Thursday, May 23, 2013


(in order of career wins)

Richard Petty in his driving days
Richard PettyThe King--in honor of Petty's late-60's dominance, 200 career Cup wins (easily an all-time record) and "regal bearing" with fans everywhere.
Squirrel Jr. (old)--UNKNOWN (frequently seen in old pictures, particularly when Richard was racing against his father Lee).

David PearsonThe Silver Fox--both for his masterful on-track strategy and gray/white hair.

Darrell WaltripJaws--self-ascribed meaning was for his ability to "swim" through traffic like a shark, while the original meaning (from Cale Yarborough) was for his constant talking.

Dale Earnhardt SrThe Intimidator--given for his take-no-prisoners style of racing, which, it was said, could make a driver wreck without even touching him.
The Man in Black--comes from Dale's most-famous paint scheme, the all-black GM Goodwrench look.
One Tough Customer (old)--comes from Dale's second-most-famous sponsor, Wrangler Jeans, who used "One Tough Customer" as a marketing slogan at the time.  Also fit Dale's hard-edged public persona.
Iron Head (old)--while Dale's father, Ralph Earnhardt, was nicknamed Iron HEART (see below), Dale was given the derogatory nickname Iron HEAD early in his career for his refusal to conform to the racing standards of the day.  Dale Sr. soon adopted this nickname personally.

Bobby AllisonThe Matador--Bobby was by far the most-successful driver of the AMC Matador during its brief run in Nascar.

Rusty's Championship-winning car
Rusty WallaceKing of the Short Tracks--bestowed for his mastery of Nascar's three active short-tracks:  Bristol,
Martinsville, and Richmond.
Rubberhead--came from Rusty's ability to "bounce back" from a near-fatal wreck in 1988 to race the next day.  Could also refer to his "white-guy fro" from his younger days.

Ned JarrettGentleman Ned--Ned was seen as one of the first "polished" drivers by the media, as well as being friendly to competitors and fans alike.

Junior Johnson:  actual full name is Robert Glen Johnson Jr.  Ironically, Junior has said that he actually dislikes his commonly-known nickname.
The Last American Hero--comes from a Tom Wolfe magazine profile of Johnson, titled "Junior Johnson is The Last American Hero--YES!"--it was later used as the title of a movie loosely based on Johnson's life.

Buck Baker:  though born Elzie Wylie Baker, he was given his nickname early in life by his mother, who named him after a bull the family owned (who was said to be just as uncontrollable as her son).

Bill ElliottAwesome Bill from Dawsonville--Bill hails from Dawsonville, Georgia, and is fond of using the word "Awesome" in conversation.
Million Dollar Bill--Bill was the first driver to win the "Winston Million" $1,000,000 bonus for winning three of Nascar's Crown-Jewel races (Daytona 500, Spring Talladega, Coca-Cola 600, Southern 500).

Fireball Roberts:  Edward Glenn Roberts Jr. got his nickname in high school for his "blazing" fastball on the baseball diamond.  In a tragic case of irony, Roberts was killed in a fiery wreck.

Fred LorenzenThe Golden Boy--said to come from his combination of good looks, good manner-of-speaking, and on-track ability.
The Elmhurst Express--Fred was born in Elmhurst, Illinois.

Joe Weatherly: The Clown Prince of Racing--coming from Joe's light-hearted pranks at the track, as a tribute to the frequently-used sobriquet "The Clown Prince of ____" (which comes from the phrase "Crown Prince").

Ricky Rudd
Ricky RuddIronman--Ricky holds the Cup record for most-consecutive starts.
Rooster--beyond alliteration, alludes to Ricky's proud and no-nonsense personality.

Benny ParsonsThe Professor--earned in Benny's broadcasting career for his on-air insights.

Speedy Thompson:  Alfred was Speedy's real first-name (and Speedy's a pretty self-explanatory nickname for a driver).

