March 26, 2023

As Formulation 1 expands, Motorsport Information desires to know who your favorite American racing driver of all time is. 

Uncle Sam is paying an increasing number of consideration to world motorsport, notably the top-flight of single-seaters.

Whereas on-line streaming providers is likely to be chargeable for a major a part of that, three grands prix within the nation in 2023 implies that Formulation 1 could have not had such illustration within the States since 1982.

The motive force market is beginning to get up too. Williams driver Logan Sargeant would be the first full-time American incumbent of a grand prix experience in 2023 since 2006, when Scott Velocity lined up with the Toro Rosso workforce (now AlphaTauri).

Right here, we select 10 of the most effective from the land of alternative, and we’d love so that you can inform us who your favorite American racing driver is. Merely take a look at our picks under and click on in your favorite to make your voice heard. The outcomes shall be printed in Motorsport Information in the beginning of February, so get considering.

You should definitely take a look at Quick Automobile’s prime 10 American muscle vehicles of all time. 

Who’re your favorite American racing drivers? Meet the contenders

AJ Foyt

There isn’t anybody else who has taken half in three World championship grands prix on the Brickyard between 1958 and 1960 and likewise taken half in his final Indy 500 an unbelievable 34 years later, however AJ Foyt has.

The now 87-year-old rapidly adopted a hard-as-nails driving type, which was perhaps a mirrored image on a troublesome upbringing, however his natty race apparel of a silk shirt and white trousers led to him changing into often called ‘Fancy Pants’. He had an perspective realized on the no-nonsense quick ovals and it stood him in good stead.

Foyt mixed single-seater racing with tin-tops and rapidly grew to become adept at each. His performances within the forerunner to what’s now IndyCar, USAC, had been merely sensational. He took his fourth USAC title in 1964, the identical season he claimed his first NASCAR victory. He would go on to say 4 Indy 500 wins between 1961 and 1977, the Daytona 500 in 1972 – oh sure, and he additionally took trip to win Le Mans in 1967 alongside Dan Gurney in one of many manufacturing unit Ford GT40s.

Following his profession behind the wheel, the Texan went on to kind his personal workforce, AJ Foyt Enterprises, which continues to make its mark within the frontline of Indycar racing to this present day. He’s an ever-present within the paddocks and has a eager eye on historical past. Foyt is one among a form.

Richard Petty

Richard Petty

For the American viewers to crown its personal King is a worthy accolade in its personal proper. However the seven-time NASCAR champion Richard Petty was one of many first outwardly dealing with racers who knew the worth of his personal persona and of getting the followers to go on the journey with him.

The son of three-time NASCAR champion Lee, Richard, after ending second thrice, lastly claimed the title spoils for himself in 1964. That was the beginning of a golden interval and the motive force, so typically related to STP sponsorship (after promising his mom he wouldn’t settle for alcohol backing), went on to say seven crowns.


The final was in 1979 and he’s nonetheless tied with Dale Earnhardt and Jimmie Johnson as the motive force with essentially the most NASCAR titles below his belt. Petty took half in practically 1200 NASCAR races and received the Daytona 500 seven instances. He took half in an unbeaten 513 consecutive race begins. But it surely was his Stetson-wearing carrying, dark-glasses sporting model that made him some of the recognisable males not solely on the grid, however in most of the people’s psyche as an entire. Is Richard your favorite American racing driver?

Mario Andretti

Mario Andretti

There was one thing so endearing about Mario Andretti’s ambition to win Le Mans. The 1979 Formulation 1 World champion was nonetheless competing within the French basic by means of to 2000 in his quest so as to add that accolade to success in World Sportscar Championship rounds, the Indy 500 and NASCAR.

In the end, he failed in his mission to say success at La Sarthe, however his repeated makes an attempt to overcome La Sarthe exhibits the aggressive spirit throughout the man and his undiluted pleasure of racing vehicles.

He was one other to begin on the quick ovals alongside his trouble Aldo, however Mario’s star would shine the brightest. The Italian immigrant took his first USAC title in 1965 and went on to say 4 in whole, with the final coming in 1984. Oh sure, and there was a Daytona 500 NASCAR win so as to add to that in 1967 too.

