Who Are Some of the Most Popular NASCAR Drivers in History?

Who Are Some of the Most Popular NASCAR Drivers in History?

Some of the most popular NASCAR drivers in history are Bill Elliott, Richard Petty, Dale Earnhardt Sr. and Dale Earnhardt Jr. Kenny Wallace and Brad Keselowski are three-time winners of the Most Popular Driver Award, as voted by fans since 1956.

The Earnhardts, father and son, are both very popular drivers in NASCAR history. Dale Earnhardt Sr. shares the title for the most championships won in NASCAR history. He won 76 of 676 races. He posthumously won the Most Popular Driver Award in 2001 after his tragic death at that year's Daytona 500. Earnhardt's death brought national attention to the sport and inspired a number of safety changes.

Earnhardt's son, Dale Earnhardt Jr., is also extremely popular in NASCAR. He won 12 consecutive Most Popular Driver Awards between 2003 and 2014. Earnhardt Jr. never won a Cup title, but his popularity stems from his engaging personality with fans and the legacy he shares with his father.

Richard Petty ties Dale Earnhardt Sr. for most NASCAR championships and is the all-time leader in Cup race victories with 200 wins. Petty is co-owner of Richard Petty Motorsports and was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2010. Known for his great demeanor with fans, he never turns away a fan who asks for his autograph.

Bill Elliot won the Most Popular Driver Award 16 times between 1984 and 2002. Now retired, fans call him "Million Dollar Bill," a nickname he earned after receiving a $1 million bonus in 1985 for winning the Daytona 500, Talladega and the Southern 500 at Darlington.