Arguably the most talented driver in the history of NASCAR Winston Cup Series racing, Dale Earnhardt won his seventh series championship in 1994. He is the only driver in NASCAR's history to win the Rookie of the Year award (1979) and the series championship (1980) in successive seasons. Earnhardt's hard-driving style has earned him 76 series wins, ranking him sixth on NASCAR's all-time wins list. His $41,538,362 in career winnings rank him first on the all-time winnings list. He ranks fifth all-time in laps led with 25,706. He is the all-time race winner at Daytona International Speedway, with 29 wins in three different divisions. Earnhardt is a five-time winner of the National Motorsports Press Association's Driver of the Year award (1980, '87, '90, '94, '86 -- Co-winner with Tim Richmond). He is also a two time winner of the American Driver of the Year award (1987, '94). Dale Earnhardt tragically died in a last lap wreck in the 2001 Daytona 500
Dubbed as the first "Earnhardt" Roberts was a master racer until his untimely death in a fire. The fire could have been prevented if he was aloud to use a now standard "Fuel cell" that was invented a few years before by his Brother in law and crew chief "Smokey Yunick". Bill France sr dubbed the invention illegal do to politics from other manufactures
Jeff Gordon made his NASCAR Winston Cup Series debut in the 1992 season finale, the final race of Richard Petty's driving career. Since then, Gordon has won four NASCAR Winston Cup Series championships (1995, 1997, 1998, 2001), 52 NASCAR Winston Cup Series victories, 34 NASCAR Winston Cup Series pole positions and the 1993 NASCAR Winston Cup Rookie of the Year Award. He seems to rise to the challenge of the biggest races of the season; his first win came at the 1994 Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway, an event he won again in 1997 and 1998. Other major victories include the 1997 and 1999 Daytona 500s, the inaugural Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway in 1994 and again in 1998, four consecutive Southern 500's at Darlington (S.C.) Raceway (1995-98), The Winston in 1995 and '97 and the Busch Clash (now the Bud Shootout) in 1994 and '97. In 1997, he also became only the second driver to win The Winston Million. He is the only driver in NASCAR Winston Cup Series history to win four consecutive Southern 500s at Darlington Raceway. Gordon was the first driver in NASCAR history to exceed $4 million (1995) and $6 million (1997) in single season earnings. He was named the Driver of the Year in 1995 and 1997. Gordon was also named the National Motorsports Press Association's and Eastern Motorsports Press Association Driver of the Year in 1995 and the True Value Man of the Year in 1996.
"Awesome Bill from Dawsonville" is one of the most popular drivers on the circuit as well as one of the most accomplished. The NASCAR Winston Cup Series champion in 1988, Elliott has 40 NASCAR Winston Cup Series victories and 49 NASCAR Winston Cup pole positions in a 22-year career. He was the first driver to win the "Winston Million," in 1985, which earned him another nickname, "Million Dollar Bill." Elliott can count two Daytona 500 victories (winning from the pole position in 1985 and '87), four consecutive victories in 1992 and a single-season record 11 superspeedway races in 1985 to his credit. His total of 49 pole positions is seventh all-time in NASCAR Winston Cup Series history. Elliott won the Most Popular Driver Award for a record 12th time in 1997, an award he has not won only three times (1989, 1990, 2001) since 1984. He was named the Georgia Athlete of the Year in 1985 and 1988 and was inducted into the Georgia Sports Hall of Fame in Jan., 1998. Elliott was also named to the American Auto Writers and Broadcasters Association All America Team in 1985, 1987, 1988 and 1992.
The son of two-time NASCAR Winston Cup Series champion Buck Baker, Buddy stepped out of his father's shadow and made a name for himself among NASCAR's elite. Baker won 19 races on NASCAR's circuit including the 1980 Daytona 500, as well as back-to-back Coca-Cola 600s at Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway (1972, '73). On March 24, 1970, Baker became the first driver to break the 200 mph barrier at Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway. Baker ranks ninth on NASCAR's all-time list for top-five finishes with 202 and top-10 finishes with 311. He is ranked 10th, behind his father, on the all-time list for pole positions with 40 (Buck earned 44). After retiring from competition, Baker has made a second career as a television commentator. In 1995, Baker was inducted into Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway Court of Legends. In 1997, he was inducted in the National Motorsports Press Association's Hall of Fame at Darlington (S.C.) Raceway as well as the International Motorsports Hall of Fame in Talladega, Ala.
