During his illustrious career, six other drivers soaked up 24 of the titles. NASCAR’s all-time best road-course drivers. Some things in life are up for debate. From Detroit cabbie to Cup champion to one of the most beloved announcers ever, Benny Parsons was as popular and competitive as any person in NASCAR history. In addition to Busch — the reigning NASCAR Cup Series champion — the only active full-time drivers among the best of the best on the all-time …
And immense cultural impact. Bobby Isaac won 17 times in 1969 and 11 times in 1970 and took home the championship at the dawn of a new decade.
His death weeks after a fiery crash at the World 600 in 1964 took one of the most colorful characters out of the sport and made drivers think more about safety measures. Earnhardt Jr.'s impact on the sport was far greater than his number of wins. Parts of his story inspired the "Doc Hudson" character from the movie "Cars.". What makes a driver one of the greatest in NASCAR history?
Others, like the 20 greatest NASCAR drivers of all time, are more clear. A record 27 wins in 1967. His brushes with death were the stuff of legend — and Hollywood, as Neil Bonnett was the basis for "Days of Thunder" character Rowdy Burns. Lee Petty won three titles and set the benchmark his even more successful son would follow. Bottom line: Forget the guy behind the microphone and forget that he hung on too long.
Bottom line: Jeff Gordon may have won five or more championships if not for teammate Jimmie Johnson. His time in the broadcast booth cemented his place in the Hall of Fame with the Class of 2017.
Bottom line: Martin Truex Jr. didn’t have much luck with unstable race teams in the early part of his career, but once he got with a good one, things took off. Racing in an era with little sponsorship, drivers were known more by the owner’s name on the side of the car than anything. He died in a plane crash in 1993 after making a sponsor appearance. Kurt Busch doesn’t have as many wins as his younger brother, but he’s no slouch. He finished in the top 10 in 29 of 34 races in 1999 to win the title. Bottom line: He’s still active and still under 40, but Denny Hamlin can’t quite nudge his way to the championship. The coming years may be a master class in how a 30-year-old reaches a sustained career peak. He’s still active and still under 40, but Denny Hamlin can’t quite nudge his way to the championship.
By Zack Albert | Monday, October 12, 2020 ... let's look at NASCAR's all-time list (in no particular order) of rulers of the road.
He never ran close to a full season, so no titles, but when fans harken back to the good ol’ days, former moonshiner Johnson is the epitome of what they want. "Jaws" was always jawing — and winning — on his way to three titles.
Terry's younger brother bridged the sport from when a little more than half the drivers ran a full season to nearly all of them did. Bottom line: Any talk of greatest driver never to win a title starts with Mark Martin, who finished second a heartbreaking five times across two of NASCAR’s most competitive eras. Thomas drove the Fabulous Hudson Hornet.
"Texas" Terry Labonte didn’t win as often as other drivers of his era, but he won two titles by staying near the front every week. Three championships straight from 1976 to 1978, got the worst of "The Fight" with Bobby Allison at the 1979 Daytona 500 and one of the least likeable characters in the sport’s history. A record seven Daytona 500 victories.
When NASCAR could appear rough around the edges, this two-time champion brought a touch of gentlemanly class to any affair.
A new team, headed by Tony Stewart, has rejuvenated his career and led to a title. And at age 35, Brad Keselowski still is capable of winning dozens of more races and a few championships. Bottom line: Hollywood leading man good looks. His best years came racing for the legendary Junior Johnson after a stint at Hendrick Motorsports. Gets knocked for winning in the "Chase" era, but he doesn’t make the rules. Still incomplete, but perhaps a better gauge even than championships. Few modern drivers paid their dues the way Greg Biffle did, winning Trucks and Xfinity Series titles on his way to Cup. The first real superstar in the sport, Glenn "Fireball" Roberts won roughly once every six races entered. He had perhaps the best television championship interview in the history of the sport, thanks to plenty of his sponsor’s product. Darrell Waltrip was the only driver who could get under Dale Earnhardt’s thick skin until Jeff Gordon showed up, and Waltrip did it better. Joe Weatherly made Bud Moore a legend (and both are Hall of Famers) before dying in a crash at Riverside International Raceway in 1964. Darrell Waltrip was the only driver who could get under Dale Earnhardt’s thick skin until Jeff Gordon showed up, and Waltrip did it better. Buck Baker won back-to-back titles in 1956 and 1957 despite missing numerous races each season. "Awesome Bill from Dawsonville" won 11 races in 1985 and the championship in 1988. He doesn’t have the name recognition of the other drivers in the top five but David …
He won 10 races in both 1971 and 1972, and was a colorful, likable character. His nine-win 2008 season was one of the best of the past two decades, but it wasn’t enough to edge out seven-win Jimmie Johnson for the title. He’s the last driver to lap the field on his way to victory, at North Wilkesboro in 1994. Any talk of greatest driver never to win a title starts with Mark Martin, who finished second a heartbreaking five times across two of NASCAR’s most competitive eras.
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