Top 5: The most famous, popular and succesful families in NASCAR
Love of sports, and in our case – cars and racing, often runs through the generations, and racing families have always been taking that obsession one step further, which is the case in many racing series around the whole world. Today, we bring you a selection of families that have shaped NASCAR into America’s most popular and loved racing series.
5. The Allison Family
In addition to being famous, the Allison family is one of the most tragic families in NASCAR history. Bobby and Donnie Allison shaped the scene from the sixties to the eighties, and were both involved in the notorious 1979 Daytona 500 crashes and fights, gaining NASCAR even greater popularity. Bobby’s sons Davey and Clifford both tragically lost their lives. As a rising star in the early nineties, Davey Allison died in a helicopter crash in 1993, eleven months after his younger brother Clifford died during the Busch Series practice at Michigan International Speedway.
4. The Waltrip Family
The Waltrip brothers are a proof that talent often runs in different shapes and fields of NASCAR. While Darrell Waltrip recorded 84 wins and 3 championship titles in his long career spanning from 1972 to 2000, his brother Michael entered NASCAR in 1985, but found his passion and talent to be in team management. Having won Daytona 500 twice in 2001 and 2003, he also became a co-owner of Michael Waltrip Racing. Both brothers are NASCAR commentators, analysts and authors, proving themselves to be more than just successful drivers.
3. The France Family
The roots of this family can be traced back to 1934 when Bill France moved to Florida and started racing on Daytona beach two years later. In 1947, he developed the National Championship Stock Car Circuit and in 1948, he founded NASCAR – National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing. In 1959, Big Bill France opened Daytona International Speedway, paving the way for his sons Bill Jr. and Jim to continue his legacy. Current NASCAR CEO is Bill Jr’s son Brian France who took over the position in 2003. Without the three generations of the France Family, NASCAR just cannot be imagined.
2. The Earnhardt Family
Side to side with the Petty Family are Dale Earnhardt Sr. and his son Dale Earnhardt Jr. Starting his career in 1975, Earnhardt Sr. won seven championship titles and 76 races, making NASCAR even bigger in the process. His untimely death in 2001 made HANS device mandatory, saving lives of many drivers. As one of the best and most popular drivers, his son Dale Jr. continued his legacy, making the Earnhardt family among the greatest ones in NASCAR history.
1. The Petty Family
Richard Petty was one of the most successful drivers, if not the most successful in history, winning 200 races and 555 top 5 finishes from 1958 to 1992. However, despite being the best one in the family, he was not the first Petty to dominate the ovals. Richard’s father Lee Petty won three Grand National championships in 1954, 1958 and 1959, and at the end of his career, he had 54 race wins and 332 top 10 finishes. Richard’s son Kyle Petty raced from 1979 to 2008, and even though he didn’t win a championship, he continued the legacy in twenty first century. Kyle’s son Adam died in a tragic accident in 2000 at the age of 20, making Kyle the last Petty to race. However, Richard Petty’s racing team still operates in NASCAR, continuing the rich history of NASCAR’s most famous name.