NASCAR Champion Drivers The Top Today And All Time

NASCAR Champion Drivers

“The Top Drivers of All Time.”

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If not, please feel free to add your favorites in our comments section below, we’d love to know your thoughts?

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Any discussion of NASCAR champion drivers tends to turn into loud arguments over a few cold one’s or two. That’s because people are passionate about NASCAR (and they love beer), and they often have different opinions about what constitutes the “greatest” and the “best” drivers. It’s about fandom, and that’s not always rational. Get someone to list the Top Ten NASCAR Champion Drivers of all time, and everyone’s list is going to be different.

But then again, since we are NASCAR fans too we do have a right (or even an obligation) to mention a few worthwhile names of drivers who have done well in the history of NASCAR. Since its founding back in 1948, there have been a lot of famous NASCAR Champion Drivers. And here are some of the names every true NASCAR fan should know.

Richard Petty (The King) nascar richard petty

Any list of the Top Ten NASCAR Champion Drivers of all time which doesn’t include Richard Petty is the epitome of a failed list. It’s like mentioning the Top Ten greatest pop stars of all time and not mentioning Elvis Presley. It’s an apt comparison because Richard Petty’s nickname is “The King”. He was among the inaugural batch of the NASCAR Hall of Fame, and the first ever motorsports athlete to receive the Medal of Freedom.

His list of accomplishments may never be matched. Petty’s record of 200 wins in a career is perhaps the most unlikely to be ever eclipsed, especially when you consider that the second place in this category is just 105 wins. Set by Petty’s rival David Pearson. Jeff Gordon has the most wins among the current NASCAR Champion Drivers, but that’s only 92 career wins, and he’s retiring after the 2015 season.

Then there’s his record of most wins in a season. This win record was in the magical year of 1967 when he won an unbelievable 27 races. In that year, he also won 10 of them consecutively, which is another record in consecutive wins. He actually won 92 races in the five years from 1967 to 1971. That’s the same number of wins that Jeff Gordon has, except it took Jeff 22 years amassing that many victories.

Petty is the first driver to win the Grand National/Sprint Cup championships seven times, which was eventually matched by the late Dale Earnhardt. He has the most number of runner-up finishes in the final season standings, at 6. Petty also has the most number of 2nd place finishes in the history of NASCAR, at 157. He also has the most wins as the team owner, with 287.

 

Other Notable NASCAR Champion Drivers Names

Richard Petty is a colossus compared to all the others, but NASCAR is full of heroes. Here are some of the other names you need to tell your kids about when you’re indoctrinating them about NASCAR.

  • Jeff Gordon:  jeff-gordon image with nascar hat

  • In the modern era of NASCAR which began in 1972, Jeff Gordon has the most wins at 92. His other records include winning at least one pole in 23 consecutive seasons. The current “Iron Man” leader for most consecutive races participated in, and the first NASCAR Champion Drivers to amass $100 million in just career winnings. We aren’t even talking about his endorsements.

 

  • Kyle Busch: nascar Kyle Busch

  • He’s rather young at just 30 years old (he was born on May 2, 1985), but he already holds several notable NASCAR records. We’ve seen Kyle Busch racing to the most wins across the 3 NASCAR professional series (the Sprint Cup, Nationwide Series and Camping World Truck Series). This was accomplished in a single season back in 2010 when he won 24 races. He also has a record 141 wins (and counting) across the NASCAR national touring series.

 

  • Dale Jarrett: nascar dale jarrett

  • He’s one of the few retired NASCAR Champion Drivers who’s already inducted into the
  • NASCAR Hall of Fame. Interestingly enough, he’s co-owner of the Dale Jarrett Racing Adventure with the legendary Green Bay Packers QB Brett Favre.

But what’s more, important to NASCAR fans is his winning career. He’s had 32 wins in the Sprint Cup Series, along with another 11 wins in the Xfinity Series. His most notable achievement is winning the Daytona 500 three times.

Dale comes from the well-known Jarrett racing family, as his father Ned is a 2-time Grand National Champion. His older brother Glenn is also a race car driver with 10 Winston Cup starts, and Dales son Jason used to compete in the NASCAR Busch Series. As a side note, his cousin Todd is a champion at practical shooting, with nine national titles and four world titles.

  • Kyle Larson: nascar kyle-larson

  • In NASCAR Kyle Larson is something of an anomaly. It’s not just that he’s young at 22 and already with a couple of wins in the Xfinity series and another victory in the Camping World Truck Series. He’s also an American of Japanese descent, Kyle’s mother’s parents were once held in a Japanese internment camp.

He was the first Asian-American to get a Rookie of the Year award in one of NASCAR national touring series when he was named Rookie of the Year in the 2013 Nationwide Series. He was also the 2014 NASCAR Rookie of the Year, earning statistics that was higher than any other rookie season in the history of NASCAR. In other words, his rookie season outshone even the rookie seasons of Richard Petty and Jeff Gordon.

