It’s hard to beat the popularity of NASCAR racing in the United States. With the exception of the Indianapolis 500, few things generate more excitement than a NASCAR race, because they are so original. As a reminder, NASCAR races feature modified and race-prepared production cars. The main interest is that the cars are all identical, so it is the drivers’ qualities that are mainly put to use. Some drivers have become true legends, as they have dominated the discipline. For you, MVN Speedway has prepared the top 5 of the greatest NASCAR champions!
#1 – Richard Petty
Richard Petty is known as “The King” for a reason. Richard Petty literally drove over the competition throughout his career from 1958 to 1992. He won a record seven NASCAR titles, but more importantly, he took his car to victory 200 times! For comparison, the runner-up on this list is at 105 wins.
His most dominant season was undoubtedly 1967, when he won the title by winning 27 races, 10 of them consecutively, out of 49! In 2010, Petty is logically among the first drivers inducted into the NASCAR Hall of Fame.
#2 – Jimmie Johnson
Recently retired from NASCAR to join IndyCar, Jimmie Johnson has put his name on the list of NASCAR legends. A true prodigy, he arrived in the category in 2002 and didn’t take long to show off his talent. He became the third rookie to win a pole position at the Daytona 500.
But more importantly, Johnson managed to accomplish a feat that even King Richard Petty couldn’t: he won five consecutive championship titles between 2006 and 2010. To this day, he is still the only one to have achieved such a feat. He showed longevity and consistency against the new generation by winning two more titles in 2013 and 2016, at the age of 41.
#3 – Dale Earnhardt
Dale Earnhardt’s career has been so successful and perhaps it could have been even more so. The American is the co-record holder for NASCAR titles, along with Richard Petty and Jimmie Johnson. But the difference with his two companions is that the man nicknamed “The Intimidator” had a more than tragic fate.
In 2001, during the Daytona 500, Dale Earnhardt was the victim of a terrible accident that cost him his life. After contact with Sterling Marlin and Ken Schrader, Earnhardt’s Chevrolet hit the wall, killing the driver instantly. For many, this accident was the key moment that would lead to safety improvements.
#4 – Jeff Gordon
Now a commentator for American television, Jeff Gordon has had a very successful career. With four championship titles, Gordon holds several records in the modern era of competition.
With 93 victories, he is the third most successful driver in the modern era (since 1972), but also the most victories in a modern season, with 13 victories in the 1998 season, the year of his third title. For many, Jeff Gordon is the driver who has most contributed to the popularity of NASCAR around the world.
#5 – David Pearson
If Richard Petty won “only” two titles in the 1960s, it was probably because of David Pearson, who won three championships in 1966, 1968 and 1969.
Nicknamed “The Fox”, Pearson was known for his strategic side. A different approach to racing that allowed him to be the second most successful driver in history, with 105 victories, a nice total but far from the 200 wins of his rival Petty.
He was also known for his consistency. Throughout his career, between 1960 and 1986, he never missed a race!