Race Weekend Central

NASCAR’s 75 Greatest Drivers: Champions of the 2010s & Beyond

NASCAR is celebrating its 75th anniversary all throughout the 2023 season.

In 1998, NASCAR had a panel select a list of its 50 greatest drivers for its golden anniversary.

Likewise, we at Frontstretch decided to put together our own list of the 75 greatest NASCAR drivers in honor of this year’s milestone. Seventeen of our writers weighed in to pick the final 75, and we’ll be releasing four to seven drivers from that list every weekday for the next three weeks.

Similar to the one in 1998, this list is not a ranking of the top-75 drivers. Instead, we’ve broken the list down into categories, with a new category released each day (see the full list below). Within those categories, the drivers are listed in alphabetical order.

A day after focusing on some of the 2000s’ elite drivers, today we focus on the stars of the 2010s.

Brad Keselowski

Though he still competes full time in the NASCAR Cup Series, Brad Keselowski is destined to end up in the NASCAR Hall of Fame.

Son of original NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series driver Bob Keselowski, Brad
is one of the 41 drivers who have won a race in all three NASCAR national series.

After an impressive performance in a one-off Truck race at Memphis International Raceway, Keselowski caught the attention of NASCAR Xfinity Series team owner Dale Earnhardt Jr., who handed Keselowski a top ride midway through the 2007 season.

The move paid dividends. Two seasons together generated six wins and back-to-back third-place points finishes. Additionally, Keselowski captured his first Cup win in a scary race ending at Talladega Superspeedway.

After moving up to the Cup Series with Team Penske, Keselowski’s peak performance came in the 2010s. He won the 2010 Xfinity title, racked up 33 Xfinity trophies, and became a Cup star.

Keselowski accrued 29 Cup victories in the 2010s and he began an annual winning streak that stretched from 2011-2021. In 2012, driving the famed No. 2, Keselowski won five times en route to winning the 2012 Cup championship.

Keselowski’s tenure at Penske ended after 2021, as he joined the rebranded RFK Racing as a co-owner and driver. He went to victory lane as an owner with Chris Buescher at Bristol Motor Speedway. -Mark Kristl

See also
NASCAR's 75 Greatest Drivers: Generation X

Kyle Larson

One of NASCAR’s modern-day superstars, Kyle Larson established himself on this list in a brief amount of time.

Larson has emerged as one of the most versatile drivers in the world given his success on multiple surfaces, including his dirt prowess. Dubbed the next Jeff Gordon, Larson’s NASCAR accomplishments have begun to rack up in his time with Chip Ganassi Racing and Hendrick Motorsports.

The Elk Grove, Calif., native captured the 2014 rookie of the year honors with CGR, opening eyes to his potential. However, it wasn’t until 2016 before Larson earned his first career win, breaking through at Michigan International Speedway. The following season, he earned a then-career-high four wins and finished second in the regular-season standings.

Just as it was looking promising, Larson’s career nearly ended when he was indefinitely suspended for using a racial slur during an online racing event in April 2020. Within hours, his team had fired him and most of his sponsors had dropped him.

Through off-track actions and a hot streak in dirt racing, Larson found himself back in Cup for 2021 with none other than Hendrick Motorsports.

Larson’s 2021 season was more than a comeback tour. The No. 5 driver won 10 races, becoming the first driver to win at least 10 races since 2007. He broke the record for laps led in a 36-race season, won five playoff races, and capped off one of the greatest seasons ever with his first championship at Phoenix Raceway, giving Hendrick its 14th title.

In nine seasons thus far, Larson has recorded 19 wins, 89 top fives, 146 top 10s and a championship. Given his rare talent at 30 years old, Larson will likely be making history for years to come. -Luken Glover

Joey Logano

When the checkered flag flew at Phoenix Raceway to end the 2022 Cup season, Joey Logano captured his second championship. The title, on the strength of his victory, cemented Logano as one of the NASCAR all-time greats. After all, he became the 17th driver to win at least two titles in NASCAR’s premier series.

Logano emerged onto the Cup scene in 2009 as a heralded prospect. He succeeded legend Tony Stewart in Joe Gibbs Racing’s No. 20. In his 20th career start, Logano appeared to be the right choice as he scored his first Cup victory at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.

Yet Logano’s JGR tenure overall didn’t match the initial hype. With only two total wins in his four years there, Logano departed the team after the 2012 season.

In 2013, Logano joined Team Penske, and the rest is history. Piloting the No. 22 Ford, Logano has accumulated 29 wins, 132 top fives and 216 top 10s along with at least 300 laps led annually.

