The National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing, or more commonly known as NASCAR, has become an iconic staple of American culture. The sport was introduced in 1948 by Bill France Sr. during prohibition out of a need for bootleggers to transport their illegal alcohol in a speedy manner. In order to do this, they converted cars to be able to handle fast speed.
The drivers fell in love with the endorphins of fast-paced driving and stock car racing has since become a mainstay sport which is broadcasted in 150 countries around the world. NASCAR endorses over 1,500 races in the U.S, Canada, Mexico, and Europe. When you get drivers with such a need for speed, you also get some pretty heart-racing moments. So how do these drivers hold up against one another? Check out the best NASCAR drivers of all time, ranked in order.
A lot of stock car racers get their start racing go-karts at a young age and Denny Hamlin was one of them. He started racing go-karts at only 7 years old. Hamlin first gained recognition when he won Rookie of the Year at the 2006 Spring Cup and qualified for NASCAR Playoffs. Currently, Hamlin is a full-time racer in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series and drives the No. 11 Toyota Camry for Joe Gibbs Racing. Hamlin has won over 30 NASCAR Cup Series races, the biggest being the Daytona 500 in 2016 and 2019.
He has been credited as one of the most consistent drivers, and he has won at least one race every year from the 2006 to 2017 Cup seasons and another one in 2019.
Kurt Busch is another driver born into a family of racers. It wouldn’t be fair for his brother to be on the list without him now, would it? Busch is just as deserving of a spot here, as he won the 2004 NASCAR Nextel Cup Series and the 2017 Daytona 500. He drives the No. 1 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 for Chip Ganassi Racing as a full-time racer in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series. Busch is one of few drivers of who have won races in the Cup Series, Xfinity Series, and the Camping World Truck Series.
As admirable as his skills and wins are on the track, off of it, Busch has been known of engaging in verbal abuse of his team members and the media. He shared in 2011 that he was working with a sports psychologist on his anger issues. Busch has also been under investigation for physical assault and was caught cheating on his first wife.
Born as Richard Petty, but otherwise known as “The King” AKA the greatest NASCAR driver of all time. Richard owned the wheel since the late ’50s and competed in 1,185 races over 35 years before retiring. It’s no surprise that Petty is the most adorned NASCAR driver, as it seems that racing runs deep in the Petty family’s blood. Richard was born to the late Lee Petty, who was also a stock car racer. Richard has an impressive 200 wins under his belt as well as 172 top ten finishes. He also started in the pole position 123 times.
In 1992, Richard threw in the towel and retired from the sport with seven Cup championship wins, and may we mention the first driver to accomplish this number of wins. In 2010, when the first NASCAR Hall was created, there was nobody better to induct than the champion of the stock car racing himself. Besides his impressive achievements, Richard has also avoided death several times, luckily managing to survive three intense car crashes.
Harry Gant, AKA “Handsome Harry,” began his career in the 1970s in North Carolina. He raced for 22 years and retired from the sport in 1994 with 208 top ten finishes, 18 wins, and 17 pole starting positions. Although he never won a Cup championship, he has enough feats that he is deserving of a place on this list.
After retiring, Gant decided to return to the calm rural life on his ranch where he enjoys riding his motorcycle. He is still somewhat involved in NASCAR and In 2015, he made an appearance at the Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway. He also has a good hand for carpentry and roofing and enjoys doing that in his spare time.
Although Junior Johnson’s career spanned for only a little over 10 years, he had 50 wins which placed him as the tenth best driver, and ranked 9th in terms of career pole positions. Johnson retired in 1966 but didn’t leave the sport too far behind. Nowadays, Johnson is known as a NASCAR team owner. In total, his drivers have won 139 races. The real reason that Johnson makes our list, though, is thanks to his discovery of drafting. During a test run before the Daytona 500 in 1960, Johnson discovered that when he moved behind a faster car, his car’s speed increased because faster cars would block its wind resistance.
Taking advantage of this, he was able to surpass his competitor car during the race and win despite that his car was slower than other cars. Other drivers soon began to adopt this technique and it has since become a popular strategy used by NASCAR drivers.
Jeff “The Mayor” Burton
n 1988, Jeff Burton began his racing career in the Busch series. He drove a car owned by his father, number 69. His first win happened nearly 10 years later in 1997, when he won the Interstate Batteries 500 at Texas Motor Speedway. Jeff Burton has had 21 wins in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series.
