When you think of Nascar drivers, certain names come to mind. Names like Dale Earnhardt Jr. , Jeff Gordon, and Richard Petty are legendary in the sport. But did you know that there was a Hollywood actor who once drove car number 11?
The actor is none other than Paul Newman. That’s right, the man known for his talent on the big screen also had a passion for racing cars. In fact, he started driving competitively at the age of 47 and even won four national championships throughout his career.
“Racing is the best way I know to get away from all the rubbish of life. “
This quote from Paul Newman perfectly sums up why he loved racing so much. Despite being incredibly successful in Hollywood, he still found joy in pushing himself behind the wheel of a racecar.
But Newman wasn’t just a celebrity “playing” at being a driver. He took his craft seriously and spent countless hours practicing and training to become one of the top racers in his division. In fact, many professional drivers respected him as an equal competitor.
So next time you’re watching old footage of Nascar races or enjoying one live, remember that not every driver has always been solely focused on racing; some have come from different walks of life – including Hollywood royalty like Paul Newman.
The History of the 11 Car
The number 11 car is one of NASCAR’s most iconic numbers, with some legendary drivers having driven it throughout history. One driver, in particular, stands out as memorable for many fans.
In 2005, Joe Gibbs Racing enlisted Denny Hamlin to drive their newly sponsored FedEx #11 Chevrolet Monte Carlo. Hamlin quickly made a name for himself; he won the Sprint Cup Series Rookie of the Year title unanimously after becoming the first rookie to qualify for Chase and winning two races that season.
Before joining Joe Gibbs Racing, various other professional stock car racers had previously taken turns driving the #11 machine. These include Cale Yarborough, Darrell Waltrip and Brett Bodine during different years from its maiden year in the early ’70s up until recently.
“I’ve always been drawn back home like a homing pigeon. ” – Darrell Waltrip on his decision to return to Nashville from Nascar racing
Denny has continued his successful career with JGR and played an essential role in cementing them as one of Nascar’s elite teams over more than 14 seasons so far in which he led his team ending seasons consistently ranking among Top 10 performers or even better rank records by taking top titles on several occasions.
All said then if anyone asks you “Who Used To Drive The 11 Car In Nascar?” there are plenty names including some great series champions who have pushed this car across race tracks since Richard Childress debuted at Charlotte Motor Speedway way back around May of ’72.
The Early Years
In the early years of NASCAR, drivers often came from a variety of backgrounds. Some were moonshiners who had learned to drive fast while running illegal booze during Prohibition. Others were former soldiers looking for an adrenaline rush after serving in World War II. Still, others were plain old thrill-seekers with no particular experience driving anything faster than their dad’s pickup truck.
But there was one driver in particular who stood out as something special: Ned Jarrett. Born and raised in rural North Carolina, Jarrett grew up around cars and developed a passion for racing at a young age. He began his career in local short track events before moving on to NASCAR’s top level in 1953.
“The biggest thing for me was trying to keep that car between the white lines, ” Jarrett once said about his approach to racing.
Over the next decade, Jarrett became known as one of the sport’s most talented drivers behind the wheel of the number 11 car. He won two Cup Series championships (in 1961 and 1965) and dozens of races before retiring from competition in 1966.
Jarrett didn’t stay away from racing entirely, however. In fact, he went on to become a successful team owner and commentator, helping bring NASCAR into the mainstream through his work on television broadcasts and other media outlets.
The Dominant Era
When it comes to NASCAR, many legendary drivers have come and gone throughout the years. Some of these drivers have dominated the sport for periods of time, leaving a lasting legacy on the NASCAR community.
In particular, the number 11 car has seen quite a few talented drivers behind its wheel over the years. However, one driver in particular stands out when it comes to dominance in this car: Cale Yarborough.
“I think I’ve had as much fun as you can have entertaining people. ” – Cale Yarborough
Cale Yarborough saw great success throughout his career with multiple wins and championships. Driving the 11 car from 1974 to 1980, he achieved some of his greatest victories including three consecutive Winston Cup Championships from ’76-’78.
Apart from being an incredibly skilled driver, Yarborough was also known for his friendly personality and charisma both on and off the track. He became one of the most beloved figures in racing history during his time driving the iconic number 11 car.
To sum up, while there have been several successful drivers who once drove the number #11 NASCAR stock racecar, none come quite close to matching Cale Yarborough’s success between ’74-’80 period. His achievements earned him recognition among other legends like Richard Petty or Dale Earnhardt sure make him unforgettable amongst fans where ever are they situated worldwide even today!
