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NASCAR: Race Car Drivers

NASCAR Races and Racetracks NASCAR Cars NASCAR Glossary

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At first glance, the job of a NASCAR driver may seem easy. They drive around in circles for a few hours once a week, collect a paycheck, and then hop on a plane or a bus to the next track. Not so fast! NASCAR drivers are high paid professional athletes for a reason. They are best at their sport.

Driving Skills and Courage

If you've ever been to a NASCAR race then you know that those cars are going fast. They are big heavy cars going at nearly 200 miles per hour. Think about that. If your Dad was driving down the free way at 100 miles per hour (way too fast, by the way), a NASCAR race car would pass him as if he were standing still. That's fast!

NASCAR drivers must be able to handle a car running at top speeds, but also be surrounded by other cars doing the same only inches away! They must drive with absolute precision and then be able to pass, adjust for track conditions, avoid wrecks, and keep to a race strategy for hours. This takes years of practice and a lot of natural talent.


NASCAR drivers must also be in good shape. Sure they are just driving, but they must drive with the precision and skill we talked about in the earlier section for hours at a time. They don't get time outs or half times like in other sports. They have to be fully concentrating and handling a large heavy car at top speeds, shifting constantly, and ready to react in a split second, all for hours straight. They can't get tired or cramped after a few hours. They also must do this in a hot, confined space. They must be in top physical shape to be able to do this.

Car Smarts and Teamwork

Lastly, a NASCAR driver has to be smart. Good driving skills and courage will only get you so far. Throughout any NASCAR race the car will require all sorts of adjustments to be kept running at top speed. The driver has to help figure out what these adjustments are. The driver's recommendations to his or her race team are critical to winning the race. One bad call or bad piece of information from the driver and it could cost them valuable time.

List of Current Full Time NASCAR Sprint Cup Drivers (as of 2011)

Driver Name Number Rookie Year Wins
A. J. Allmendinger 43 2007 0
Marcos Ambrose 9 2007 0
Greg Biffle 16 2003 16
Dave Blaney 36 2000 0
Clint Bowyer 33 2006 4
Jeff Burton 31 1994 21
Kurt Busch 22 2001 22
Kyle Busch 18 2005 19
Dale Earnhardt, Jr. 88 2000 19
Carl Edwards 99 2004 18
David Gilliland 34 2006 0
Jeff Gordon 24 1993 83
Denny Hamlin 11 2006 16
Kevin Harvick 29 2001 14
Jimmie Johnson 48 2002 54
Kasey Kahne 4 2004 11
Matt Kenseth 17 2000 18
Brad Keselowski 2 2009 1
Travis Kvapil 38 2005 0
Bobby Labonte 47 1993 21
Joey Logano 20 2009 1
Mark Martin 5 1982 40
Michael McDowell 66 2008 0
Jamie McMurray 1 2003 6
Casey Mears 13 2003 1
Paul Menard 27 2007 0
Juan Pablo Montoya 42 2007 2
Joe Nemechek 87 1994 4
Ryan Newman 39 2002 14
David Ragan 6 2007 0
David Reutimann 0 2007 2
Regan Smith 78 2008 0
Tony Stewart 14 1999 39
Martin Truex Jr. 56 2004 1
Brian Vickers 83 2003 2
J. J. Yeley 46 2006 0

Back to Sports

NASCAR Races and Racetracks
NASCAR Glossary
NASCAR Drivers
List of NASCAR Race Tracks

Auto Racing Biographies:
Jimmie Johnson
Dale Earnhardt Jr.
Danica Patrick

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