His most memorable NASCAR moment was when he won at the Coca-Cola 600s in 1999 and 2000. Nowadays he seldom races, but like many other former racers, he’s never too far from the tracks. He works as a sports commentator for NBC Sports in their NASCAR coverage.
Matt Kenseth developed an interested in cars when he was just 13-years-old after his father bought him a car. In 1988, 16-year-old Matt Kenseth started stock car racing at Madison International Speedway. 29 years later, the racer retired from full-time racing.
During his full-time career, he competed in 288 races for the NASCAR Xfinity Series and 665 races for the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series. He led over 11,756 laps and had over 300 top 10 finishes.
Born in Miami, Florida, Bobby Allison got his career started at age 17 while still in high school. Although he was from Miami, he became a member of the “Alabama Gang” after the success of countless wins in Alabama along with Donnie Allison and Red Farmer. Bobby Allison went on to become the most successful driver of the gang and retired with 84 wins and one Cup championship. He is the oldest driver to win the Daytona 500, winning the race at age 50.
Owing to a successful career, Allison was inducted into NASCAR’s Hall of Fame in 2011. Nowadays, 81-year-old Bobby is promoting rail safety for the “Keep on Living” campaign.
Born into the famous stock car racing Family, the stocks, Tim Flock made a name for himself as a NASCAR racer. His racing career spanned from 1949 to 1961, during which he won 39 races, made 187 starts and had 37 starts in the pole position. Although his winning percentage was only 21 percent, in the racing world this is actually very impressive and high. In fact, it’s the best winning percentage ever. For this reason, and a good reason, Flock was inducted in the NASCAR Hall of Fame in 2014.
Flock, unfortunately, didn’t live to see this honor, as he passed in 1998 from liver and throat cancer.
Every sport needs bad boys for some extra drama and entertainment. Tony Stewart, AKA “smoke” was one of NASCAR’s “bad boys.” He won three Cup championships in 2002, 2005, and 2011. Noted for his fearless and sometimes reckless driving as well as attitude problems, Stewart is the only person to win both a championship in NASCAR and IndyCar.
Stewart got his start in competitive go-karting and won his first championship at the age of 8. Stewart won at least once in every season that he raced. In 2011, Stewart won the Cup as both an owner and driver from Stewart-Haas Racing. He threw in the towel in 2016, having competed in 96 races over 14 years.
Ned Jarrett, otherwise known as “Gentlemen Ned Jarrett,” was known for his calm personality. During his 13-year period racing in the NASCAR Cup Series, he raced in 352 races, winning 50 of them and finishing in the top ten in 239 races. He was in pole position 25 times. He retired young, at the age of 34, and became the only driver to retire as the current NASCAR champion. If he had raced for more years, who knows how many wins he would have garnered. After retiring from the sport, he became a NASCAR broadcaster.
The greatest moment of Jarrett’s career and one of the craziest in NASCAR history was at Darlington Raceway in 1965. He passed other drivers by miles, literally. He was farther by the next closest racer by 14 laps which is around 19.2 miles. This is the biggest margin in NASCAR history. In 2011 he was inducted to the NASCAR Hall of Fame.
Edward Glen Roberts Jr., or better known as “Fireball Roberts” was a big name in the racing world during his 15-year-stunt. He started 206 races and was in the pole position in 32 of them. When he retired, he had 33 races with 93 top-five finishes under his belt. He also started 16 races in the Convertible Series.
Roberts earned his nickname as Fireball while playing baseball for the American Legion. When he was pitching for the Zellwood Mud Hens, his teammates were amazed by his fastball and started calling him Fireball. The nickname stuck. He died prematurely at the age of 35, after a crash in a race left him with second- and third-degree burns over 80% of his body. Every race car driver takes this risk every time they enter the tracks.
Darrell Waltrip was inducted in the NASCAR Hall of Fame in 2012 and for good reason. The three-time NASCAR Cup series champion had 84 wins throughout his career. A Kentucky native who started his career in go-carts at age 12, not much could stop him. He’s ranked fourth by NASCAR on the all-time wins list in the Cup Series. He is also ranked second for most pole positions with 59.
Despite having retired in 2000, he still holds many records. After retiring from the sport, Waltrip became an analyst for NASCAR and race commentator. In 2001, he started his career with Fox and has become known as one of most popular NASCAR analysts. Owing to his popularity over the years is the fact that he’s considered by many to be the total package driver. He was a triple threat, both attractive, articulate, and talented. All of these things led him to be very successful and get big sponsorship deals.