The Drivers of the 11 Car
For NASCAR enthusiasts, knowing about the drivers who used to drive the 11 car is essential. Here are some notable names:
Denny Hamlin: Denny Hamlin is a well-known name linked with the 11 car in NASCAR. He started driving the Joe Gibbs Racing number 11 Toyota Camry from 2006 and has continued doing so till today.
Elliott Sadler: Elliott Sadler was another driver who got behind the wheel of the 11 car for Robert Yates Racing. Though he only drove it during select races between 2003-2005, his contribution remains unforgettable.
Brett Bodine: Brett Bodine also deserves mention as one of the prominent figures associated with this vehicle’s history. In total, he competed in more than six Sprint Cup Series seasons while representing Bud Moore Engineering’s iconic red, white, and blue Ford No. 15 machine before transitioning to Bill Davis Racing’s No. 11, ” says Michael Mroczek on Bleacher Report.
“The number eleven at Joe Gibbs racing has become synonymous with its current superstar driver Denny Hamlin. “
In conclusion, many talented racers have driven the famed number twelve NASCAR vehicle throughout its history; each driver contributed their unique style and skills that turned this ride into an icon among race fans worldwide.
The Legendary Driver
When it comes to NASCAR history, there have been many legendary drivers who have left a lasting impact on the sport. One of these drivers is none other than Ned Jarrett.
Jarrett was born in 1932 and began his racing career in the late 1950s. He quickly made a name for himself as an accomplished driver and won his first race in 1960 at the Hickory Motor Speedway.
Who Used To Drive The 11 Car In Nascar? That would be none other than Ned Jarrett. He drove for various teams throughout his career but most notably for Bondy Long Racing where he won two championships back-to-back in 1961 and 1962 while driving the iconic number 11 car.
“I can’t say enough about our team, ” said Jarrett after winning the championship in ’61. “We had some luck go our way, sure, but everyone worked so hard all season long. “
In addition to his wins and championships, Jarrett was known for his smooth driving style and incredible consistency behind the wheel. His technical knowledge also led him to become a commentator after retiring from racing, further cementing his status as a legend of NASCAR.
Ned Jarrett truly embodies what it means to be a legendary driver. From his impressive performance on track to his contributions off-track, he will always be remembered as one of NASCAR’s greatest icons.
The Surprising Replacement
Who used to drive the 11 car in Nascar? Fans of this popular racing sport may remember that it was Denny Hamlin who had been driving for Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR) since his rookie year in 2006.
However, during the Daytona 500 in February 2021, it was a surprising moment for the team’s fans when they saw Christopher Bell at the wheel of the No. 11 Toyota Camry instead of Hamlin.
This left many wondering what happened with Hamiln and why he wasn’t behind the wheel anymore. The answer is simple: he was injured before the race started.
“As everyone knows, I typically race pretty well managing my health, ” Hamlin said. “This week has just been an outlier… Ultimately, I wouldn’t have competed if I didn’t think I could win. ”
Bell proudly became JGR’s new driver while Hamlins healed from his injuries. Despite being a risky move by the team, Bell proved himself as a professional racer and managed to finish in third place at Homestead-Miami Speedway on Sunday after leading seven laps late into the race.
In conclusion, though Denny Hamlin had always been associated with driving JGR’s No. 11 car up until recently due to his injury which made way for Christopher Bell to become their new driver temporarily. It’ll be interesting to see when both drivers compete together again under one stable roof!
The Legacy of the 11 Car
When it comes to NASCAR, number 11 is a significant one with an impressive history. Over time, many excellent drivers have taken the reins of this iconic car and raced their way to success.
Towards the end of his career, Darrell Waltrip was set as the primary driver for the #11 car. Between struggling seasons at times across multiple years, Waltrip established a reputation as a successful competitor in his glory days and solidified this further in later years whenever he drove the famed #11 merchandise van around racetracks across America.
In addition, other notable drivers who used to drive the 11-car include AJ Foyt – Houston’s own racing legend who won four Indy500s – and Cale Yarborough a three-time Winston Cup Series champion and two-time Daytona 500 winner.
“Driving that #11 Chevrolet Monte Carlo early on in my career helped me establish myself as a serious contender out there, ” said Yarborough in an interview back in ’14 describing what racing with Hendrick Motorsports meant. “
Lately, Denny Hamlin has been driving the JGR-operated FedEx-sponsored No. 11 Toyota Camry since joining Joe Gibbs Racing in late 2005 and continues to do so up until today winning numerous races under its auspices while consistently edging closer towards snagging just another championship victory.