Buddy Baker:  Elzie Wylie Baker Jr.'s better-known nickname's origin is UNKNOWN, though he was well-known for his likable public persona.
Leadfoot--another pretty obvious nickname for a racer, likely referring to his mastery of Nascar's fastest tracks.
The Gentle Giant--alludes both to Buddy's affable nature with fans and his large frame.

Fonty Flock:  Truman Flock got his nickname as a reference to his middle name, Fontello.

Harry GantHandsome Harry--a tribute to his good looks, especially for his age.
High Line/Groove Harry--a reference to Harry's tendency to take the racing line closest to the wall.
The Bandit--comes from Harry's long-time sponsor, Skoal, and their Bandit line of chewing tobacco.
Mr. September--a play on Reggie Jackson's "Mr. October" nickname, it came to be in 1991, when he won four straight Cup races (in addition to two Busch Series races) in the month of September.  Could also refer to his success in the "autumn" of his career.
The Answer to Every Trivia Question--given to Harry post-retirement by Darrell Waltrip for his tendency to use Gant as a standard answer to trivia questions.

Curtis TurnerPops--double meaning on this one:  it was said that Turner's standard term-of-endearment for any man was "Pops".  Conversely, it was said that he had a tendency to tap, or "pop" drivers on the track.
The Blond Blizzard of Virginia--comes from his hair-color and home state.

Ernie IrvanSwervin' Irvan--a derogatory term for his aggressive racing style, especially early in his career.

Cotton Owens:  Everett Owens' better-known nickname came from his white hair.
King of the Modifieds--in honor of Cotton's early-domination of Nascar's Modified racing series.

Alan KulwickiUnderbird--first-used in the famous 1992 Cup series finale, the "T" in "Thunderbird" on the front of Alan's car was removed to reference the team's "Underdog" status.

Tiny Lund:  DeWayne Louis Lund got his nickname as an ironic nod to his physical size (6'5'', 270 lbs.).

Pete HamiltonThe Gentleman Racer--a tribute to Pete's gentlemanly nature both on and off the track, as well as his mostly part-time career (drivers who had a primary source of income outside of racing were known as "Gentleman Racers").

Red Byron:  Robert Byron's nickname was likely a reference to his hair color.

Tiger Tom Pistone:  the rare driver who was almost always referred to by his nickname AND first-name.  The nickname was likely a comment on his hard-charging racing style.

Jimmy SpencerMr. Excitement--earned in his modified racing days, but stayed relevant through his career for his aggressive driving style.

Johnny BensonFour-Eyes (old)--Johnny was one of the only drivers to wear glasses while racing (until he had Lasik surgery).

Greg Sacks subbing for Robby Gordon
Greg SacksSuper-Sub--while he only earned one Cup win in his long career, Greg was well-respected as a substitute
for injured drivers.

Wendell ScottGive 'Em Hell Wendell--came both from his position as a fan-favorite and the local pronunciation of his first name (rhymes with "Hell").

Jimmy MeansSmut--early in his career, Means built an engine according to a guide published by the legendary Smokey Yunick.  Means bragged to competitor Bobby Allison that the engine would make him "…another Smokey", to which Allison replied that he wouldn't even be "smut", with smut referring to dirt or grease.  Smut's OTHER meaning explains why Jimmy does not like this nickname.

Hut Stricklin:  Waymond Lane Stricklin Jr. got his nickname from his father--but oddly enough, he claims to have no idea where it came from.

Ted MusgraveMad Dog--self-ascribed moniker that came after he felt he was robbed of a championship in the Truck series, referring to his new "no holds barred" approach to racing.

Mike SkinnerAngie's Bus Driver--self-ascribed self-effacing nickname, given post-retirement.  Mike's wife Angie is a well-known radio personality, and Mike had joked that he is now best known for being Angie's husband/bus-driver.

Herman BeamTurtle--this came from Beam's record-setting streak of races without a DNF, which infamously came about through EXTREMELY cautious (aka slow) driving.

Banjo Matthews:  Edwin Matthews was originally called "Banjo Eyes" as a boy for his large eyeglasses.

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