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NASCAR's Most Significant Racers of All-Time: #75-71

The NASCAR world is celebrating their 75th anniversary. With a diamond-year celebration comes many tributes, well-researched analysis, and even some creativity and fun along the way. The thing that I have enjoyed most over my 25 years of being a student of NASCAR is the complex underlying story of the brand. The sport itself is significant to American culture in both good and bad ways. The word 'significant' must be held true.

Many journalists, fans, and other media are currently ranking drivers, teams, and races over the last 75 years looking to tell a story of accolades, statistics, and trivia. I wanted to take a different approach. Over the next several weeks I'll be presenting my list of the 75 most 'significant' racers in NASCAR history. When all is said and done, i'm sure I will have left somebody off of the list you would have included. It isn't said to be a definitive list, but please understand the opinions that come with the project have been thoroughly examined. A complex formula was created to rank drivers for their statistical worth in the sport, but also their historic value. I wanted to tell a story of ...''If this driver had never been in NASCAR, would the sport have changed forever?"

There will be champion drivers that miss the cut. There will be drivers who only started a couple of races who make the list. Some drivers on the list are heroes. Some are considered bad in the consumer's eye. In total 119 drivers were examined for consideration. In this installment, I present drivers ranked 75-71.

#75 - Fonty Flock

NASCAR is a story of families and tradition. One of the first traditions for stock car racing was the concept of moonshining. The Flock brothers, Tim, Bob, and Fonty were true pioneers both in the prohibition style business and behind the wheel. He retired in 1958 after the southern 500. At the time of his final race he was 2nd all-time in career grand national victories.

#74 - Ward Burton

Known for his hard-working approach to life, Ward Burton is the older brother to retired NASCAR veteran Jeff Burton and winner of the 2002 Daytona 500 amongst a lengthy cup career that included loyal sponsor partnerships and a commitment to nature and conservation. Burton prided himself in etiquette on the track and is still known as a loyal friend to many off of it. His son Jeb now races alongside cousin Harrison maintaining a new generation of Burton family lore. Burton has maintained a relationship with the World Wildlife Foundation since they joined on as sponsor of his Bill Davis #22 Dodge in the early 2000s.

#73 - Austin Dillon

Third generation racer Austin Dillon chased a dream of racing for his grandfather in the NASCAR Cup Series throughout a youth sporting career that included an appearance in the Little League World Series and a racing ladder that always wore a bold number 3 on the car door. He has successfully built a relationship with longtime family partner Johnny Morris and in 2013 he put a black #3 Chevy on the pole for the Daytona 500. The story became a legacy in 2018 when he drove the same team's ride to the victory of the Great American Race twenty years after Dale Earnhardt Sr. did the same thing.

#72 - Ryan Blaney

NASCAR's history includes a long list of faces and heels. Third generation racer Ryan Blaney overcame obstacles his father, uncle, and grandfather couldn't when he inked a deal with Team Penske that has earned him a series of wins on some of the circuits toughest tracks. Following in the past legacy of his family, Ryan Blaney is certainly one of the most highly recognized 'faces' in the sport's history. He is successful in maintaining his composure in even his worst moments, and gracefully welcomes in awards and accolades . As the sport enters the newest generation of truly rough stock car racing, he will be remembered as one of the last gentlemen to have ever raced.

#72 - Geoffrey Bodine

Another racing family that must be documented in a thorough look back of the sport is the New York bred Bodine Bunch. The oldest of the three brothers, Geoffrey Bodine was a stern, tough competitor in the 1980s who earned respect from his competitors year by year, never letting down his true grit style even as he entered his later years. He won a Daytona 500 in 1986 but may be best remembered for his lengthy rivalry with Dale Earnhardt Sr. Bodine created an alliance between automakers, the sport of NASCAR, and the US Bobsled team in the 1990s when he created the Bo-Dyn Bobsled. A truly patriotic competitor, he designed and engineered the official bobsled of team USA and has since written books and spoke on behalf of his experience with the team. Fans can still interact with Bodine at bobsled and racing events where he's proud to discuss either career.


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