Motorsports fans are well catered for in America and many turn to NASCAR to get their thrills at the speedway.
Excitement is almost guaranteed, but let’s take a look at the five best drivers to be involved in the sport since it entered the motor-racing arena in the late 1950s.
Richard Petty is hailed as the greatest NASCAR driver of all-time simply because he holds most of the sports’ records, having raced from 1958 to 1992.
Petty became the first driver to win the Cup series on seven occasions and he had a phenomenal season in 1967 when he won a record 27 races.
He also triumphed at the Daytona 500 seven times so it is no surprise to see him at the top of our list.
Petty is still involved in the sport as the owner of the Petty GMS Motorsports team and there are plenty of family links too.
His father Lee won the first Daytona 500 in 1959 and is a three-time Cup Series champion, while Richard’s son Kyle is also a NASCAR driver.
Dale Earnhardt raced between 1975 and his death in 2001 and was nicknamed The Intimidator because of his aggressive racing style.
Like Petty, he won seven championships and the 1998 Daytona 500 winner is the only driver in the sport’s history to claim a victory in four successive decades after posting his first win in 1979.
Earnhardt was killed at Daytona at the age of 49 when his car hit a wall after making contact with Sterling Marlin and Ken Schrader.
Not only was he celebrated for his driving ability, but his death provoked a series of NASCAR safety improvements.
Jimmie Johnson is the third driver to have claimed seven championships and he was the king of NASCAR when winning five successive titles between 2006 and 2010.
Johnson, who started racing motorcycles at the age of four, claimed two Daytona 500 wins in 2006 and 2013, the year he won his sixth crown. His final triumph was in 2017.
Johnson has claimed 83 career wins, 222 top-five finishes and 341 top-10s.
Jeff Gordon was another early starter, having raced since the age of five and that grounding served him well as he became the youngest driver to be crowned NASCAR champion in 1995 when he was 24.
He went on to claim another three titles in 1997, 1999 and 2005 and he is third in the all-time list of race wins with a total of 93. With 81 pole positions, he is third in the sport’s history in that particular list too.
David Pearson raced in NASCAR between 1960 and 1986 and never looked back from being crowned rookie of the year in his first campaign.
Pearson won the Cup Series in 1966, 1968 and 1969 as he became celebrated for his consistency. He finished third in the title race in 1974 despite competing in only 19 of the 30 races.
The Fox went on to record 105 race wins, second only to Richard Petty and he retired in 1986 having posted at least one top-10 finish in each of his 27 years in the sport.
He died at the age of 83 in November 2018.