The top 5 NASCAR Cup Series

As the top racing series of the National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing (NASCAR), the NASCAR Cup Series garners a considerable amount of attention each year. For sports betting fans and fans of  Hollywood Casino 400 in particular, there are few better events to watch given how unpredictable the outcomes can be. This makes for a sports betting fan’s delight, as the odds offered tend to be favorable given that it can be so hard to predict who will win!

Of the many NASCAR Cup Series championships that have been run over the years, which have done the most to define this most exciting of sports?

What is the NASCAR Cup Series?

Before setting out some of our favorite NASCAR Cup Series wins, we should first take a moment to bring the NASCAR novices up to speed. While NASCAR is incredibly popular across the country, the NASCAR Cup Series is not quite as widely known as some of the other famous annual sporting events held in America.

The NASCAR Cup Series originally began all the way back in 1949 when it had its inaugural season as the Strictly Stock Division. From 1950 to 1970, it was known as the Grand National Division, which was later changed in 1971 when the naming rights were leased out.

Between 1971 and 2003, it became known as the NASCAR Winston Cup Series. A further deal was signed in 2003 when it became known as the NASCAR Nextel Cup Series. This was followed by the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series in 2008 and the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series.

The current format was settled in 2020 when NASCAR rejected Monster’s attempt to lease the naming rights again. The Series then moved to a tiered sponsorship model which would allow NASCAR to partner with several ‘Premier Partners’. It was at this point that it settled on the NASCAR Cup Series name.

The Championship is modelled on a points system, with points being awarded in races in accordance with finish placings and the number of laps that cars were in the lead for. After the first 26 races in the season, 16 drivers are seeded based on their wins. These 16 drivers then compete in the last 10 races of the season, which are called the Playoffs.

With this in mind, let’s take a quick look at some of the best performances in the history of the Championship!

David Pearson (1969)

As the NASCAR driver with the second most wins in history, with a whopping 105 wins to his name, it is little surprise that David Pearson had some fairly incredible wins during the course of his career. However, there are arguably few instances that displayed his driving prowess to quite the same extent as the 1969 season did.

The 1969 Series had Pearson — who would later be inducted into the NASCAR Hall of Fame — finish 44 races in the top 10 with an average finish of 5.3. Pearson won the Championship by putting up 357 points over his long-standing rival, Richard Petty.

Darrell Waltrip (1981 & 1982)

Although these is technically two-season performances, Darrell Waltrip had incredible runs in both 1981 and 1982 that merit our attention.

In 1981, Waltrip managed to secure 11 pole positions, while in 1982, he earned an average start of 3.8. In 1981, he secured 25 top-10 wins, while in 1982 he achieved an incredibly dominant margin of victory during the season. 

Regardless of which season you choose, both are historic in their own ways!

Tim Flock (1955)

Although NASCAR was in many respects a very different sport back then, few drivers have come close to matching some of Tim Flock’s career-best achievements. In the 1955 season, Flock chalked up 18 wins in 39 starts and 33 top-10 placings. This led to him securing an average start of 3.2 and a finish of 4.6, which is not bad considering the limitations of the day!

What made Flock’s performance all the better was how far ahead of the pack he was. The second-place finisher in the 1955 season only had three victories, while the third-place finisher was 2,402 points off the lead. 

Jeff Gordon (1998)

On his journey to secure a third Championship win, Jeff Gordon racked up 13 victories in 33 starts, which came close to besting Richard Petty’s career-best performance.

Along the way, Jeff Gordon added a further 28 top-10 placings, which helped him to secure the Series over his close rival Mark Martin by 364 points. In doing so, Jeff Gordon pulled far ahead of the pack, making them all look like amateurs in the process.

Richard Petty (1967)

Although the season was much longer back then, this still ranks as one of the best single-season performances ever. By winning a whopping 27 out of 48 races, Petty put in a performance that we might never see matched again.

This was even better than Petty’s other historic performance in 1975 when he won 13 races out of 30 starts! With these victories in mind, we begin to get a sense of why Petty is one of NASCAR’s most famous people.