Martin Truex Jr. Named to NASCAR '75 Greatest Drivers' List

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Truex Jr. Named to NASCAR '75 Greatest' ListChris Graythen - Getty Images

NASCAR is in the process of adding 25 names to its “all-time” list as part of its 75th anniversary celebration. It is expected to name five drivers per week—most likely one per weekday—in the five weeks ending with the May 14th Goodyear 400 at Darlington (S.C.) Raceway.

The newest group among the sport’s greatest drivers is being selected by a committee comprised of former drivers, team owners, industry personnel, NASCAR executives, and current and former media members. All 75—the original 50 class named 25 years ago and the new 25—will be recognized during Goodyear 400 pre-race ceremonies.

In 1998, during its 50th anniversary season, NASCAR unveiled what it considered its 50 greatest drivers. The list included most of the stars from the organization’s earliest years, many of whom eventually would find their way into the NASCAR Hall of Fame when it opened in 2010.


As NASCAR celebrated its 50th anniversary in 1998, company president Bill France called that group “the men who define the competition of our sport.” He added, “Their accomplishments are the benchmark that much of our history is identified by. Honoring them in this way, at the beginning of the NASCAR 50th anniversary celebration, is one way of showing our true appreciation for them and the invaluable contribution they have given over the past 50 years. These are the drivers who made and make NASCAR fans stand on their feet and cheer. These are the drivers who are NASCAR history.”

The original “50 Greatest Drivers” were from the Modified, Xfinity Series, and Cup Series. The Craftsman Truck Series was too young to have had any “greatest drivers,” but that’s expected to change with this new group.

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Martin Truex Jr., right, celebrates in victory lane with his father, Martin Truex Sr., at Dover.James Gilbert - Getty Images

Today's Addition: Martin Truex Jr.

Even before winning Monday’s 400-miler at Dover, it was obvious that Martin Truex Jr. would be on the list of NASCAR’s “75 Greatest Drivers.” The fact he was recognized on Tuesday is simply a coincidence: he was going to make it, no matter the timing.

The New Jersey native got his 32nd Cup Series victory on Monday at the 1-mile track where he had three previous victories, including his breakthrough with Dale Earnhardt Inc. in 2007. His Cup resume is undeniably more impressive that some may think: four victories at Dover, three each at Sonoma, Charlotte, Richmond, and Martinsville, two each at Darlington, Pocono, Chicago, Las Vegas, Kentucky, and Kansas, and one each at Watkins Glen, Homestead, Fontana, and Phoenix.

Against all odds, he won the 2017 Cup title with owner Barney Visser, a feat all the more impressive because the single-car team was based in Denver, Col. He’s a cinch to eventually make the NASCAR Hall of Fame.

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Martin Truex Jr. races to the win at Dover on May 1.James Gilbert - Getty Images

All told, the second-generation racer has 20 poles and 32 victories spread over 632 starts covering 20 Cup seasons. He has 135 top-5 finishes, 267 top-10 finishes, and seven top-10 points seasons. Before becoming a Cup star, he won 13 races in the Xfinity Series and was its 2004 and 2005 champion for DEI. And just to make things complete, he has one victory in three Craftsman Truck Series starts.

Truex Jr. is one of four active Cup drivers on the “greatest 75” list, joining teammate Denny Hamlin and fellow former champions Kyle Larson and Chase Elliott. He’s also one of six on the list with connections to Joe Gibbs Racing, along with Hamlin, Carl Edwards, Bobby Labonte, Dale Jarrett and Tony Stewart. He’s the 16th driver named to the list with nine more to be announced before the May 14 Goodyear 400 at Darlington (S.C.) Raceway.

NASCAR named its “50 Greatest Drivers” in 1995, its 50th anniversary season. Its newest list recognizes the 25 drivers who have emerged since that 50th anniversary season. All 75 drivers or their representatives will be honored prior to the Goodyear 400.

NASCAR'S 50 Greatest Drivers

Selected in 1998

Bobby Allison
Davey Allison
Buck Baker
Buddy Baker
Geoff Bodine
Neil Bonnett
Red Byron
Jerry Cook
Dale Earnhardt
Ralph Earnhardt
Bill Elliott
Richie Evans
Red Farmer
Tim Flock
A.J. Foyt
Harry Gant
Jeff Gordon
Ray Hendrick
Jack Ingram
Ernie Irvan
Bobby Isaac
Dale Jarrett
Ned Jarrett
Junior Johnson
Alan Kulwicki
Terry Labonte
Fred Lorenzen
Tiny Lund
Mark Martin
Hershel McGriff
Cotton Owens
Marvin Panch
Benny Parsons
David Pearson
Lee Petty
Richard Petty
Tim Richmond
Fireball Roberts
Ricky Rudd
Marshall Teague
Herb Thomas
Curtis Turner
Rusty Wallace
Darrell Waltrip
Joe Weatherly
Bob Welborn
Rex White
Glen Wood
Cale Yarborough
LeeRoy Yarbrough

The Next 25

Selected in 2023

(To be released one per weekday by NASCAR, in no particular order.)

51, Tony Stewart

52, Kasey Kahne

53, Mike Stefanik

54, Randy Lajoie

55, Kyle Larson

56, Greg Biffle

57, Sterling Marlin

58, Ryan Newman

59, Chase Elliott

60, Ron Hornaday

61, Jeff Burton

62, Dale Earnhardt Jr.

63, Bobby Labonte

64, Martin Truex Jr.

65, Expected to be announce May 3