Think you can spot the difference between Jeff Gordon and Richard Petty, or pick Jimmie Johnson out of a crowd? Do you know which drivers go by the nicknames Wild Thing or Wonder Boy? If so, you might have what it takes to reach top speeds with this famous NASCAR drivers quiz!
Unlike many other sports, where the players take center stage, fans' eyes in NASCAR are often trained on the cars, rather than the drivers themselves. This means that even the biggest stars on the racetrack aren't quite as recognizable as top players in other sports. Sure, you'd know Tom Brady if you ran into him on the street, but would you be able to recognize 2017 Daytona 500 winner Kurt Busch?
Of course, despite the fact that they're hidden behind fire-proof suits, mega-sized helmets and some of the world's fastest cars, it's the drivers themselves who put their lives on the line every time they sit behind the wheel. It's the drivers traveling at speeds of 200 miles per hour or more, where one wrong move could mean the difference between life and death, and it's the drivers that are remembered as legends of the sport long after they've finished their final laps.
Ready to prove your status as a top NASCAR fan? Put the pedal to the metal with this quiz!
Dale Earnhardt passed away in 2001 doing what he loved most: racing. His crash during the Daytona 500 led to a major safety shakeup in NASCAR. Up until that point, Earnhardt had won 76 of his 676 starts with 22 pole positions and over 25,000 lead laps. In 2002, Earnhardt was posthumously added to the Motorsports Hall of Fame of America.
With more than 33 years in NASCAR, Ricky Rudd is certainly as experienced a driver as you can find. And the numbers will back that up. Rudd had over 900 races, 23 wins, 259 000 laps (of which he led over 7,000) and earnings of over $44 million. 'The Rooster' retired in 2007 and was inducted into the Virginia Sports Hall of Fame in the same year.
With over $153 million in earnings, Jeff Gordon's name is synonymous with NASCAR. From his first race in 1992 (also Richard Petty's last), Gordon showed incredible talent. It took him three seasons to register his first win and to date, he has registered 92 more in 806 races. This placed him third on the all-time wins list.
Mario Andretti only spent four years in NASCAR - from 1966 to 1969 - and participated in just 14 races out of a possible 201. He did manage a win and led for 165 laps out of the 1,596 he drove. His win was at the prestigious Daytona 500 in 1967. Andretti went on to become both an Indycar Champion and a Formula One champion.
Neil Bonnet was one of the most experienced drivers at the Daytona 500 in February 1994. A crash four years earlier had led to his retirement, but he returned to the sport he loved, securing a six-race deal for the year. Unfortunately, he was killed in a massive crash during. Bonnet had 362 starts in NASCAR, registering 18 wins and 20 poles.
Jeff Burton had a highly successful career in NASCAR from 1993 to 2014. During that time, he registered 21 race wins in 695 career starts, clocking over 197,000 laps in the process. Burton's NASCAR career collected him $88 million in earnings. He was often referred to by the nickname "The Mayor of the Garage."
With close to three decades in NASCAR, Dave Pearson is the second most successful driver of all time. He made 574 starts and racked up 113 poles, almost one in every five races. He recorded a century of victories, ending on 105 and led 18% of all the laps he ever raced! Pearson's most successful season was in 1968 where he won 16 times.
Ernie Irvan entered NASCAR at the age of 28, fairly late some might say. His career, however, lasted for 12 years, with Irvan grabbing 22 poles and 10 wins in 323 starts. He earned over $11 million during this time.
One of the pioneers of modern NASCAR, Edward Roberts, or 'Fireball' as he was known, raced from 1950 to 1964. He finished 206 races, recording 33 wins and 32 poles. In 1964, Roberts was involved in a crash at the World 600. He suffered extensive burns and died just over a month later.
Always the bridesmaid, never the bride, Mark Martin finished runner-up in the NASCAR championship on five occasions. He also ended in the top three no less than nine times! During his 31-year, 882 race career, Martin won 40 races and registered 56 poles. The $92 million he earned during his career must have helped ease the pain of no championship wins, however.
Sterling Marlin entered NASCAR at the tender age of 19 in 1976. He went on to participate in 33 seasons, recording 748 starts (12th on the all-time list) with 11 poles and 10 wins. By the time he retired in 2009, he had driven 209,426 laps. Interestingly, it took him 17 years to record his first win.
Sixth on the all-time NASCAR winners list, Cale Yarborough spent 31 years in the sport. During this time he raced in 560 events, winning 83 of them for a win percentage of 14%. He also posted 69 poles and earned close to $6 million. Yarborough won three consecutive championships in 1976, '77 and '78.
Harry Gant had his first season in NASCAR in 1973 at the ripe old age of 33. He took some time to establish himself and his first full season only came in 1980. Gant raced 474 times, winning 18 races and recording 17 poles. He finished second in the NASCAR championship in 1984.
