NASCAR is one of the United States’ two leading motorsport categories. While it shares many similarities with IndyCar, it differs in one major area — the type of car used. While IndyCar uses futuristic-looking single-seater race cars, NASCAR racers drive in vehicles that look much more like a standard road car.
This reflects the sport’s history, which can be traced back to prohibition-era criminals that used modified cars to outrun the police but then decided to see who could make the fastest vehicles.
This familiarity and relatability that NASCAR has with the same vehicles that fans can own and drive themselves are what makes it so popular. Over 100,000 fans regularly pack into the superspeedways that are dotted across the country, while millions more also watch at home on TV.
Another reason why NASCAR is such a popular motorsport is its unpredictability. Looking at the latest betting market for the 2023 NASCAR Cup Series Championship, there are currently six drivers priced between +550 and +1000 with DraftKings Sportsbook to win the series outright. NASCAR is one of 12 sports eligible for use with the DraftKings Sportsbook promo code, alongside the NFL, MLB, NBA, NHL, and even UFC.
Every passionate NASCAR fan has their own personal favorite NASCAR, but here are the greatest entrants of all time.
The Chevy Monte Carlo
The Chevy Monte Carlo was a two-door coupe car manufactured by the GM division from 1970 to 1988 and then again from 1995 to 2007. The car also competed in NASCAR for almost the entire time it was in production.
During that time, drivers behind the wheel of Chevy Monte Carlos racked up 396 wins, nearly twice as many as any other model in the history of NASCAR. Of the 31 manufacturers’ championship titles that Chevy has won, the Monte Carlo was responsible for 24 of them.
The same applies to the drivers’ championships won in Chevy cars. Of the 23 occasions that racers in the company’s cars have won the title, 16 have been in driving the Monte Carlo.
Perhaps it should come as no surprise that car was so successful. The Monte Carlo takes its name from the famous location of the Monaco Grand Prix that has been a part of the Formula 1 calendar since before the championship’s founding in 1950.
The Ford Galaxie
The Galaxie was a five-door sedan that was manufactured by the Ford Motor Company between 1958 and 1974, though the 1974 model continued to be produced in Brazil until 1983 as the Ford Landau.
Confusingly to anyone born since the late 1970s, the Galaxie is a completely different car and entirely unrelated to the Ford Galaxy, which is a large MPV.
The Galaxie is the second most successful car in the history of NASCAR, with 199 victories over its long career in the sport. One of the most famous of these was Fred Lorenzen’s Daytona 500 victory in 1965. This was achieved thanks to the whopping 6.5-liter 390ci V8 engine that sits under the hood.
The Ford Thunderbird
The Thunderbird is Ford’s second most successful NASCAR entrant, with 184 wins during its time in the sport. The car first went into production in 1954 and was discontinued in 1997, but a new generation was produced in 2002 which was manufactured for a further three years.
The two-seater was designed to be an upscale luxury car and came with hardtop and convertible versions.
The first Thunderbird to appear in NASCAR took to the track in the 1959 season, though it had little success during the 1960s. However, things changed in the 1970s when the car replaced the Torino as Ford’s primary NASCAR body.
The car regularly pushed through the 200 mph barrier, something few cars could do at the time.
In fact, it was so fast, it set the fastest lap for a stock car at Talladega Superspeedway. With Bill Elliot behind the wheel, the T-Bird crossed the line in a qualifying session after just 44.998 seconds, achieving an average speed of 212.809 mph, a record that stands to this day. Although with the way that motorsport technology is advancing, this could be broken in the very near future.