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Old 04-23-2015, 06:53 AM
PDD PDD started this thread
 
Location: The Sand Hills of NC
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I have attended NASCAR races since it was called Grand National in 1956 so I have seen just about every NASCAR star driver.

IMO the best I have seen in person has been David Pearson. Based solely on his winning percentage.

Also IMO Jeff Gordon has been the best since Pearson.

Considering I am a Ford fan I don't think I am biased at all.
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Old 04-23-2015, 10:27 AM
 
Location: Island of Misfit Toys
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Jeff Gordon. He transitioned from one era to another and was still incredibly successful. Always running up front even at his age now. His bad days are other drivers career days. He's won everywhere and everything. The guy is simply great. And yes, I put him ahead of Earnhardt Sr.
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Old 04-23-2015, 10:30 AM
 
Location: Baker City, Oregon
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Hard to say. Maybe Tim Richmond was the most talented. He could have had a ride in almost any series, including Formula 1, but he chose NASCAR.
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Old 04-23-2015, 03:21 PM
 
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Jeff Gordon. he came into sport when toughness on track was key and changed the entire race methods in NASCAR. As Dale SR. according to team members once said;"That kid took me out and never touched me". They had thought he would be angry but said he was amazed more than anything.
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Old 04-23-2015, 09:11 PM
 
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there were a lot of great drivers to pick just one.

richard petty-200 wins and a career that spanned 40 some years and 7 championships
dale earnhardt sr- toughest guy to run the circuit, and 7 time champion. there is a reason he was called "the intimidator"
cale yarborough
david pearson
fireball roberts
jeff gordon
bill elliot
rusty wallace
harry gant
darryl waltrip
bobby allison
davey allison
alan kulwicki
junior johnson
jimmy johnson
buddy baker
cotton owens
red farmer
mark martin
ned jarret
dale jarret
aj foyt
curtis turner
joe weatherly
fred lorenzen
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Old 04-27-2015, 07:21 AM
 
Location: NY
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To be honest, I think I would have to say Jeff Gordon too, which is in all truth an easy driver to distinguish here. He was just so dominant early in his career. He has proven to be great on every type of track on the circuit.

However, if there is a flaw to point out with him (or a couple) which could open the door for other names, it is that I do not think he has been able to fully adjust to the more modern changes of the sport and it shows in his declining win percentage and lack of titles.

Specifically, Gordon has struggled more ever since they went to dual file restarts. He simply is not good and getting good restarts off of yellow flags, and more often than not this costs him valuable position on track. Most damaging in this is that it has cost him, IMO, a lot of potential wins in recent years when he has been at or near the front at the end of races, and either loses the lead or loses a chance to advance on the lead even when he has had a dominant car all day. Single file restarts (especially important in green-white-checker finishes) has hurt his ability to close the deal.

I never felt Gordon adjusted to the original Car of Tomorrow all that well. For example he won a single race over the course of three full seasons (2008-2010) driving the COT. He did not drive bad, overall, during this stretch either, but never seemed to be able to really have the kind of runs he had previously (or some since) during this era for Nascar. I cannot attribute this to equipment at all, since Jimmy Johnson dominantly won plenty of races and 3 titles with cars coming out of the same shop. Age and desire could be a factor in this lull in his career, but I honestly think it had more to do with not adjusting well to a new type of car, which handled differently. He never fully mastered the control needed to win with it.

Finally, I do not think he has adjusted well to the Chase format. Had the chase format not existed, he would have three more titles based on overall points for the season. The fact that he had cars and years good enough to score the most overall points, but an inability to close the deal through the chase shows that although he is a terrificly consistent top driver, he has not adjusted to being able to pull out enough wins at the end to pull out chase victories. This could circle back around to his dual file restart woes, as well as having enough struggle with the COT through a lot of the chase years where he could not get the thing to victory lane.

Of course, I am nit picking. I am a huge Gordon fan, and he has been dominant in his prime, and still a top contender well past any driver's prime! A great case can certainly be made for him!

Although, all that said and the fact I am a big fan too, I may also want to wait and see how much more winning Johnson does before deciding Gordon is the best I have ever seen. I honestly and not a huge Jimmy fan, but with 6 titles, 5 in a row, and 72 career wins even with a relatively late start in Cup driving compared to most, I may have to give him serious thought too. He has adjusted to the chase well, and is more than just a consistent driver. He is the best I have seen at being able to come out of nowhere in a race, and a season, and turn it on at the right times to win races and championships.

(Caveat, I only started following towards the end of the Earnhardt Sr Era. He was a terrific driver too from what I remember. I did see some of Petty, but that was long, long past his peak.)
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Old 04-27-2015, 04:19 PM
 
48,516 posts, read 83,901,398 times
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Other than Gordon being such a influence that changed the racing itself; I think Johnson just continued it .You don't win that many championship with out huge skills. Neither are my favorite tho. Right now Harvick is showing greatness but we will have to see if it translates in multi championships which is hard to maintain the edge needed.
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Old 04-28-2015, 06:51 AM
 
Location: Atlanta
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I have seen him mentioned, but I would have to put Kyle Busch on any these lists. I have never been a big fan of his but I certainly appreciate his talent.
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Old 04-28-2015, 09:03 AM
 
Location: NY
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mco65 View Post
I have seen him mentioned, but I would have to put Kyle Busch on any these lists. I have never been a big fan of his but I certainly appreciate his talent.
He is too checkers or wreckers for me to put in this group. At least at this point in his career. When push comes to shove for a championship towards the end of seasons, he usually is well out of the running.

He certainly has the talent however, to put together multiple championship runs, and is certainly young enough to do so.
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Old 04-28-2015, 09:09 AM
 
Location: dover, de
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PDD View Post
I have attended NASCAR races since it was called Grand National in 1956 so I have seen just about every NASCAR star driver.

IMO the best I have seen in person has been David Pearson. Based solely on his winning percentage.

Also IMO Jeff Gordon has been the best since Pearson.

Considering I am a Ford fan I don't think I am biased at all.

I have to agree with Jeff Gordon! I don't know who I going to route for next year when he's gone. Kyle Larson looks like a really good candidate.
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