In most sports, you won’t be able to have a debate over who is ranked the best of all time. However, in NASCAR racing, there is a common consensus regarding who the ultimate drivers are of all time, and although you might not like a certain driver, you can’t deny that they’ve shown the necessary skills to get the job done. Below you will find the top-rated NASCAR drivers of all time.
1. Richard Petty
Known as “The King”, Richard Petty reigned over NASCAR for a staggering 35 years where he crushed the competition with a whopping 200 wins. He managed to win the Daytona 500 a total of 7 times and is considered the only driver to claim 27 victories in a single season. He was only the first driver to receive the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
2. Dale Earnhardt Sr.
Even non-racing fans will recognise his name. Known as “The Intimidator”, Dale Earnhardt won a total of 76 Winston Cup Races to earn that moniker. With a superstar status within the sport of racing throughout 1970 to 1990, Dale’s life and career was tragically cut short when he was involved in a crash during 2001. Earnhardt had a career tally of 22 pole positions, 281 top five finishes, and 428 top ten finishes in 676 races.
3. Jimmie Johnson
Arguably the most hated man in NASCAR, Jimmie Johnson is also considered the most dominant racing driver of his generation. Known for his skill and cocky attitude, Johnson currently holds the record for most successive playoff appearances with a total of 14. He also holds the record for the most wins on five tracks where he is tied with another legendary racing driver, Jeff Gordon.
4. Jeff Gordon
With a total of 93 wins in his career, which is the highest total when it comes to the modern era that started in 1972, Jeff Gordon is ranked fourth best of all time. Gordon raced in an earlier time that consisted of more annual races. He boasts with the most wins on several historic tracks, including Sonoma Raceway, Pocono Raceway, Indianapolis Motor Speedway, and Kansas Speedway where he is tied with Johnson. Gordon was also the first driver to reach the $100 million mark in the world of NASCAR, and he certainly earned every single penny.
5. David Pearson
Best known as the rival to Richard Petty, David Pearson was considered the only driver to give Petty a run for his money. In fact, David Pearson and Richard Petty finished in first and second a staggering 63 times where Pearson surprisingly had more wins in these face-offs. With a total of 113 pole positions and 105 total victories, Pearson was renowned not only for his ability to eliminate the competition but also for is versatility and consistency. Racing for a total of 27 years, Pearson managed to finish in the top ten each year at least once.