- 04/25/2011, 02:40PM ET
Outlaw... said 04/25, 02:40 PM
1. Bobby Allison
Should be a no brainer. 84 career wins, which ranks him tied for third all time. He had a great career, but it seemed like he was always behind Petty, Pearson and Yarborough, and when they were out of the picture, Dale Earnhardt came along. Finished second in points 5 times.
2. Rusty Wallace
A winner of 55 career races, nearly 350 top 10's, finished second in points twice. Another guy that was behind Dale Earnhardt and Jeff Gordon most of his career.
3. Bill Elliott
I love Bill and wanted to put him over Rusty, but he has 46 wins, with 320 top 10s, finished second in points twice, and was the perennial winner of the most popular driver award up until Dale Sr died.
4. Dale Jarrett
The 4th and 5th spots have a lot of competition, but I think Dale earns a spot in the top 5. He finished his career with 32 wins, and finished in the top 5 in points 6 times not counting his championship.
5. Rex White
Short career of only 9 seasons, but still managed 28 wins, to go with 163 top 10's and 110 top 5's. His most impressive stat though is his career average finish of 9th
noydbyj said 04/26, 02:26 AM
1. Allison. Just no other option for first.
2. White. The stats are too impressive. And they are so much better than percentage wise than even Rusty and Elliott. Interesting statistical fact. Taking into account "competitive seasons," which I counted as seasons where the driver started no less than 3 fewer races than the champion, Rex White scored a top 10 points finish in 166.67% of his competitive seasons. That is not a typo. He had 3 competitive seasons, and finished in the top 10 in points 5 times.
3. Wallace. Longevity, 55 wins, 49.43% of his starts finished in the top 10, over 3/4 of his competitive seasons in the top 10.
5. Elliott. Most popular driver. 40% of his competitive seasons in the top 5 in points. 55 pole positions, second most of the 1 championship drivers (to Allison). And no one tops Awesome Bill for longevity, racing at least once in 35 different seasons.
So on 4 of the 5 we agree. Re-ordered, but right drivers.
Who's number 4 on my list? 1970 Champion Bobby Isaac. 14 years he had at least 1 race, but only 3 were competitive. He still managed 37 wins (4th most on this list), and a win percentage in the double digits (also 4th best).
Outlaw... said 04/26, 12:07 PM
I'm glad you agree that Rex White belongs on the list, but I think putting him over Rusty Wallace and Awesome Bill is stretching it.
Like all sports, longevity counts in NASCAR as well.
White only participated in nine seasons. He didn't retire because of injury, he just flat out stopped.
Rusty stayed around until he was pushing 50, and Bill is still out there running a limited schedule.
Plus you have to realize that Rex White raced in the 50's and early 60's. The competition level wasn't as strong as it was during Rusty Wallace's and Bill Elliott's NASCAR tenures.
They had to deal with Dale Earnhardt, each other, Jeff Gordon, Tony Stewart, Mark Martin, Dale Jarrett, the Labontes, Benny Parsons, etc
Percentage wise, White is impressive, but as you know, with longevity and old age, those percentages and averages to go down. White quit racing before he was old enough for them to go down.
White is one of NASCAR's most underrated drivers, but putting him over Rusty Wallace and Bill Elliott is stretching in big time IMO.
Dale Jarrett and Bill Elliott over Bobby Isaac next.
noydbyj said 04/26, 09:56 PM
I agree. Longevity has its place. But there is also a virtue to knowing when to step away. DJ and Petty, for example hung around too long. Rex White had a short career, it's true, but as long as he raced, he competed for the wins, top 5s, and top 10s that define the greatest drivers in the sport. He scored top 10s in just shy of 70% of his races, and was in the top 5 over 47% of the time. By contrast, Elliott and Wallace finished in the top 10 just under 40% and 50% of the time, respectively. If you take Red Byron and his 15 race career out of the equation, White has the highest win % of all the single title drivers. In fact, if you put Rusty and Bill together, they have 6.5 times the number of starts as Rex White, but only 3.3 times the number of victories. No, White did not have the competition of Earnhardt and Gordon. But he did have Petty, Petty, Herb Thomas, Junior Johnson, Ned Jarrett, and other greats.
We are really splitting hairs when we're talking about the top 5 for all 3, but the fact of the matter is that if you could pick one guy for one day on a random racetrack the type of which _BUILT_ NASCAR, I'd take Rex White over Rusty and Bill.
Outlaw... said 04/27, 09:10 PM
As for Bobby Isaac, he did have a very stellar career, but to put him over Bill Elliott is a bit crazy.
First off, Bill lost several years in the prime of his career when he failed as an owner of his own team. He didn't win a race during that time.
You know what happened when a 40 something Bill Elliott was given a ride with Ray Evernham?
He started winning again.
I think it's safe to say that if Bill would have just stuck to driving for somebody else his entire career he would have been pushing at least 60 wins if not more.
Talent wise, this is a no brainer, Bill Elliott goes over Bobby Isaac, and performance wise as well.
It's 46 wins for Elliott vs 31 for Isaac, you do the math.
Dale Jarrett may not have as many wins as Isaac, but he faced tougher competition. He finished in the top 5 in points several times in his career. He pretty much got Joe Gibbs Racing off it's feet, and helped restore Robert Yates Racing after Davey Allison died, and Ernie Irvan nearly died.
noydbyj said 04/28, 01:14 AM
Elliott vs. Isaac:
Being a team owner was Bill's choice. He made the decision to take that leap. No one argues Bill's talent, and I tried to discount his current occasional schedule that is hurting his percentages, but I don't think I have to discount the mistake he made at what could have been a resurgence of his career. I'm going to fall back on percentages. Isaac won over 12% of his races and scored top 10s 55.9% of the time. Every competitive season he scored a top 10 in points. And in 513 extra starts, Elliott had only 7 more wins.
DJ vs. Isaac:
In over double the number of starts, DJ had 5 FEWER wins, and only 29 extra top 5s. Yes, DJ had 7 top 5 points finishes. But that is in 18 competitive years on the circuit (as opposed to 2/3 for Isaac). More wins, better points finishes, higher top 5 and top 10 percentages. Against the same legendary competition as Rex White.
For the record, my 6-7-8 (not in order) are DJ, Parsons, and (probably) Kenseth.
Tough TD, great idea, UH. Keep 'em coming!
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