Brad Keselowski may not have been racing for over twenty years like some other big racers, but he already has a Cup Series championship and an Xfinity Series championship under his belt. Brad, a Michigan native who has been racing since 2004, currently is a full-time contender in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series, where he drives the number 2 Ford Mustang for Team Penske. He is also a part-time racer in the NASCAR Xfinity Series, where he drives the No. 12 Mustang for Team Penski.
Growing up in a family of racers, it was only natural that Brad would join the ranks. In 2019, Keselowski shared with NASCAR that he is ready to win the Daytona 500. “It’s certainly the race I would think of myself being the most prepared for just by the nature of it being the first race of the season,” he commented in February. While he ultimately placed 12th in the race, the racer already has much to be proud of; an impressive 67 race wins.
Jeff Gordon is consistently ranked as one of the best stock car drivers. Gordon started racing at the ripe age of five in quarter midgets. By age 6, he had already won 36 races, setting 5 records along the way. Known as the “Kid” at the start of his NASCAR career, he started professionally racing at age 16. By age 20, he became the youngest person to ever win the USAC Silver Crown.
Not only does he have a hunky, Tom Cruise look, but he has also brought a much-needed freshness to the sport. By the time he retired in 2015, he had 93 wins to his name, the third most in the history of NASCAR. He shortly after decided that he wasn’t done with racing all together and returned briefly to fill in for Dale Earnhardt Jr. who was injured. Nowadays, Gordon isn’t too far from NASCAR racing and can be found as a NASCAR broadcaster for Fox Sports.
Joey “Sliced Bread” Logano
Joey Logano is a current full-time racer in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series and part-time racer in the Xfinity Series. You can find him driving the No. 22 Ford Mustang GT. Although he’s still shy of 30, he’s managed to win an impressive 52 races. Logano’s first big win was in the 2008 Nationwide Series during the Meijer 300 at Kentucky Speedway. At 18 years old and 21 days, he was the youngest driver to win a Nationwide Series race. 2016 was one of Logano’s most successful seasons.
He finished in the top-five in 22 races and in the top-ten in 28 races. Logano is the current champ of the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Champion and he plans to defend that title for the 2019 season. When Logano began his career, he received the nickname sliced bread because he won many races as a young driver. Well this young driver still has a long career ahead of him and probably many more wins!
Dale Earnhardt Jr.
Being born to the great Dale Earnhardt Sr. leaves you little choice but to be a great racer yourself, especially when you have the same name. While he’s known for being the son of one of NASCAR’s best drivers in history, he has made his own name for himself. Dale, otherwise known as the “Pied Piper” of Daytona, won the Daytona 500 twice; in 2004 and 2014.
He also won the Most Popular Driver Award fifteen times in a row, from 2003-2017. If that doesn’t impress you, maybe his $400 million net worth will. Earnhardt has won 26 Cup Series. Despite his wins, he chose to retire in 2017. Nowadays, you can find him as an analyst for NASCAR on NBC. He still competes part-time at the NASCAR Xfinity Series where he drives the No. 8 Chevy Camaro for JR Motorsports.
South Carolina-born Buck Baker was a bus driver before he got started as a stock car driver. He raced in his first NASCAR race in 1949 at the Charlotte Speedway. Three years later, he won his first race at the Columbia Speedway. Baker proceeded to have a long 27-year-career during which he raced in over 600 races, won two championships and 46 races and started in the pole position 45 times. He also finished in the top ten in 372 of the races. At least three of the wins he had were at the Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway in 1953, 1960, and 1964.
In 1976, Baker called it quits and decided to retire from the sport. But, like many other fellow drivers, he didn’t leave the sport far behind him. He opened up the Buck Baker Racing School, and sometime later, Jeff Gordon drove his first stock car there. It’s all coming together now, huh?
Although Edwards is only 39-years-old, he already retired from racing by 2017 at the age of 37. But, with 75 wins to his name, maybe he felt like it was enough for him. He commented at the time of his retirement “I don’t have a life raft I”m jumping into, I’m just jumping… This is a pure, simple, personal decision.”In 2015 when he won the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Bojangles’ Southern 500 at the Darlington Raceway, he celebrated by holding up the checkered flag.
Edwards was recognized for the No. 19 Toyota Camry that he drove for Joe Gibbs Racing during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. He was also known for performing his famous backflip off of his car every time he won a race. In 2009, he married Katherine Downey and the couple have two children together.