However maybe Andretti’s most vital achievement was being the US’s finest export in racing phrases. His first F1 outing got here with Lotus in 1968 and he went on to drive for Ferrari, however a reunion with Lotus in 1977 noticed him hit the worldwide stage. Profitable the World title in 1978 was the crowning glory, though many pointed to a ground-effect automotive benefit. That was to underplay the achievements of the person himself.

Rick Mears

Rick Mears

Rick Mears definitely took his probabilities once they got here. Penske picked up the Dash racer early on in his profession. He was given an opportunity to deputise for its common driver, Mario Andretti, when Andretti was away racing in Europe or all over the world.

A part of Mears’s deal included the Indy 500, and the Kansas driver caught the machine on the entrance row for the showpiece race on his debut in 1978. Whereas that race didn’t show a hit, he received on the collection’ return go to 12 months later. It was the primary of his 4 victories on the Brickyard together with his final coming in 1988 and he’s a driver so readily related to Pennzoil sponsorship.

He scored three CART championship victories between 1979 and 1982 and was racing competitively on the Indy 500 as much as 10 years later, though some sizeable accidents had begun to creep in. Mears’ main successes all got here on the wheel of vehicles run by Roger Penske, and he helped the workforce proprietor set up his personal popularity as huge participant in motorsport.

Dale Earnhardt

Dale Earnhardt - american racing driver

I as soon as had the privilege of interviewing Dale Earnhardt Sr. It was within the Nice Room of the Grosvenor Home Lodge on the Autosport Awards in 1996.

I used to be an outsider as a result of I used to be from Motoring Information, however it was my total night’s mission. I simply needed to get in entrance of him and ask some questions. It took a great three hours of door-stepping his each transfer, however I lastly received there. There he sat, on this darkened room however together with his trademark shades on. As a junior journo, I had my questions ready.

See also  What Is Britain’s Favourite Rally Car? Vote Now!

I hit him with my first one: “So, Dale, how does it really feel to have the nickname ‘The Intimidator’? Is it truthful?”

He took without end to answer. There was an consumption of breath, a chew on the compulsory cigar, and a solution in a really gradual southern drawl. “Properly, boy, I assume you higher ask the others who name me about that, not me…”

The seven-time NASCAR title-winner lastly took his one and solely Daytona 500 win a number of months after I had spoken to him. It was the crowning spotlight of his 76 NASCAR wins. However Earnhardt was a high-water mark in NASCAR. He was both liked or hated by NASCAR followers, however the Man in Black didn’t care. He did issues his personal approach. Is Dale your favorite American racing driver?

Phil Hill

Phil Hill - american racing driver

There isn’t any doubt that Phil Hill bucked the development. Most post-war early buccaneers of grand prix racing had been exhausting as nails drivers, introduced up on a weight loss program or derring-do and bravado. Hill was a quiet, placid California-raised man with a eager eye on all that was good about life and a dedication to changing into the most effective he may.

Hill left the USA early to comply with his dream. He got here to Europe as a mechanic, working for Lotus whereas racing on the similar time. Ferrari took discover of his potential behind the wheel and signed him to its sportscar programme within the mid-Nineteen Fifties earlier than being transferred to the F1 assault full time for the primary time in 1960 after selecting up a few second place finishes throughout his programme the yr earlier than. His major rival for the championship in 1961 was team-mate Wolfgang von Journeys however when the German was killed in a crash within the Italian Grand Prix, Hill was assured of the crown on a day tinged with disappointment.

Hill went on to win at Daytona in 1964, Sebring (thrice) and Le Mans (thrice) however the urgency had gone out of his need to compete following the tragic approach wherein he claimed the World title.

Dan Gurney

Dan Gurney - american racing driver

When his household moved to Riverside in California when he was a young person, the outcomes would have an effect on the remainder of Dan Gurney’s life. He discovered kindred spirits on the close by racetrack and it fed his ardour for engineering alongside his curiosity in racing vehicles.

