Professional Sports Dynasties: NASCAR Has Them Too
All professional sports have them. Football has had the Cowboys, Steelers, 49ers. Baseball has the Yankees. Basketball has the Lakers, Celtics, Spurs. Hockey has the Red Wings, and NASCAR definitely has them now, and has had them in the past.
Time for the past.
Richard Petty with Petty Enterprises.
His career began once his father, Lee Petty, was injured and out for several months. He stepped down from a driver at Petty Enterprises at put Richard in the car for the 1062 Daytona 500. That turned out to be a very wise decision by Lee.
Like father, like son.
Richard Petty may hold several records that will never be broken in Nascar history. He is tied with the late Dale Earnhardt with seven Sprint Cup Championships, has a very impressive 200 career victories, and won a career high 27 races in 1967, although they ran around 60 races per season back in those days. These records among the many others that Petty holds, make him and Petty Enterprises Nascar's first true dynasty.
Darrell Waltrip with Nimrod Racing from 1981-1985.
During this five year stretch in his Sprint Cup career, Waltrip won three Cup championships, including consecutive Cups in 1981 and 1982. This was also the birth of one of Nascar's fiercest rivalries between Waltrip and Dale Earnhardt.
Waltrip dominated the early 1980's with his abrasive driving, tough comments, and ill natured style. Among all of the great drivers of the early 1980's, nobody dominated like Waltrip did.
Dale Earnhardt with Richard Childress Racing 1986-1994
This near decade is Nascar history put one thing in the rearview mirrors of driver's on the race track.
The Black No. 3
Earnhardt intimidated like nobody could on the track. Those that were in front of him, wished they were behind him, and those that were behind him wished they were as fast and as dominant as he was. Earnhardt had a reputation for "rattling his cage."
Just ask Terry Labonte what happens when Earnhardt starts rattling your back bumper. These nine seasons brought Earnhardt six of his record seven Sprint Cup championships, and were some of the best of his career.
Without question, the most intimidating dynasty in Nascar.
Jeff Gordon and Hendrick Motorsports 1995-1998.
This period of Jeff Gordon's career saw his most success in his career, and gave his fans something to really get excited about. The Rainbow Warrior as he was known then, won himself three Sprint Cup championships within a four year period, and seemingly couldn't be stopped by any competitor.
Well at least not one from another team other than Hendrick Motorsports. Gordon won his championships in 1995, '97 and '98. The only reason he didn't win four in a row was because teammate Terry Labonte won the '96 championship.
This was the most colorful dynasty in NASCAR history.
Now to the dynasty we're all currently witnessing, Jimmie Johnson with HMS.
Johnson has finished in the top five of every full time season he's spent in the Sprint Cup Series, and his 39 victories since 2002 are the most by any driver in Nascar. In 2004, Nascar introduced a new points system known today as "The Chase."
It is a 10 race format for the top 12 drivers in points after the fall race at Richmond, then the points reset, and those 12 guys battle it out for the championship.
Jimmie Johnson obviously has this format figured out. He and Crew Chief Chad Knaus, have been as close to perfection in the Chase's history as an individual race team can be. He has won 14 of the 49 races since the chase was created, which is better than one out of every four races. Johnson has already won back to back championships, and as long as he finds Homestead-Miami, he will be hoisting a third championship next Sunday night.
This is the dynasty of the 21st century.
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