Best Teams Ever bracket: NASCAR edition, Round 2

Welcome to the Best Team Ever bracket series, where the greatest of all time have their most dominant seasons stacked up against each other until we ultimately crown a champion in each sport. The tournament will be decided by fan vote, so be sure to submit yours below! The second round of polling closes at noon ET on Thursday, April 2.

[Brackets: NFL | NBA | MLB | NCAAF | NCAAB | NCAAW | WNBA | Soccer | NHL | Nascar]

The NASCAR bracket includes drivers only from NASCAR’s modern era, which is from 1972 onward, so not every season of Richard Petty’s was eligible for consideration in this tournament.

Best Team Ever bracket series: NASCAR edition, Round 2. (Yahoo Sports illustration)
Best Team Ever bracket series: NASCAR edition, Round 2. (Yahoo Sports illustration)

1998 Jeff Gordon vs. 1990 Dale Earnhardt

No. 1: Jeff Gordon

  • 13 wins in 33 races

  • 26 top 5s

  • 28 top 10s

Gordon dominated Tony Stewart’s 2011 season in round one, winning 89 percent of the vote in the biggest blowout of the early going.

The current Fox announcer and NASCAR Hall of Famer was absolutely unstoppable over the summer in 1998. He moved into the points lead after a win at Sonoma in the 16th race of the season and then proceeded to win six of the next eight races, including the Brickyard 400 and the Southern 500. Gordon then finished second three straight times after that win at Darlington and never finished blow seventh the rest of the season.

No. 8: Dale Earnhardt

  • 9 wins in 29 races

  • 18 top 5s

  • 23 top 10s

Earnhardt, who took two-thirds of the vote against 2007 Jimmie Johnson, also had a great summer … but it wasn’t anything like Gordon’s. Earnhardt won three of four races after finishing 13th at Pocono and had a 12-race run where he never finished lower than eighth. But thanks to Rusty Wallace’s excellence that season, Earnhardt was still in second in the points standings after 25 of 29 races.

1977 Cale Yarborough vs. No. 5 1981 Darrell Waltrip

No. 4: Cale Yarborough

  • 9 wins in 30 races

  • 25 top 5s

  • 27 top 10s

Yarborough got 80 percent of the vote against Kyle Busch’s 2015 season. After finishing 23rd at Daytona in July for his third finish outside the top 10 in the first 16 races, Yarborough was a top-10 machine. While he won just twice in the second half of the season, he never finished lower than sixth and was in the top five in 13 of the last 14 races of the season.

No. 5: Darrell Waltrip

  • 12 wins in 31 races

  • 21 top 5s

  • 25 top 10s

Waltrip easily beat 2017 Martin Truex Jr. in the first round. He finished sixth at Riverside in the final race of the season to clinch the title and that sixth-place finish was his lowest in the last 14 races of the season. Waltrip won seven times in that span and finished in the top three in 13 of the final 14 races yet Bobby Allison was so good too that Waltrip didn’t have an easy run to the title.

1987 Dale Earnhardt vs. 1972 Richard Petty

No. 3: Dale Earnhardt

  • 11 wins in 29 races

  • 21 top 5s

  • 24 top 10s

This is the season that helped establish the Earnhardt legend as the Intimidator won a second straight title and third in the past four seasons. While he struggled (relatively) down the stretch with two 30th or worse finishes in the last seven races, a run of three straight wins at Bristol, Darlington and Richmond put Earnhardt over 600 points ahead of Bill Elliott for the title. That’s why Earnhardt got 88 percent of the vote in the first round over 2013 Jimmie Johnson.

No. 11: Richard Petty

  • 8 wins in 31 races

  • 25 top 5s

  • 28 top 10s

An upset! Petty’s 1972 season beat Cale Yarborough’s 1976 season 73 percent to 27 percent in our only matchup where a lower-seeded driver took out a higher-seeded one. While Yarborough won one more race in one fewer race in 1976, voters must have been swayed by Petty’s three more top-five finishes and five more top-10 finishes.

No. 2 1975 Richard Petty vs. No. 7 1974 Richard Petty

No. 2: 1975 Richard Petty

  • 13 wins in 30 races

  • 21 top 5s

  • 24 top 10s

We have reached Petty vs. Petty. No one wanted to vote for Kyle Busch’s 2019 season as Petty easily scored 89 percent of the vote. Petty’s sixth title came as he won five of the first nine races of the season and eight of the first 16. That was more than enough to make the points race a formality over the second half of the season.

No. 7: 1974 Richard Petty

  • 10 wins in 30 races

  • 22 top 5s

  • 23 top 10

The closest first-round matchup was Petty’s 54 percent to 46 percent win over 1997 Jeff Gordon. Gordon might have had the better season but Petty’s name recognition probably put him over the top in that one. Petty won five of seven races in the late summer, including a win at Richmond where he led 383 of 500 laps and a win at Dover where he led 491 of 500 laps.

More voting on Yahoo Sports:

[NFL | NBA | MLB | NCAAF | NCAAB | NCAAW | WNBA | Soccer | NHL | Nascar]

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Nick Bromberg is a writer for Yahoo Sports

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