Success in home sportscar occasions on the monitor introduced him to the eye of the North American Racing Workforce, which took him to Le Mans in 1958. A crash by his co-driver meant he failed to complete, nonetheless, he had made the suitable impression and was provided a take a look at by the official manufacturing unit Ferrari workforce. He began his first Formulation 1 race with the Scuderia in 1959. He went on to take Porsche’s maiden World championship grand prix victory in 1962.

Teaming up with Carroll Shelby to create the All American Racers -Anglo American Racers when it appeared in F1 – Gurney made historical past when he took the US-based Eagle to success within the Belgian GP in 1967. His partnership with Shebly additionally led to a well-known victory at Le Mans in that very same season alongside AJ Foyt within the GT40 Mk IV.

Alongside his sportscar and F1 success, Gurney was a winner within the British Saloon Automobile Championship, NASCAR and the USAC single-seater collection too. His All American Racing workforce went on to large success, and he was, partly, chargeable for the creation of the CART set of single-seater laws for the US scene in 1979.


Jeff Gordon

Jeff Gordon - american racing driver

It isn’t an exaggeration to say that Jeff Gordon modified the face of NASCAR racing when he burst onto the scene within the early Nineties. The younger upstart was not from the common pool of Good Ole Boys which had dominated the self-discipline for thus lengthy, and he was seen with suspicion by the common pack.

After an early profession on the quick ovals and in Dash Vehicles, Gordon spent two full years within the second tier Busch collection in 1991 and 1992 earlier than shifting into the primary Winston Cup collection in 1993. His win in any respect prices perspective nonetheless continued to upset the regulars, with Darrell Waltrip stating that Gordon “hit every thing however the tempo automotive” in his early races, although he picked up the Rookie of the Yr awards.

His first of what would go on to be an eye-watering 93 NASCAR Cup Collection wins in Charlotte in 1994 and it was a profitable streak that might take him to 4 titles between 1995 and 2001. He took his final win in 2015, one yr earlier than he stepped away from the collection for good. Is Jeff your favorite American racing driver?

Al Unser Sr

Al Unser - American racing driver

One other to graduate by means of Dash Vehicles, Al Unser’s father and his two brothers additionally tackled motorsport.

Each of Al’s brothers, Jerry and Bobby, raced at Indy (an occasion Bobby received in 1968). Al practically beat him to glory in Indiana with a second place in 1967, two laps down on winner AJ Foyt.

It was solely one other 4 years earlier than Unser took the primary of his 4 victories on the Brickyard when he drove for Parnelli Jones Racing.

It was the primary of 4 wins on the monitor, with the ultimate one coming in a last-minute cope with Penske to take over from an injured Danny Ongias.

Regardless of having tackled sportscar racing NASCAR and the Worldwide Race of Champions, it was the USA’s top-flight single-seater collection the place he loved nearly all of his notoriety and that was heightened when his son Al Junior, who would go on to turn into a two-time title and Indy 500 winner, joined him on the grid in 1982.

Jimmie Johnson

Jimmie Johnson - american racing driver

The Jimmie Johnson story won’t be fairly completed but. The Californian is one among three males to have received the NASCAR title on seven events however, regardless of switching to race in IndyCar for the final couple of seasons, the 47-year-old has now stepped again from a full-time experience.

As a substitute, the 83-time NASCAR race winner will cherry-pick a few of the highest profile races for 2023 whereas additionally turning has hand to workforce possession for the primary time. For instance, he has focused the Indy 500 and the NASCAR race at Charlotte on the identical day.

Jeff Gordon noticed Johnson’s talen, who persuaded workforce boss Rick Hendrick to offer him an opportunity in 2002. Johnson was runner up in simply his second full marketing campaign and took his first title in 2006. It was to start a interval of domination for the quantity 48 machine.

His change to single-seater racing in 2021 introduced many headlines and whereas he didn’t win a spherical, his tempo was admirable. He has unfinished enterprise on the Brickyard. Is Jimmie your favorite American racing driver? Vote now!