Every day leading into the 2019 GEICO 500 at Talladega Superspeedway, the 100th race in track history, contributing writer Mark McCarter counts down the top 100 Talladega drivers of all time. Today: 10-1.
10. David Pearson. Three wins and 11 top 10s in 25 ’Dega starts for the man many of us believe is NASCAR’s best-ever.
9. Darrell Waltrip. A four-time winner, including a hard-earned sweep in 1982.
8. Bill Elliott. His 212.809 mph record-breaking qualifying lap may never be surpassed, and he twice won the race.
7. Cale Yarborough. He won his three ’Dega races in an Olds, Chevy and a Ford. But he could take a riding mower to victory lane.
6. Bobby Allison. He had four wins, but it was his frightening crash that changed the complexion of the sport — and we learned the words “restrictor plates.”
5. Jeff Gordon. Who can forget the defiant burnout by the six-time ’Dega winner that all but taunted Earnhardt nation?
4. Brad Keselowski. OK, the first win may have been a fluke. The next four weren’t. He’s this generation’s Earnhardt when it comes to drafting.
3. Dale Earnhardt Jr. Ain’t DNA something? A six-time Talladega winner and in the top 10 in nearly half his starts.
2. Buddy Baker. A four-time winner just as tough as the track. He was the first to conquer the 200 mph barrier.
1. Dale Earnhardt Sr. Easy choice. Ten wins in 44 Cup starts, plus three in IROC and one in Xfinity. He owned the place — and owned the fan base.