Johnson was one of the early drivers competing in NASCAR races, who honed his skills on the back roads of rural North Carolina. His aggressive driving style earned him 50 NASCAR Winston Cup Series wins, tying him with Ned Jarrett for eighth on the all-time win list. He is also ranked eighth on NASCAR Winston Cup Series' all-time list of pole positions won with 47. Johnson led the field in 1961 and '65 in both laps led and races led (2,373 laps and 23 races; 3,998 laps and 30 races, respectively). Johnson also found success as a car owner, winning 119 races and six NASCAR Winston Cup Series championships. In 1973, Johnson was inducted in the National Motorsports Press Association's Hall of Fame at Darlington (S.C.) Raceway. In 1990, he was inducted into the International Motorsports Hall of Fame in Talladega, Ala. Johnson was also inducted into Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway's Court of Legends in 1996. The following year, he was inducted into Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway's Heroes of Bristol Hall of Fame.
Though never a champion in NASCAR's Winston Cup Series division, Earnhardt was a driver of extraordinary talent. An acknowledged master of North Carolina short tracks, Earnhardt raced sparingly in NASCAR's elite division during his 23-year career. He won NASCAR's Sportsman Division championship in 1956 and in 1961 posted seven top-10 finishes in eight starts in the NASCAR Winston Cup Series division -- good for 17th in the point standings. He died suddenly on Sept. 26, 1973 while working on a race car in his shop. In 1989, Earnhardt was inducted into the National Motorsports Press Association's Hall of Fame at Darlington (S.C.) Raceway. He was inducted into the International Motorsports Hall of Fame in Talladega Ala., in 1997.
The former taxi cab driver was the NASCAR Winston Cup Series champion in 1973. He earned 21 NASCAR Winston Cup wins and 20 pole positions. His championship season was one of endurance in that he won only one race (second-place finisher Cale Yarborough won four times in the 28-race season and David Pearson won 11 times but ran only 18 events) but drove the most miles. Two of his biggest wins came at the 1975 Daytona 500 and the 1980 Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway. Parsons was the first NASCAR Winston Cup competitor to qualify for a race faster than 200 mph, which he did for the 1982 Winston 500 at Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway with a speed of 200.176 mph. After retiring from competition after the 1988 season, Parsons went on to become a highly respected analyst on NASCAR racing telecasts, winning an NASCAR Emmy in 1996. He also hosts a nationally syndicated radio program on Performance Racing Network . Parsons was inducted into the International Motorsports Hall of Fame and the Court of Legends at Charlotte Motor Speedway in 1994.
Bonnett was one of the most affable drivers in NASCAR Winston Cup Series history, earning 18 series victories during his 18-year career. Among his 18 wins were back-to-back victories in NASCAR's longest (miles) race -- the Coca-Cola 600 (1982,'83). Bonnett also won back-to-back Busch Clash (now Bud Shootout) races at Daytona International Speedway (1983, '84). Bonnett's highest finish in the series points chase was in 1985 when he finished fourth and his teammate, Darrell Waltrip, won the championship. He was an original member of the Alabama Gang that include the Allisons and Red Farmer. Outside the cockpit, Bonnett developed a career as a television commentator for race broadcasts and hosted his own show, Neil Bonnett's Winners on TNN: The Nashville Network. Bonnett was fatally injured in a crash during practice for the 1994 Daytona 500. He was inducted into the National Motorsports Press Association's Hall of Fame in 1997.
