NASCAR drivers are fearless yet highly skilled and trained. To become a NASCAR driver, you have to work your way up through the smaller tracks and prove your skills in a variety of tests. See what it takes to make it to the top and stay there.
Though he might be just out of his rookie year of NASCAR, Michael McDowell has already made big headlines and managed several national television appearances.
Mike Wallace continued a family tradition when he entered his first NASCAR race in 1990 -- $17 million later, he's still going strong.
Ted Musgrave has been behind the wheel of many different vehicles and has participated in each of the three major NASCAR racing divisions. His longest career was in the Winston Cup Series, where he raced from 1990 to 2003.
When many of today's young NASCAR drivers were barely old enough to push a matchbox car, Michael Waltrip was already racing for NASCAR -- and he hasn't stopped since.
Terry Cook has been a NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series driver for almost 15 years. Yet, in 2008, Cook earned the Featherlite "Most Improved Driver" title.
Phillip McGilton may not have started racing as early as some of his contemporaries, but he wasn't wasting his time either. By the age of 25, McGilton created PJM Enterprises, even as he explored racing.
Though he grew up in a family of drivers and racetrack owners, the racing bug did not infect Todd Bodine until he was 13 years old. Seeing his older brothers Geoff and Brett race was an inspiration to him to get behind the wheel himself.
AJ Allmendinger is comparatively new to the NASCAR Nextel racing circuit, but he's already made a name for himself around the track. Thanks to several victories and a few Rookie of the Year titles, Allmendinger is gaining in popularity.
Though racing runs in Dave Blaney's family (his father and grandfather both dabbled in motorsports), he wasn't interested in stock car racing initially. But NASCAR initially pulled him in, and he's been a successful driver ever since.
Not many people can claim to have won a major stock car race -- especially at the age of 15 driving their mother's car. Although David Stremme can, the officials at the New Paris Speedway disqualified him when they discovered his young age.
Brian Vickers could not have asked for a better backdrop for his childhood as an up-and-coming NASCAR racer. He was born in Thomasville, NC, near the major hub of the NASCAR universe.
Joey Logano is one of NASCAR's brightest rising stars. If the nickname "Sliced Bread" doesn't clue you in, he's the next best thing to come around the race track in quite a while.
Johnny Benson, also called "Mr. Smooth," was inspired to race by his father, Johnny Benson, Sr., who raced for several decades in the smaller leagues in the Midwest. It was there on those dirt tracks that Benson, Jr., got his first taste of racing.
Justin Marks loved the sport of stock car racing long before he started competing himself. It was watching the famed Daytona 500 when he was 15, live from the fan stands, that helped set Justin's mind on a future with NASCAR.
His skills as a racer have made his name one of the most recognizable and well known names in NASCAR today. Many people also look to Kyle Busch as one of the few strongholds for the future of the motor sport.
Mike Skinner got a late start in his NASCAR career, but his hard work and determination has certainly paid off in the past 14 years.
Denny Hamlin is a relatively new name in the world of NASCAR -- 2005 was his first full season. But racing is nothing new to Hamlin. He recorded his first karting win at the age of seven and went on to win 127 features over the course of his career.
Some of J.J Yeley's earliest memories are of traveling throughout the United States and spending his days in the grandstands bragging to the other kids that his father was a racer.
In 1999, Jason Leffler did something that hadn't been done in 37 years. He won his third consecutive National Midget title. He was at the top of his game and top of the record books.
Some people race for fun, some race for money. For others, racing is simply in their blood. David Reutimann is one of those drivers.
After earning his first win in the first year of his dirt track racing, it only makes sense that David Starr would go on to spend more than two decades in racing and more than a decade in NASCAR.
Mark Martin has displayed incredible tolerance for pain, continuing to race despite broken bones, intense back pain and the death of his father, stepmother and half sister in a plane crash. Read more about this NASCAR veteran.
In his very first NASCAR race at the Atlanta 500, Rusty Wallace drove his Chevrolet to finish second--an amazing feat for a rookie driver. Wallace won a championship in 1989 and later became a sports announcer.
Cale Yarborough made his NASCAR debut as a teenager. At his peak, he won three straight championships in 1976-79 -- one of the greatest feats in NASCAR history. He also won the prestigious Daytona 500 four times. Find out more about this NASCAR marvel.
Terry Labonte earned 4th place in his very first race, driven on the intimidating course at Darlington. Consistency and an "iron man" mentality made Labonte one of NASCAR's top drivers for the almost three decades.