You’ve heard the idiom “like father, like son.” While that may not always be used in the most complimentary of instances, in this case, we are using it to take a look back through some of the starring father-son duos in NASCAR.
NASCAR has a legacy of passing the torch from father to son, and here are a few prime examples:
Top NASCAR Duos (and Dynasties):
This list includes fan-favorites, race winners, champions and the kind of big personalities and family values that have helped shape NASCAR’s traditions.
- Dale Earnhardt, Sr. (HOF inductee) and Dale Earnhardt, Jr. – With a seven-time champ nicknamed the Intimidator, and NASCAR’s 11-time, reigning Most Popular Driver, we really don’t think this duo needs much of an introduction.
- Lee (HOF inductee) and Richard Petty (HOF inductee), along with 3rd-generation Kyle and 4th-generation Adam Petty – There also isn’t much we can say to do justice to a family that has created a motorsports dynasty through both triumphs and tragedies. They’ve established quite a family line, from the three-time champ and NASCAR pioneer Lee Petty to the seven-time champ nicknamed “The King” Richard Petty to the race-winning driver turned TV commentator and philanthropist Kyle Petty to the gone-to-soon rookie, Adam, who was considered to be a future star driver.
- Ned (HOF inductee) and Dale Jarrett – This father-son duo has three championships between them. “Gentleman Ned” earned two (1960 & 1965) and Dale won one in 1999 before becoming a full-time TV commentator in mid-2008. Ned is still the only driver to have retired as a champion, hanging up his helmet at the age of 34. He came back to the sport later as a broadcaster, paving the way for Dale to follow in his footsteps, and he was also able to be calling the race for Dale’s first Cup victory at Michigan in 1991 and his 1993 Daytona 500 victory over Dale Earnhardt, Sr.
- Bobby (HOF inductee) and sons Clifford and Davey Allison – Bobby was a founding member of the “Alabama Gang” and an 84-time race winner with one championship, which came in 1983. He also raced in the Indy 500 twice. Tragedy struck the family twice when Bobby’s younger son, Clifford, was fatally injured in a crash during Grand National Series (currently known as Nationwide Series) practice at Michigan and again when older son Davey was killed in a helicopter crash on his way to Talladega. While Davey never won a Cup championship before his untimely death, despite coming very close in 1992, he amassed 19 wins during his short career. The family highlight came in the 1988 Daytona 500, where the father-son duo of Bobby and Davey Allison raced to a one-two finish.
- Big Bill, Bill and Brian France – After a short driving career, William “Big Bill” France, Sr. founded NASCAR in 1948 as served as the head until he handed the reins to his son William “Little Bill” France, Jr. in 1972. Little Bill is credited with growing the sport from a Southern regional sport into a major national sport during his tenure. In 2000, Little Bill named Mike Helton the president of NASCAR and in 2003 he made his son, Brian France, its chairman and CEO. During Brian France’s tenure, substantial changes have been made to the NASCAR Sprint Cup point system.
- Buck Baker (HOF inductee) and Buddy Baker – Buck Baker won two championships and 46 races in his Cup career. His son Buddy earned nineteen Cup victories during his driving career, including a Career Grand Slam (the Daytona 500, Aaron's 499, Coca-Cola 600, and the Southern 500) and went on to become a NASCAR TV commentator and radio co-host.
- David Pearson (HOF inductee) and Larry Pearson – David Pearson, also known as the “Silver Fox,” earned three champsionships and amassed 105 victories during his legendary Cup career. His son Larry never won a Cup series race, but he earned back-to-back Busch (Nationwide) Series championships and won 15 times in the series.
- Clifton “Coo Coo” and Sterling Marlin – Coo Coo was a crowd favorite who raced part-time in the Grand National (now Cup) Series, earning nine Top Five and 51 Top 10 finishes. Sterling earned 10 Cup victories during his driving career, including two Daytona 500s.
The group below includes members of NASCAR’s newest class of young drivers who are showing potential to become future stars by following in their father’s footsteps.
- Bill Elliott (will be inducted into the HOF this year) and Chase Elliott – “Awesome Bill from Dawsonville” had a wildly successful Cup career, during which he earned one championship, 44 victories and was named the Most Popular Driver award 16 consecutive times before withdrawing his name from the ballot. His 18-year old son Chase is on the fast track in NASCAR’s developmental series, having earned one Camping World Truck Series victory in 2013 and two Nationwide Series victories thus far in 2014.
- Dave and Ryan Blaney – Dave Blaney had successful careers in both sprint cars and stock cars. His NASCAR stats include one victory in the Nationwide Series and he has been a Cup Series competitor for 17 years, while his sprint car resume includes both a USAC Silver Crown championship and a World of Outlaws championship. His 20-year old son Ryan currently competes in the NASCAR Nationwide Series, where he has one win, and the Camping World Truck Series, where he has two wins.
- Ward and Jeb Burton – Ward earned five wins in his 13-year Cup career, and is the older brother of Jeff Burton. His son Jeb is currently competing in the Camping World Truck Series, where he has one win, and the Nationwide Series. Fun Fact: Ward and Jeb are actually John Edward Burton III and IV, respectively.
- Matt and Ross Kenseth – Matt is a Cup champion with 31 victories in the series, and finished runner-up in the final standings to Jimmie Johnson last year. His son Ross currently competes part-time in the ARCA Midwest Tour (4 wins), the CRA Super Series and the ARCA Racing Series.
- Kerry and Jeffrey Earnhardt – Kerry, Dale Sr.’s oldest son and Dale Jr’s half-brother, had a 10-year career in NASCAR’s national series, competing in the Cup, Nationwide and Camping World Truck Series. Jeffrey is planning to compete full time in the Nationwide Series this year.
- Jeff Gordon and Jimmie Johnson’s daughters?? – It's not just a boys club anymore. Jeff has already put daughter Ella behind the wheel (and maybe son Leo will follow), and there will likely be other toddlers currently presiding over the Cup motor coach lot who will one day step into their dad’s shoes. Will either Evie or Lydia Johnson hold a steering wheel in the future?
You Tell Us:
- Who would you rank as NASCAR’s top Father/Son Duo?
- From the list of up-and-comers, who do you predict will have the best chance at NASCAR greatness/
- Is there anyone we left off the list that you think should be included?