For most of its 75-12 months history, and specifically given that the early 1970s, the focal position of the NASCAR Cup Series has been the year championship.
Profitable the title was noteworthy prior to the RJ Reynolds Tobacco Co. signing up for NASCAR as its major sponsor, but the stacks of revenue delivered by the Winston cigarette brand name increased the relevance of the championship exponentially. To be known as a “Winston Cup champion” turned a much-coveted honor.
Over the several years, a lot of proficient motorists have chased the championship, won dozens of races, occur shut to profitable the title trophy and designed Hall of Fame occupations, all even though failing to access that top purpose.
In this article are 10 of the ideal “non-champions.”
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1. Denny Hamlin — Hamlin had the seem of a championship driver from his very first comprehensive-time year (2006), when he completed 3rd in the standings. Together the way, he has gained the Daytona 500 3 moments, won 48 Cup races and developed a Hall of Fame resume. In the race for the championship, nonetheless, he has completed next, 3rd 3 instances, fourth 2 times and fifth twice.
2. Mark Martin — Martin was Denny Hamlin right before Denny Hamlin. He chased the championship across 23 comprehensive-time seasons in the sport, falling small on many agonizing occasions. He was next 5 moments and was in the top 5 in eight other years. Forty Cup victories and a standing as a racer’s racer gave him distinct entry into the Corridor of Fame.
3. Junior Johnson — Johnson was the opposite of a “points” racer. He drove cars like there was no tomorrow. The outcome was normally a earn, a wreck or an exploding engine. While he received 50 races as a driver and later on six championships as a staff operator, there would be no driving title for Johnson.
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4. Davey Allison — Definitely his father’s son (Bobby received the championship in 1983), Davey checked each and every box that may possibly be stated below “champion” in the early many years of his vocation. He barely missing the title in 1992 but appeared on monitor to contend for numerous championships down the street. He died in a helicopter crash in 1993.
5. Fred Lorenzen — “Fearless” Freddy, smart, speedy and handsome, was a runaway star in Cup racing in the 1960s. He received 26 occasions amongst 1961 and 1967 and never ran a entire routine (despite the fact that he completed 3rd in points in 1963).
6. Fireball Roberts — The sport’s 1st celebrity never ever raced a entire Cup period. He received 33 races, which includes at the very least just one each 12 months in between 1956 and 1964, when he died from injuries experienced in a race at Charlotte Motor Speedway. He finished in the details top 10 6 times.
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7. Ricky Rudd — Rudd drove for numerous groups, including his personal, and gained 23 moments. A fierce competitor (ask Kevin Harvick about this), Rudd received at the very least a single time each and every season for 16 consecutive decades. He scored his best details complete — next — in 1991.
8. Carl Edwards — Edwards was solidly constant all through a occupation that manufactured 28 victories and acquired him a shot at the title in 2011, when he tied Tony Stewart but missing the championship on a tiebreaker. He possible would have been in more championship races in long term a long time but made the decision to retire early.
9. Dale Earnhardt Jr. — Junior, who gained 26 occasions in Cup, repeated substantially of his father’s successes on the sport’s most significant tracks but fell short of joining him in scoring championships.
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10. Tim Richmond — Richmond experienced a quick but amazing profession, successful 13 moments across 7 seasons. In 1986, he won seven races and finished third in factors. Rapidly, fearless and controversial, he died of AIDS in 1989, two a long time immediately after his closing race.
Honorable mentions: Jeff Burton, Jim Paschal, Curtis Turner, Geoffrey Bodine, Buddy Baker, Greg Biffle, Neil Bonnett, Harry Gant.