All these names synonymous with greatness proves how powerful The Legacy of The 11 Car remains despite changing hands throughout generations.
Impact on Nascar
The departure of a successful driver can have a significant impact on the overall performance and fanbase of NASCAR. Particularly when it comes to drivers who have driven for multiple teams and achieved great success, like those who drove the 11 car.
The question “Who Used To Drive The 11 Car In NASCAR?” brings up a number of notable names in racing history. One such example is Denny Hamlin, who has been driving the number 11 FedEx Toyota Camry for Joe Gibbs Racing since 2006. His winning track record coupled with his popularity among fans has helped elevate the presence of both himself and his team within NASCAR.
However, before Hamlin took over this racing machine, it was previously driven by other skilled racers including Brett Bodine, Geoffrey Bodine, Terry Labonte, and Jason Keller – all contributing in some way towards cementing the legacy of NASCAR as one of America’s favorite sports.
“Some say that losing top-performing drivers can lead NASCAR into uncharted territory, but I believe that transitions are simply part of growing any sport, ” says former racer Tony Stewart.
In conclusion, while there may be concerns about how changes in personnel affect organizations or businesses across industries — especially one as beloved as auto racing–the sport always manages to carry on successfully despite these challenges. “
One of the fan favorites in NASCAR was Tony Stewart who used to drive the 11 car, also known as the FedEx car. Stewart began his career in Indy Cars before transitioning to stock cars and became a three-time Cup Series champion.
In 2005, he made the move to Joe Gibbs Racing where he drove the 20 car for two seasons before switching to the 11 car in 2008. It wasn’t long before Stewart brought success to his new team by winning six races and finishing sixth in points that same year.
Stewart continued driving for JGR until 2011 when he announced he would be leaving the team at the end of the season. He went on to become a co-owner at Stewart-Haas Racing, where he won one championship as both an owner and driver.
“I always wanted to make sure that I left a place better than what it was when I got there, ” said Stewart during his Hall of Fame induction speech in 2020.
Due to his successful racing career and charismatic personality both on and off track, Tony Stewart remains one of NASCAR’s most popular drivers even after retiring from full-time competition in 2016.Overall, fans will never forget watching Tony “Smoke” Stewart behind the wheel of the iconic No. 11 Fedex car while making bold moves on race tracks across America.
Frequently Asked Questions
Who was the first driver to ever drive the 11 car in NASCAR?
The first driver to ever drive the 11 car in NASCAR was Cale Yarborough in 1972. He drove the car in two races that year and finished in the top 10 in both races. Yarborough went on to have a successful career in NASCAR, winning three championships and 83 races.
Who is the most successful driver to have driven the 11 car?
The most successful driver to have driven the 11 car in NASCAR is Denny Hamlin. He has won a total of 44 races in the car, including the Daytona 500 three times. Hamlin has also finished in the top 10 in the championship standings nine times while driving the 11 car.
What years did each driver who drove the 11 car have their tenure behind the wheel?
Cale Yarborough drove the 11 car in 1972, followed by Buddy Baker in 1973-1974. Darrell Waltrip then took over in 1975-1980, followed by Geoffrey Bodine in 1981-1985. Ken Schrader drove the car in 1986-1988, and then Terry Labonte took over in 1989-1994. Brett Bodine drove the car in 1995-1997, followed by Jason Keller in 1998. Steve Park then took over in 1999-2001, and Jerry Nadeau drove the car in 2002-2003. J. J. Yeley drove the car in 2004, and then Denny Hamlin took over in 2005-present.
Who was the last driver to drive the 11 car in NASCAR?
The last driver to drive the 11 car in NASCAR was Denny Hamlin. He is still currently driving the car and has had a successful career with the team, winning multiple races and contending for the championship on numerous occasions.
What were some of the most memorable moments in the history of the 11 car in NASCAR?
Some of the most memorable moments in the history of the 11 car in NASCAR include Darrell Waltrip winning his first championship in the car in 1981, Terry Labonte winning the championship in 1984, and Denny Hamlin winning the Daytona 500 for the first time in 2016. Other notable moments include Steve Park winning his first race in the car at Watkins Glen in 2000 and Hamlin winning his third Daytona 500 in 2019 in a thrilling photo finish.