Rusty Wallace had a long career which spanned for 25 years. In 1980, Rusty raced in his first NASCAR race in the Atlanta 500. Besides being known for his charismatic personality and for being a close rival to Dale Earnhardt, Wallace also experienced a number of severe crashes. In 2013, Wallace was inducted into the NASCAR Hall of Fame.
Rusty Wallace was known as one of the best road course drivers in NASCAR. He had 697 consecutive starts, falling short of Ricky Rudd’s 788. Wallace won only one Cup championship in 1989, however, he longed to win another one until finally retiring in 2005. At the end of his long career, Wallace finished in the top ten in 349 races, winning 55 of them and starting from the pole position in 36 of the races.
Another racer born into a family of racers, Dale Earnhardt is widely regarded as one of the best NASCAR racers in history. He had several nicknames during his driving career, thanks to his competitive and fierce driving style. Among them was the “Intimidator.” With seven Cup championship wins, we are sure that he did intimidate. He also won 76 Winston Cup races.
Unfortunately, tragedy struck too early on in his career, taking his life at the young age of 49. Had it not, who knows how many more wins he would have achieved. At the Dayton 500 in February 2001, the “Intimidator” was instantly killed in a three-car crash. His son, Dale Earnhardt Jr. raced as well, and only learned of his father’s death after he finished the race. In 2010, Earnhardt was inducted into the NASCAR Hall of Fame.
Another North Carolina-born racer, Bobby Isaac began racing full time in 1956. However, it wasn’t for seven years and a lot of hard work that he made it to the Grand National division. In the ’60s, Isaac raced Dodges for Nord Krawskoph and took home three NASCAR Cup race wins in 1968.
In 1970, Isaac had his first big win, winning NASCAR’s Grand National Series. He drove the number 71 Dodge Charger Daytona which was sponsored by K&K Insurance. In his 20-year-career, he won 37 races in NASCAR’s top series and started from the pole position 49 times. To this day, he still holds the record for the most poles in a single season with 20.
The late South Carolina born stock car racer, David Pearson, had many wins during his nearly 40-year career. In 2011, he was inducted into the NASCAR Hall of Fame, achieving this honor just one year after Petty. He had a very notable career, competing in more than 574 races and winning 105 of them. He holds the record behind Petty of achieving 113 pole positions. He had three Cup championships to his name, which considering that he seldom raced a full season schedule every year makes the wins even more incredible. Imagine if he had raced a full season more, he might just have made the first place spot here.
NASCAR has said about Pearson that when he showed up at a race track, he simply won. You would think that being the two best NASCAR racers would make Petty and Pearson butt heads, but it seems like the two actually had a particular respect for one another. Petty has said about losing to Pearson that it wasn’t such a bummer because he knew that Pearson was an extremely skilled racer. And Pearson said something of similar value regarding Petty, noting that when he beat Petty in a race, he felt like he really won.
The third stock car racer to win seven Cup championships, Jimmie Johnson was born in El Cajon, California in 1975 and entered the world of racing after graduating high school. He began stock car racing in 1998 along with his team, Herzog Motorsports. In 2001, Johnson signed with Hendricks Racing, and since then has seen many wins to his name. To date, Johnson has won seven Cup championships, most impressively five of them being consecutive wins from 2006-2010, becoming the first driver to do so. In 2016, he won his seventh championship, becoming the third person to do so after Petty and Earnhardt.
He has won more than 50 races and started in the pole position more than 20 times. To date, Johnson has won 86 races, started in the pole position 35 times, finished in the top five 221 times and in the top ten in 342 races.
Does the same sound familiar? Yep, Lee Petty brought us the best driver in history, the number one man, Richard Petty. The love of racing started with the patriarch of the Petty’s in 1949 at the older age of 35. Petty subsequently became one of the first NASCAR superstars. By the time he retired from the sport, he won 54 races and had 18 pole positions. He also won three Cup championships, becoming the first driver to achieve such a feat.
As one of the original NASCAR stars, Lee Petty helped shape NASCAR to what it is today. Without his influence, NASCAR might not even be around today. Petty encouraged the development of safety innovations and advocated for features like window nets and roll bars.
Georgia-born William Clyde Elliot, AKA Bill Elliot, AKA “Awesome Bill from Dawsonville,” was one of the most popular NASCAR drivers of his time, a reputation which was solidified by him winning NASCAR’s Most Popular Driving Award 16 times. After winning a 16th time, he withdrew his name in order to give a chance to a different driver to win the honor. All good things come to an end. But, for Bill Elliot, his legacy lives on. His popularity stretches so far that in Georgia, October 8 is Bill Elliot Day and there is a stretch of highway in his county renamed after him.
