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The Greatest NASCAR Racers by State: Unveiling the Racing Legends from Alabama to California

The Greatest NASCAR Racers by State: Unearthing NASCAR talent from the distant corners of Alaska or South Dakota? A challenge indeed. Yet, in a surprising twist, we embarked on a mission and discovered some, leading to this comprehensive 10-part feature: The finest NASCAR racers hailing from each state across the United States.

We took some liberties with the criteria and ventured beyond the boundaries of the premier Cup Series. After all, NASCAR’s purview spans the Xfinity and Truck Series, along with ARCA and its sports-car arm, IMSA.

This expansive realm brings forth towering figures like sports-car icon Dan Gurney and the ARCA stalwart Frank Kimmel. But it also unearths a “best NASCAR racer” from certain states where the roster might seem sparse. Hawaii? Yes, indeed, we found someone.

Today marks the debut of the first installment of the greatest-ever NASCAR racers, state by state. Over the forthcoming weeks, we’ll traverse the alphabetical journey, five at a time, commencing with Alabama through California.

Beginning in Alabama, we navigate the “homegrown” angle. Yet, when pondering “Bobby Allison and the Alabama Gang,” does South Beach even come to mind? No, certainly not. Let’s delve into it…

Alabama: Bobby Allison (Hueytown)

Why Bobby: The illustrious leader of the famed “Alabama Gang” amassed 84 career wins, including three Daytona 500 victories, and clinched the 1983 Cup Series title. His crowning achievement came at the age of 50 with a win at the 1988 Daytona 500.

Others from Alabama: Davey Allison, Donnie Allison, Neil Bonnett, Red Farmer, Steve Grissom, Hut Stricklin.

Fun fact: While born and raised in Miami, Bobby and his brother Donnie migrated to Alabama in their youth to explore more fertile racing terrain. So ingrained are the Allisons in Alabama’s racing lore that their inclusion here is an inevitability. And interestingly, Red Farmer hails from Nashville.

Alaska: Keith McGee (Eagle Pass)

Why Keith: In the sparsely populated 49th state, McGee competed in lower NASCAR divisions like K&N, Whelan, and ARCA West. His zenith to date includes 11 Truck Series starts from 2021-23, securing one top-10 finish at Talladega.

Others from Alaska: Todd Snyder… and not much beyond that.

Fun fact: McGee calls Alaska Raceway Park home, where the racing season spans from the second weekend of May to the first weekend of September.

Arizona: Alex Bowman (Tucson)

Why Alex: Since joining Hendrick Motorsports in 2016, Bowman boasts seven Cup Series wins.

Others from Arizona: Michael McDowell, JJ Yeley.

Fun fact: Several notable Arizona-born racers ventured outside NASCAR—Eddie Cheever, George Follmer, and Buddy Rice among them.

The Greatest NASCAR Racers by State (1)

Arkansas: Mark Martin (Batesville)

Why Mark: A Hall of Famer on the shortlist of the greatest NASCAR racers sans a championship, Martin notched 40 Cup Series victories and 49 in Busch/Xfinity. His runner-up finishes tally to five, including a stellar 2009 season with five wins at the age of 50.

Others from Arkansas: Parnelli Jones, Jimmy Means.

Fun fact: Although lacking a Cup title, Martin dominated the old four-race IROC Series, clinching five titles and 13 wins against elite competition in 12 appearances.

California: Jimmie Johnson (El Cajon)

Why Jimmie: A no-brainer. Seven Cup championships, 83 career wins. Any doubts?

Others from California: Jeff Gordon, Dan Gurney, Ernie Irvan, Kevin Harvick, Ron Hornaday, Robby Gordon, Dick Rathman, Kyle Larson, AJ Allmendinger.

Fun fact: Jimmie Johnson’s maiden championship came on a 60cc motorcycle at the age of 7.

ALSO READ: Dale Earnhardt Jr on Jimmie Johnson: Insights into Racing Legacies

Our Reader’s Queries

Stock car racing is a beloved pastime in the southeastern United States, with North Carolina boasting the largest population of NASCAR enthusiasts. However, other cities such as Roanoke, Virginia also have a significant following, with 32 percent of the population reported to be fans. Orlando is another city where the sport has a strong presence. Whether it’s the thrill of the race or the sense of community that comes with being a fan, stock car racing continues to captivate audiences across the region.

Who is the best racer in NASCAR history?

The top drivers in NASCAR history are led by Richard Petty, who has an impressive 200 wins. David Pearson follows with 105 wins, while Jeff Gordon and Darrell Waltrip have 93 and 84 wins respectively. The list goes on with 134 more drivers who have made their mark in the sport. These drivers have left a lasting legacy in NASCAR and continue to inspire new generations of racers.

Who are the top 5 NASCAR racers?

The starting lineup for the race includes Ryan Blaney at #1, Kyle Larson at #2, William Byron at #3, and Christopher Bell at #4. There are a total of 36 drivers in the lineup.

Is NASCAR dropping in popularity?

The Daytona 500 is a reliable gauge of Nascar’s popularity, and this year’s event saw an eight per cent drop in viewership compared to 2022, with an average of 8.18 million viewers. To put this in perspective, the audience for the Daytona 500 has decreased by more than half in just ten years. In 2013, the event drew in 16.65 million viewers.

Khushal Bhatia
Khushal Bhatiahttps://slicksandsticks.com/
Khushal Bhatia, a distinguished BA (Hons) English graduate from St. Stephen College (University of Delhi) and a holder of a Post Graduate Diploma in Journalism (English) from IIMC Delhi, is an accomplished journalist. Currently affiliated with Slicksandsticks.com, Khushal is an expert in covering a range of sports topics with a specialization in motorsports, particularly NASCAR. His insightful articles explore the nuances of the sporting world, providing readers with comprehensive analysis and the latest updates. With a commitment to unbiased reporting, Khushal's expertise and authoritative voice make him a reliable source for sports enthusiasts.
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