Tha Sports Junkies 101

Who is NASCAR’s greater Legend?


When people talk about NASCAR’s greatest drivers of all time most people jump and put Richard Petty on top of the pedestal due to being in awe of his stat line that is absolutely untouchable in the modern era. Although when doing this they fail to take a deeper look at the statistics and exactly how much racing it took him to get to the 200 win mark. In fact Richard Petty not only isn’t the greatest NASCAR driver of all time but may not even be the greatest of his generation.

When looking at the NASCAR generation in which Richard Petty raced in there is one other driver that you could view as consistent competition and that driver is David Pearson. While not racking up the same eye-popping numbers as Petty he is still the one other driver in NASCAR history to eclipse the 100 win mark by tallying up 105 wins in his career. Now you may be asking yourself how 105 wins equate to 200; that is where you need to take a deeper look into the number of starts each driver has had and the winning percentage. Through his thirty-five-year NASCAR career, Petty competed in 1184 races while tallying up 200 wins. When you work this out it comes out to a winning percentage of 16.89%. Pearson on the other hand only started 574 races in his career due to being a part-time driver for most of his career and still managed to get to the 105 win mark.This comes out to be a winning percentage of 18.29%.

With these numbers being said both drivers drove well past their primes. In this case to give each driver a range of their prime all races run after the season in which they recorded their last top five finish will be excluded from their total starts. Petty recorded his last top five in the 1988 NASCAR season while still running 112 more races in his career. Removing these races from is total races run rounds out his winning percentage to 18.65%. Pearson recorded the last top five of his career in 1983 NASCAR season but did not continue to run the same amount of races that Petty did only racing 25 races after 1983. Still even with the amount of races that were removed from Richard Petty’s career starts compared to Pearson; the man they call The Silver Fox still manages to have a higher career winning percentage than Petty by rounding out at 19.12%. Looking at the winning percentages of the drivers in no way is Petty the more efficient driver in terms of winning throughout his career.

Other than the 200 career wins one other thing that helps his untouchable status among many NASCAR fans is his season with 27 which came in a season where Petty ran 48 races. Once again when done out to winning percentage comes out to 56% yet still fails to eclipse Pearson’s career high which took place in 1973 where Pearson won 11 of just 18 races he competed in that season which came out to a percentage of 61%. While Petty is in no doubt great he is often put in a class of his own due to the amount of races he ran compared to everyone else, but when looking at more in-depth statistics you will see that NASCAR’s legend of The Silver Fox just may be more impressive than that of The King.