NASCAR started in 1949 and has grown into one of the most popular sports in the world. Learn everything there is to know about NASCAR on the NASCAR Channel.

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.

Alan Kulwicki produced NASCAR's most unlikely championship run in the 1992 season. He overcame the greatest lateĀ­season 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.

In 1973, David Pearson had a record-breaking year, winning 11 races during the course of the NASCAR season. Get the results from all 28 races of the year.

Rex White is the smallest man to ever wear the NASCAR championship crown. White was stricken with polio as a child, but he didn't let the crippling disease slow him down. Learn more about the Rex White's triumphs in this article.

Despite a fuel shortage, the 1974 NASCAR Winston Cup season delivered plenty of thrills. NASCAR made the decision that year to shorten the length of every race by 10 percent. Get the results of all 30 races of the 1974 NASCAR season.

Fireball Roberts was one of NASCAR's most electrifying speedsters in the 1950s and '60s. Despite being one of the epic risk takers, he had an intangible that many other racers lacked: intelligence. Read more about Fireball Roberts in this article.

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.

The 1975 NASCAR Winston Cup season saw Richard Petty win 13 races and his sixth championship. Every car used the same size engine this year in order to increase competition and create a level playing field. Get the results of all 30 races from the 1975 season.

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.

Richard Petty, also known as King Richard, took just 10 years to become the number-one driver in NASCAR history. One autumn, he even won 10 consecutive races on his way to 200 career wins.