It's now been four years since David Gilliland produced the signature moment in Kentucky Speedway history.
Driving an unsponsored car for a part-time team, the unknown Gilliland stunned a field that included Denny Hamlin, Kyle Busch, Kevin Harvick and Greg Biffle for a victory in what is now known as NASCAR's Nationwide Series.
Odds are, there will never again be an upset of such epic dimension in a major event in Sparta. Still, in Saturday's Meijer 300 Presented by Ritz at Kentucky Speedway, there is an underdog story worth rooting for.
Willie Allen came to Nashville Superspeedway last week with his emotions running over. In April, his father, Al, died from complications of Lou Gehrig's Disease.
He was only 54.
The last race Al ever saw his son drive was the first Nationwide Series event of this season (they run two) at Nashville on April 3.
"It sounds funny, I guess, but I could feel my Dad's presence there," Allen said Wednesday. "Definitely emotional. I wanted to run well for him."
All of which made it doubly crushing when Allen was penalized two laps before the race even started. His crew had pulled out a spring rubber between qualifying and the race's start and NASCAR said that was a big no-no.
"It took five minutes for me even to believe it," Allen said. "I mean, I'd never heard of anybody being penalized two laps. With me wanting to do well for my Dad and then that, it was hard to take."
Yet Allen piloted the unsponsored No. 05 Chevrolet he drives for owner Wayne Day back onto the lead lap and to a 15th-place finish.
"We started the race heartbroken, just sitting on pit road watching all the other cars go by," said Allen, a Bon Aqua, Tenn., product, "but we finished up on a high."
In a sense, Allen, 29, owes his presence in NASCAR to country music.
After taking up racing at age 15 when he met a girl whose dad owned a go-kart shop (the former Kristen Boehms is now his wife), Allen worked his was up to full-scale car racing at tracks in and around Nashville.
One of the guys he was driving against, Wendell Mobley, had a rather interesting day job. He was the song writer of massive country hits like Rascal Flats' I Melt and Kenny Chesney's How Forever Feels.
Mobley put his own money into sponsoring Allen in local events. He introduced the young driver to a friend (Ted Greene) who managed country music artists such as Sara Evans, Diamond Rio and Josh Turner.
The Modern Management firm eventually signed Allen as a client, too. That explains how the famously deep-voiced Turner ended up sponsoring Allen's car when he made his debut in the series now known as Nationwide at Memphis in 2006.
In 2007, it seemed Allen's career was on the verge of hitting high notes of its own. That year, he was named the Truck Series Rookie of the Year.
Instead of launching him to the next level, the truck team Allen was driving for was sold that off-season.
The driver who had earned entree into NASCAR's national series by excelling in a Chevrolet-sponsored driver development tryout found himself without a ride in the same year (2008) in which the U.S. economy tanked.
In that environment, Allen struggled to find a viable racing gig. By the end of the 2009 season, he had all but decided to give up on competing in any of NASCAR's national series.
Then Day called with an offer to drive a part-time Nationwide schedule albeit for a seriously underfunded team.
"We don't have a lot of the things that the teams we're racing against have," Allen said. "But I'm hoping that if I do a good job, finish better than my equipment (should allow), show that I can drive on the edge without tearing up my car, somebody will notice."
Allen is bringing the same car to Sparta that he had last week in Nashville. Given that 15th (twice) is the best he has to show for eight starts this year in NASCAR's Class AAA series, a miracle win against a field that will include Sprint Cup regulars Joey Logano, Brad Keselowski, Paul Menard and Carl Edwards isn't likely.
Allen will turn 30 next Tuesday. Giving himself an early birthday present is not his prime motivation in Sparta.
"My Dad sacrificed a lot to help me," Allen said. "He'd come to my shop early and leave late. I still look around and expect to see him. I'd like to do something big for him."
It's hard to imagine anyone on the track at Kentucky Speedway on Saturday who will be more worthy of a "Gilliland moment" than Willie Allen.