LIST: Turkey Night
Christopher Bell (21) and Kyle Larson have combined to win the last four Turkey Night Grand Prix features. (Devin Mayo photo)

LIST: Turkey Night Grand Prix Winners

EDITOR’S NOTE: With this year’s planned 80th running of the Turkey Night Grand Prix scuttled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we’re taking a dive into the history books to reflect on the past winners of the Agajanian family-promoted Thanksgiving event.

VENTURA, Calif. – It won’t happen this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but the Turkey Night Grand Prix has long been one of the West Coast’s most prestigious motorsports events.

Since 1934, the meet has been considered the end of the sprint car and midget racing season in North America, and its history and holiday placement make it one of the most coveted prizes for drivers across the world.

Turkey Night was founded by Earl Gilmore in ’34 and run at Los Angeles’ Gilmore Stadium through 1941, with a three-year hiatus from ’42-’44 due to World War II.

The event resumed in 1945 at Gilmore Stadium and continued until 1950, when that venue was demolished to build CBS Television Studios, forcing a four-year pause in the Turkey Night lineage.

When the event returned in ’55, it ran continuously until this year, with a stop at Gardena Stadium preceding Turkey Night’s move to its long-running home at Ascot Park for more than three decades.

After the closing of that iconic venue in 1990, the race shuffled among Saugus Speedway, Bakersfield Speedway, Perris Auto Spedway, Ventura Raceway and the pavement at Irwindale Speedway.

It has been held at Ventura’s seaside, fifth-mile dirt oval since 2016.

Ron Shuman is the all-time Turkey Night king, with eight victories in the Thanksgiving Classic, including a record four straight from 1979-‘82.

Other notable past winners of the Turkey Night Grand Prix include Mel Kenyon, Parnelli Jones, Billy Boat, Jason Leffler, Tony Stewart, Dave Steele, Dave Darland, Bryan Clauson and Christopher Bell.

Kyle Larson won the most recent edition of the Turkey Night Grand Prix in 2019, his third event victory.

The complete winners list from the 79 prior runnings of the Turkey Night Grand Prix is below.

LIST: Turkey Night Grand Prix Winners

1934 – Bob Swanson
1935 – Ted Sizemore
1936 – Ronney Householder
1937 – Ronney Householder (2)
1938 – Bob Swanson (2)
1939 – Mel Hansen
1940 – Roy Russing
1941 – Roy Russing
1942-44 – No Race Held (WWII)
1945 – Danny Oakes
1946 – Perry Grimm
1947 – Johnny McDowell
1948 – Bill Vukovich
1949 – Perry Grimm (2)
1950 – Bill Zaring
1951-54 – No Race Held (Lack of venue)
1955 – Johnnie Parsons
1956 – Edgar Elder
1957 – George Amick
1958 – Joe Garson
1959 – Tony Bettenhausen
1960 – A.J. Foyt
1961 – A.J. Foyt (2)
1962 – Bill Cantrell
1963 – Mel Kenyon
1964 – Parnelli Jones
1965 – Dick Atkins
1966 – Parnelli Jones (2)
1967 – Gary Bettenhausen
1968 – Sam Sessions
1969 – George Benson
1970 – Gary Bettenhausen (2)
1971 – Bill Englehart
1972 – Tony Simon
1973 – Bill Englehart (2)
1974 – Danny McKnight
1975 – Mel Kenyon (2)
1976 – Bubby Jones
1977 – Gary Patterson
1978 – Rick Goudy
1979 – Ron Shuman
1980 – Ron Shuman (2)
1981 – Ron Shuman (3)
1982 – Ron Shuman (4)
1983 – Kevin Olson
1984 – Ron Shuman (5)
1985 – Brent Kaeding
1986 – Warren Mockler
1987 – Ron Shuman (6)
1988 – Chuck Gurney
1989 – Chuck Gurney (2)
1990 – Stan Fox
1991 – Stan Fox (2)
1992 – Ron Shuman (7)
1993 – Ron Shuman (8)
1994 – Jordan Hermansader
1995 – Billy Boat
1996 – Billy Boat (2)
1997 – Billy Boat (3)
1998 – Jay Drake
1999 – Jason Leffler
2000 – Tony Stewart
2001 – Dave Steele
2002 – Michael Lewis
2003 – Dave Steele (2)
2004 – Bobby East
2005 – Jason Leffler (2)
2006 – Billy Wease
2007 – Dave Darland
2008 – Bobby Santos III
2009 – Bryan Clauson
2010 – Bryan Clauson (2)
2011 – Caleb Armstrong
2012 – Kyle Larson
2013 – Dave Darland (2)
2014 – Christopher Bell
2015 – Tanner Thorson
2016 – Kyle Larson (2)
2017 – Christopher Bell (2)
2018 – Christopher Bell (3)
2019 – Kyle Larson (3)
2020 – Race Canceled (COVID-19)

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