Famous NASCAR drivers

By George Garza
Info Guru,

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Only a select few NASCAR drivers are recognized as the best
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Who are the most famous NASCAR drivers?

Here is my list of the top five most famous NASCAR drivers. These are not necessarily the best, but they are distinctive.

Dale Earnhardt, Sr.: The Intimidator

As one of the most famous NASCAR drivers, Earnhardt was a legend of American auto racing and known for his competitive instincts and hard-driving style. He had 76 career wins and won the Winston Cup championship seven times.

Earnhardt became one of America's most popular athletes during the 80s and 90s. Earnhardt Sr. finally won the famed Daytona 500 in 1998. Three years later, in 2001, he was killed in a crash on the final lap of the same race.

Richard Petty

Petty, known as the "King," is a former NASCAR Winston Cup Series driver. His winnings are at the top of the list. He is widely considered the greatest NASCAR driver of all time. He won the NASCAR Championship seven times (Dale Earnhardt is the only other driver to accomplish this feat).

Petty won a record 200 races during his career, including the Daytona 500 a seven times, and winning a record 27 races. In the 1967 season alone he won 10 races consecutively. He had 1,185 starts and collected 127 pole positions and over 700 top-ten finishes. This included 513 consecutive starts from 1971 to 1989.

Jeff Gordon

How good is Jeff Gordon? By the time he turned 16 he became the USAC's youngest driver. He began his first Career Cup race in the year 1994 and has 64 career cup wins and 46 Career cup poles.
In his 15 years of driving, he won more than 600 victories, including three national Quarter-Midget championships and four national karting Championships during the 70s and early 80s.

In 1995, he won his first Winston Cup title, and has not finished outside the top 10 in points since 1993. He has four Winston cup titles in all, winning the fourth one in 1993.

Cale Yarbourough

Yarbourough is the only driver in NASCAR history to win three consecutive championships. His 83 wins places him at number five in the all-time NASCAR winner's list. Yarborough also won the Daytona 500 four times with his first win in 1968, the second in 1977, and back-to-back wins in 1983 and 1984.  In 1984, he became the first driver to qualify for the Daytona 500 with a top speed of more than 200 miles per hour.

Yarbourough is also famous for on an on-screen fist fight with driver Donnie Allison when both drivers crashed into each other near the end of the race. It allowed Richard Petty to win the race. That race was viewed in the East Coast during a snow storm. It made NASCAR a household name.

James (Jimmie) Kenneth Johnson

Johnson is a current NASCAR NEXTEL Cup race car driver. In his rookie year he became the first rookie in the Cup series to sweep both races at a track when he won both races at Dover International Speedway.
His record is astounding. He became the first rookie ever to lead in the point standings. In his first five full seasons, he is the only driver to finish in the top five in the standings. In 2003 and 2004, he finished second twice. He has never finished below fifth in the final NEXTEL Cup points standings.

In 2006, he won the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup championship. That same year, Johnson became the only driver to win the Daytona 500, Allstate 400 at the Brickyard and the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Championship. He ranks second among all active drivers.

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