Fourth on the all-time NASCAR winner's list with 85 victories, Bobby Allison spent 25 seasons in the sport before retiring in 1988 at the age of 50. Allison finished runner-up in the championship on five occasions, before eventually becoming champion in 1983, a year he recorded six victories. His best years victory-wise were in 1971 and 1972 where he entered the victory lane first on 11 and 10 occasions respectively.
Curtis Turner spent 17 years in NASCAR over two stints, from 1949 to 1961 and again from 1965 to 1968. During that time, he won 17 races, including one in his comeback year. He is widely regarded as one of the most colorful drivers in NASCAR history. He began his driving career as a bootlegger at the age of 9! He was inducted into the NASCAR Hall of Fame in 2016.
Alan Kulwicki spent 9 years in NASCAR, his career cut short by his untimely death in 1993. Kulwicki had won the championship the year before, racing on his own team. It was a remarkable win, and with six races to go, Kulwicki was 248 points behind then leader, Bill Elliot. Going into the last race of the season, he was still 30 points behind but finished second and won thanks to bonus points for laps led during the race. He died in a plane crash the following year.
Jimmie Johnson absolutely dominated NASCAR in the mid and late 2000's. From 2006 to 2010, Johnson won five championships in a row, the longest streak by any driver in NASCAR history. He added two more championships in 2013 and 2016. He has won 82 races in a career that shows no signs of stopping, amassing over $150 million in the process.
With 38 wins, Kyle Busch is certainly a strong contender at each NASCAR event. After a number of fairly high championship finishes throughout his career, Busch finally won the 2015 title, winning five races during the season. Busch has led just over 10% of the laps he has completed in his career.
Bill Elliot spent an incredible 37 years in NASCAR. He drove in 828 races from 1976 until 2012, completing 238,924 laps in the process. During this time, Elliot recorded one championship win (1988) and was runner-up on three occasions. He is seventh on the list of drivers with the most NASCAR starts.
With a cool $81 million earned in NASCAR, Bobby Labonte spent 25 years in the sport from 1991 to 2016. He won 21 races of the 729 he entered with 26 poles. After finishing runner-up in 1999 in the championship, Labonte went one better the following year (2000) where he won four races to be crowned NASCAR champion.
Tim Richmond began his racing career in Indycar before his first NASCAR season in 1980. His best finish came in 1987, a season in which he claimed seven of his 13 career wins and where he finished third in the championship. His career was cut short due to illness. in 1989, he died of complications from AIDS.
Darryl Waltrip spent an incredible 29 seasons in NASCAR, from 1972 to 2000. During that time, he completed 237,773 laps and earned $19 million. He won the championship on three occasions (1981, 1982, 1985) and was runner-up three times. His 84 career wins put him fifth on the list of all-time winners.
Starting at the age of 21 and retiring at 57, Terry Labonte was involved in NASCAR for 37 years, from 1978 to 2014. He won two championships 12 years apart, in 1984 and 1996, producing two wins each season. It was his consistency during both seasons, where his average finish was eighth, that won him his titles. Labonte had 22 victories during his 890-race career.
With over 668 races during a 24-year career, Dale Jarrett had a golden run in the sport in the mid 90's. It led to one championship (1999) as well as a runner-up slot and two third places. Jarrett won 32 times in his career, setting 16 poles in the process.
Matt Kenseth claimed his only NASCAR championship in 2003, with only one win during the season. He also finished runner-up in 2006 and 2013. He continues to race and, to date, has won 38 times.
Buck Baker spent 26 years in NASCAR, recording an incredible 372 top 10 finishes in 635 races. He won the championship in 1956 and 1957 and was runner-up in 1958. Baker notched up 46 wins and 45 poles during his career. In 2013, he was inducted into the NASCAR Hall of Fame.
Davey Allison, who spent nine years in NASCAR, was killed in a helicopter crash in 1993. During 1991 and 1992, Allison had shown his undoubted promise, twice finishing third in the championship and notching up five wins during each season. Allison came from a rich racing pedigree and was the son of 84 times NASCAR winner, Bobby Allison. Davey Allison recorded 19 wins during his career, along with 14 poles in 191 races.
In a 14-year NASCAR career, spanning 1953 to 1966, Junior Johnson's best championship finish was sixth in both 1955 and 1961. Although he never came close to winning a championship, he racked up 50 NASCAR wins and 46 poles in 313 races. In 1956, Johnson. was convicted of manufacturing moonshine. In 1986, he received a presidential pardon from Ronald Reagan.
Although he entered NASCAR in 2001, it took Ken Harvick nearly 13 years to register his only championship to date (2014). He was incredibly consistent in the build up to this, with third place finishes in 2010, 2011 and 2013. He almost had another title in 2015 but had to settle for second. To date, he has won 35 times on the NASCAR circuit.