During his time as a NASCAR racer, Elliot won 55 pole positions, 44 races, and one Cup championship. Another honor he achieved was becoming the first driver to win the Winston Million, meaning that he placed first at the Daytona 500, Winston 500, and Southern 500 in the same season.
Terry Labonte was a NASCAR racer for 27 years during which he won two Cup championships and 22 races. He set the record for the most years in between two Cup championship wins. Labonte was born into a family of racers, but unlike his two brothers, Bobby and Justin, Terry became one of the most popular drivers of his time. In 1984, Terry starred as a guest in an episode of The Dukes of Hazzard, playing a pit crew member.
He also had some appearances in commercials for Denny’s.
Another North Carolina-born driver, Benny Parsons gained recognition after winning the 1973 NASCAR Winston Cup champion. That year, he had 21 top-ten finishes and 15 top-five finishes out of 28 races that season. After retiring in 1988, he became a top broadcaster and analyst in NASCAR for TBS, ABC, ESPN, NBC, and TNT.
In 2017, Parsons was inducted into the NASCAR Hall of Fame. Sadly, he passed in 2007 from lung cancer.
Cale Yarborough was born in 1939 in South Carolina to a tobacco farmer and cotton gin operator. Before entering the world of racing, Yarborough was a football athlete. In 1957, he made his racing debut at the Southern 500. He quickly became one of the top racers, eventually winning 83 races, tying him with Jimmie Johnson. Most notable in his career, were his three consecutive Cup championships from 1976-1978. Jimmie Johnson would eventually beat that and add two more consecutive wins.
Yarborough was one of the best race car drivers of his time. He was inducted in the NASCAR Hall of Fame in 2011. Another big honor was getting a part of South Carolina Highway 403 re-named after him to Cale Yarborough Highway.
Ricky “The Rooster” Rudd
Virginia-born Ricky Rudd got his racing start as a teenager in go-karts and motocross. He made his NASCAR debut in 1975 at North Carolina Speedway. Two years later, he became a full-time driver. His 32-year career consisted of 23 wins at the NASCAR Cup Series. He retired in 2006 and was inducted into the Virginia Sports Hall of Fame in 2007.
One of Ricky Rudd’s most memorable NASCAR moments was in 1988 at the Budweiser At The Glen. He was able to pass the finish line before Rusty Wallace by inching closer to him although Wallace had gained speed in the final laps. Another iconic year for Rudd was in 2005 when he was known as NASCAR’s “ironman” for holding the record for the most consecutive starts, ending at 788. In 2005, Jeff Gordon beat his record.
Despite never having won a Cup championship, the Arkansas-born native has nonetheless been described by ESPN as one of the best drivers. He’s not the best there ever was, but with 40 wins, 51 pole positions, and a career which spanned for more than 31 years, he is definitely deserving of a spot on our list. Plus, there’s that minor fact that he managed to make an earning of over $85 million by the time he retired.
In 2017, Martin received the honor of being inducted in the NASCAR Hall of Fame along with Richard Childress, Rick Hendrick, Raymond Parks, and Benny Parsons. Since retiring from racing, Martin has switched to the back-end and now is the owner of several car dealerships in Arkansas.
Joe Weatherly was known for his sometimes crazy antics, like once showing up in a peter pan costume to do practice laps. His racing career started in 1950 and over the course of his 12-year-career, he raced in 230 races. In 1950, he won more than half of the races that he competed in. Two years after that, he won the NASCAR Modified National Crown.
By the second half of the 50’s, he began competing in the NASCAR Grand Nationals, where he drove a Ford for Pete DePaolo Engineering. Tragically, Weatherly died in 1964 during a racing accident in 1964 after his head was hit by a retaining wall at the Riverside International Raceway. Because he was scared of getting trapped in a burning car, his car didn’t have a window net.
During the 1950s there was a North Carolina-born native who took the auto racing world by storm. The former farmer developed an interest in auto racing in the late forties and in 1949 he partook in NASCAR’s Strictly Stock race. His first win came at Martinsville Speedway in a privateer Plymouth.
This picture was snapped in 1955 and it shows Thomas posing with his Fish Carburertor 1939 Plymouth Modified that he came in fifth place with at a NASCAR event. Thomas drove plymouths but after a fellow driver suggested that he switch to a Hudson Hornet, Thomas made the switch and quickly proceeded to win six races. Over Thomas’ 13-year-career, he won 48 races, which ranks him 14th.
