By David Firestone
I might have saved this for a My Thoughts On article, but these subjects are just too good. Motor Racing Network recently ran an article discussing how Jeff Gordon picked 24 as his car number. It’s an interesting article, because it shows how attached fans get to car numbers. Because of Cole Trickle in Days Of Thunder drove car #46, Paramount held the licensing contract to that car number. Since this wouldn’t be good for Jeff Gordon, Gordon went with 24. Interestingly, some research on the two numbers comes up with some interesting facts.
Car 24 had never had a win in the Sprint Cup Series prior to Jeff Gordon, and now car number 24 has 92 wins. Of the top car numbers, 24 is the only car where one driver had all the wins for that car number. The iconic number 43 has 199 wins, Richard Petty has 200 wins, 192 of them came in 43, 2 came in car 42, and 6 came in 41. The other drivers to have won in 43 are Lee Petty, Jim Pascal, Bobby Hamilton, John Andretti, and Aric Almirola. Car #46 has 11 wins, the last one coming in 1962 at Concord. The 11 wins are split between Speedy Thompson, Bob Welborn, and Jack Smith.
Let’s play what if for a second. Let’s say hypothetically that Jeff Gordon has always run #46 and not 24, and has had the same exact career. #46 would have 103 wins, which would put #46 third all time on the car number win list. He would also be the best athlete to wear #46. In researching this, I consulted my copy of Best By Numbers. It’s a really interesting and really well researched book. Now when it comes to #24, the king is Willie Mays. There is also Ricky Henderson, Rick Barry, Ken Griffey Jr., Whitey Herzog, Tony Perez, Manny Ramirez, Barry Bonds, and Charles Woodson. If Jeff Gordon had used #46 on the other hand, he would be the undisputed king of 46. The book, published in 2006, cites Jimmie Johnson as the king of 48 and Richard Petty as the king of 43.
Some other NASCAR news and notes I wanted to cover this week,
Kenneth Lane Wilkes, a 65 year old former employee of Richard Childress Racing was arrested this week, and accused of stealing three crew suits and a driver suit and selling them on eBay. He is being held on a $10,000 bond, and is scheduled to appear in court in February.
I also came across an article on Bleacher Report concerning NASCAR sales at Barrett Jackson. These are the top 10 highest selling NASCAR cars at Barrett Jackson. It is definitely worth a read. Both articles make me miss the boxy Chevy Lumina. I also miss the covered headlights with no outline. That was a really good look. I love that look, and I think it should make a comeback!
One last article, again from Bleacher Report concerns brands in NASCAR. Branding and NASCAR go hand in hand. These are the top 10 Most Popular Brands in NASCAR History. I agree with all of them, though I disagree with the placement of some over others.
That’s all for this week, but stay tuned as I have something fun planned for next Friday!