Mark Martin's night ended early at Bristol Motor Speedway this year, as evidenced by the picture. However, he hails from a state that is among the top five home states for Sprint Cup drivers compared to population.
Obviously, the more people a state has the better the odds for producing more top level drivers. However, some regions have a much higher interest in, and access to, racing, in general.
My home state of Pennsylvania has no drivers in the Sprint Cup series against a population of about 12 million. Except for the two annual weekends at Pocono International Raceway, racing is not that popular in the Keystone State and is far behind football, baseball, and hockey in the most abundant sports markets -- Philadelphia and Pittsburgh.
In comparing drivers to state populations, it is clearly evident that a large population pool is not necessarily a link to driver representation. Further, it is not even closely related to NASCAR's historically Southeastern routes. The statistics are surprising.
Joey Logano is the only Sprint Cup driver from Connecticut, population 3.5 million. Driving as fast he does every week could land him in Rhode Island very quickly.
Had "Sliced Bread" been born in the Ocean State, he would have comfortably rated number one on this list.
Dale Earnhardt Jr. is seen here chatting with Greg Biffle (right) and Kasey Kahne (center). Both Biffle and Kahne are originally from Washington.
The population of Washington is very close to 6.7 million. I wonder if they both enjoy racing in the rain? Unfortunately, none of these drivers pictured have found their way to first place during the 2011 season.
Jamie McMurray must have been interviewing during this photo. He missed out on the inclusion of his membership in the "prolific states" club photo shoot.
Carl Edwards and the aforementioned McMurray are both from the Show Me State, with a population of just a hair under six million. It could be rounded up, mathematically, but it is not quite a one driver to every three million people ratio.
Their geographic neighbor to the south, Mark Martin, is the only driver in the Sprint Cup Series claiming Arkansas as his birthplace. The population there is a little bit over 2.9 million.
The difference is razorback thin, therefore it has to be judged even.
This is Paul Menard chasing Matt Kenseth during the first road race of 2011 at Infineon Raceway. David Ragan is seen in the back, though he was born in Georgia.
Travis Kvapil did not participate in the 2011 Toyota/Save Mart 350, but he is a native Wisconsinite. Congratulations to Wisconsin for having the most natives of a state on this list. Three drivers out of a population of 5.7 million were very close to the checkered flag.
That is too way much yellow for any two people to wear in one picture. The matching tool box and seating does not help the aesthetics of the photo either.
Style, however, is not a factor for this list. It is but a computation of numbers, and the Busch brothers (Kyle and Kurt) have grabbed yet another victory in their storied NASCAR Sprint Cup careers.
Nevada claims only 2.7 million residents, yet two of those residents are among the most successful drivers on the circuit today. The Silver State takes gold in a very close finale.