Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Carolinas Mount Rushmore: NASCAR in N.C.

ESPN is naming its "Mount Rushmore" for sports in each of the 50 states. We liked the idea, so we're taking a smaller slice. Today we give you the Mount Rushmore of NASCAR in North Carolina.

Richard Petty: They don't call him "The King" for nothing. He won 200 Cup races and seven championships and signed more autographs than you could count. He represents Lee, Kyle, Adam and the whole Petty clan.

Dale Earnhardt: One part John Wayne, one part Elvis and one part everyman. Earnhardt won seven championships, but as importantly he defined the sport in his era.

Junior Johnson: Won 50 races as a driver and six championships as a team owner. Johnson is also an icon, "The Last American Hero" as writer Thomas Wolfe once called the bootlegger turned land baron.

Ned Jarrett (left): A three-time champion who also became one of the sport's most respected ambassadors as a radio and television broadcaster. Also the father of a Cup champion, Dale Jarrett.

--David Poole

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Disagree? Think we left someone out (like Bruton Smith, Benny Parsons or Richard Childress...we know, we know)? Tell us in the comments below who you'd add, and which of our picks yours should replace.

11 comments:

Anonymous said...

I know Jeff Gorgon wasn't born here but he calls NC his home. I would replace a three time champ with a four time champ. Jeff has defined NASCAR in the post-Big E era. If that isn't allowed then my vote goes to Junior. WHAT? You say? Well Jr. has brought more attention, money and fans to this sport than any of these guys combined. Not to mention lifting the wait of his father every time he steps into a race car. No I'm not part of Junior nation, just a Charlottean born and raised.

Anonymous said...

I like the list, but the only change I might make is swapping Jarrett for BP, but even then that's a tough decision.

And Gordon is not even on the radar for this list.

Matthew said...

That's ridiculous. Richard Petty is the undisputed king of NASCAR, Junior Johnson and Ned Jarrett were some of the original pioneers of the sport and Dale Earnhardt was the love him or hate him legend that defined the sport so well that his son is popular beyond belief solely on his legacy. Saying Jeff Gordon belongs on this list is completely ludicrous. Not only is he not a son of NC, but he also has not had near the influence that any of these men have had.

MISS said...

Why does there only have to be 4? Just because Mt. Rushmore only has 4 presidents doesn't mean, NASCAR can only choose 4 drivers.

Anonymous said...

Jeff Gordon does not call North Carolina home. He lives in New York City.

Anonymous said...

Not on the same radar? Well you might want to rethink that, 81 wins and counting,more than Big E,41 more than Ned or Jr. Johnson, 6th overall. 4 Cup championships and counting, more than all but 2! He built a children's hospital in Concord and has championed numerous causes that have benefited this area greatly. If he doesn't live here anymore, so be it but he is diserving and thats undisputable. Whether you like him or not.

Anonymous said...

Oops, can't count. Thats 31 more than Ned or Jr.J.

Anonymous said...

He,JG, lives actually in several places. New York City, Charlotte, Pittsboro, IN, Vallejo,Cali, even Florida. But yes he does reside here in NC, most of the time.

Anonymous said...

My choices would be Richard Petty (obviously!) Dale Earnhardt, Jeff Gordon, and BP. Those who say Jeff doesn't deserve this are being ridiculous. Jeff has done a LOT to benefit this area, even though he wasn't born here.

Martin Harris said...

Probably should credit "Tom Wolfe" with the "Last American Hero" line. Saying "Thomas" said it makes it sound like Junior (& NASCAR) must be 100 yrs. old.

Anonymous said...

How about HUMPY Wheeler!!! He promoted Lowe's Motor Speedway and made it to what it is today. He also put on some great shows at the track which were 2nd to none. Other tracks followed his lead and he was a respected man - which can't be said for some... Oh yea, He also helped get a young man some publicity in his early years - his name?? Dale Earnhardt.....