AI stands for “artificial intelligence,” which means intelligence that is not real. If the intelligence is not real, then how can it be better than real intelligence? Case in point, when NASCAR on FOX asked ChatGPT to put together the top 10 NASCAR drivers since 2000.
This list is wrong according to this fan. Therefore, I have taken it upon myself to list the top 10 NASCAR drivers since 2000. Some drivers are on the original list, while some are not.
Drivers Omitted From the Original List
Dale Earnhardt Jr
As a NASCAR contributor, sure Dale Earnhardt Jr. is one of the greatest ambassadors of the sport. As a driver though, he never won a championship and went through a span from 2009-2011 where he was driving in the best equipment in the sport and had an average points finish of 17.7 with zero wins. That is not good enough to be considered for this type of a list.
Yes he won a championship and won 34 races, but outside of his championship season, when was Kurt Busch truly a factor? After 2004, he only finished in the top-5 in the standings once in 2009. A champion sure, but he was not consistent enough to be considered for a list like this.
Yes he has won 49 races, but, in order to be considered for a list like this, it is a requirement to have won a championship. Hamlin not only has never won a championship, but he has been in position to win a championship multiple times and continues to choke.
In 2010 he led the points heading into the final race of the season, but he spun out during the race putting him behind the eight-ball. He was the top seed in the Playoffs heading into 2012, but laid an egg during the playoffs. He has made four championship-4s, but has failed to capture a Cup. To be considered for a list like this, these opportunities need to be converted.
The REAL List
Now it is time to name the drivers on the real top ten drivers since 2000 list. Their previous ranking will be in parentheses next to their name.
10. (NR) Kyle Larson: 21 Wins; 2021 Cup Series Champion; Will Drive Anything
Kyle Larson deserves to be on this list for his on-track accomplishments, but he also deserves to be on there because he can and will drive anything. There probably is no one currently on the Cup Series circuit with the level of pure talent that Larson has. At the end of his career, he very well could be near the very top of this list.
9. (NR) Martin Truex Jr.: 32 Wins; 2017 Cup Series Champion; 2-Time Xfinity Series Champion (2004 and 2005)
It took a bit for Truex to find his footing in the Cup Series, but once he was put in good equipment, he flourished. The two consecutive Xfinity Series championships are a testament to how he did when given good equipment. Once Furniture Row Racing found its’ footing, Truex became even more formidable making five Championship-4s in seven seasons and winning the 2017 Championship.
8. (10) Brad Keselowski: 35 Wins; 2012 Cup Series Champion; 2010 Xfinity Series Champion
Brad Keselowski has the ability to say what no one else can really say. He beat out prime Jimmie Johnson for a Championship in 2012. Add to that Keselowski’s impressive Xfinity Series resume, and the success RFK is beginning to find as he becomes an owner-driver, Keselowski deserves to be on this list higher than the AI claimed.
7. (7) Matt Kenseth: 39 Wins; 2003 Cup Series Champion; 2000 Cup Series Rookie of the Year
Even a broken clock is right twice a day, so the AI got this one right, too. Kenseth won the 2003 Cup Series Championship, and he continued to be a consistent force in the Series. He would record seven top-5 points finishes in 18 full-time seasons.
6. (2) Jeff Gordon: 44 Wins; 2001 Cup Series Champion
If this was a list that included the 1990s, Jeff Gordon would easily be number two on this list, but this does not include the 1990s. He has won a Championship in this millennium, and his 44 Cup Series wins are Hall of Fame worthy in and of themselves. However, since he never recaptured the dominance of the 1990s, Gordon cannot be higher on this list.
5. (NR) Joey Logano: 32 Wins; 2-Time Cup Series Champion (2018 and 2022); 5 Championship-4 Appearances (2014, 2016, 2018, 2020, and 2022)
How can you leave a two-time Cup Series Champion off the list? That is simply absurd, but Joey Logano has been a consistent threat to win every single week since he made the move to Team Penske in 2013. Not only has he won two championships, but he has also made a five Championship-4 appearances, tied for the most since the format began in 2014.
4. (4) Kevin Harvick: 60 Wins; 2014 Cup Series Champion; 2-Time Xfinity Series Champion (2001 and 2006)
Harvick was thrust into the spotlight in 2001, and he took the NASCAR world by storm winning the Xfinity Series Championship and two Cup Series races. Since then he has crossed the 60 wins threshold in the Cup Series and has an impressive 121 wins across all National Touring Series. He has had a few championship-caliber seasons that did not pan out completely, but he is still worthy of a top-five slot.
3. (6) Kyle Busch: 62 Wins; 2-Time Cup Series Champion (2015 and 2019); 227 National Touring Series Wins
The winningest driver in NASCAR National Touring Series history ranked at number six? Yeah the AI got that one wrong big time.
Once Kyle Busch was able to mature enough to harness his incredible driving ability, he became arguably the best driver in the sport in the late 2010s. His success across all levels of NASCAR cannot be understated. Sure it can be seen as punching down, but how can you penalize a guy who races more than others?
2. (3) Tony Stewart: 49 Wins; 3-Time Cup Series Champion (2002, 2005, and 2011)
Prior to Kyle Larson coming along, Tony Stewart probably held the title of the most diverse driver in NASCAR history. Winning three championships is always going to be an incredible accomplishment. Only nine drivers have won three or more championships in NASCAR history, and Tony Stewart certainly belongs amongst NASCAR legends.
1. (1) Jimmie Johnson: 83 Wins; 7-Time Cup Series Champion (2006-2010, 2013, and 2016)
Yes ChatGPT got this right, but anyone could get this right so I am not giving it any credit. Regardless, Johnson is absolutely the greatest of his era and arguably the greatest of all-time. Seven championships simply cannot be debated and may never be topped.
What did we learn today? That AI does not know everything. This list is much more logical compared to what AI cooked up.