As we’ve already seen, race car driving runs deep in the family blood. Well, the Jarretts seem to know all about this. Dale Jarrett has followed close behind his father’s footsteps, winning the Daytona 500 NASCAR Winston Cup a total of three times. He first won in 1993, 1996, and 2000. Those weren’t Jarrett’s only big wins. In 1999, he won a NASCAR Winston Cup Series championship.
Nowadays, Jarrett prefers to work behind the tracks like the lead racing analyst for ESPN. In 2014, he was inducted to the NASCAR Hall of Fame, joining his father who was inducted three years before.
Bobby Labonte got his start in racing like many other big-time NASCAR guys, by racing quarter midgets when he was just five years old. Since then, he has competed in an impressive 932 races. If his last name sounds familiar, that’s because he’s the brother of Terry Labonte. These two brothers are one of the only pairs of brothers along with the Buschs to both win the Cup championship.
Bobby is the first driver to win both the Winston Cup Championship in 2000 and the Busch Series Championship in 1991. He’s also the first driver to complete the NASCAR Triple Threat, meaning he won three of NASCAR’s top races at the same track at Martinsville. Nowadays, Bobby can be found on FOX Sports working as an analyst for NASCAR RaceDay.
88-year-old Rex White is a retired stock car racer who began his career in 1956. He became one of the first drivers to compete for the first Ford racing team. For the majority of his NASCAR career, he drove General Motors brand cars. By the time he won the title as the NASCAR Cup Series champion in 1960, he’d already won six races and had 35 top-ten finishes out of 41 starts in that year.
When he won the championship, he received a check of $13,000. He was a big name in the sport until he retired in 1964. He retired from the sport with 73 career wins. In 2015, he was inducted to the NASCAR Hall of Fame.
Kevin “The Closer” Harvick
In 1980, Kevin Harvick a little five-year-old received a kindergarten graduation gift. The present was what most kids would kill to have; a go-cart. At a young age, Kevin started to receive attention and wins on the go-kart racing circuit. This young boy grew up to be one of the best race car drivers around. He officially started his NASCAR career in 1995. He has had 45 wins at the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series and 47 at the NASCAR Xfinity Series. He is only the third of five drivers to have won a championship in the Spring Cup series and the Xfinity Series.
Another accomplishment of Harvick’s is that he holds the record for the most wins at Phoenix International Raceway, winning a total of nine races. Harvick drives the number 4 Ford Mustang for Stewart-Haas Racing as a full-time competitor in the Monster Energy series. Harvick has acquired several nicknames throughout his career like “Happy Harvick,” which is odd considering that he has the tendency for outbursts. He has also been nicknamed “The Closer” due to his ability to win by making late passes.
84-year-old Fred Lorenzen back in the day had many nicknames. Amongst them were The Golden Boy, Fast Freddie, The Elmhurst Express, and Fearless Freddy. His career started in 1956 when he made his NASCAR debut at Langhorne Speedway and finished 26th in his first race. He walked away with a whole $25.
Although Lorenzen had a short-lived career during which he competed for 12 years, that didn’t stop him from taking home a lot of wins. During 1962-1967 alone he won 22 races. Here is a picture of him rejoicing in his win at the Daytona 500 Qualifier.
33-year-old Kyle Busch or “Rowdy” is far from retired, so you might be wondering how he can be featured on a list of the greatest NASCAR drivers of all time. Well, by the end of the 2018 season, this all-star already had 51 career wins so it was only natural for him to be part of this list. The Las Vegas-born racer and younger brother to Kurt Busch started his career in 2003 and quickly let the world know that he wasn’t going to be known only for being Kurt Busch’s younger brother.
In 2015, Busch achieved his first big win when he won a Cup championship. He is now one of only five drivers to win a championship in the Spring Cup Series and the Xfinity series. 2019 has already gotten off to a good start for the racer, and he finished in 2nd place in the Daytona 500.
Another North Carolina native and in our opinion the most underrated stock car racer on this list, Jim Paschal had a career that spanned for 23 years. During this time, he took home 25 wins and in 1977 received the title “Stock Car Racing Hall of Fame.” He also had twelve poles over his career.
In 1964 and 1967, he won the World 600 and in 1967 he held a race record for 335 laps led. This record wouldn’t be broken for another 49 years until 2016 when Martin Truex Jr. would lead with 392 laps. Paschal was strong in the short tracks, which could possibly be a reason for why he retired. After he retired, he worked as a farmer and owned a trucking company.