Logano etched his name in history in 2018 with his first Cup title. He beat Martin Truex Jr. twice in two pivotal races, the first a memorable ending to the Round of 8 opener at Martinsville Speedway. Then in the Championship 4 race at Homestead-Miami Speedway, Logano led a race-high 80 laps, including the last 12, to again beat Truex, this time for all the championship glory.

Four years later, Logano took home his second title.

Now, only 32 years old, Logano is already 28th in all-time wins, with all signs pointing to him further climbing the leaderboard. -MK

See also
NASCAR's 75 Greatest Drivers: The Legends

Martin Truex Jr.

The infamous Spingate at Richmond Raceway was an enormous moment in NASCAR history. The aftereffects of it cost Martin Truex Jr. his Cup ride with Michael Waltrip Racing. Then 32 years old, Truex was unemployed with only two career Cup wins.

Truex soon found a ride and he parlayed it into a championship, 29 more wins and a great career.

A second-generation racecar driver, Truex entered Cup full time in 2006 after winning back-to-back Xfinity championships driving for Dale Earnhardt Jr.

After four years with rapidly declining Dale Earnhardt, Inc., Truex joined MWR in 2010. His time there finally looked promising in 2013 as he battled for a playoff berth, but NASCAR kicked him out due to Spingate, leaving him to join Furniture Row Racing.

After a rough first year there, Truex finally sustained success in his Cup career with the addition of crew chief Cole Pearn. With Pearn atop the pit box, Truex won 24 races, highlighted by the 2017 Cup championship.

Beginning in 2016, Truex rejoined the Toyota armada, first through a Joe Gibbs Racing alliance with FRR, then joining JGR. JGR’s influence launched Truex into five straight top-five points finishes from 2017-2021.

Though FRR closed after 2018, Truex hasn’t missed a beat with JGR. He’s scored 12 wins in the No. 19.

While his Cup career started slowly, Truex’s championship, 31 wins, and 19th-most
career laps led makes him one of NASCAR’s 75 best drivers. -MK

Frontstretch‘s 75 Greatest NASCAR Drivers

Dale Earnhardt
Jeff Gordon
Jimmie Johnson
David Pearson
Richard Petty

The Legends
Bobby Allison
Ned Jarrett
Rusty Wallace
Darrell Waltrip
Cale Yarborough

Generation X
Greg Biffle
Carl Edwards
Denny Hamlin
Kasey Kahne
Ryan Newman

Champions of the 2010s & Beyond
Brad Keselowski
Kyle Larson
Joey Logano
Martin Truex Jr.

The Next Generation
Buddy Baker
Dale Earnhardt Jr.
Chase Elliott
Dale Jarrett

The Pioneers
Buck Baker
Red Byron
Lee Petty
Herb Thomas
Curtis Turner

Brotherly Love
Kurt Busch
Kyle Busch
Fonty Flock
Tim Flock
Bobby Labonte
Terry Labonte

Masters of the Modifieds
Jerry Cook
Richie Evans
Ray Hendrick
Mike Stefanik

Lower-Series Lifers
Sam Ard
Matt Crafton
Red Farmer
Ron Hornaday Jr.
Jack Ingram
Jack Sprague

Exceptional Longevity
Bill Elliott
Harry Gant
Kevin Harvick
Matt Kenseth
Mark Martin
Ricky Rudd

Gone Too Soon
Davey Allison
Neil Bonnett
Alan Kulwicki
Tiny Lund
Tim Richmond
Fireball Roberts
Joe Weatherly

Stars of the ’60s & ’70s
Bobby Isaac
Fred Lorenzen
Benny Parsons
Jim Paschal
LeeRoy Yarbrough

Stars of the ’80s & ’90s
Geoff Bodine
Jeff Burton
Ernie Irvan
Sterling Marlin

Stars From 1949-1960
??? (Feb. 9)

Jacks of All Trades
??? (Feb. 10)

About the author

Luken Glover joined the Frontstretch team in 2020 as a contributor, furthering a love for racing that traces back to his earliest memories. Glover inherited his passion for racing from his grandfather, who used to help former NASCAR team owner Junie Donlavey in his Richmond, Va. garage. A 2023 graduate from the University of the Cumberlands, Glover is the author of "The Underdog House," contributes to commentary pieces, and does occasional at-track reporting. Additionally, Glover enjoys working in ministry, coaching basketball, playing sports, and karting.

 | Website

Mark Kristl joined Frontstretch at the beginning of the 2019 NASCAR season. He is the site's ARCA Menards Series editor. Kristl is also an Eagle Scout and a proud University of Dayton alum.

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