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johnny mantz kevin harvick AP Photo/Gene Herrick ; AP Photo/Chris Carlson
AP Photo/Gene Herrick ; AP Photo/Chris Carlson

The Southern 500, known today as the Cook Out Southern 500, is among one of the most historic NASCAR Cup Series races still in existence. The 501-mile race takes place on Labor Day weekend at Darlington Raceway, a.k.a. The Track Too Tough to Tame, in Darlington, South Carolina. It started way back in 1950, and it was the longest stock car race in existence until the Daytona 500 debuted in 1959.

For the last five years, the race has even been themed as a NASCAR throwback weekend, with many of the cars sporting older-style paint schemes as tribute to the greats. Speaking of throwbacks and greats, Bill Elliott, by winning the Southern 500 in 1985, became the first recipient of the Winston Million — a million-dollar prize given to the winner of three out of four prominent races (Southern 500, Winston 500, Daytona 500, and Coca-Cola 500). With Darrell Waltrip racking up his final career victory at the Southern 500 in 1992, and Jeff Gordon going on an impressive four-peat (1995-1998), the race has been full of iconic moments over the course of its 70-year history.

Getting a win at the Southern 500 is no easy task, but one skilled driver will get to claim the achievement each year. Below, we’ll take a look back at each of the drivers and teams that were able to pull it off from 1950 all the way up to 2020.

Southern 500 Winners

1950: Johnny Mantz — Hubert Westmoreland — No. 98 Plymouth

1951: Herb Thomas — Herb Thomas — No. 92 Hudson

1952: Fonty Flock — Frank Christian — No. 14 Oldsmobile

1953: Buck Baker — Bob Griffin — No. 87 Oldsmobile

1954: Herb Thomas — Herb Thomas — No. 92 Hudson

1955: Herb Thomas — Herb Thomas — No. 92 Chevrolet

1956: Curtis Turner — Charlie Schwam — No. 99 Ford

1957: Speedy Thompson — Speedy Thompson — No. 46 Chevrolet

1958: Fireball Roberts — Frank Strickland — No. 22 Chevrolet

1959: Jim Reed — Jim Reed — No. 7 Chevrolet

1960: Buck Baker — Jack Smith — No. 47 Pontiac

1961: Nelson Stacy — Dudley Farrell — No. 29 Ford

1962: Larry Frank — Ratus Walters — No. 66 Ford

1963: Fireball Roberts — Holman-Moody — No. 22 Ford

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1964: Buck Baker — Ray Fox — Dodge

1965: Ned Jarrett — Bondy Long — No. 11 Ford

1966: Darel Dieringer — Bud Moore Engineering — No. 16 Mercury

1967: Richard Petty — Petty Enterprises — No. 43 Plymouth

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1968: Cale Yarborough — Wood Brothers Racing — No. 21 Mercury

1969: LeeRoy Yarbrough — Junior Johnson & Associates — No. 98 Ford

1970: Buddy Baker — Cotton Owens — No. 6 Dodge

1971: Bobby Allison — Holman-Moody — No. 21 Mercury

1972: Bobby Allison — Richard Howard — No. 12 Chevrolet

1973: Cale Yarborough — Richard Howard — No. 11 Chevrolet

1974: Cale Yarborough — Junior Johnson & Associates — No. 11 Chevrolet

1975: Bobby Allison — Penske Racing — No. 16 AMC

1976: David Pearson — Wood Brothers Racing — No. 21 Mercury

1977: David Pearson — Wood Brothers Racing — No. 21 Mercury

1978: Cale Yarborough — Junior Johnson & Associates — No. 11 Oldsmobile

1979: David Pearson — Rod Osterlund Racing — No. 2 Chevrolet

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1980: Terry Labonte — Billy Hagan — No. 44 Chevrolet

1981: Neil Bonnett — Wood Brothers Racing — No. 21 Ford

1982: Cale Yarborough — M. C. Anderson Racing — No. 27 Buick

1983: Bobby Allison — DiGard Motorsports — No. 22 Buick

1984: Harry Gant — Mach 1 Racing — No. 33 Chevrolet

1985: Bill Elliott — Melling Racing — No. 9 Ford

1986: Tim Richmond — Hendrick Motorsports — No. 25 Chevrolet

1987: Dale Earnhardt — Richard Childress Racing — No. 3 Chevrolet

1988: Bill Elliott — Melling Racing — No. 9 Ford

1989: Dale Earnhardt — Richard Childress Racing — No. 3 Chevrolet

1990: Dale Earnhardt — Richard Childress Racing — No. 3 Chevrolet

1991: Harry Gant — Leo Jackson Racing — No. 33 Oldsmobile

1992: Darrell Waltrip — DarWal, Inc. — No. 17 Chevrolet

1993: Mark Martin — Roush Racing — No. 6 Ford

1994: Bill Elliott — Junior Johnson & Associates — No. 11 Ford

1995: Jeff Gordon — Hendrick Motorsports — No. 24 Chevrolet

1996: Jeff Gordon — Hendrick Motorsports — No. 24 Chevrolet

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1997: Jeff Gordon — Hendrick Motorsports — No. 24 Chevrolet

1998: Jeff Gordon — Hendrick Motorsports — No. 24 Chevrolet

1999: Jeff Burton — Roush Racing — No. 99 Ford

2000: Bobby Labonte —Joe Gibbs Racing — No. 18 Pontiac

2001: Ward Burton — Bill Davis Racing — No. 22 Dodge

2002: Jeff Gordon — Hendrick Motorsports — No. 24 Chevrolet

2003: Terry Labonte — Hendrick Motorsports — No. 5 Chevrolet

2004: Jimmie Johnson — Hendrick Motorsports — No. 48 Chevrolet

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2005: Greg Biffle — Roush Racing — No. 16 Ford

2006: Greg Biffle — Roush Racing — No. 16 Ford

2007: Jeff Gordon — Hendrick Motorsports — No. 24 Chevrolet

2008: Kyle Busch — Joe Gibbs Racing — No. 18 Toyota

2009: Mark Martin — Hendrick Motorsports — No. 5 Chevrolet

2010: Denny Hamlin — Joe Gibbs Racing — No. 11 Toyota

2011: Regan Smith — Furniture Row Racing — No. 78 Chevrolet

2012: Jimmie Johnson — Hendrick Motorsports — No. 48 Chevrolet

2013: Matt Kenseth — Joe Gibbs Racing — No. 20 Toyota

2014: Kevin Harvick — Stewart-Haas Racing — No. 4 Chevrolet

2015: Carl Edwards — Joe Gibbs Racing — No. 19 Toyota

2016: Martin Truex Jr. — Furniture Row Racing — No. 78 Toyota

2017: Denny Hamlin — Joe Gibbs Racing — No. 11 Toyota

2018: Brad Keselowski — Team Penske — No. 2 Ford

2019: Erik Jones — Joe Gibbs Racing — No. 20 Toyota

2020: Kevin Harvick — Stewart-Haas Racing — No. 4 Ford

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