NASCAR: The 10 Most Untouchable Records in Stock Car Racing History

Jerry Bonkowski@@jerrybonkowskiFeatured ColumnistDecember 28, 2012

NASCAR: The 10 Most Untouchable Records in Stock Car Racing History

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    NASCAR is a sport built on speed, time and records.

    And while records are meant to be broken, there are 10 records in NASCAR that will likely never be broken.

    We call those the most untouchable records in NASCAR history—records made by drivers ranging from The King, Richard Petty, who virtually rewrote the sport's record book and continues to dominate it (as well as this slideshow, for reasons you'll soon read), all the way to the modern day and Kyle Busch.

    So without further ado, let's look at the sport's most enduring records—one's that will likely never be topped:

1. Most Wins in a Career

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    This is unquestionably the record that has the least chance of ever being broken.

    Richard Petty won an incredible 200 wins in his NASCAR career.

    The next closest driver to Petty was his no. 1 rival, David Pearson, with 105 wins.

    By comparison, the active driver with the most wins is Jeff Gordon, who earned his 87th win at Homestead in the 2012 season finale.

    Given that it has taken Gordon 19 seasons to get 87 wins, he'd theoretically need to race another 25 years and win at least 4.5 races per season to catch Petty. Somehow, we just don't see Gordon racing until he's 66 years old.

2. Most Wins in 1 Season

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    This is one other record that will likely never even come close to being broken, either.

    Richard Petty won an almost incredulous 27 races in 1967. Of course, that was a season when he competed in 48 races.

    Oh, yes, and then there was 1971, when Petty won 21 races in 46 starts. And let's not forget his 18 wins in 1970 and 16 wins in 1968.

    In fact, from 1967 through 1971, Petty won—get this—92 races. In just five seasons!

    By comparison, the next closest was Jeff Gordon, who won 13 races in 1998.

3. Overall All-Time Winning Percentage

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    As great a career as Richard Petty had, he comes up short to Herb Thomas in overall all-time winning percentage.

    According to the NASCAR record book, for drivers with 100 or more career starts, Thomas had a winning percentage of 21.053 percent (48 wins over 228 starts).

    Tim Flock was second with a 20.856-percent win record (39 wins in 187 starts), followed by David Pearson (18.293 percent, 105 wins in 574 starts) and Richard Petty (16.892 percent, 200 wins in 1,184 starts).

    By comparison, the active driver with the highest winning percentage is Jimmie Johnson, who currently ranks eighth on the list (15.038 percent, 60 wins in 399 starts). Following him is Jeff Gordon, in 12th place (12.627 percent, 87 wins in 689 starts).

4. All-Time Starts Without a Win

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    J.D. McDuffie holds the distinction of having the most starts in Grand National/Sprint Cup competition without a win: 653.

    Next in line are Buddy Arrington (563), Neil Castles (501), Johnny Means (455) and Cecil Gordon (449).

    The currently active driver with the most starts without a win is Dave Blaney (431).

5. Most Second-Place Finishes

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    Not only does Richard Petty have the most wins of any competitor in NASCAR Grand National/Cup history, he is also the driver with the most second-place finishes (157).

    Not surprising, given their long-time rivalry, David Pearson is second to Petty, but at a substantial distance, having finished as a runner-up 89 times.

    By comparison, the two current active drivers with the most runner-up finishes are Jeff Gordon (65, good for fifth on the all-time list) and Mark Martin (61, sixth on the list).

    Tied for 11th with Buddy Baker, Terry Labonte and Rusty Wallace is Tony Stewart (all with 42 second place finishes). Jimmie Johnson is 15th with 40.

6. Most Runner-Up Finishes in the Final Season Standings

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    Richard Petty is no. 1 in this category, as well.

    In addition to being the first driver to win seven Grand National/Sprint Cup championships (a mark subsequently tied by the late Dale Earnhardt), Petty also finished second in the final standings six other times.

    Bobby Allison and still-active Mark Martin are tied for second place with five season runner-up finishes in the final standings.

7. All-Time Owner Wins

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    There was substantial fanfare—and rightly so—when Hendrick Motorsports earned its 200th career Sprint Cup win at Darlington this past season for team owner Rick Hendrick.

    Since that occurred in early May, HMS earned nine more for Mr. Hendrick.

    But unless Jimmie Johnson, Jeff Gordon, Kasey Kahne and Dale Earnhardt, Jr. go out and win five races each over the next four seasons, Mr. Hendrick still has a long way to go to catch Richard Petty as a team owner with the most wins (287).

8. Most Championships by a Crew Chief

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    So much has been made about the five Sprint Cup championships that Chad Knaus has won with Jimmie Johnson. That feat is all the more noteworthy because all five championships came consecutively from 2006 through 2010.

    But as significant as that record is for Knaus, he's still a few titles away from being the crew chief with the most career championships.

    That title goes to Dale Inman, who won eight championships in his storied career: seven with Richard Petty (1964, 1967, 1971, 1972, 1974, 1975 and 1979) and one with Terry Labonte (1984).

    As we said, Knaus is second with five titles.

    Can you guess who is third? How about Kirk Shelmerdine, with four championships as a crew chief for the late Dale Earnhardt (1986, 1987, 1990 and 1991)?

9. Most Combined Wins Across All Three Pro Series

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    Don't worry, Kyle Busch fans, he gets the credit he deserves with this category.

    Even though he's only 27 years old, Busch is already the active driver with the most wins across all three of NASCAR's professional series: namely, the Sprint Cup, Nationwide Series and Camping World Truck Series.

    The younger Busch brother has 105 total career wins, with 24 in Cup, 51 in Nationwide and 30 in Trucks.

    Next closest is Mark Martin, with 96 combined wins (40, 49 and 7). While he's nine overall wins behind Busch, given the disparity in their ages—Busch is 27 and Martin will soon turn 52—it's likely Busch will hold on to this mark for a long time, if not forever.

    For the record, Kevin Harvick is third on the list with 72 combined wins (19, 39 and 14), followed by Tony Stewart with 59 wins (47, 10 and 2) and Carl Edwards, at 57 wins (19, 32 and 6).

10. Most Consecutive Wins in a Season

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    Once again, Richard Petty is No. 1 in this category. No surprise there, indeed.

    In the same year (1967) that The King won an amazing 27 races, he also set another untouchable record of winning 10 of those races in a row.

    Jimmie Johnson may have won four races in a row in 2007, but that is small potatoes compared to the mark Petty set 45 years ago, yet another record that will likely never be broken in NASCAR history.

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