NASCAR Top Teams
I love NASCAR. The thrill of the cars speeding around the track at speeds that are almost unbelievable as they try to be the first to get to the checkered flag. It takes a lot of work for those cars to get that flag – it takes a lot of work to get those cars on the track. It takes a team to get them out there. I have some favorite teams, some teams that are okay – some that I don’t like at all, but respect the work they do as a team. Listed here are some of the more famous teams in NASCAR.
NASCAR Teams - Joe Gibbs Racing
- Owner - Joe Gibbs
- Drivers -
- Denny Hamlin
- Kyle Bush
- Matt Kenseth
- Elliot Sadler
- Brian Vickers
- Darrel Wallace, Jr.
- Drew Herring
NASCAR Teams - Kyle Bush
NASCAR Team - Joe Gibbs Racing
Many people know Joe Gibbs from football, most notably for coaching the Washington Redskins to three Super Bowl Titles in four tries. Since I began watching NASCAR before I ever watched football, I was first introduced to Joe Gibbs through my favorite driver, Tony Stewart. Before Tony had his own team, he drove for Mr. Gibbs. Now JGR represents drivers I love to hate, namely Kyle Busch and Denny Hamlin. I could stand Denny Hamlin – and wouldn’t mind seeing him in the top ten – but I don’t want to see Kyle in the top 30!!! But – I have to respect the whole team at JGR. They have a team that can – and does – win.
Kyle Busch has had 24 Cup wins as of this writing and 53 Nationwide wins. He was Rookie of the Year with a pole win and twenty four wins in the top twenty. He’s a tough racer, and his record shows he’s not afraid to go the extra mile to win.
Denny Hamlin was sitting out for a few races after a crash at Fontana in March of 2013 left him with a broken vertebra. Prior to that, he had 22 cup wins and 11 Nationwide wins. He was expected to be back racing after sitting out for five races.
Of course there are many more people who are in the team – especially the pit crew that keeps the car on the track – and maybe I’ll write more about them, later.
NASCAR Team - Richard Childress Racing
- Owner - Richard Childress
- Drivers -
- Paul Menard
- Jeff Burton
- Brian Scott
- Austin Dillon
- Ty Dillon
- Max Papis
- Brenden Gaughan
NASCAR Teams - Kevin Harvick
NASCAR Teams - Richard Childress Racing
Richard Childress began racing in 1969. He was a top ten finisher 76 times and won 14 championships. In 1981 he decided to go to the business side and handed the racing side to Dale Earnhardt, Sr. He was also owner of the year three times.
Richard Childress Racing has some drivers I love to watch! My favorite on that team is Kevin “Happy” Harvick. Kevin is just fun to watch. He always has a smile on his face –especially since son Keelan was born in 2012. Kevin has been driving for RCR for 13 years. He began driving the 29 car after the passing of Dale Earnhardt, Sr. He has won the pole 5 times and has had finishes in the top ten 188 times.
NASCAR Teams - Stewart-Haas
- Owners - Tony Stewart - Gene Haas
- Drivers -
- Tony Stewart
- Kevin Harvick
- Danica Patrick
NASCAR Teams - Tony Stewart
NASCAR Teams - Stewart-Haas Racing
When I first became a fan of NASCAR, Tony Stewart, “Smoke,” became my driver to watch. I loved his smart mouth attitude and loved the fact that he said what was on his mind and didn’t care if you agreed with him or not. I also loved the fact that he was out to win in every race. Tony Stewart is a driver that has driven in just about any car race known to man – and has been successful at it. He won an IndyCar championship in 1997 before moving over to NASCAR, where he also began winning. He has won three championships, the latest in 2011, when he became the first owner/driver to win a championship since 1992.
In 2008, Stewart decided to leave Joe Gibbs Racing and go out on his own. He began Stewart-Haas Racing and set out to do what few others have been able to do – win races as an owner/driver. When he began Stewart-Haas it had been ten years since an owner/driver had won a race and sixteen years since and owner/driver had won a championship. It had been 375 races since Smoke had won when he won his first race for Stewart-Haas in 2009, and then went on to win the championship in 2011.