A NASCAR champion in his fifth season of racing, Kurt Busch is a current driver in the circuit. He has 29 wins and 21 poles under his belt.
Buddy Baker won 19 times during his NASCAR career, including the 1980 Daytona 500 and a career Grand Slam of the sport's four major races. The championship, however, eluded him and his best finish came in 1977 when he ended in fifth position. Baker became a respected commentator after his retirement. He died in 2015 at the age of 74.
Son of a legendary NASCAR driver, Dale Earnhardt Jr. entered the sport with much to prove. To date, he has won 26 times in 605 races but a championship eludes him. His best finish came in 2003 when he finished in third. He has, however, earned close to $100 million during his career.
After entering NASCAR in 2005 at the age of 24, Denny Hamlin had his first win the very next year. He also claimed two victories and placed third in the championship. He followed that up with second place finishes in 2010 and 2014. Currently still racing, Hamlin has posted 29 victories and 24 poles to date.
Ned Jarrett had a slow start to his NASCAR career. Between 1953 and 1959, he participated in only 27 races. His first full season came in 1960 where he posted two wins. By his second full season in 1961, he was NASCAR champion, repeating the feat again in 1965. All in all, Jarrett won 50 races and recorded 35 poles. Twenty eight of his victories came in 1964 and 1965.
Tony Stewart is a three-time NASCAR champion. His titles came in 2002, 2005 and 2011. During his career, he took part in 618 races and won 49, including 15 poles, finishing 176,404 laps in the process. Stewart also won the Indy Racing League in 1997, making him the only driver to win both that series and a NASCAR championship.
With only one victory and one pole in over 495 starts, Wendell Scott seems insignificant to the history of NASCAR. But nothing could be further from the truth. Scott was the first African-American driver to enter the sport. His best finish in the championship came in 1966 when he finished sixth. He died in 1990 and was inducted into the NASCAR Hall of Fame in 2015.
Lee Petty entered NASCAR in 1949 at the relatively late age of 35. He scored a win in his debut season and went on to win in every season he raced, except his final three were he only made five appearances. After finishing second in the championship in his debut season, Petty won three titles, the first in 1954, and again in '58 and '59. All in all, Petty won 54 races and recorded 18 poles. He retired after the 1964 season.
Incredibly, Geoff Bodine raced until the age of 62, finally calling it quits in 2011 after a 29-year career. During this time, Bodine managed to win 18 races, set 37 poles and won close to $17 million in prize money. Geoff was the oldest of the Bodine brothers, all who participated in NASCAR.
Carl Edwards has yet to win a NASCAR championship. He has come close on two occasions over the course of his career, finishing second in both 2008 and 2011. During this time he has won 28 races and set 22 poles with more sure to follow.
Rusty Wallace spent the better part of a decade at the forefront of NASCAR in a career spanning 29 years. He managed one championship win in 1989 after finishing second the year before. In all, he won 55 races, set 36 poles and earned almost $50 million. He retired in 2005. He also made an appearance in 1988 Tom Cruise movie, "Days of Thunder."
Ryan Newman is a NASCAR driver who is currently in his 18th season in the sport. He has yet to win a championship, coming close in 2014 when he finished second. He has 18 wins and 51 poles in his career.
Ward Burton managed five wins in his NASCAR career, which spanned 13 years from, 1994 to 2007. Burton's best championship position was in 1999 where he finished ninth.
Although he was involved in NASCAR for 34 seasons, A.J. Foyt didn't always race every season. In fact, he competed in just 128 races and registered seven wins. Foyt does have the distinction of winning the Indy 500, the Daytona 500, the 24-hour Daytona and the Le Mans 24-hour race. He is the only driver to ever do so.
Donnie Allison spent two decades in NASCAR, ending his career in 1981. During that time, he participated in 242 races, recording 18 pole positions and 10 race wins. He is often remembered for his role in the 1979 Daytona 500, the first race ever broadcast in its entirety on television. Allison and Cale Yarborough both had a chance to win entering the final lap but a crash on turn 3 put them out of the race and led to an argument that escalated into a fistfight.
With 35 years as a NASCAR driver, Richard Petty isn't called 'The King' for nothing. Starting out in 1958, Petty amassed 200 wins in his career in 1,154 starts. Perry also claimed 123 poles and drove over 300,000 laps.
Herb Thomas has a sensational NASCAR record. In 229 starts between 1949 and 1962, he managed 48 wins and recorded 39 pole positions. In 2000, he was inducted into the International Motorsports Hall of Fame at Talladega. His win percentage of close to 21% is the highest of all drivers with 100 starts or more.
Benny Parson entered NASCAR in 1964 and drove well into the modern era, before retiring in 1988. During that time, he won the 1973 championship, along with 21 races and had 20 poles.