Race Weekend Central

NASCAR 101: States That Have Never Produced a Cup Winner

After conquering the Daytona International Speedway road course last weekend, Christopher Bell became the first driver from Oklahoma to win a NASCAR Cup Series race.

Now, 35 U.S. states can boast that they have produced a Cup winner, a far cry from NASCAR’s early years when nearly every driver hailed from the Southeast.

NASCAR has certainly evolved. In fact, California has already produced the second-most Cup winners at 26, just behind North Carolina’s 29.

Other western states, such as Nevada and Washington, have followed suit as NASCAR has embraced its role as a national sport. Alex Bowman even put Arizona on the list in 2019.

But the following 15 states still do not have winning representation.

Alaska: Incredibly, not a single driver from Alaska has entered a race in any of NASCAR’s three national touring series. Keith McGee has been floating a NASCAR Camping World Truck Series run this year at Richmond Raceway for Reaume Brothers Racing, so that may soon change.

Delaware: America’s first state hosts the popular Dover International Speedway, but no locals have ever won. In fact, very few drivers from this mid-Atlantic state have ever entered a Cup race.

Hawaii: Like Alaska, Hawaii has also never produced a Cup driver. Both did not even become states until 10 years after NASCAR was founded. Road-course ace Will Rodgers has competed in the Xfinity Series part time over the last few years for a variety of suitors and remains the only Hawaiian to do so.

Idaho: Brian Scott gave Idaho its best shot when he finished second at Talladega Superspeedway in the Cup Series in 2016. However, with no Idahoans currently competing in any NASCAR national division, the state known for its potatoes will likely stay on this list for years to come.

Louisiana: Louisiana is the lone Southeastern state that has not produced a winner. Very few Louisianans have gotten a shot at the sport’s highest level.

Minnesota: The Gopher State has produced three World Series rings, three NFC title championships and four WNBA championships, but never a NASCAR winner.

North Dakota: Just one North Dakotan has made a NASCAR start of any kind; Dustin Hapka finished 27th in a Camping World Truck Series race at Iowa Speedway in 2014.

New Hampshire: For a state that also hosts a Cup race every summer, it is surprising that New Hampshire has never produced a winner. Drivers such as Jamie Aube, Dave Dion, Bryan Wall and Andy Seuss have been very successful in some of NASCAR’s regional series.

New Mexico: American auto racing has benefited greatly from New Mexico’s talent. The Unser family has been widely successful in open-wheel racing, but little of that success has translated to stock cars.

Rhode Island: The smallest state by landmass produced one of NASCAR’s greatest regional drivers: Mike Stefanik. The Coventry native’s impressive resume includes a whopping nine titles spread across two regional divisions. The 1999 Truck Series Rookie of the Year and 2021 NASCAR Hall of Fame Inductee never made a Cup start.

South Dakota: In 1953, NASCAR held a Cup race in Rapid City. Two local drivers entered the field: Leo Ray and Bob Laswell. Ray bested Laswell by finishing eighth in the field of 15. To date, it remains the only race in NASCAR history that contained drivers from the Mount Rushmore State.

Utah: The Utah Motorsports Campus in Grantsville has hosted several ARCA Menards Series East races since its inception in 2006. While racing has become increasingly popular in Utah, very few drivers have made it to NASCAR.

Vermont: Vermont is another state steeped in New England racing culture. No driver has claimed a Cup checkered flag, but plenty of Northeastern Modified drivers call Vermont home, and Kevin Lepage has victories in the Xfinity Series.

West Virginia: Several drivers from West Virginia came to NASCAR in the 1950s. Arden Mounts, Bud Harless, Johnny Patterson and Pop McGinnis were among them. Patterson finished second in the 1952 Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway driving for HB Rainer, but his career came to an end before he could close the deal.

Wyoming: The country’s least populous state has produced just one Cup driver. Dick Hallock competed in seven events between 1950 and 1955. He scored a best finish of ninth at Fonda Speedway in 1955.

Some nuggets before you go:

  • The 2021 Cup season begins with three straight races held in the state of Florida. NASCAR will head to Homestead-Miami Speedway this weekend following two events held at Daytona. The last time three consecutive Cup races were held in the same state was in North Carolina in 1996. The final Cup race was held at North Wilkesboro Speedway before that series traveled on to Charlotte Motor Speedway and Rockingham Speedway the following weeks.
  • Prior to Bell’s win, Troy Ruttman held the best Cup finish by an Oklahoman. Ruttman finished third at Riverside International Raceway in 1963 while driving a Mercury owned by Bill Stroppe.

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About the author

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Never at a loss for words, Zach Gillispie is a young, talented marketing professional from North Carolina who talks and writes on the side about his first love: racing! Since joining Frontstretch in 2018, Zach has served in numerous roles where he currently pens the NASCAR 101 column, a weekly piece delving into the basic nuts and bolts of the sport. Additionally, his unabashedly bold takes meshed with that trademarked dry wit of his have made Zach a fan favorite on the weekly Friday Faceoff panel. In his free time, he can be found in the great outdoors, actively involved in his church, cheering on his beloved Atlanta Braves or ruthlessly pestering his colleagues with completely useless statistics about Delma Cowart.

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