Open Mic: S.M.'s All-Time Favorites from All Three NASCAR National Series

Horn FanSenior Writer IAugust 7, 2008

My teams, Thor-Buster Motorsports, race in Chevys and have about a trillion dollars. So I can take chances in deciding who drives for me and if it doesn't work I can write it off at tax time with Uncle Sam.

I've included the past, present, all three of the NASCAR National Series, and four drivers that were winners who deserved a shot at the Cup.


Past Drivers

Here are four drivers I'd love to see racing today in Sprint Cup. I'm old enough to have witnessed the later careers of three of them, and the other I wish I'd seen.

Two never got to see them race, made my list  thanks to ESPN Classic and being the John Madden of NASCAR.

1. Richard Petty—He had 200 wins and was a seven-time champion. Enough said.

2. David Pearson—Legend, period. In the three years he raced full-time he was a champion. In the years he raced part-time he won 105 races.

3. Benny Parsons—Through his announcing BP I became a fan of his. He's a racer's racer and the first champion in the modern-era of NASCAR.

4. Bobby Allison—In his prime, what a racer. The more I read about him, the more I liked him. Plus, he's a former champion.


Present Drivers

This was tough. If the rules let me, it would be a 10-car team. Here's my four-car team, with surprises and a shocker pick.

1. Kevin Harvick—It was NASCAR 360 that opened my eyes to the real "Happy." He earned my respect, and he'll be a champion soon.

2. Bobby Labonte—I've been a fan for 17 years, through the good, the bad at Gibbs, and the ugly at Petty Enterprises. Back in 2000, he won the Winston Cup Championship. My dad always gave me crap for being a fan of his. Will never forget the big old grin on his face when he won the title.

3. Ron Hornaday, Jr.—He's a racer's racer, a legend, and if I'm an owner he's driving for me. That's him in the above picture playin' in the rain at Montreal.

4. Kasey Kahne—Just aways liked the kid. He's another talented driver who'll win the championship before he's done.


My Nationwide Team

1. Brad Keselowski—He's talented, has a great career as a future champion, and is better than Lagano.

2. Ricky Craven—This great driver from Maine has a legion of fans. He should be racing, not writing on Yahoo. I would give him the opportunity to drive for me.

3. Joey Lagano—Because I'm not stupid. I would let him race in Nationwide a couple more years. Let him mature, win a championship, and then unleash him on Sprint Cup.

4. Alison Force—I would simply love to see what she could do in a Cup car.


My Kobalt/Craftsman Truck Series Team

1. Jack Sprague—He's a three-time champion and a great driver.

2. Colin Braun—I would buy out his deal with Roush Fenway, since they don't have space for him to advance. He's a very talented kid, and he's going to be a name no one will see coming. We just need to be patient.

3. Rick Crawford—The Jokster of my team can drive junk to the front and just like the guy.

4. Scott Speed—He's going to take NASCAR by storm, unique and with more seat-time. He'll be the freak of the NASCAR Series, is more talented than fans realize, and is appreciative for the opportunity.

5. Ron Hornaday—Anytime he wants to race a truck he can. And why not? He's a legend in the series.


I'm a Fan of These Four Racers—I Just Wish They Got Honest Chances at the Cup

Lastly, here are three racers who raced a handful of Sprint Cup races between them and one who never did. I would have loved to develop them into Sprint Cup regulars. I added them as a fan, and thought it would be a great addition to my list of favorites.

1. Mike McLaughlin—He is known in modified's as "Magic Shoes," while he did race in two Cup races. I always felt he would have been a great talent and winning regular in Cup. I met him at a Cosco store when he drove the Fiddle Faddle Car in 1994, and followed his career as a fan.

2. Andy Santerre—He's a four-time repeat champion, in the now Camping World East Series and one of two drivers to accomplish this feat in any NASCAR sanction body series. I've been a fan of his since meeting him in 1994. Got his autograph, his sponsor was Sugar Loaf Mountain at that time. I still have the picture hanging on my wall.

I still follow the team he owes in the CWES. I would have loved to see him get the opportunity to race in Cup. With development, you've got a talented winner.

3. Jason Keller—Always tough, he's a racer's racer and did run two Cup Races. But I always felt he earned a better chance and I'm just curious what he could do with a longer opportunity.

4. Ted Christopher—He's a legend in modified's and I definitely feel he could have been a decent driver in Cup. With time you have a future champion.


Well, there you have it, all my favs listed in one article. And all, in my eyes, are worthy of the honor of being mentioned on B/R.