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.
David Pearson- 105 Wins
The late South Carolina-born stock car racer, David Pearson, had many wins during his nearly 40-year career. In 2011, he was inducted into the NASCAR Hall of Fame, achieving this honor just one year after Petty. He had a very notable career, competing in more than 574 races and winning 105 of them.
He holds the record behind Petty in achieving 113 pole positions. He had three Cup championships to his name, which considering that he seldom raced a full season schedule every year makes the wins even more incredible. Imagine if he had raced a full season more, he might just have made the first-place spot here.
Jimmie Johnson- Seven Cup Championships
The third stock car racer to win seven Cup championships, Jimmie Johnson was born in El Cajon, California in 1975 and entered the world of racing after graduating high school. He began stock car racing in 1998 along with his team, Herzog Motorsports. In 2001, Johnson signed with Hendricks Racing, and since then has seen many wins to his name.
To date, Johnson has won seven Cup championships, most impressively five of them being consecutive wins from 2006-2010, becoming the first driver to do so. In 2016, he won his seventh championship, becoming the third person to do so after Petty and Earnhardt.
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.
Terry Labonte- Two Cup Championships
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.