NASCAR’s 75 Greatest Drivers: Generation X

NASCAR is celebrating its 75th anniversary throughout the 2023 season.

In 1998, NASCAR had a board select a list of its 50 greatest drivers to celebrate its golden anniversary.

Likewise, we are in expansion We decided to compile our list of the 75 Greatest NASCAR Drivers in honor of this year’s milestone. 17 of our writers participated in the selection of the 75 drivers, and we will release four to seven drivers from that list each weekday for the next three weeks.

Similar to the list in 1998, this list is not a ranking of the top 75 drivers. Instead, we’ve broken the list down into categories, with a new category released each day (see full list below). Within these categories, drivers are listed in alphabetical order.

Next: Generation X stars.

Greg Biffle

Trifectas exist for many of the likes in NASCAR, but Greg Biffle may have one of the most unique: He earned championship titles, Most Valuable Driver and Rookie of the Year titles in the NASCAR Xfinity Series and Craftsman Truck as he moved up the ranks of the sport.

Once in the NASCAR Cup Series, Biffle drove full-time for 13 seasons, recording 19 wins for Roush Racing at the premier NASCAR level. In the lower series, his stats are undeniable: 20 Xfinity wins, 17 Truck victories and enviable Top 10 statistics: 149 Top 10s in 244 appearances in the first, 55 Top 10s in 83 starts in the second.

Biffle has won two Southern 500s, claiming the duo’s crown jewel win in consecutive years; The first of those came in six wins, 21 top 10 attempts in 2005, which propelled the No. 16 into second place in the standings.

Plus, as former Roush driver and action game legend Travis Pastrana prepares to return to NASCAR, Biffle has done his own projects in reverse: IROC, the 24 Hours of Daytona, Stadium Super Trucks, and the Camping World SRX Series are all CV points.

Most recently, the much-heralded return to the Truck Series came in 2019 with Kyle Busch Motorsports at Texas Motor Speedway. Biffle led twice for 18 laps and won the damn thing. Age is not detrimental to age now 53 years old. Adam Chick

Carl Edwards

Carl Edwards, a former substitute teacher from Columbia, Mo., took competition to school during a NASCAR career that spanned 15 years and included 72 wins across the three NASCAR National Tour Series, with 28 wins in the NASCAR Cup Series, 38 in the NASCAR Xfinity Series, and six in the NASCAR Series. NASCAR Craftsman Trucks.

Edwards started 2002 with Roush, making seven truck starts with one top–
10 at his home track at Kansas Speedway. When Roush split from Jeff Burton in mid-2004, 25-year-old Edwards suddenly found himself in the Cup Series, with a third-place finish at Atlanta Motor Speedway and five 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 career win at Atlanta, one of four on his way to third in points. Edwards’ winning season came in 2008, when he led the Cup Series with an astonishing nine trips to victory lane, finishing second in the standings to Johnson.

Edwards is considered one of the greatest drivers never to win a Cup championship, finishing in the top five in points six times in his 12 full-time seasons (2005, 2008, 2010, 2011, 2015, and 2016). The closest of these calls occurred in 2011 when he tied on points with Tony Stewart but lost via tie-breaker for most wins in a season, winning just once to Stewart’s five.

In January 2017, Edwards shocked the NASCAR world by retiring from seemingly NASCAR competition in his prime, just 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 entering his 18th full-time season, became him
The figurehead driver for Joe Gibbs Racing, the same team he competed for his entire Cup career.

Hamlin began racing cars at the age of 16 and won his first pole and race in his first start at Langley Speedway. After winning more than 30 combined late model races in 2002 and 2003, Hamlin was signed by JGR as a development driver in 2004.

The Chesterfield, Virginia racer impressed early with a top 10 finish in the first NASCAR Xfinity Series start at Darlington Raceway in 2004. The following year, not only did Hamlin run full-time in the Class II series, he had 11 top 10 finishes and finished 5th in the standings, and also competed in seven JGR Cup races after Jason Leffler was let go near the end of the season. During that time, it is
He earned three top 10s and a pole at Phoenix Raceway in the No. 11 FedEx car—the same ride he drives to this day.

At the 2006 Rookie’s Cup, Hamlin swept both Pocono Raceway wins and finished third in points, earning him Rookie of the Year honors.

Four years later, Hamlin was having a breakout season. With a career-best eight wins in a year, he entered the final race with a 15-point lead over Jimmie Johnson, only missing out on the title after an early spin cost him his chance.

With a whopping 48 wins, including three Daytona 500 victories, 312 top 10 finishes, and eight top five championships, Hamlin is statistically one of the greatest drivers not to win a Cup.

At least not yet. Dalton Hopkins

Casey Kahne

Tapped to replace Bill Elliott in the Cup Series in 2004, Casey Kahne emerged into the early stage of NASCAR as a relative unknown. However, it didn’t take long for fans to become aware of him.

