5 NASCAR legends who struggled on road courses ft. Dale Earnhardt

NASCAR Cup Series Toyota/Save Mart 350
NASCAR Legends who had a hard time on NASCAR road courses

NASCAR is famous for hosting races on its oval tracks for most of the sport's schedule. For many years, NASCAR held just two road course races in a single season, neither of the two in the playoffs.

However, in recent years, NASCAR has introduced more road courses to their schedule. With two road courses already done and dusted this year, the 2024 Cup Series season has three road course races left on its schedule.

NASCAR Cup Series and Xfinity Series teams had the opportunity to hire a non-NASCAR driver to race on such road courses. These specialist drivers are called road course ringers. Ringers are specialized drivers who can deal with the left and right turns of the road course, and, in many cases, pull off victories for their teams. But nowadays, competing on road courses has become a necessary skill for stock car drivers as well. Previously, racing on road courses seemed hazardous to their racing career.

Here's the list of 5 NASCAR legends who struggled on road courses and had a hard time taming road courses such as Sonoma Raceway and Watkins Glen International:

1. Dale Earnhardt

Seven-time Cup Series champion Earnhardt, one of the greatest in NASCAR history, had a total of 76 wins in over 676 starts in NASCAR's top-tier series. However, he managed to win only one race on a road course. The win came at Sonoma in 1995. With the exception of one victory in his 47 road course starts, "The Intimidator" led 237 laps overall and finished in the top five 20 times and top ten 31 times, respectively.


2. Jimmie Johnson

Part-time Cup Series driver for his team, Legacy Motor Club. Johnson has seven Cup Series titles to his name and is, hence, tied with Dale Earnhardt and Richard Petty. Out of his 83 wins in over two decades, he could only manage one road course win. His victory came at Sonoma Raceway in 2010, a race in which he led for 55 laps. Apart from the win, he has nine top-fives and 19 top-tens in 41 starts in road course events.


3. Dale Earnhardt Jr.

A former Cup Series driver and a part-time Xfinity Series driver for his team, JR Motorsports, Dale Jr., could only manage three top-fives and six top-tens in his 35 starts on a road course. In his career spanning almost two decades, he had 26 wins in the Cup Series and never found himself at the victory lane of any road course race.


4. Matt Kenseth

The 2003 NASCAR Cup Series champion, Matt Kenseth, had 39 wins in 697 races over the course of his 22-year racing career. On any road course event, the two-time Daytona 500 winner led the race for a total of just three laps. The only time he ever came close to winning was in 2017 at Watkins Glen, with a second-place finish. In his 39 starts at road courses, Kenseth secured two top-five and nine top-ten finishes.


5. Dale Jarett

The three-time Daytona 500 winner, Dale Jarett, much like his fellow aforementioned Cup Series drivers, didn't have much luck on road courses. In his 668 career starts, he had a total of 32 wins. In 43 starts across all road courses, the 1999 Cup Series winner led just 43 laps in total. He was able to secure five top-five positions and ten top-ten results out of this.

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