Red alert! All personnel man battle stations! Attention! RED Alert!
Yes, I am predicting war as I present the greatest NASCAR drivers of all time. My reasonings are based on accomplishments, stats, and character, just like the F1 drivers. This is my desire to be eaten alive.
2. Richard Petty- I put Petty #2 because from 1962-1977 he was Chrysler's number one priority. He was the only driver to get factory backing the whole time he was with Chrysler. The only other driver to receive any factory backing while Petty was there was David Pearson in 1968 and 1969. Also, Petty is only number two in skill, despite being one in accomplishments. A fantastically talented driver, but there was still one who could beat him on a regular basis.
2. Cale Yarborough- imagine 83 wins and 3 straight titles, and he only ran full time from 73-80. Cale would have had more wins because he, in my opinion, was a better driver than the likes of Darrell Waltrip and Bobby Allison. He was a family man, however, and chose the easy way. Good for Cale. No one in the world could complain about this man.
2. Sorry, DSFF. I only put Dale here because of the Daytona 500 wins thing. He really is a tie for number two, but he lacks the 500 wins, but unlike Cale has Coke 600 wins. The real kicker for Dale is that we all saw him, so we remember him in the front of our minds and not as a statistic (like Tim Flock). Dale raced full-time from 79-00 and only missed 4 races in that time, but won 76 times. Even Gordo and Jimmie have higher win percentages, but they don't have 7 titles. 7, 3 sets of back-to-back. Except person off of the track and a true of example of a man who died doing what he loved most. If we had Dale, I think we are talking about Winston Cup Champ Dale Jr., but the management skills at DEI went with him.
I was really torn between Richard, Cale, and Dale.
5. Jeff Gordon- Gordo beats Bobby Allison and Darrell Waltrip because he is nowhere near as hot-headed. Jeff has Bobby's wins, and more titles and wins than Darrell, and all 4 titles in an 8 year stretch. I would Jimmie here, but without Jeff there is no Jimmie. Jeff made Jimmie a champ, and Jimmie and Chad have repaid it with jealousy and disdain for Jeff. If Jimmie hits 80 wins, then, and only then, will I possibly consider Jimmie #5. While being an aggressive driver on track (although people call him dirty just because they envy his stats), he is no worse than the people who criticized him (aka Rusty Wallace). Everybody says Jeff is the nicest guy in the garage, and that gets him #5.
Honorable mentions, for reasons of stats, character, and overachieving in turd cars- Herb Thomas, Tim Flock, Rusty Wallace, Ned Jarrett, Lee Petty, and James Hylton. I will give some space to Hylton here for a very good reason.
James Hylton- from the 66-75 he was literally the most consistent driver ever. He was so consistent he could lead the points even when Richard Petty had a Daytona 500 win that year. He was second three times, 3rd other times, and all done in his own car. If you give some of these other drivers the same circumstances, I bet only Richard, David, Bobby, Dale, and Jeff could figure anything out of it, and they might be behind James at that.
1. David Pearson-
Analysis, Mr. Spock. What would happen if they were to meet?
Annihilation, Jim. Total, complete, absolute annihilation.
That is what Richard Petty and David Pearson did. In 1973, DP ran only 18 races. He DNF'd four times, but he had 14 top-3 finishes and 11 wins. In 76, he repeated that, only it was 11 wins, 16 top-5s, 18 top-10s, and 4 DNFs in 22 races. He ran four full seasons, 64, 66, 68, and 69. In those years, he was 3, 1, 1, and 1. He ran a partial schedule almost his whole career. He only had good rides in 61, 64, 66, 68 and 69, and 72-78, but he won 105 times. A higher win percentage that the King, and more wins in less than half the starts. If he Richard's materials, we are talking probably 250-300 wins from this driver. If he had the car, he was going to win guaranteed, or end up in the garage because it was the mechanics fault. David Pearson was infamous for lighting a cigarette in turn-3 at Darlington, much to the horror of other drivers. Even in the Hoss Ellington crap-wagon, he was guaranteed contender. No man had more raw skill than Pearson, and he made racing look like a child's game. While his opponents struggled to succeed, he was driving off into the sunset. What DP lacks in major race wins he makes up in other ways. He was so good even Richard Petty was scared of him on the track, yet there was never one complaint against him his whole career. No one could, and can't, knock the man. If he wanted, he probably could have bridged the gap and won the Indy 500.
One man cannot change the future.
But he can change the present!
David Pearson changed his present, but his influence is forgotten because of his partial schedule. He was disgraced when Junior Johnson came before him in the Hall of Fame because he was a greater driver than Junior was a driver and owner combined. And on that, DP was disgraced when they didn't put the Tim, Herb, Lee, and Red were not in the first Hall of Fame class. What a disrespect to the greatest driver, possibly ever.
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