Dale "June Bug" Earnhardt Jr.
NASCAR drivers are colorful if anything, and the nicknames that have graced some of the sport's drivers have been colorful as well. Did you know Dale Earnhardt Sr. was not just "The Intimidator" but was also known as "Iron Head?"
Here are 15 of the most colorful nicknames in NASCAR. Do you have a favorite that is not listed here? Is there an "ultimate" nickname? We would love to hear from you.
A.J. "Super Tex" Foyt
One of the few drivers to find success behind the wheel of a NASCAR stock car and an Indy style car, A.J. Foyt was almost bigger than life. Foyt is the only driver to have won both the Daytona 500 and the Indianapolis 500 (4 times). He is also the only person to have won at Indianapolis in both front and rear engine cars. His career racing at Indianapolis spanned 35 years and he only needed ten NASCAR starts before he claimed his first victory, the 1964 Firecracker 400.
"The Skoal Bandit" aka "Mr. September"
Skoal Bandits was the long-time sponsor on Harry Gant's car so "The Skoal Bandit" was a logical choice of nicknames. Gant also earned the nickname "Mr. September" after winning the four September Cup races in 1991.
"Gentleman Ned" Jarrett
One of the most respected veterans of NASCAR, Ned Jarrett won championships in 1961 and 1965 and was voted into the NASCAR Hall of Fame with the Class of 2011. "Gentleman Ned" refers to Jarrett's calm demeanor rather than his fierce competitive nature.
Father of former Sprint Cup driver Sterling Marlin, "Coo Coo" Marlin made a name for himself racing short tracks in Tennessee and Alabama. Although he never won a Sprint Cup Race, "Coo Coo" had nine Top 5 and 51 Top 10 finishes in his 165 Cup starts.
Not all nicknames associated with NASCAR drivers have anything to do with their adventures behind the wheel of a stock car. Glenn "Fireball" Roberts picked up his moniker firing fastballs for the Zellwood Mud Hens, an American Legion baseball team he played for in Apopka, Florida.
Tragically, Roberts' nickname also stirs sad memories of his fiery death in the 1964 World 600 in Charlotte. Trying to avoid a crash in front of him, Roberts' car slammed backwards into the wall, flipped over and burst into flames. Burned over 80% of his body, he died several weeks later on July 2, 1964.
David "The Silver Fox" Pearson
David Pearson stands second in all-time wins in NASCAR's premier series with 105 wins. What makes this record even more impressive is that "The Silver Fox" drove for the Wood Brothers and never ran a full season, competing in select races rather than running all the races on the schedule.
Pearson is a member of the Class of 2011 inductees into the NASCAR Hall of Fame.
Ricky "Ironman" Rudd
Holding the record for the most consecutive starts in NASCAR, Rick Rudd certainly deserves his "Iron Man" nickname. With 788 consecutive starts, Rudd earned the respect of fellow competitors and others in the garage area for driving "no matter what." His dedication paid off with wins in 16 consecutive seasons, with a total of 23 Cup wins, 194 Top 5s and 373 Top 10s to his credit.
Jimmy "Mr. Excitement" Spencer
An aggressive driving style and highly competitive nature earned Jimmy Spencer his "Mr. Excitement" nickname. Earning his stripes in NASCAR's lower-level modified series, Spencer had two wins in the Sprint Cup Series in July of 1994 driving for Junior Johnson. These would be Spencer's only wins at NASCAR's highest level. But he is one of few drivers to have won races in all three of NASCAR's top series, Cup, Nationwide Series and Camping World Truck Series.
"King" Richard Petty
With seven Cup championships and 200 NASCAR wins, Richard Petty's nickname, "The King" needs no explanation. One of the most popular drivers to pilot a stock car, Petty is still one of the most recognized names in motorsports, even those who don't follow NASCAR.
In his ten year career (1949-1959), Gober Sosebee's hard-driving style earned him the nickname "Wild Injun" Earning four victories in 71 starts, Sosebee also claimed four poles and 33 Top 10 finishes. One of the pioneers of NASCAR's early days, he led 503 laps in his career.
"Awesome Bill from Dawsonville" Elliott
Hailing from Dawsonville, GA, Bill Elliott holds the record for the fastest recorded lap on a NASCAR track at 212.809 mph, set at Talladega in 1987. Elliott also earned the nickname "Million Dollar Bill" in 1985 when he won the Daytona 500, the Winston 500 at Talladega, and the Southern 500 at Darlington which resulted in his winning the first Winston Million. That fete earned him a place as the first NASCAR driver featured on the cover of Sports Illustrated.
Early pioneers of NASCAR, the Flock family contributed four siblings to the sport's early history, Brothers "Fonty," Bob, and Tim, along with sister Ethel Mobley, who was NASCAR's second female driver, drove in the early days of NASCAR. Getting his start like so many others in those early days, running moonshine, "Fonty" won the very first event run at the North Wilkesboro track.
In 1952, Flock won the Southern 500 at Darlington, where he drove the race wearing argyle socks and Bermuda shorts. Evidently real men didn't need fire suits!
Earning more fame building cars for others to drive than he did sitting behind the wheel, "Banjo" Matthews converted his love of racing cars to a love of creating great racing machines. His shop, Banjo's Performance Center, near Asheville, NC, was almost as popular as the nearby Biltmore House.
Cars built by Matthews won 262 of 362 NASCAR Winston Cup Races from 1974-1985, including all 30 races in 1978. Cars built by "Banjo" often accounted for over half the field entered in the races.
Darrell "Jaws" Waltrip
Also known as "Ol' DW", Darrell Waltrip earned the nickname "Jaws" when Cale Yarborough was interviewed after Waltrip crashed him out of a race. Ever flamboyant and willing to talk a little trash before a race, "Jaws" was a fitting nickname that Waltrip readily accepted.
Winning three Winston Cup championships and 84 Cup races, Waltrip has the most wins of any driver starting their career in the modern (post-1971) era. "DW" is currently a color commentator on Fox broadcasts of NASCAR events.
Saying "The Intimidator" needs no further introduction would be an understatement. With seven Cup championships and 76 wins, Earnhardt's accomplishments were cut short with his death in 2001 on the last lap of the Daytona 500 which saw a car he owned take Michael Waltrip to his first Cup win.
Earnhardt had several nicknames during his NASCAR career: "The Man in Black," "Ironhead," "Big E" and others. But the one that most often comes to mind came from an aggressive driving style and a need to win that was unrivaled. Competitors knew they had their hands full when the black No. 3 showed up in their mirror.