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NASCAR Number History: 21-25

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Matt Smith

Dogleg Media is a motorsports channel focusing on history and stats. New uploads happen every Tuesday and Friday. Tune in to learn something new every single episode.

During my quest to tell the stories of every number in NASCAR history, there are few 5 number stretches with as much history as 21-25.

I do this series on YouTube in video form, where we dive even deeper into each number. You can check out the Number History playlist here!

These five numbers are responsible for 327 total wins, with some of NASCAR’s biggest names collecting them. Let’s dive in to some of NASCAR’s most historic numbers.

21: 92 wins

We start out with the 21. What is so special about this number is that it has had relatively the same look for over half a century. If you have seen even a few NASCAR races you know what the Wood Brothers 21 machine looks like, and it has remained roughly the same from the beginning.

The first driver to take the 21 to victory lane would be Harold Kite in 1950 at Daytona Beach. He would beat out Tim Flock by one race to be first to win, as Flock would win the very next race in the number.

There have been 19 total winners in the 21, which to this point in my number history adventure, is the most BY FAR. Let’s list the one time winners below;

  • Tim Flock: 1950 Charlotte
  • Curtis Turner: 1958 Fayeteville
  • Tiny Lund 1963 Daytona 500 Driving for Wood Brothers
  • Glen Wood: 1963 Winston Salem (Founder of Wood Brothers with his Brother Leonard)
  • Donnie Allison: 1971 Talladega
  • Buddy Baker: 1983 Daytona 500
  • Kyle Petty: 1987 Coca Cola 600 at Charlotte
  • Dale Jarret: 1991 Michigan
  • Morgan Shepard: 1993 Atlanta
  • Elliott Sadler: 2001 Bristol
  • Trevor Bayne: 2011 Daytona 500
  • Ryan Blaney: 2017 Pocono (The last win for the number currently)

There have been 6 drivers to win multiple times in the 21. Here are some stats on them;

  • Speedy Thompson: 2 time winner, both in 1960
  • Marvin Panch: 8 time winner
    • Panch would spend time in the Wood Brothers 21 from 1962-1966
  • Cale Yarborough: 13 wins
    • Cale would spend time in the 21 for Wood Brothers from 1966-1970, winning the 1968 Daytona 500 in the number.
    • Yarbrough was inducted into the NASCAR Hall of Fame in 2012
  • AJ Foyt: 4 time winner
    • He would win the 1972 Daytona 500 driving for the wood brothers.Foyt is a Motorsports legend, winning the Indy 500 4 times
    • Foyt was named to NASCAR’s 50 greatest driver list as well.
  • Neil Bonnet: 9 time winner
    • Bonnet would win 2 crown jewels in his time driving the Wood Brothers 21 machine, winning the 1981 Southern 500 at Darlington, and the 1982 Coca Cola 600 at Charlotte.
    • Bonnet was an 18 time winner in the cup series, half of which came in the 21.

Of course it is pretty obvious who has the most wins in the 21, the silver fox himself David Pearson. Pearson owns 43 wins in the 21.

Pearson would drive for Wood Brothers from 1973-1979, and would win some pretty major races in that time, including the 1976 Daytona 500.

Pearson is second all time in wins with 105, and would be induced into the NASCAR Hall of Fame in 2011.

The current driver of the 21 is Harrison Burton. Burton is in his second full time season at the time of writing, and while the start to his Cup series career has been rocky, he is starting to show some promise.

Can Burton bring the 21 back to Victory lane? If so it would be the first time since Ryan Blaney won in 2017 at Pocono, it would also be win number 100 for the Wood Brothers.

22: 88 wins

Now we move on to the defending number champion, the 22. This is honestly a pretty cool fact to mention, the 22 won the first and most recent Cup series championships.

The first to take a trip to victory lane in the number would be Red Byron in NASCAR’s first ever season in 1949, and he would pilot the number to victory lane in the second ever race, at Daytona Beach!

Below are some of the other names to grab wins in the 22;

  • Chuck Stevenson: 1 Win
  • Bobby Allison: 17 wins (He would also win his only championship in the number, in 1983)
  • Dick Brooks: 1 Win
  • Ward Burton: 5 wins (Including the 2002 Daytona 500)
  • Kurt Busch: 2 wins

We actually have a tie for most wins in the number currently, and that could literally change any weekend. Fireball Roberts and current driver Joey Logano each have 30 wins in the number.

