Every sport needs bad boys for some extra drama and entertainment. Tony Stewart, AKA “smoke” was one of NASCAR’s “bad boys.” He won three Cup championships in 2002, 2005, and 2011. Noted for his fearless and sometimes reckless driving as well as attitude problems, Stewart is the only person to win both a championship in NASCAR and IndyCar.
Stewart got his start in competitive go-karting and won his first championship at the age of 8. Stewart won at least once in every season that he raced. In 2011, Stewart won the Cup as both an owner and driver from Stewart-Haas Racing. He threw in the towel in 2016, having competed in 96 races over 14 years.
Bobby Allison- 84 Wins
Born in Miami, Florida, Bobby Allison got his career started at age 17 while still in high school. Although he was from Miami, he became a member of the “Alabama Gang” after the success of countless wins in Alabama along with Donnie Allison and Red Farmer. Bobby Allison went on to become the most successful driver of the gang and retired with 84 wins and one Cup championship.
He is the oldest driver to win the Daytona 500, winning the race at age 50. Owing to a successful career, Allison was inducted into NASCAR’s Hall of Fame in 2011. Nowadays, the retired Bobby is promoting rail safety for the “Keep on Living” campaign.
Tim Flock- 37 Pole Positions
Born into a famous stock car racing family, Tim Flock made a name for himself as a NASCAR racer. His racing career spanned from 1949 to 1961, during which he won 39 races, made 187 starts and had 37 starts in the pole position. Although his winning percentage was only 21 percent, in the racing world this is actually very impressive and high.
In fact, it’s the best winning percentage ever. For this reason, and a good reason, Flock was inducted in the NASCAR Hall of Fame in 2014. Flock, unfortunately, didn’t live to see this honor, as he passed in 1998 from liver and throat cancer.
Ned Jarrett- Three Cup Championships
Ned Jarrett, otherwise known as “Gentlemen Ned Jarrett,” was known for his calm personality. During his 13-year period racing in the NASCAR Cup Series, he raced in 352 races, winning 50 of them and finishing in the top ten in 239 races. He was in pole position 25 times. He at 34, and became the only driver to retire as the current NASCAR champion.
The greatest moment of Jarrett’s career and one of the craziest in NASCAR history was at Darlington Raceway in 1965. He passed other drivers by miles, literally. He was farther by the next closest racer by 14 laps which is around 19.2 miles. This is the biggest margin in NASCAR history. In 2011 he was inducted to the NASCAR Hall of Fame.
Fireball Roberts- 32 Pole Positions
Edward Glen Roberts Jr. or better known as “Fireball Roberts” was a big name in the racing world during his 15-year stunt. He started 206 races and was in the pole position in 32 of them. When he retired, he had 33 races with 93 top-five finishes under his belt. He also started 16 races in the Convertible Series.
Roberts earned his nickname Fireball while playing baseball for the American Legion. When he was pitching for the Zellwood Mud Hens, his teammates were amazed by his fastball and started calling him Fireball. The nickname stuck. He died prematurely at the age of 35 after a crash in a race left him with second and third-degree burns over 80% of his body.