NASCAR's best road course drivers of all time are two Hall of Fame drivers who combined for seven NASCAR Cup Series champions. A current NASCAR star is quickly gaining on them, however.
The list spanning NASCAR's best road course drivers is led by four-time champion Jeff Gordon and three-time champion Tony Stewart. The two have a combined 17 wins between them at this type of circuit, with Gordon's nine wins holding a slight advantage over Stewart's eight.
But the list of NASCAR's best road course drivers has a new entry, and he's quickly climbing the charts.
Cup Series champion Chase Elliott has quickly become one of NASCAR's best road course drivers. He has five road course wins in just five full seasons and is well on his way to tracking down Gordon and Stewart. Elliott has won the last four NASCAR points races on road courses and, like Gordon and Stewart, has shown the versatility to win on any winding layout.
Gordon won five races at Sonoma Raceway, including three in a row, and four at Watkins Glen International, including three in a row there as well. Stewart won five races at Watkins Glen and three at Sonoma.
Elliott has also dominated two tracks, winning the last two races at both Watkins Glen and the Charlotte Roval. He also won the first-ever race on the Daytona Road Course last year and will enter the Feb. 21 race there as the odds-on favorite.
Elliott shies away from comparisons to Gordon and Stewart, and discounts contentions that he tops the list of NASCAR's best road course drivers.
“I don’t feel like I do anything special at those places," he said. “It’s been good the past few trips, but that doesn’t mean it’s going to go good next time.”
Elliott acknowledges, however, that he learned a lot from Gordon, a mentor who still owns an interest in Hendrick Motorsports. Hendrick teams have won 20 NASCAR road races and have fielded cars for some of NASCAR's best road course drivers.
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“I’ve been fortunate to drive fast cars," Elliott said. "Also, working with Jeff gets overlooked a little bit. That was a really good foundation for me coming in.”
Who are NASCAR's best road course drivers of all time?
Gordon and Stewart lead the way. Here's a look at more of NASCAR's best road course drivers and their number of wins.
Jeff Gordon 9
Tony Stewart 8
Ricky Rudd 6
Rusty Wallace 6
Richard Petty 6
Bobby Allison 6
Dan Gurney 5
Tim Richmond 5
Darrell Waltrip 5
Mark Martin 4
Who are NASCAR's best road course drivers among active drivers?
Elliott leads the way, but several other current NASCAR Cup Series drivers have won road course races. Two former Cup champions have won enough races to add their names to the list of NASCAR's best road course drivers.
Here's a look at the active winners:
Chase Elliott 5
Kyle Busch 4
Martin Truex Jr. 4
Kevin Harvick 2
Ryan Blaney 1
Kurt Busch 1
Denny Hamlin 1
Joey Logano 1
AJ Allmendinger 1
Who are the favorites at the Daytona Road Course?
Elliott won last year's first-ever race at the Daytona Road Course, holding off Hamlin and Truex. He went for his fifth straight road course win in the Busch Clash last week before tangling with Blaney on the last lap.
Blaney, who won the first race on the Charlotte Roval, passed Elliott for the lead late in the race, but Elliott wrecked him trying to regain the lead on the final lap. The collision allowed Kyle Busch to win the race.
Having battled for the win last week, Blaney and Elliott will be the favorites in the return trip to the Daytona Road Course. Hamlin and Truex, two seasoned veterans, should also be in the hunt while Allmendinger will drive in the race for Kaulig Racing.