Since the start of NASCAR history in 1947, the sport has grown to be one of the most popular in the US. While it is usually associated with the South and men, actual numbers and facts might surprise you.
That’s why we’ve selected 25 facts and statistics that every fan of the sport should know. Keep reading to find out more about the history and some of the most iconic drivers and tracks.
Top 10 Essential NASCAR Stats and Facts
- The history of NASCAR started in December 1947.
- The first “Strictly Stock” race was held in 1949.
- The first Daytona 500 was held in 1959.
- Richard Petty’s 200 wins make him the winningest driver.
- Martinsville Speedway is the Cup Series’ shortest track according to NASCAR numbers.
- Three drivers have won seven championships.
- Danica Patrick holds multiple female driver records.
- Jeff Gordon made 797 consecutive starts, the most of any driver.
- NASCAR attendance trends show that the popularity of the sport is decreasing.
- In the NASCAR Cup Series, the number of tracks is 24.
NASCAR History Stats You Need to Know
We’ve gathered important statistics about the beginning of the sport every fan should and need to know. Read below to find out more.
1. NASCAR history started in December 1947.
Bill France Sr., a mechanic and auto shop owner, organized a meeting on December 14th, 1947, and the idea of NASCAR was born.
It was realized the following year. France would become the first president and a driving force behind the growth of the sport.
2. NASCAR statistics show that the first “Strictly Stock” race was held in 1949.
The first “Strictly Stock” race was held on June 19th, 1949, in Charlotte, NC, in front of 13,000 fans.
Glenn Dunnaway won the race but was disqualified for illegal rear springs. Jim Roper was announced as the winner and collected the $2,000 prize.
3. NASCAR facts and history show that the first NASCAR-specific track opened in 1950.
While the sport was held on existing tracks during the first few years, the first NASCAR specific track, the Darlington Raceway in South Carolina, opened in 1950. Many more followed soon after.
4. NASCAR historical stats show that the first Daytona 500 was held in 1959.
The first Daytona 500 was held on February 22nd, 1959. It took 61 hours to declare the winner by a photo finish. Lee Petty, the father of Richard Petty, was declared the first winner of the Daytona 500.
The race now marks the start of the season and is the most famous race on the calendar.
5. The first flag-to-flag live coverage was in 1979, NASCAR history shows.
The Daytona 500 on February 18th, 1979, marks the beginning of live coverage of NASCAR. CBS aired the race, marked by Richard Petty nearly avoiding an accident and a fight between drivers in the infield grass.
Critical NASCAR Driver Stats
Although many are here for the stats about cars and the race, there could be neither without the drivers who are passionate about this sport. So, here are some essential stats about the people behind the wheel.
6. NASCAR stats show that Richard Petty’s 200 wins make him the winningest driver.
Richard Petty has won 200 races which are almost double the No.2 David Pearson’s 105 wins. The No.3, Jeff Gordon, has 93 wins.
From the active drivers, Kyle Busch NASCAR stats reveal that he leads with 59 wins.
If Petty were a soccer player, he would be the Leo Messi of team NASCAR.
7. NASCAR driver statistics show that three drivers have won seven championships.
The greats Richard Petty, Dale Earnhardt, and Jimmie Johnson have all won seven championships each. Johnson’s seven titles include five impressive consecutive titles between 2006 and 2010.
8. In 1963, Wendell Scott became the first African-American to win a race, NASCAR facts show.
On December 1st, 1963, at the Jacksonville Speedway, Wendell Scott beat Buck Baker. He became the first African-American to win a premier series.
9. Danica Patrick holds multiple female driver records, according to NASCAR driver statistics.
Danica Patrick is the most famous female NASCAR driver in recent times. In 2013, she became the first woman to win a NASCAR Cup Series pole. Patrick holds the record for most top-10 finishes by a female driver, with seven.
Unfortunately, she has never won a NASCAR race.
10. One of the darkest moments in NASCAR history, Dale Earnhardt’s death, marked a revolution in terms of safety.
Seven-time champion Dale Earnhardt died in 2001 after a crash at the Daytona 500. That devastated the racing world, and many changes have happened since in order to ensure it doesn’t happen again.
Changes include the HANS device (protects the neck), SAFER barrier, carbon seats, cockpit cocoons, data recorders to analyze every hit, and others. The results? Zero fatalities since.
Essential NASCAR Track Stats
There are some tracks, like the Daytona, that are as famous as NASCAR itself. Read further to find out more about some exciting facts about these tracks.
11. Martinsville Speedway is the Cup Series’ shortest track, according to NASCAR numbers.
At .526 miles, Martinsville takes the crown for the shortest track on the calendar of the Cup Series. The Speedway is also the only one to hold Cup Series’ races since the inception of 1949.
12. In the Cup Series of NASCAR, the number of tracks is 24.
There are 24 tracks in total for the Cup Series, with Charlotte Roval and International Speedway counted as separate tracks.
There are additional three tracks for the Xfinity series, and for the Gander Trucks series, another three on top of that — for a total of 30 tracks used by NASCAR.
13. NASCAR fun facts show that not all tracks are the same.
Contrary to popular belief, not all tracks are the same. Tracks less than one mile are called short tracks, and over one mile — speedway or intermediate. Two tracks at Daytona and Talladega are called superspeedways due to their size and speed regulators.
14. NASCAR statistics database show that the longest track is Road America in Wisconsin.
The Road America in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin, is the longest track on the NASCAR calendar. It’s a road course, and it measures 4.048 miles.
