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From the Marbles

Happy Hour: Who are the winningest drivers in NASCAR?

From The Marbles

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b0727petty

Welcome to the latest Happy Hour mailbag! You know how these work: you write us with your best rant/joke/one-liner at nascarmail@yahoogroups.com or on Twitter at @jaybusbee, we respond to your messages, everyone goes away with a smile on their face. Today, more Kyle 100, Harvick's Cup chances, and NASCAR in everyday life. Let's go!

If the media is going to insist on saying Kyle Busch has 100 NASCAR wins (and counting), then it would only be fair to count every one else's wins from other series toward their wins total. So I did some homework and came up with the Top 10 All Time NASCAR winners:

1. Richard Petty - 200 (all Cup) 100% of wins in Cup
2. David Pearson - 106 (105 Cup) 99%
3. Kyle Busch - 100 (22 Cup) 22%
4. Darrell Waltrip - 97 (84 Cup) 87%
5. Dale Earnhardt - 97 (76 Cup) 78%
6. Mark Martin - 96 (40 Cup) 42%
7. Jeff Gordon - 89 (84 Cup) 94%
8. Bobby Allison - 86 (84 Cup) 98%
9. Cale Yarborough - 83 (all Cup) 100%
10. Kevin Harvick - 63 (17 Cup) 27%

— John Davis

That's one fascinating list, isn't it? You can parse that any way you'd like; note that Busch has the lowest percentage of Sprint Cup wins, but he's not the only one with less than half of his wins coming in Cup. Also note that if many of those drivers above had chosen to run in lower series (or had the opportunity to do so), they'd be in Mark Martin territory. Also of interest: Jimmie Johnson "only" has 55 wins, one of which was in Nationwide. Finally, how about Harvick there in the tenth spot? That's the one that surprised me, and I'd bet the pro-Harvick fans who screamed about how unfair it is that Kyle's win total is inflated might be a little quieter now that "Kyle math" gets their guy into the top 10 all-time.

Anyway, this list will stay the same for the foreseeable future, except that Busch could move into the No. 2 spot before the end of the year. Maybe Mark Martin could pass the Intimidator, but everybody else is staying where they are.

And speaking of Harvick ...

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Can we finally drop Kevin Harvick out of the "championship contender" talk once and for all? Harvick averages less than 2 wins per year and his career numbers are closer to guys like Greg Biffle, Matt Kenseth and Dale Earnhardt Jr. than Jimmie Johnson and Jeff Gordon ... I guarantee you this: Harvick will NEVER win a championship because, aside from the fact that he's ridiculously overrated, he's always been more concerned with playing head games and acting like a tough guy rather than driving. The look on Harvick's face when Busch played the ultimate head game by walking over to him and shaking hands was priceless; it was like the bully who gets punched in the face and then doesn't know how to react ...

George Noriega
New York, NY

Yes, Harvick hasn't been a "championship contender" since ... well, since last year. Remember, he still had an outside chance at the Cup at Homestead last year. NASCAR fans just get absolutely blinded by their hatred, don't they? Harvick is as legit as any other driver from a talent perspective. However, I will agree with you, George, that he needs to keep his eyes on the track ahead and not on whoever's doing him wrong that week.

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The races are NOT equal. Here we have three Dodges running against innumerable Chevrolets, Fords and Toyotas ... So, it can't ever be fair to Dodge drivers, yet Kurt has done an admirable job of running well amidst all kinds of adversity, including dirty moves from Johnson, Gordon, Stewart, & 6 or 7 others who would do anything to keep him from winning. I'm sure my opinion is worth nothing to you and your postings.

Dan Berry

Dan. Dan! Your opinion is worth the world to me! Though I've got to say I don't entirely agree with it. I don't see the manufacturer disparity being as much of an issue as the manufacturer faithful seem to. Jerry Seinfeld had an old line about how often baseball players change teams, and noted that when you cheer for a team, you're basically cheering for laundry. It's the exact opposite in NASCAR: have you ever heard of anyone ditching their favorite driver because they switched manufacturers? It's happened, I'm sure, but not on any wide scale. (Please feel free to correct me if I'm wrong.)

As for your man Kurt Busch: fear not, he's running extraordinarily well right now. If he can keep from having another lull in the Chase, he'll make for some strong competition for Edwards and Johnson.

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I have an idea on start-and-park issues. Why not have, say, two Chevy start-and-park drivers be forced to combine sponsorships to be sure to complete the race? Then at the next track the other driver runs under the same combined sponsors, since most start-and-parks run the same decals every week. I bet it would fill the field, get drivers and sponsors more track time, and thus produce a better field of drivers.

Scott W. Eno

It's a fascinating idea, but it's like mating dogs and cats: even if you could do it, you wouldn't much like what you'd end up with. The sponsors, the drivers, the owners ... everybody would be fighting for their piece of the pie (who gets to run Daytona, and who gets stuck doing Pocono?). We need to come to some sort of referendum on start-and-parkers, but I'm not sure grouping them into special yin-and-yang teams is the way to go.

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Brian France was asked about the NFL ending its lockout this week. Here was his response.

Furiousd
North Carolina

Hate to say it, friends, but anybody who was hoping that the NFL lockout would send more eyeballs to NASCAR was dreaming. The NFL runs the world — more people were concerned about the lockout than the debt-ceiling impasse — and NASCAR, and other sports, have to be content with the scraps. Crying won't help, but a good down-to-the-wire Chase will.

And finally, we have this week's account of "NASCAR in everyday life":

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I was running late to play in a hockey game when I drove up to a traffic light intersection. The light had turned orange, which means speed up in New Jersey. My NASCAR  moment came when the guy going the other way at me had the same idea to run the light, except he also planned on making a left hand turn. At that moment when I was beyond the commitment cone and saw he was about to T-bone me, I hit the brakes for a nano-second. Then my inner spotter said, "MASH IT!" I did and drove through untouched. By the time I got a half mile down the road and stopped at the next traffic light, a guy in a pick-up on my left gave me a thumbs up! I realized then, as in NASCAR, sometimes the best way to avoid the accident is not brake for it but put the foot to the floor and drive through it. I did and it worked!! My NASCAR moment.

Peter Romano
Cresskill, NJ

Yahoo! Sports does not advocate violating traffic laws. But that's pretty cool nonetheless. Send us your own accounts of NASCAR in your everyday life, but don't get yourself arrested or anything.

And on that note, we're out. Thanks to all our writers this week. You want in? Fire up the computer and hit us with whatever's on your mind, NASCAR-wise, at nascarmail@yahoogroups.com, find us on Facebook right here, or hit us up on Twitter at @jaybusbee. Make sure to tell us where you're from. We'll make you famous!

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