Enumclow, Wash,. Countryman spent time with Evernham Motorsports, Richard Petty Motorsports, Red Bull Racing, Hendrick Motorsports and Leavine Family Racing over 15 seasons.

After winning the 2004 Rookie of the Year Award in the No. 9 Dodge at Evernham, Kahne finally got his first win at Richmond Raceway in 2005 after scoring six second-place finishes. That carried over into the 2006 season which saw him win a leading six races. During that season, he won his first Coca-Cola 600, a race he conquered three times to tie him for the third most 600 wins. In 2008, he became the first and so far only driver to win after being voted on by fans.

His first season with Hendrick saw him immediately vie for a championship, earning his fourth career points finish. Priest’s race in Hendrick has seen him win six races and make the qualifier four times, including a brilliant final win in the chaotic 2017 Brickyard 400.

Kahne’s success also expanded beyond the cup level. He won eight races in the Xfinity Series and nearly set a perfect NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series record, winning five of his six starts.

Kahne had to retire at cup level during the 2018 season due to dehydration issues. However, this and his under-the-radar personality should not overshadow his success, as he has a record of 18 Cup wins, 93 top fives, 176 top 10s, 27 poles and 4678 laps.

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

Ryan Newman

Known as the Rocket Man for his engineering background and qualifying prowess, Ryan Newman was one of the best Cup drivers of the 2000s.

In 20 full-time Cup seasons, Newman has visited victory lane 18 times with 117 top-5 games and 268 top-10 starts in 725 career starts. His 51 career poles rank him ninth all-time in Cup history.

A native of Rushville, Indiana, Newman’s career peaked during his first seven seasons with Team Penske, driving the No. 12 ALLTEL Ford. He finished in the top ten in points in each of his first three seasons.

During his rookie campaign in 2002, Newman earned his first career win at New Hampshire Motor Speedway and beat future seven-time champion Jimmie Johnson to capture the Rookie of the Year Trophy honors.

Newman’s highest win total came in 2003, capturing eight flags and finishing sixth in the standings. He followed that up with a two-win season in 2004 and became one of the ten drivers in the inaugural qualifier.

In 2008, Newman began his final season with Penske, adding a
Daytona 500 wins on his racing resume.

After his Penske years, Newman went on to drive for three more teams. From 2009-2013, Newman joined Tony Stewart at the newly created Stewart-Haas Racing, taking one win in each 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, despite not winning, Newman clinched a spot in the first ever Tour 4, finishing 2nd behind Kevin Harvick. His only win with RCR came at Phoenix Raceway in 2017.

In 2019, Newman moved to the No. 6 Ford of Roush Fenway Racing and spent his final three seasons there. He went winless with Roush, his most memorable moment with the team was the injury in a last lap wreck at the 2020 Daytona 500, he missed the next 4 races.

Newman will always be remembered for his longevity in the sport and for being one of the best players ever to make the playoffs. -like

expansionNASCAR’s 75 Greatest Drivers

Dale Earnhardt
Jeff Gordon
Jimmy Johnson
David Pearson
Richard Petty

Bobby Allison
Ned Jarrett
Rusty Wallace
Darrell Waltrip
Cal Yarborough

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

Heroes of the 2000s and beyond
??? (26 January)

next generation
??? (27 January)

??? (30 Jan)

Brotherly love
??? (31 January)

Masters of modifications
??? (February 1)

Bottom chain hoist
??? (2 February)

Exceptional longevity
??? (3 February)

He left early
??? (6 February)

Stars of the sixties and seventies
??? (7 February)

Stars of the eighties and nineties
??? (8 February)

Stars from 1949-1960
??? (9 February)

Cranes of all trades
??? (10 February)

Adam Chick joined Frontstretch as a contributing writer in January 2019. A 2020 graduate of Virginia Commonwealth University, he works as a producer and talent for Audacy Richmond radio stations. In addition to motorsports journalism, Adam also covered and broadcast numerous VCU athletics for the campus newspaper and radio station during his four years there. A fan of racing since the age of three, he inherited his passion from his grandfather, who competed in amateur events up and down the East Coast in the 1950s.

Andrew Stoddard joined Frontstretch in May of 2022 as iRacing Contributor. Graduated from Hampden College – Sydney and the University of Richmond. He is a high school history teacher and cross country/track and field coach in his day job.

Dalton Hopkins began writing for Frontstretch in April 2021 after holding a writing position at IMSA. A fan of racing since he was three years old, he started freelance writing in 2018 and graduated with a BA in Communications from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in 2019. Meanwhile, he also serves as a First Lieutenant in the US Army.

Luken Glover hits the Frontstretch stage in 2020. He’s been an avid NASCAR fan for most of his life, following in the footsteps of his grandfather, who used to help out former team owner Johnny Donlavey with his garage. Glover covers the site and took over “The Underdog House” in 2021. In addition to being a junior in college, his hobbies include volunteering at church, playing basketball, tennis, go-karting, and helping out at his high school. the mother.

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