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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Alan Kulwicki produced NASCAR's most unlikely championship run in the 1992 season. He overcame the greatest lateÂseason deficit in history, and along the way gave hope to every small-time operator in NASCAR.
Jeff Gordon had already won two national championships by the time he was 10 years old. In 1995, he won his first NASCAR championship at the age of 24, becoming the second youngest to wear the cherished crown.
Dale Jarrett won at least one race every season from 1993 to 2003. In capturing NASCAR's championship in 1999, the Jarrett racing family became only the second father and son to win the NASCAR championship.
Tony Stewart has brought a new level of boisterous showmanship to the traditional NASCAR victory celebration with antics such as smoke-billowing burnouts and fence climbing. Read more about this sturdy gregarious busy-body and two-time champion.
Dale Earnhardt Jr. is both blessed and burdened with one of the legendary names in racing history. As the son of NASCAR icon Dale Earnhardt, Dale Jr. inherited his father's instincts and hard-charging style.
Bill Elliot was a fan favorite, winning the Most Popular Driver Award an incredible 16 times. Elliot was also the first NASCAR driver to grace the cover of Sports Illustrated. Learn more about this record-setting legend.
David Pearson never wanted to drive on NASCAR's tour. His fans, however, began a campaign to get Pearson a suitable car. They donated nearly $1500 and started him on a remarkable driving career. Learn more about Pearson's record in this article.
LeeRoy Yarbrough won the very first race he ever ran, at Jacksonville Speedway in the spring of 1957. Yarbrough was a success from the beginning of his NASCAR career, peaking in a spectacular season in 1969.
Bobby Isaac's journey to become the 1970 NASCAR Grand National champion is a classic rags-to-riches story. Learn how he evolved from an angry and aggressive young driver to a mature and successful champion.
Benny Parsons missed his first big chance to be a NASCAR driver, edged out by another legend: Cale Yarbrough. After more training, he returned to earn a spot in NASCAR and become its eventual champion in 1973.
Dale Earnhardt earned his nickname, "The Intimidator," with bold aggressive driving. His skill and daring made him the first NASCAR driver to win Rookie of the Year and the championship in the same year. Check out more on this 7-time NASCAR champion.
Darrell Waltrip was a flashy driver who was unpopular with fans for much of his career known for dueling on and off the track. Despite his notoriety he earned fourth on NASCAR's all-time win list. Learn more about this driver-turned-commentator.
Bobby Allison was one of NASCAR's most prolific winners. During his two decade career, Allison won 85 races third in all-time rankings. Near the end of his career, he finally won the NASCAR championship. Learn more about this durable champion.
Joe Weatherly began his racing career on a motorcycle but ended it in a high-speed, fatal car crash. But he wore the NASCAR champtionship crown and established himself, in just two seasons, as one of the sport's finest drivers.
Fred Lorenzen was 15 years old during his first experience in a beefed-up stock car, trying to flip it instead of race it. As a pro driver in 1964, Lorenzen ran five races in which he led 1,679 of 1,953 laps. Learn more about this driven professional.
Junior Johnson, like many NASCAR pioneers, cut his driving teeth while running moonshine in the American south. Johnson has a dual claim to NASCAR greatness: as a driver and as a racing team owner. Read more about Johnson's feats in this article.