Every NASCAR fan associates their favorite driver with a car number. NASCAR fans can also associate the car numbers to some of the all-time great drivers. What names do the numbers 3, 43, and 48 bring to mind? What car numbers do you think of when I say Jeff Gordon, Rusty Wallace, or Dale Jarrett? Car numbers and drivers have gone hand-in-hand over the years, and there have been a lot of great drivers in a lot of different numbered cars.
Over the next several weeks I’m going to be running through the car numbers and give you the driver that has done the most for that number since 1975, when NASCAR’s “modern” era began. Some are pretty obvious, and others had several successful drivers in the seat and will be tough to pick. Either way, it should be fun, and I can’t wait to hear your thoughts and read your comments to see who you think the best drivers were.
If my stats are correct, since 1975 there have been 747 different drivers in 156 car numbers, with 1135 races being run (including the first 21 races in 2010). That’s a lot of drivers and car numbers.
What car numbers have been the most successful? Generally speaking, the lower the number, the better the record. Check out the table below to see how they rank.
I’ll only focus on the number groupings with 10 or more wins, so we won’t waste time on the 0x cars, or cars with numbers in the 50’s, 60’s, or 100+. Any other car that doesn’t have a win won’t be included either. Great drivers need to win races, not have a few top fives.
Since the lower numbers have been a lot more successful I’ll start out with car number 99 and work my way down to 1. Check back every Wednesday for the latest posts on who the best driver is for each number. Leave a comment and let me know your thoughts and who you think the best driver ever was to drive your favorite number.