The Numbers Game: A 3 Part Journey Through Nascar Cup’s Car Numbers. PART 2


You can’t run a race without a car number, and Nascar’s had plenty of them—every numeral from 0-99 (plus a few more) has run at least 90 Cup Series races.  Here’s a fun (or not-so-fun) fact about every car number available to run.

PART 2—40-79

40—Jamie McMurray’s first (fall Talladega 2022) and last (2019 Daytona 500) Cup Series starts happened in car number 40.

41—Aric Almirola honored famed engine builder (and former racer) Maurice Petty by running a one-off tribute car in his old car number 41 at Martinsville in 2013.

42—The Petty family’s tradition of using 40-something car numbers started inauspiciously with patriarch Lee, who ran car number 42 because he saw the number on a license plate.

43—Since Richard Petty’s retirement four different drivers have won Cup races in car number 43—Bobby Hamilton (twice), John Andretti, Aric Almirola, and Erik Jones.

44—The year after his first Nascar Cup Championship, car number 44 driver Terry Labonte said he made three sponsor appearances for primary backer Piedmont Airlines all year.

45—Adam Petty’s lone Cup Series start came at Texas in 2000 in car number 45, which he likely would’ve run full-time in 2001 had he not perished later that year.

46—Despite running two full seasons, Michael Annett failed to post a single top-ten finish in car number 46 in 2015-16.

47—Ron Bouchard’s upset win at Talladega in 1981 in car number 47 came whilst Darrell Waltrip battled Terry Labonte for the lead—DW thought that Bouchard was a lap down.

48—James Hylton made Cup races in car number 48 from 1966 all the way through 1993.

49—In 2002 Shawna Robinson ran several races in car number 49 owned by Beth Ann Morgenthau, making her the first woman to run Cup races in a car owned by a woman.

50—In honor of Nascar’s 50th anniversary, Hendrick Motorsports changed its usual Budweiser-sponsored 25-car to car number 50 in 1998.

51—Kurt Busch ran a Talladega Nights themed “ME” sponsored car number 51 in the 2012 spring Talladega race.

52Car number 52 scored one of the biggest upset wins in Cup history in 1974, when Canadian Earl Ross won the Old Dominion 500 at Martinsville as a rookie, the only race that year not won by Richard Petty, Cale Yarborough, Bobby Allison or David Pearson.

53—All four Cup Series starts (and several more attempts) by Ritchie Petty—son of Maurice, nephew of Richard, grandson of Lee, and cousin of Kyle—came in car number 53.

54—By virtue of running car number 54 this season, Joe Gibbs Racing will NOT be running car number 18 for the first time in its 30-plus year history in Nascar.

55—Bobby Hamilton’s win at Talladega in the spring of 2001 in car number 55 occurred under intense scrutiny as the first “plate race” after Dale Earnhardt Sr.’s death, but was run without a single caution lap.

56—Martin Truex Jr.’s car number 56 was the “beneficiary” of an attempt by Michael Waltrip Racing to manipulate the 2013 Playoff field.  This scandal set off a chain of events that led to MWR’s closing and Napa winding up sponsoring Chase Elliott at Hendrick Motorsports.

57—Car owner Rod Osterlund ran car number 57 in 1989-90 for a pretty simple reason—his team was sponsored by Heinz, maker of Heinz 57 steak sauce.

58Car number 58 has not been run in a Cup race since 1999, when it was driven by Ricky Craven, Loy Allen Jr, and Hut Stricklin.

59—Michael McDowell attempted the first and last races of the 2016 season in car number 59, doing so for Leavine Family Racing.

60—Cup team owner and Busch Series driver Joe Bessey’s lone Cup Series start came in his self-owned car number 60 at New Hampshire in 2000.

61—Three-time Indianapolis 500 winner Johnny Rutherford made three Nascar Cup starts in car number 61, doing so in 1973-74.

62—If you flip the number 62 upside-down on car number 62 of Beard Oil Racing, it’s virtually identical to the 29 formerly used by RCR for Kevin Harvick.

63Car number 63 is most-associated with owner-driver Jocko Maggiacomo, whose legal name is Chauncey T. Maggiacomo Jr.

64—Independent driver Elmo Langley’s two Cup wins both occurred in his self-owned car number 64.  Langley later went on to a lengthy run as the Cup Series pace car driver.

65Car number 65 is the least-used car in Cup Series history, having only been run 96 times, and not since Jerry O’Neil’s part-time schedule in 1993.

66—From 1990-1992 Cale Yarborough Motorsports campaigned car number 66 as a tie-in with sponsor Phillips 66.

67—Buddy Arrington, the longtime owner-driver of car number 67, was the last driver to field Chrysler products (doing so through 1984) before Dodge’s return to Cup in 2001.

68—Janet Guthrie became the first woman to run in Nascar Cup’s “modern era” (1972-onwards) in car number 68 in the 1976 World 600.

69—The last driver to run car number 69 (stop giggling) was Denny Wilson at the 1992 Watkins Glen race.

70Car number 70 has the most Cup Series starts (761) without a single win.

71—Dave Marcis, “the last of the independents”, ran car number 71 out of his own garage from 1979 through 2002, always racing in his signature wingtip shoes.

72—Benny Parsons is one of only two drivers (Matt Kenseth being the other) to win a Nascar Cup Championship with a single win, doing so in car number 72 in 1973.

73—Johnny Beauchamp’s famed photo finish loss to Lee Petty in the inaugural Daytona 500 came in car number 73.

74—Former Cup Series driver Reed Sorenson’s last races as a driver (to date) were in car number 74 at Michigan for Spire Motorsports.  He now works as a spotter.

75—Neil Bonnett won two races in a season twice for RahMoc Enterprises—in their car number 75—five years apart, doing so in 1983 and 1988.

76—Bill Sedgwick, who ran car number 76 for Spears Motorsports nine times from 1989-1993, was inducted into the West Coast Stock Car Hall of Fame in 2004.

77—Jasper Motorsports—which campaigned car number 77 throughout the 90’s and early-00’s—was one of the few cars to have its team owners as the car’s primary sponsor.

78—Furniture Row Racing was not only the rare single-car team to win a modern championship, but they also were one of the only teams to succeed despite being based outside of North Carolina, fielding car number 78 out of a Colorado race shop.

79—Despite running nearly 400 Nascar Cup races, most of them in his self-owned car number 79, Frank Warren never visited victory lane in the Cup Series. updated four times weekly

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