100 Top NASCAR Drivers Of All-Time | Best Of The Best

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Randy Sartin-USA TODAY Sports
Randy Sartin-USA TODAY Sports /

Allison is possibly most remembered for his involvement in a final-lap crash and subsequent fight with Cale Yarborough at the 1979 Daytona 500. Allison is a former World 600 winner who was also named Rookie of the year in the Sprint Cup Series in 1967. Allison finished his NASCAR Sprint Cup Series career with 10 wins and 115 top-10 finishes.

After the incredible final lap at the 1979 Daytona, Donnie Allison and Cale Yarbrough decide to duke out their differences.

Thompson never won a Sprint Cup title but it sure wasn’t for his lack of trying. Thompson finished third in the final series standings on four different occasions between 1951 and 1959. He won 20 races during his Sprint Cup Series career. Thompson actually died while racing. During a late-model race in 1972 Thompson’s car stopped on the track when he stopped breathing during the event. He was revived on the scene but dies en route to the hospital. Thompson is a member of the National Motorsports Hall of Fame.

Here is some great old footage of the Daytona Sportsman Race in 1955, won by Thompson.

Ron Hornaday – Credit: Matthew O
Ron Hornaday – Credit: Matthew O /

Hornaday Jr. is a four-time Truck Series champion having won his titles in 1996, 1998, 2007 and 2009. The 13-year span between is his first and most recent title is an impressive feat. Hornaday Jr. is also the current all-time wins leader when it comes to the Trick Series with his 51 victories. He won the Most Popular Driver Award in the Truck Series in 1997 and 2005. Although he doesn’t have any Sprint Cup wins he does have four Xfinity Series wins on his resume.

Smith was part of the very first NASCAR race ever held which took place in 1949. Smith won 21 Sprint Cup Series races over his 15-year career. In those 15 years Smith competed in 264 Sprint Cup Series events of which he finishes 142 of them inside of the top-10. When Smith took to the track there was more than a 50 percent chance of him running in the top-10.

Ard is a two-time Xfinity Series champion having won his titles in 1983 and 1984. Ard made his Xfinity Series debut in 1982 finishing second in the standings and won the title in the series the following two seasons. In October of 1984 Ard was seriously injured in a wreck at North Carolina Speedway and as a result he had to retire from NASCAR. Ard only ran one Sprint Cup Series race in his career and lasted only a lap before suffering a mechanical failure. If not for Ard’s injuries who knows what he could have accomplished in the sport. In the only complete Xfinity Series seasons that he ran, he never finished worse than second in the standings.

Next: Halfway there, Top-50 is coming!