racing Will Not Appeal NASCAR DQ

Perhaps even more shocking than the disqualification is the fact that Joe Gibbs Racing won’t appeal the decision. NASCAR is going to just move on it seems and everyone will focus on the Indy road course coming up this weekend. You can understand the decision. Perhaps it was best to leave it be and try again in the coming weeks.

Now, with five races left in the season, JGR will try to get their fourth driver into the playoffs. Hamlin, Busch, Christopher Bell – all have wins on the year. However, Martin Truex Jr. is still looking for that win. At the moment, he would make it in based on points. However, the win-and-you’re-in situation might change drastically by the time the regular season needs.

NASCAR has been full of surprises. What more will we get before the 2022 season is all said and done?