15. NASCAR driver stats by track reveal that Richard Petty has the most wins in multiple tracks.
He has the most wins and ties in championships, according to the Richard Petty NASCAR career stats. He also holds the records for most wins in multiple tracks, including Daytona (10 wins), Martinsville (15), Richmond (13), North Wilkesboro (15), and Rockingham (11)
Attendance and NASCAR Fans Statistics
NASCAR fans are often being stereotyped as white males, which is not the case.
The sport has a wide diversity of fans, according to NASCAR stats. Read further to find out more, including some attendance facts that will intrigue you.
16. The first race at the Daytona International Speedway had 41,000 spectators, according to NASCAR attendance numbers.
As we now know, the first race at the iconic track was held in 1959. The attendance was an unbelievable crowd of 41,000 fans.
17. NASCAR fan demographics show that around 6% of Hispanic and African-American people say they are avid fans.
Among Hispanics, 6% state that they are avid fans, while 26% state they are casual fans. Among African-Americans, numbers are similar, with 6% being avid fans and 29% casual fans based on the latest NASCAR fan statistics.
18. NASCAR attendance trends show that the popularity of the sport is decreasing.
While the pandemic has hit all live sports, NASCAR was on a decline even before that.
It’s estimated that the sport has lost about 50% of its live attendance according to NASCAR attendance statistics, and TV viewership from its peak in 2005, where it trailed only the NFL and the Super Bowl.
Many factors, including changes in values, cars, and commercials, could be credited.
19. Women make up 38% of fans, according to NASCAR fans demographics.
(The Drive to Connect)
The number of NASCAR fans is estimated at 65 million, both avid and casual, in the US.
While many people might think that is a man’s sport, NASCAR demographics show that 38% of the fans are women.
Unbreakable NASCAR Stats of All-Time
There’s an old saying, “records are meant to be broken,” but we’ve selected a few that might stay in the books for a long time or even forever. Read below to find out the most unbreakable records.
20. NASCAR history facts show that Richard Petty holds many all-time records.
Richard Petty is arguably the best driver of all-time, the Tom Brady of NASCAR if you like, and some of his records include:
- Most wins: 200
- Most poles: 123
- Most consecutive wins: 10
- Most wins in a season: 27
- Most laps completed and led: 307,836 and 51,406
21. One of the NASCAR interesting facts includes J.D. McDuffie’s 653 races without a win.
When we think of winless records, we might first think of Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ 26 straight losses, but that can hardly be compared with J.D. McDuffie. He started racing in 1963, and until he died in his 653rd race in 1991, he never won a single race.
22. NASCAR racing stats show that the fastest ever qualifying lap set the record of 212.809 mph.
This achievement was attained in Talladega in 1987 by Bill Elliot. Due to changes in regulations and the addition of restrictor plates, the record might never be broken.
23. NASCAR all–time stats show that Jeff Gordon made 797 consecutive starts, the most of any driver.
In his 23 year career, Jeff Gordon made 797 consecutive starts, the most of any driver. If we were to compare him with footballers, we could call him the Brett Favre of NASCAR.
Gordon holds other records, including all-time lead lap finishes with 588, most road course wins with 9, and most restrictor-plate wins with 12.
24. One of the most impressive NASCAR stats includes Ned Jarrett’s 1965 Darlington win by 14 laps.
With so many photo finishes and close wins, we have to go back to 1994 to find the last time someone lapped a race, making Jarrett’s 14 laps margin unthinkable and unbreakable.
25. The biggest number of cars that have started a race in NASCAR history is 82.
We have to go back in time for this one, as well. In 1951 Southern 500 82 cars started the race, and pole-sitter Frank Mundy finished last, which means he lost 81 spots, a record that will never be beaten.
Who has the most wins in NASCAR history?
Richard Petty has the most wins in NASCAR, with 200. Far behind him at No.2 is David Pearson, with 105.
Has any NASCAR driver won at all tracks?
Kyle Busch is currently the only driver that has won at all tracks. That might change as tracks are being added and removed from the calendar.
Who was the first female NASCAR driver?
Sara Christian is credited with being the first female NASCAR driver. She raced in the first “Strictly Stock” race in Charlotte, NC, in 1949 and finished 14th.
Has any woman ever won a NASCAR race?
Unfortunately, no woman has won a NASCAR race. The best results include a pole position by Danica Patrick in 2013, and 6th spot achieved by Patrick in 2014, and Janet Guthrie in 1977.
Who is the winningest active NASCAR driver?
Kyle Busch has the most wins of all the active drivers. He currently has 59 wins, but Kevin Harvick NASCAR stats show that he is right behind him, with 58. Both drivers are far away from Richard Petty’s 200 wins.
Who were the first NASCAR drivers?
While many drivers were racing in the first races of NASCAR, we will mention some of the most important ones. Red Byron won the first race on the beach of Daytona and was the first “Strictly Stock” champion in 1949.
Jim Roper won the first “Strictly Stock” race in 1949, Bob Flock got the first pole. Sara Christian, the first woman in NASCAR, raced in that same race.
With NASCAR history spanning over 70 years, many events have shaped the sport. Richard Petty is arguably the best driver ever to step into a car, and one of the most loved riders, Dale Earnhardt, lost his life doing what he loves.
We’re still waiting to see which active driver will rewrite the history books and put his name in the Hall of Fame of NASCAR.