For many of its 75-year historical past, particularly for the reason that early Seventies, the point of interest of the NASCAR Cup Sequence has been the seasonal championship.
The title win was noteworthy earlier than the RJ Reynolds Tobacco Co. joined NASCAR as its main sponsor, however the piles of cash supplied by the Winston cigarette model elevated the significance of the championship exponentially. The title of “Winston Cup Champion” has turn into a a lot coveted honor.
Through the years, many gifted drivers have chased the championship, gained dozens of races, come near successful the title trophy and constructed Corridor of Fame careers, all whereas failing to achieve that final objective.
Listed here are 10 of one of the best “non-heroes”.
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1. Denny Hamlin Hamlin has been trying like a championship driver since his first full-time season (2006), when he completed third within the standings. Alongside the way in which, he gained the Daytona 500 3 times, gained 48 Cup races, and constructed a Corridor of Fame induction resume. However within the race for the championship, he completed second, third 3 times, fourth twice, and fifth twice.
2. Mark Martin Martin was Denny Hamlin earlier than Denny Hamlin. He chased the championship throughout the game’s 23 full-time seasons, failing on a number of agonizing events. He was second 5 occasions and was among the many prime 5 eight extra years. Forty Cup victories and a status as a racer have given him a particular entry into the Corridor of Fame.
3. Junior Johnson Johnson was the other of the “factors” racer. He was driving automobiles as if there was no tomorrow. The outcome was often a win, a wreck, or an explosive drive. Regardless of successful 50 races as a driver and later six championships as a staff proprietor, there could be no driving title for Johnson.
4. Davey Allison – Really the son of his father (Bobby gained the championship in 1983), Davey checked each field that could be listed underneath “champion” within the early years of his profession. He barely misplaced the title in 1992 however seemed set to compete for a number of championships on the street. He died in a helicopter crash in 1993.
5. Fred Lorenzen – “Courageous” Freddy, good, quick and good-looking, was a runaway star within the Nineteen Sixties cup races. He gained 26 occasions between 1961 and 1967 and by no means ran a full schedule (though he completed third in factors in 1963).
6. Fireball Roberts – The primary famous person athlete within the sport to by no means have participated in a full Cup season. He gained 33 races, together with at the very least one yearly between 1956 and 1964, when he died of accidents sustained at Charlotte Motor Speedway. He completed within the prime 10 six occasions.
7. Ricky Rudd Rudd has captained a number of groups, together with his personal, successful 23 occasions. Fierce competitor (ask Kevin Harvick About that), Rudd has gained at the very least as soon as each season for 16 straight years. He scored his finest factors with a second place in 1991.
8. Carl Edwards Edwards has been constantly strong all through his 28-win profession and had a shot on the title in 2011, when he tied Tony Stewart however misplaced the championship on a tiebreaker. It’s probably that he could be racing in additional championship races within the coming years However she determined to retire early.
9. Dale Earnhardt Jr. – Junior, who gained the cup 26 occasions, repeated a lot of his father’s successes On the biggest sports activities arenas However he failed to affix him in scoring tournaments.
10. Tim Richmond Richmond’s profession was quick however stellar, successful 13 occasions in seven seasons. In 1986, he gained seven races and completed third in factors. Quick, gritty and controversial, he died of AIDS in 1989, two years after his final race.
Honorable Point out: Jeff Burton, Jim Paschal, Curtis Turner, Geoffrey Bowden, Buddy Baker, Greg BiffleNeil Bonet and Harry Gantt.