NASCAR’s 75 Greatest Drivers: Generation X

NASCAR is celebrating its seventy fifth anniversary all through the 2023 season.

In 1998, NASCAR had a board choose a listing of its 50 biggest drivers to have fun its golden anniversary.

Likewise, we’re in enlargement We determined to compile our listing of the 75 Best NASCAR Drivers in honor of this yr’s milestone. 17 of our writers participated within the choice of the 75 drivers, and we are going to launch 4 to seven drivers from that listing every weekday for the subsequent three weeks.

Just like the listing in 1998, this listing shouldn’t be a rating of the highest 75 drivers. As a substitute, we have damaged the listing down into classes, with a brand new class launched every day (see full listing under). Inside these classes, drivers are listed in alphabetical order.

Subsequent: Technology X stars.

Greg Biffle

Trifectas exist for lots of the likes in NASCAR, however Greg Biffle might have one of the vital distinctive: He earned championship titles, Most Helpful Driver and Rookie of the 12 months titles within the NASCAR Xfinity Sequence and Craftsman Truck as he moved up the ranks of the game.

As soon as within the NASCAR Cup Sequence, Biffle drove full-time for 13 seasons, recording 19 wins for Roush Racing on the premier NASCAR stage. Within the decrease collection, his stats are simple: 20 Xfinity wins, 17 Truck victories and enviable High 10 statistics: 149 High 10s in 244 appearances within the first, 55 High 10s in 83 begins within the second.

Biffle has received two Southern 500s, claiming the duo’s crown jewel win in consecutive years; The primary of these got here in six wins, 21 high 10 makes an attempt in 2005, which propelled the No. 16 into second place within the standings.

Plus, as former Roush driver and motion sport legend Travis Pastrana prepares to return to NASCAR, Biffle has completed his personal tasks in reverse: IROC, the 24 Hours of Daytona, Stadium Tremendous Vehicles, and the Tenting World SRX Sequence are all CV factors.

Most lately, the much-heralded return to the Truck Sequence got here in 2019 with Kyle Busch Motorsports at Texas Motor Speedway. Biffle led twice for 18 laps and received the rattling factor. Age shouldn’t be detrimental to age now 53 years outdated. Adam Chick

Carl Edwards

Carl Edwards, a former substitute instructor from Columbia, Mo., took competitors to highschool throughout a NASCAR profession that spanned 15 years and included 72 wins throughout the three NASCAR Nationwide Tour Sequence, with 28 wins within the NASCAR Cup Sequence, 38 within the NASCAR Xfinity Sequence, and 6 within the NASCAR Sequence. NASCAR Craftsman Vehicles.

Edwards began 2002 with Roush, making seven truck begins with one top–
10 at his residence monitor at Kansas Speedway. When Roush cut up from Jeff Burton in mid-2004, 25-year-old Edwards out of the blue discovered himself within the Cup Sequence, with a third-place end at Atlanta Motor Speedway and 5 top-10 finishes in 13 races in 2004.

Edwards rallied in his first full-time season in 2005, edging out Jimmie Johnson for his first profession win at Atlanta, considered one of 4 on his solution to third in factors. Edwards’ successful season got here in 2008, when he led the Cup Sequence with an astonishing 9 journeys to victory lane, ending second within the standings to Johnson.

Edwards is taken into account one of many biggest drivers by no means to win a Cup championship, ending within the high 5 in factors six occasions in his 12 full-time seasons (2005, 2008, 2010, 2011, 2015, and 2016). The closest of those calls occurred in 2011 when he tied on factors with Tony Stewart however misplaced through tie-breaker for many wins in a season, successful simply as soon as to Stewart’s 5.

In January 2017, Edwards shocked the NASCAR world by retiring from seemingly NASCAR competitors in his prime, simply two months after a season with 3 wins and 4 championship appearances in 2016. He hasn’t returned since. Andrew Stoddard

Denny Hamlin

Denny Hamlin, a Cup veteran getting into his 18th full-time season, turned him
The figurehead driver for Joe Gibbs Racing, the identical workforce he competed for his whole Cup profession.

Hamlin started racing vehicles on the age of 16 and received his first pole and race in his first begin at Langley Speedway. After successful greater than 30 mixed late mannequin races in 2002 and 2003, Hamlin was signed by JGR as a growth driver in 2004.

The Chesterfield, Virginia racer impressed early with a high 10 end within the first NASCAR Xfinity Sequence begin at Darlington Raceway in 2004. The next yr, not solely did Hamlin run full-time within the Class II collection, he had 11 high 10 finishes and completed fifth within the standings, and likewise competed in seven JGR Cup races after Jason Leffler was let go close to the tip of the season. Throughout that point, it’s
He earned three high 10s and a pole at Phoenix Raceway within the No. 11 FedEx automobile—the identical trip he drives to today.

On the 2006 Rookie’s Cup, Hamlin swept each Pocono Raceway wins and completed third in factors, incomes him Rookie of the 12 months honors.

4 years later, Hamlin was having a breakout season. With a career-best eight wins in a yr, he entered the ultimate race with a 15-point lead over Jimmie Johnson, solely lacking out on the title after an early spin price him his likelihood.

With a whopping 48 wins, together with three Daytona 500 victories, 312 high 10 finishes, and eight high 5 championships, Hamlin is statistically one of many biggest drivers to not win a Cup.

Not less than not but. Dalton Hopkins

Casey Kahne

Tapped to interchange Invoice Elliott within the Cup Sequence in 2004, Casey Kahne emerged into the early stage of NASCAR as a relative unknown. Nonetheless, it did not take lengthy for followers to turn out to be conscious of him.

