In NASCAR, it is the drivers who receive all the glory and adulation for their wins and championships. The team owners and the supporting cast that enable the driver to accomplish his or her lofty goals play an even more important role though.
The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, formerly known as Grand National, Winston Cup and Strictly Stock in the early days, is considered the premier series in the sport.
It is the team owners who must put together all the parts and pieces necessary for the driver to take a car on the track that will hopefully contend for wins because that is the goal.
It is the team owner who is responsible for pairing the crew chief and driver for optimal performance. Many times in the history of NASCAR, the owner was a driver for someone else before assuming the daunting task of becoming a team owner.
Owning a race team is never easy in any series, but in the top series of this sport, securing money to race has always been an issue. In the modern era of NASCAR, the owners with the most money seem to have the most clout which results in wins and championships.
The unfortunate by-product of today's Sprint Cup racing is the limitations faced by low-budget teams who just cannot compete against the domination of the premier teams. Often drivers for some of these teams are forced to start a race and then park the car. It has always been that way.
Team owners who are leaders with engines and chassis often supply them to other teams. It gives those teams a better chance to contend for wins and top finishes.
The most talented drivers do reap great rewards for their achievements, but the premier team owners in the sport have accumulated great wealth as the sport has evolved. NASCAR Sprint Cup racing is big business now with mergers, sponsorship deals and marketing.
Let's take a look at how the top Sprint Cup team owners rank from the beginning of the sport through the high dollar multi-car teams we have today.