When talking about legendary NASCAR racers, the name Louise Smith is always the one to be thrown around. This unbelievable female driver began her career with NASCAR as far back as 1949. A time when it was practically unheard of for women to race cars. Not only did she make that dream come true but she went on to become one of the best race car drivers of all time.
Louise Smith, the second female NASCAR driver in the world, won 38 races in her six-year career at the sport. After a reasonable hiatus, Smith returned to the game in 1971 as a sponsor for other drivers. She even mentored the legendary Ronnie Thomas at the start of his career.
Hailie Deegan - A Rising Star
We have an up-and-coming champion here. Hailie Deegan is already growing up to become one of the most prominent female drivers in NASCAR. She first made history by competing and winning the NAPA Auto Parts/Idaho 208 race. In fact, Deegan was the first female driver to ever win that race. Let's not forget to mention that she also has a pretty impressive Instagram channel with over 500,000 followers.
Deegan is the daughter of Brian Deegan, the first freestyle motorcycle rider to ever manage a 360 flip. She is also the only female to have ever won a race in the K&N Pro Series, doing so in both 2018 and 2019. It's clear that Deegan was groomed from a young age to become a great NASCAR driver.
Natalie Sather - Rookie of the Year
From a very young age, Natalie Sather was a star. In 2003 she came third in the Miss North Dakota Teen USA pageant. In high school, she was the captain of the cheerleading squad, and then came NASCAR. Sather got her minute of fame as a NASCAR racer when several media publications started to promote her.
A news outlet called The Heralds article read: "Evergreen Speedway driver shows you can still be feminine and succeed in a male-dominated sport." In 2007, she pretty much blew up. At the time, she was the first female to ever win the American Sprint Car Series. Natalie also won the ASCS Midwest championship and received the Knoxville Raceway Rookie of the Year award.
Chase Elliot – Two Iconic Numbers
William Clyde “Chase” Elliot currently drives for Hendrick Motorsports, wowing viewers practically every time the rubber hits the road. He’s the son of 1988 Winston Cup Series champ Bill Elliot. The pair are one of three father-son champions in history – Chase won the 2014 NASCAR Xfinity Series championship.
He became both the first rookie to win a national series championship with NASCAR and the youngest champion in that particular series. He’s driven under the iconic numbers 24 and 9, and he was one of the three future stars on the July 13, 2009 cover of “Sports Illustrated.” In Phoenix in 2020 he got the biggest win of his career with his first Cup Series championship. He’s won Most Popular Driver several years in a row.
Ryan Newman – The Rocket Man
With a series of lightning-fast qualifying laps and an astounding 51 pole positions throughout his 20-plus-year career, Ryan Newman has more than earned his nickname. His number of pole positions ranks as the ninth-most in the history of the Cup Series. Not only that, but Newman also has plenty of cup wins since he started racing in 1993.
18, with some of the biggest moments on his resume being the 2008 Daytona 500 and the 2013 Brickyard 400. He’s still driving, which means that all the other drivers have to contend with his blazing speed as they try to find a victory. He has tons of other accolades, including several Rookie of the Year titles, and the 2003 Driver of the Year.