Enumclow, Wash,. Countryman hung out with Evernham Motorsports, Richard Petty Motorsports, Purple Bull Racing, Hendrick Motorsports and Leavine Household Racing over 15 seasons.

After successful the 2004 Rookie of the 12 months Award within the No. 9 Dodge at Evernham, Kahne lastly obtained his first win at Richmond Raceway in 2005 after scoring six second-place finishes. That carried over into the 2006 season which noticed him win a number one six races. Throughout that season, he received his first Coca-Cola 600, a race he conquered 3 times to tie him for the third most 600 wins. In 2008, he turned the primary and up to now solely driver to win after being voted on by followers.

His first season with Hendrick noticed him instantly vie for a championship, incomes his fourth profession factors end. Priest’s race in Hendrick has seen him win six races and make the qualifier 4 occasions, together with an excellent ultimate win within the chaotic 2017 Brickyard 400.

Kahne’s success additionally expanded past the cup stage. He received eight races within the Xfinity Sequence and practically set an ideal NASCAR Craftsman Truck Sequence file, successful 5 of his six begins.

Kahne needed to retire at cup stage through the 2018 season on account of dehydration points. Nonetheless, this and his under-the-radar character shouldn’t overshadow his success, as he has a file of 18 Cup wins, 93 high fives, 176 high 10s, 27 poles and 4678 laps.

The 42-year-old continues to supervise and race for Kasey Kahne Racing within the World of Outlaws, a five-time champion group. – Lookin Glover

Ryan Newman

Generally known as the Rocket Man for his engineering background and qualifying prowess, Ryan Newman was top-of-the-line Cup drivers of the 2000s.

In 20 full-time Cup seasons, Newman has visited victory lane 18 occasions with 117 top-5 video games and 268 top-10 begins in 725 profession begins. His 51 profession poles rank him ninth all-time in Cup historical past.

A local of Rushville, Indiana, Newman’s profession peaked throughout his first seven seasons with Workforce Penske, driving the No. 12 ALLTEL Ford. He completed within the high ten in factors in every of his first three seasons.

Throughout his rookie marketing campaign in 2002, Newman earned his first profession win at New Hampshire Motor Speedway and beat future seven-time champion Jimmie Johnson to seize the Rookie of the 12 months Trophy honors.

Newman’s highest win whole got here in 2003, capturing eight flags and ending sixth within the standings. He adopted that up with a two-win season in 2004 and have become one of many ten drivers within the inaugural qualifier.

In 2008, Newman started his ultimate season with Penske, including a
Daytona 500 wins on his racing resume.

After his Penske years, Newman went on to drive for 3 extra groups. From 2009-2013, Newman joined Tony Stewart on the newly created Stewart-Haas Racing, taking one win in every season from 2010-2013, most notably scoring the 2013 Brickyard 400.

From 2014-2018, Newman was behind the wheel of Richard Childress Racing’s No. 31 Chevrolet. In 2014, regardless of not successful, Newman clinched a spot within the first ever Tour 4, ending 2nd behind Kevin Harvick. His solely win with RCR got here at Phoenix Raceway in 2017.

In 2019, Newman moved to the No. 6 Ford of Roush Fenway Racing and spent his ultimate three seasons there. He went winless with Roush, his most memorable second with the workforce was the damage in a final lap wreck on the 2020 Daytona 500, he missed the subsequent 4 races.

Newman will at all times be remembered for his longevity within the sport and for being top-of-the-line gamers ever to make the playoffs. -like

enlargementNASCAR’s 75 Best Drivers

goats
Dale Earnhardt
Jeff Gordon
Jimmy Johnson
David Pearson
Richard Petty

legends
Bobby Allison
Ned Jarrett
Rusty Wallace
Darrell Waltrip
Cal Yarborough

The tenth technology
Greg Biffle
Carl Edwards
Denny Hamlin
Casey Kahne
Ryan Newman

Heroes of the 2000s and past
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subsequent technology
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Pioneers
??? (30 Jan)

Concord
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Masters of modifications
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Backside chain hoist
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Distinctive longevity
??? (3 February)

He left early
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Stars of the sixties and seventies
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Stars of the eighties and nineties
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Stars from 1949-1960
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Cranes of all trades
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Adam Chick joined Frontstretch as a contributing author in January 2019. A 2020 graduate of Virginia Commonwealth College, he works as a producer and expertise for Audacy Richmond radio stations. Along with motorsports journalism, Adam additionally coated and broadcast quite a few VCU athletics for the campus newspaper and radio station throughout his 4 years there. A fan of racing because the age of three, he inherited his ardour from his grandfather, who competed in beginner occasions up and down the East Coast within the Nineteen Fifties.

Andrew Stoddard joined Frontstretch in Could of 2022 as iRacing Contributor. Graduated from Hampden School – Sydney and the College of Richmond. He’s a highschool historical past instructor and cross nation/monitor and area coach in his day job.

Dalton Hopkins started writing for Frontstretch in April 2021 after holding a writing place at IMSA. A fan of racing since he was three years outdated, he began freelance writing in 2018 and graduated with a BA in Communications from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical College in 2019. In the meantime, he additionally serves as a First Lieutenant within the US Military.

Luken Glover hits the Frontstretch stage in 2020. He is been an avid NASCAR fan for many of his life, following within the footsteps of his grandfather, who used to assist out former workforce proprietor Johnny Donlavey along with his storage. Glover covers the positioning and took over “The Underdog Home” in 2021. Along with being a junior in school, his hobbies embody volunteering at church, taking part in basketball, tennis, go-karting, and serving to out at his highschool. the mom.

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