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Drivers Who Embraced the Boos

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Josh Mull

Josh Mull

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By Jerry Bonkowski

If NASCAR fans don’t like a driver, they quickly let ’em know with boos. But several drivers have let that animosity work in their favor:

Dale Earnhardt: The man with the Snidely Whiplash mustache was one of NASCAR’s most aggressive drivers and he was hated by fans of rival drivers who fell victim to Earnhardt and his famous “chrome horn.” When fans booed, The Intimidator would tick ’em off even more with a big smile in return.

Jeff Gordon: Earnhardt’s arch-rival. If you loved Earnhardt, you hated Gordon. But the irony is the duo was actually good friends off-track and their rivalry in many ways was just an act. Gordon was one of the biggest thorns in Earnhardt’s side, but they both laughed all the way to the bank.

Kyle Busch: The younger Busch brother was easy to hate because of his oftentimes standoffish attitude, his complaints about virtually everything, his aggressive driving, and his overt cockiness. While he still has occasional episodes of the old Kyle, marriage and fatherhood have mellowed him.

Robby Gordon: Another overtly aggressive racer who had no problem mixing it up with fellow drivers in and out of his race car. He endured a number of suspensions for his actions but has gone on to be quite the entrepreneur, including operating the very successful Stadium Super Trucks Series.

Juan Pablo Montoya: Extremely talented but he was like a fish out of water in his seven years in NASCAR. Whether it was because he was a foreign-born driver or his abject cockiness at times, JPM had more than his share of boos. 

Kurt Busch: Started off with a chip on his shoulder, at least when it came to fans who didn’t appreciate his driving style, but the elder Busch brother has certainly mellowed and become one of the sport’s more popular drivers.

Jimmie Johnson & Chad Knaus: You can’t mention one without the other. Fans hated Johnson for all his wins and championships, while crew chief Knaus was booed because of how he loved to push the envelope – some would call it outright cheating.

Darrell Waltrip: The Muhammad Ali of NASCAR, aka “I am the Greatest!” But as much as fans hated him for his cockiness and braggadocio, Waltrip backed it all up with 84 wins and three championships. Ironically, once he went into the FOX broadcast booth, he became one of the most beloved personalities in the sport.

Jimmy Spencer: While “Mr. Excitement” drew his share of boos, he also was wildly cheered for the day he punched Kurt Busch in the nose.

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Josh Mull

Josh Mull

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