Terry Labonte was a NASCAR racer for 27 years during which he won two Cup championships and 22 races. He set the record for the most years in between two Cup championship wins. Labonte was born into a family of racers, but unlike his two brothers, Bobby and Justin, Terry became one of the most popular drivers of his time.
In 1984, Terry starred as a guest in an episode of The Dukes of Hazzard, playing a pit crew member. He also starred as himself in the Burt Reynolds movie “Stroker Ace” the year prior. He also had some appearances in commercials for Denny’s.
Cale Yarborough- Three Cup Championships
Cale Yarborough was born in 1939 in South Carolina to a tobacco farmer and cotton gin operator. Before entering the world of racing, Yarborough was a football athlete. In 1957, he made his racing debut at the Southern 500. He quickly became one of the top racers, eventually winning 83 races, tying him with Jimmie Johnson.
Most notable in his career, were his three consecutive Cup championships from 1976-1978. Jimmie Johnson would eventually beat that and add two more consecutive wins. Yarborough was one of the best race car drivers of his time. He was inducted in the NASCAR Hall of Fame in 2011. Another big honor was getting a part of South Carolina Highway 403 re-named after him to Cale Yarborough Highway.
Benny Parsons- 285 Top-Tens
Another North Carolina-born driver, Benny Parsons gained recognition after winning the 1973 NASCAR Winston Cup champion. That year, he had 21 top-ten finishes and 15 top-five finishes out of 28 races that season. After retiring in 1988, he became a top broadcaster and analyst in NASCAR for TBS, ABC, ESPN, NBC, and TNT.
In 2017, Parsons was inducted into the NASCAR Hall of Fame. Parsons had his fair share of health problems during the last few years of his life. Even though he had stopped smoking back in the late '70s, it seems that it had long-lasting effects on his breathing. Sadly, he passed in 2007 from lung cancer.
Bill Elliot- Winston Million Winner
Georgia-born William Clyde Elliot, AKA Bill Elliot, AKA “Awesome Bill from Dawsonville,” was one of the most popular NASCAR drivers of his time, a reputation which was solidified by him winning NASCAR’s Most Popular Driving Award 16 times. After winning a 16th time, he withdrew his name in order to give a chance to a different driver to win the honor.
All good things come to an end. But, for Bill Elliot, his legacy lives on. His popularity stretches so far that in Georgia, October 8 is Bill Elliot Day and there is a stretch of highway in his county renamed after him. During his time as a NASCAR racer, Elliot won 55 pole positions, 44 races, and one Cup championship.
Lee Petty- Three Cup Championships
Does the same sound familiar? Yep, Lee Petty brought us the best driver in history, the number one man, Richard Petty. The love of racing started with the patriarch of the Pettys in 1949 at the older age of 35. Petty subsequently became one of the first NASCAR superstars. By the time he retired from the sport, he won 54 races and had 18 pole positions.
He also won three Cup championships, becoming the first driver to achieve such a feat. As one of the original NASCAR stars, Lee Petty helped shape NASCAR into what it is today. Without his influence, NASCAR might not even be around today. Petty encouraged the development of safety innovations and advocated for features like window nets and roll bars.