Perhaps the greatest driver never to win a NASCAR Winston Cup title, Roberts accumulated 32 wins, including the 1962 Daytona 500, in a career that spanned 15 seasons before his untimely death in 1964 from injuries incurred in an accident at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Roberts finished second to Bill Rexford in his rookie season. He split his time between the NASCAR Winston Cup Series and the NASCAR Modifieds for five years before returning full-time to NASCAR Winston Cup racing. In his first year back, 1956, Roberts won five races and four pole positions to finish sixth in the point standings. He raced only 10 times in 1958 but had six wins, one second and a third, and finished 11th in the point standings despite missing almost 80% of the races.
In 1987, Allison became the first NASCAR Winston Cup Series rookie to ever qualify on the front row for a Daytona 500. Although he didn't win that race, he won two others that year and won the Rookie of the Year honors. Allison topped the field in races led (23) in 1991 and in laps led (1,377) the following year. In both of those seasons, Allison won a career-best five races. His life was tragically cut short in a 1993 helicopter accident. In 1996, Allison was inducted into the National Motorsports Press Association's Stock Car Hall of Fame at Darlington (S.C.) Raceway. Allison was also inducted into Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway's Heroes of Bristol Hall of Fame the following year. In 1998, Allison was inducted into the International Motorsports Hall of Fame in Talladega, Ala.
Yarbrough is perhaps best known for the confusion his name caused -- although the spelling differed from that of the other Yarborough, Cale. The confusion was compounded in 1968 when both "Yarbs" drove dominant Fords on NASCAR's Winston Cup circuit, tallying a combined eight victories (two for Lee Roy, six for Cale). Yarbrough's most successful season was in 1969 when he won seven races, tallied 21 top-10 finishes and earned $193,211. Had the Winston Million program been in place that year, Yarbrough would have won it with victories at the Daytona 500, the Coca-Cola 600 and the Southern 500. Yarbrough died after a lengthy illness in December 1984. In 1990, he was inducted into the National Motorsports Press Association's Hall of Fame at Darlington (S.C.) Raceway.
This is my Favorite for this list. The most recent owner/driver to win a NASCAR Winston Cup Series championship, Kulwicki claimed the 1992 title by the closest margin in the series history -- edging Bill Elliott by 10 points. During that championship season, Kulwicki also led the most races (20). He was killed in a 1993 airplane accident while flying to a race in Bristol, Tenn. In 1993, Kulwicki was inducted into Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway's Court of Legends. Four years later, in 1997, Kulwicki was inducted into Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway's Heroes of Bristol Hall of Fame.
Weatherly won back-to-back NASCAR Winston Cup championships in 1962 and 1963. The 1962 championship was the first for legendary car owner Bud Moore and was won on the strength of nine victories. Conversely, Weatherly won the 1963 championship after winning only three races, compared to 14 won by runner-up Richard Petty. He tallied three wins and 35 top-10 finishes through 53 starts that season. He was also an accomplished motorcycle racer, winning three American Motorcylclist Association national championship events prior to his NASCAR Winston Cup career. Weatherly was fatally injured in January 1964 at Riverside International Raceway. The stock car racing museum in Darlington, S.C., is named after Weatherly, into which he was inducted in 1965. In 1994, Weatherly was inducted in the International Motorsports Hall of Fame in Talladega, Ala.
The absolute all time best of Nascar. The undisputed "King" of stock car racing with 200 NASCAR Winston Cup Series wins, Petty won seven series championships during his 35-year career. In the most remarkable season in NASCAR history, Petty won 27 of 48 races -- including a record 10 straight -- and finished second seven times in cruising to the 1967 title. Petty led 41 of the 48 races in the 1967 season and of the 12,739 laps he completed, 5,537 were leading the field. Seven of Petty's 200 wins were in the Daytona 500 and notched the final win of his career in the Firecracker 400 at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway on July 4, 1984. Petty ranks first in numerous NASCAR Winston Cup all-time categories: all-time wins (200), races started (1,184), top-five finishes (555), top-10 finishes (712), pole positions (126), laps completed (307,836), laps led (52,194), races led (599) and consecutive races won (10). In 1992, Petty was inducted into Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway's Court of Legends. Five years later, Petty was inducted into the International Motorsports Hall of Fame in Talladega Ala.