  • Dale Earnhardt Jr: nascar-dale-earnhardt-jr

  • The son of the legendary Dale Earnhardt Sr.,nascar dale earnhardt sr Dale Jr. is something of a legend himself. He’s won the Daytona 500 twice, in 2004 and 2014. His popularity is unrivaled, having won NASCAR Champion Drivers Most Popular Award for the Sprint Cup Series for 12 years straight, from 2003 to 2014—and he won the award in 2001 too.

His financial success is also on par with his racing career and fan popularity, as it is estimated that he’s currently worth $300 million. Not bad for a driver, right?

  • Jimmie Johnson: nascar Jimmie-Johnson

  • He was the first racing driver to win the Associated Press Male Athlete of the Year in 2009. He was Driver of the Year 5 times, and for 2011 and 2012 he was Most Influential Athlete according to Forbes.com.

Why all the acclaim? Well, he’s the only driver in the history of NASCAR to win five consecutive championships, and he also won the Daytona 500 twice.

  • Tony Stewart: nascar Tony Stewart

  • He’s the only racing car driver to win a championship in both NASCAR and IndyCar. He’s also won the Sprint Cup Series championship three times. In fact, Tony Stewart was the driver who unseated Jimmie Johnson from the Cup Series championship throne.
  • Mario Andretti: nascar mario andretti

  • This guy isn’t just an NASCAR Champion Driver legend, but a true car racing icon. He has won races in NASCAR, IndyCar, Formula 1, and the World Sportscar Championship. Among the retired NASCAR drivers, his name is still spoken with respect in racing circles, as he is the only United States Driver of the Year winner in three different decades.

Mario Andretti is the only driver to have won a race in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, Formula One, and an Indianapolis 500. Since he won the 1978 Dutch Grand Prix, no American has come in first in any Formula 1 race.

  • Kevin Harvick: nascar Kevin Harvick

  • In NASCAR Kevin Harvick has been in the limelight since the turn of the millennium. He was the NASCAR Busch Series Rookie of the Year in 2000, and the NASCAR Busch Series Most Popular Driver in 2001.

And even after 15 years in the business, he’s still on top. He was the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion in 2014, and as of May 27, 2015 he’s at the top of the NASCAR rankings.

Fun Facts

NASCAR is renowned for its family-friendly vibe, as the young and old alike can have someone their age to look up to and admire. Here are some fun facts about the oldest, youngest and African American NASCAR Champion Drivers.

  • The youngest NASCAR Champion Drivers

  • to win in any of the National Series was Chase Elliott nascar Chase Elliottin 2014 when he was just 18 years, 11 months and 18 days old. The youngest NASCAR driver to win the Sprint Cup was Bill Rexford, who was 23 years and seven months in 195o. In the modern era, it’s Jeff Gordon who was 24 years and three months old.
  • Joey Logano:nascar joey logano We can’t forget about the #22 Ford Fusion young sensation, who’s the 2nd youngest champion to win the Daytona 500. Joey became the youngest driver ever to win a Nationwide Series race at just 18 years old.

For the Camping World Truck Series, the youngest NASCAR driver to win was Austin Dillonnascar austin-dillon. He was 21 years and six months old.

  • The oldest NASCAR Champion Drivers

  • to win in any of the National Series is Ted Musgravenascar ted musgrave in 2005, who was already 49 years and 11 months old at the time when he won the Camping World Truck Series. For the Nationwide, it was Jack IngramNASCAR jack ingram who was 48 years and nine months old while and for the Sprint Cup it was the legendary Bobby Allison nascar allison bobbyat 45 years and 11 months.

 

  • NASCAR is notorious for its dearth of black NASCAR drivers,

  • but there have been a few over the years. The first African-American to start an NASCAR race was Wendell Scottnascar Wendell scott, who did it in 1961. The late great comedian actor “Richard Prior” portrayed this pioneer African American racing hero in the early days in the 1977 movie “Greased Lightening.

nascar Greased-Lightning---Richard-Pryor

  • Scott won the Grand National Division (now the Sprint Cup Series) in 1963.

When Scott retired in 1973, there were no black NASCAR drivers until Willy T. Ribbs nascar willy t ribbsstarted in 3 races in 1986. Then in 2002 Bill Lester nascar bill lesterraced full-time in the NASCAR Truck series, and by 2006 he at last made his first NASCAR Sprint Cup Series start.

Today, the African-American community is represented by Darrell Wallace Jrnascar darrell wallace jr., who won the Camping World Truck Series Kroger 200 in 2013.

That’s a lot of names, isn’t it? But then again, we’re talking about NASCAR Champion Drivers, and it’s a great place to make a name for yourself! 

Related Nascar Pages:

Nascar Diecast Price Guide

Nascar Racing Flags (the meaning and history)

Gay Nascar Drivers?

Female NASCAR Drivers

 

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