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The National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing, more affectionately known as NASCAR, has been around for decades. Following closely after the end of World War 2, on the sandy dunes of Daytona Beach, Florida, NASCAR was established in 1948. What started as a small group of car racing enthusiasts in a post-war era has now grown to a national sports phenomenon. Each year NASCAR allows 1,500 races over 100 tracks in 48 US states as well as in Europe, Canada, and Mexico. Like with any globally recognized sports, athletes compete to be the most talented, renowned, and successful winners. In recent years many drivers have risen to notoriety, but few are allowed the honor of being dubbed the top NASCAR drivers. 

Bobby Allison
From the tan stretches of Miami, Bobby Allison is one of the most recognized names in NASCAR history. He has 84 Sprint Cup Series wins and won the SCS Championship in 1983. He won the Dayton 500 in 1978, 1982 and 1988. He also placed in the Southern four times, the World 600 twice, and the Winston 500 three times. Allison was named one of NASCAR’s top 50 Drivers in 1998 and was added to the NASCAR hall of fame in 2011.

Tony Stewart
The still competing talent, Tony Stewart, has a variety of victories under his belt. Stewart has won three Sprint Cup Series Championships for a total of 49 SCS wins. In addition, Stewart is also a 1994 USAC National Midget Series Champion, a 1995 USAC Triple Crown Champion, and an Indy Racing League Champion. In 2006 he became the IROC champion and had won the Brickyard 400 twice. With even more wins on his repertoire, and more surely on the way, Stewart is genuinely a fantastic racer. 

Lee Petty
A North Carolina native and a three-time Sprint Cup Series champion, Lee Petty is considered a NASCAR legend. Petty won the inaugural Dayton 500, as well as a variety of SCS. By the end of his career, he won 18 poles and 332 top-10 finishes in 427 races. Lee Petty finished top ten in more than 75 percent of his races. He was also the beginning of a Petty legacy within NASCAR, with his son being mentioned later on in our list. 

Cale Yarborough
Cale Yarborough comes onto the scene with a variety of hall of fame wins. Yarborough was inducted into International Motorsports Hall of Fame, the South Carolina Athletic Hall of Fame, the National Motorsports Press Association Hall of Fame, the Motorsports Hall of Fame of America, the Court of Legends at Charlotte Motor Speedway, the Talladega Walk of Fame, and the NASCAR Hall of Fame. He was also a three-time National Motorsports Press Association Driver of the Year. 

Darrell Waltrip
In a span of almost 30 years, Waltrip won 84 races and is tied with Bobby Allison for fourth in the all-time wins list. He holds places in several Hall of Fames with wins at the Sprint Cup Series, NASCAR Xfinity Series, the Dayton 500, The Southern, Coca-Cola, the Winston, and won the inaugural Winston 500 in 1985. He also placed in the Snowball Derby and the Busch Clash. 

David Pearson
Pearson won over 20 percent of the races, he competed in 574 runs with 105 wins. He finished in the top 10 in almost 60 percent of the races he competed in. Pearson is a part of a total of three Halls of Fame including the NASCAR Hall of Fame, and he was named one of the 50 Greatest Drivers in NASCAR in 1998. 

Jeff Gordon
Gordon is a four-time Sprint Cup Series Champion with a fantastic total of 93 Sprint Cup Series Wins. He became NASCAR’s Iron Man in 2015, breaking Ricky Rudd’s streak for most consecutive races run. Gordon also has 81 poles and 475 top-10 finishes in 797 races. 2015 was the last ride for Gordon and the No. 24 machine, which will be taken over by Chase Elliott in 2016. 

Jimmie Johnson
A more recent victory holder, Johnson is a seven-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion with five consecutive titles. In 2009 Johnson was named the Associated Press Male Athlete of the Year. He also won Driver of The Year honors in 5 different years. He currently has 83 wins in his NASCAR Sprint Cup Series career and is only one championship short of breaking the record with Earnhardt and Petty for the most in history. If Johnson is able to reach another 1 or 2 titles, he could realistically end his career on the top of the winner’s bracket.

Dale Earnhardt
Dale Earnhardt, otherwise known as The Intimidator, is one of the most unique drivers in NASCAR history. Before his untimely death, he won 76 Sprint Cup Series. Earnhardt held the champion title in 7 Sprint Cup Series. He was inducted into the NASCAR Hall of Fame in 2010 and was voted the Most Popular Driver in 2001. Additionally, Earnhardt was a multiple-time IROC champion.

Richard Petty
The King of Nascar, Richard Petty, is where our list ends. He holds the most consecutive wins in NASCAR history and the most wins ever in a NASCAR season. He clocks in a total of 200 Sprint Cup Series Wins, with 7 Sprint Cup Series championships. He also holds 7 Daytona 500 wins. He continues the Petty legacy after his father Lee Petty with even more victories. Petty is currently in the NASCAR Hall of Fame as well as the Motorsports Hall of Fame of America and the International Motorsports Hall of Fame.

With a history of great drivers, fans, and memories, NASCAR is one of the most storied sports in history. As seasons continue, more athletes will rise to the top, but for now, the current title holdings will be remembered in history.