Smoke brought in fellow racers Ryan Newman and Danica Patrick to round out his race team. Newman has won the pole an impressive 49 times. He won the Daytona 500 in 2008. In 2012, he and fellow driver and team owner, Tony Stewart began the season 1 and 2 in the standings and finished the exact same way. This hadn’t been done in more than 50 years! Danica Patrick has made news by being the first female driver to win the pole in a NASCAR cup race. In 2005, Danica was the first female to lead laps and go on to finish in the top five at the Indianapolis 500. In 2011, she moved to the Nationwide series while continuing to drive IndyCars. That year she came in fourth at Las Vegas Motor Speedway – the highest win by a female in the Nationwide series. She is one of the most recognizable sports figures in the world.
NASCAR Teams - Hendrick Motorsports
- Owner - Rick Hendrick
- Drivers -
- Kasey Kahne
- Jeff Gordon
- Jimmy Johnson
- Dale Earnhardt, Jr.
NASCAR Teams - Dale Earnhardt, Jr.
NASCAR Teams - Hendrick Motorsports
I have a love/hate relationship with Hendrick Motorsports. I have nothing against the team as a rule – it’s just that they are too darn good! They make it tough for other teams to win! Rick Hendrick always had a love for cars. He built a car that set speed records at a local drag strip at the age of 14 and won a competition for engine builders at the age of 16. His love of cars led him to begin working for a small car dealership. By the time he was 23, he was named general manager of the dealership. At 26 he bought his first dealership on his own and became the youngest Chevrolet dealer in the United States. That first dealership was to be the first of a 100 franchise company employing more than 7000 people.
In 1984, Hendrick used his talents to start All Star Racing with Geoff Bodine driving the number 5 car and finishing ninth overall in the Winston Cup series. Today All Star Racing is Hendrick Motorsports, and it employs racing greats Jimmy Johnson, Jeff Gordon, Kasey Kahne, and Dale Earnhardt, Jr.
Jimmy Johnson is a driver I love to hate. Again, I really have nothing against him. He seems like a nice guy and seems to drive fair. It’s the fact that he has won 5 Cup championships – four of them back to back – a feat that is nearly unheard of – that drives me crazy! I just get tired of hearing his name! He is a great driver, and pushes his cars to the limits to get wins.
Dale Earnhardt, Jr. is currently 2013’s point leader in the Cup series. His major claim to fame is that he is NASCAR’s most popular driver – he has won the award for ten consecutive years. He is a third generation driver – the son of the late great Dale Earnhardt, Sr. and grandson of Ralph Earnhardt. He is 37th on the NASCAR’s all time winners list. He is the only third generation driver to win have won a NASCAR championship (Nationwide Series 1998 and 1999.)
NASCAR Teams - Roush Fenway
- Team owners - Jack Roush - John Henry
- Drivers -
- Carl Edwards
- Greg Biffle
- Rickie Stenhouse, Jr.
- Travis Pastrana
- Trevor Bayne
NASCAR Teams - Carl Edwards
NASCAR Teams - Roush Fenway Motorsports
Jack Roush is a former Ford engineer and college physics teacher. He began his racing career while working for Ford and when he left that company, joined Wayne Gapp in stock car racing winning championships in NHRA, IHRA, and AHRA.
He then switched to the road racing series International Motor Sports Association where he won over a hundred races and 24 national championships. In 1988, he put Mark Martin in a NASCAR car and went on to have one of the best partnerships in NASCAR history.
Carl Edwards may be one of the most well-known of Roush’s drivers. He may be best known for doing a back flip from his car window after winning a race. Carl joined Roush in 2003 as a driver in the truck series. He won the pole, came in first three times and had 15 top ten finishes. He was named Rookie of the Year that year. In August of 2004, he moved up to the Sprint Cup series while still driving the trucks. He had ten top five finishes in thirteen Sprint Cup races while finishing fourth overall in the truck series. In 2005 he was named Rookie of the Year for the Nationwide series, where he won four poles, five first place, and 21 top tens in just 34 starts. He continues to do very well on the track and still thrills his fans with his famous back flips.
NASCAR Teams - Conclusion
Of course, there are many more teams and drivers I could write about. These are just a few of the more well known. If you have never watched NASCAR, you should give it a try. If you think it is just “turn left – go fast” you will be in for a shock, as I was. There is so much strategy going on during the race that it’s hard to keep up. And once you go to your first live race – and smell that smell and hear that sound – well – you’ll be hooked for a lifetime!
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