The Baker family patriarch earned 46 NASCAR Winston Cup Series victories, 44 pole positions and was the first back-to-back NASCAR Winston Cup Series champion in 1956 and 1957. A native of Charlotte, N.C., Baker was a city bus driver before becoming a full-time racer. He was a three-time winner of the Southern 500 at Darlington (S.C.) Raceway, pulling into the winner's circle in 1953, 1960 and 1964. Baker's 631 starts are the seventh most and his 44 poles are the ninth most in NASCAR Winston Cup history. He ran the most laps and miles for three consecutive years, beginning in 1955. Baker was inducted into the National Motorsports Press Association's Hall of Fame in 1982 and the International Motorsports Hall of Fame in 1990. He currently operates high performance driving schools at Atlanta Motor Speedway in Hampton, Ga., and North Carolina Speedway in Rockingham, N.C.
Better known for his four victories in the Indianapolis 500, Foyt didn't restrict himself to open-wheeled machines. He was just as adept at driving a stock car as he proved by winning seven times in NASCAR Winston Cup Series competition. His first victory came at the 1964 Firecracker 400 at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway in his 10th start. Foyt repeated the win in 1965 and went on to win the prestigious Daytona 500 in 1972, joining Mario Andretti as a winner of that race and the Indianapolis 500. Although Foyt competed on a limited schedule, one of his best seasons was in 1971, when he claimed four pole positions, two wins and four top-five finishes through seven starts. He backed that up in 1972, claiming three poles, two wins and five top-five finishes through six starts. Foyt is currently a car owner in the Winston Cup Series, Busch Series and Indy Racing Northern Light Series.
Before the Wood name became synonymous with that of dominant teams, Glen tried his hand as a competitor on NASCAR's Winston Cup division. He proved to be quite a competitor during his 11-year career -- notching 34 top-10 finishes in just 62 starts. In 1960, Wood claimed three of his four wins and four pole positions while competing in just nine races. After his driving career, Glen and his brother Leonard combined to make the Wood Brothers team one of the most formidable programs in NASCAR Winston Cup history with 92 wins to its credit. In 1995, the Wood Brothers were inducted into Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway's Court of Legends.
Although Welborn finished fourth in the 1955 NASCAR Winston Cup points standings, he didn't record his first victory in the series until October 6, 1957 at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway. Welborn recorded the victory, but didn't actually drive the car across the finish line. Lewis "Possum" Jones relieved Welborn at the mid-way point of the race, but Welborn got credit for the win. Welborn won five races in 1958, the most single-season wins in his 12-year NASCAR career. He won the final three NASCAR Convertible championships, from 1955-57. In 1982, Welborn was inducted into the National Motorsports Press Association's Hall of Fame at Darlington (S.C.) Raceway.
The 1960 NASCAR Winston Cup champion, White won six of his 28 career victories that year. White finished in the top-10 in the point standings six of the nine years he competed on NASCAR's elite circuit. White's championship hopes in 1960 seemed dashed until his chief rival, Richard Petty, and five other drivers were disqualified for making improper entrances to pit road in the inaugural World 600 at Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway. In 1974, White was inducted into the National Motorsports Press Association's Hall of Fame at Darlington (S.C.) Raceway.
After a storied NASCAR Featherlite Modified career in the Northeast, Bodine began competing on the NASCAR Winston Cup Series on a limited schedule in 1979. In 1981, he made a significant contribution to NASCAR by helping introduce the modern-day power steering system. Bodine began his full-time NASCAR Winston Cup Series career in 1982 and won Rookie of the Year honors. He qualified second for and won the 1986 Daytona 500. After driving for car owners such as Junior Johnson, Rick Hendrick and Bud Moore, Bodine purchased the late Alan Kulwicki's racing team to form his own team in 1993. Bodine won three races the following season and has claimed a total of four wins as an owner/driver.
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