The Top 5 Winningest Active Drivers in NASCAR’s Sprint Cup Series
From 1959 to 1992, NASCAR legend Richard Petty won 200 races, setting a career record that is pretty much unmatchable for active drivers. Still, today’s Sprint Cup racers compose arguably the strongest field of competition that the sport has ever known.
While stars such as Jeff Gordon and Jimmie Johnson may never reach Petty’s incredible peak, they have managed to accomplish feats that eluded even The King. Let’s take a look at the five winningest drivers on today’s Sprint Cup circuit:
Kyle Busch: 24 Career Wins
At 27, Kyle Busch is the youngest person on this list, but has already established himself as one of NASCAR’s most consistent performers. In 2005, the younger Busch brother became the youngest driver ever to compete in the NASCAR Cup series, racking up a pair of wins en route to Rookie of the Year honors. Over the next few years, Busch’s many triumphs were matched only by his frequent run-ins with fans and the media. Still, No. 18 has recorded 24 wins and 134 top 10 finishes throughout his young career and will likely have the next few decades to add to his impressive totals.
Kurt Busch: 24 career Wins
Much like his younger brother, Kurt Busch is no stranger to controversy. Over the years, Kurt has been involved in confrontations with just about every notable driver in the circuit, but it hasn’t seemed to slow down his production. The 34-year-old won the 2004 NASCAR Nextel Cup, becoming the first driver to earn that honor under the “Chase for the Cup” format. Busch has struggled recently, and was dismissed from Penske racing after an awful 2011 campaign. Still, you don’t record 171 career top 10 finishes without some serious skills.
Tony Stewart: 47 Career Wins
Tony Stewart’s long list of accomplishments is matched only by his status as one of NASCAR’s biggest fan favorites. In 14 years of Sprint Cup Series racing, Stewart has earned 47 wins and 279 top 10 finishes. He’s the only driver in NASCAR history to win championships under all three modern sponsorship eras (Winston, Nextel, Sprint), as well as the only NASCAR competitor to bring home an IndyCar title. Stewart’s well-known competitive fire often spills over to his post-race interviews, leading to the tantrums and feuds that fans of the No. 14 car have come to know and love.
Jimmie Johnson: 58 Career Wins
The 37-year-old switched from the Nationwide Series to the Sprint Cup Series in 2002, and quickly carved out a niche among NASCAR’s reigning titans. Still, Johnson’s fifth, second, and fifth finishes (respectively) during his first three seasons were merely the prelude to his unprecedented run of success. From 2006 to 2010, No. 48 became the first driver in NASCAR history to win five consecutive Sprint Cup championships. To put that accomplishment in perspective, no other driver has recorded more than three straight titles. Johnson is also a four-time Driver of the Year and a regular on Forbes’ list of Most Influential Athletes.
Jeff Gordon: 86 Career Wins
Ask any casual NASCAR fan to name a driver, and chances are that they’ll respond with Jeff Gordon. The crossover star is third on the all-time wins list, trailing only racing legends David Pearson and the untouchable Richard Petty. Gordon is a four-time series champion, as well as the first driver in Cup series history to surpass $100 million in career earnings. As if his own racing weren’t enough, the 41-year-old also owns (literally) Jimmie Johnson’s No.48 car. The 21-year veteran has accomplished just about every goal a driver can, and he still has a few years to catch David Pearson.