Starting with Fireball Roberts, he would claim 30 of his 33 total Cup series victories in the 22. He would get the biggest win of his career in the number, at the 1962 Daytona 500.

Fireball would pass away due to complications following a racing accident at Charlotte in 1964 driving the 22. He would be inducted into the NASCAR Hall of Fame in 2014.

Then there is the current driver and reigning champion Joey Logano. Logano would tie Fireball this season with his win at Atlanta in the Spring.

Joey could become the outright winningest driver in the 22 at any moment, how long will it be before Logano gets win number 31 in the number?

23: 4 wins

The 23 is by far the lightest in the win column for this set of numbers. Having only 3 different winners in it’s history, with one of those coming in the last 2 years, it hasn’t had the success the others mentioned today have had.

The first to win in the 23 would also be the driver with the most wins, Frank Mundy. Mundy would first take the 23 to victory lane in 1951 at Columbia. He would collect two total wins in the number.

The next to win in the number would be Al Keller, winning at Savannah in 1954. Keller would also make Formula 1 starts, but never found a podium in his time.

The most recent to win in the 23 would also be it’s current driver, Bubba Wallace. Wallace has 2 wins in the Cup series, and the reason he only has one in the 23 is kind of a formality.

Wallace’s first Cup win would come in 2021 at Talladega in the 23. He would win in 2022 at Kansas, but would drive the 45 in place of injured Kurt Busch for the owner standings.

Bubba has a great shot at becoming the winningest driver to ever pilot the 23, needing only 2 more wins to pass Mundy for most all time.

24: 100 wins

Here’s a stat you probably won’t believe until you fact check for yourself, but the 24 has only ever had 2 winners. Yeah, I know, it’s pretty crazy.

The driver with the most wins in the number is pretty obvious, but he was also the first to ever take the 24 to victory lane. Of course we are talking about Jeff Gordon.

Here are a couple interesting Jeff Gordon facts for you. Did you know that Gordon was first talking with Jack Roush to drive one of famous Ford’s before ending up at Hendrick?

Did you also know that Gordon was originally slated to pilot the 46 car, but conflicts with the producers of the Hollywood Film “Days of Thunder” would put Gordon in the 24 instead.

Gordon would win 93 total times in his Hall of Fame career, and his first would come at the 1994 Coca Cola 600 at Charlotte.

It would be pretty difficult to surprise anyone with who this next driver is, considering the number only has 2 winners, and this guy just won to give the number it’s 100th win.

William Byron is the current driver of the 24, and winner of 7 races and counting. His win at Darlington in the spring of 2023 would be the 100th win for the number.

While Byron has a long ways to go before matching Gordon’s win total in the number, he was able to do something no other driver except Gordon could do, take the 24 to victory lane.

25: 21 wins

We wrap this one up with my personal favorite number. It pains me that the number hasn’t seen a full time season since 2007. It deserves more justice than that.

Enough about my soapbox on the 25. The first to win in the number would be Jack White, back in NASCAR’s inaugural season in 1949, at Hamburg.

This would be White’s only win in his 12 race career. Not a bad winning percentage all things considered.

There have been a couple one time winners in the 25 since Jack White, let’s give them the recognition the deserve below;

  • Jerry Nadeu: 2000 Atlanta
  • Joe Nemechek: 2003 Richmond
  • Brian Vickers: 2006 Talladega

There have also been a couple multi time winners in the 25, they are mentioned below;

  • Dick Linder: 3 wins
  • Ken Schrader: 4 wins

The driver with the most wins in the 25 would be Hollywood himself, Tim Richmond. Richmond would take the 25 to victory lane 9 times.

Hollywood would drive the 25 for Hendrick Motorsports in 1986 and 1987, with 1986 being his only full time season. In 1986 he would score 7 of his 9 victories, and would come home 3rd in the points.

Richmond would fall ill at the conclusion of the 1986 season, which would turn out to be HIV. Richmond would run a partial 1987 schedule, winning 2 more times in the number.

The last time the 25 visited victory lane would be in 2007, at the Coca Cola 600. Casey Mears would get his only career win on a fuel mileage strategy.

There isn’t currently a full time driver of the 25, and that hurts still to this day for me.

The number was last used as a fifth Hendrick ride for development driver turned Champion Chase Elliott to get his feet wet in the Cup series back in 2015.

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