Top 5 NASCAR Cars: fastest, greatest, most dominant
The rich history of American stock car racing has been marked by many fabulous cars and drivers. It was a difficult task bringing together five of them that have, in many ways, shaped NASCAR as we know it today. From the legends of the fifties, all the way to the nineties, these are our top 5 best NASCAR stock cars!
5. The unforgettable 1966-67 Plymouth Belvedere
A living NASCAR legend Richard Petty made the 426 HEMI famous in 1966 behind the wheel of a Plymouth Belvedere, winning the third despite problems throughout the season. In 1967, he started in 48 out of 49 races, winning 27 of them, with top 10 finishes in 40! As one of the most dominating performances in history of sport, that result can never be forgotten, and it was all thanks to his 426 HEMI Belvedere.
4. Fabulous Hudson Hornet
Back in the days when stock cars were really stock and were driving through sand and mud, one tub-shaped racer stood above them all. It was the Fabulous Hudson Hornet driven by Marshall Teague. Thanks to a good chassis and light weight, the Hudson was dominant in 1951 when Herb Thomas won the NASCAR Grand National title, and in 1952 with Tim Flock behind the wheel. Although he didn’t win the 1953 title, Thomas had won 12 races that year in his Hudson Hornet. The car was also immortalized in 2006 Pixar’s Cars, by late actor and passionate racer Paul Newman.
3. Partnering legends: the 1995-1999 Chevrolet Monte Carlo
Made famous by Jeff Gordon, the 1995-99 Monte Carlo was perfect in terms of aerodynamics, as much as the next car on the list was. In a dramatic finish, Gordon won the 1995 Winston Cup in this car, as well as in 1997 and 1998. Also, the legendary Dale Earnhardt scored his first Daytona 500 victory driving behind the wheel of a 1998 Monte Carlo.
2. NASCAR fastest: the 1987-1989 Ford Thunderbird
Because of great aerodynamics and skill and bravery of Bill Elliott, the 1987-89 Ford Thunderbird was the fastest NASCAR stock car ever and the record still stands today. Almost 30 years ago, in 1987, it was the car that reached 212.809 MPH (342.483 km/h) on Talladega Superspeedway, and in addition to that, Elliott’s speed of 210.364 MPH from 1987 is still the qualifying record at Daytona International Speedway.
Video: NASCAR fastest of the time, Ford Thunderbird, at Daytona 500, 1987
1. Plymouth Roadrunner Superbird and Dodge Charger Daytona
Even though these Mopar brothers raced for just a season and a half during 1969 and 1970, their looks have made them the most iconic cars of NASCAR. Huge wings, sharp and aerodynamic noses were over the top and practical at the same time, lowering drag and increasing downforce. Dodge Daytona started its life as a blunt-nosed and not quite aerodynamic 1969 Charger 500, whereas 1970 Plymouth Superbird was a highly modified Roadrunner. Sales of their road-going homologation-only counterparts gloriously flopped, but now, they are among the most expensive American classics on the market.