The most overrated drivers in NASCAR history

Profile Picture: Brandon Coppinger

March 19th, 2020

The NASCAR Cup Series has come to a complete halt, like so many other sports across the world. After a blistering fast start to the season, the COVID-19 pandemic brought out the caution, then the red flag.

The next race could be May 3 in Martinsville, but no one knows what to expect. Until then, let's try to have some fun. Here are most overrated drivers in NASCAR history.

5. Dale Earnhardt Jr.

Earnhardt was one of the most popular drivers in NASCAR history, but expectations over the course of his career were never met. His father, Dale Earnhardt Sr., won seven Cup Series championships. Junior never accomplished a championship.

His average finish over the span of 631 races was 15.8, which is respectable, but if you’re an Earnhardt and NASCAR royalty, it’s about the wins. Junior had 26 wins, but most of his success came on superspeedways, a skill set he definitely acquired from his father.

Junior's best season was in 2003, when he finished third in points. The biggest problem for Junior? His dad was the Michael Jordan of the sport.

4. Juan Pablo Montoya

Montoya came into NASCAR with a lot of hype. He was the 1999 CART Champion and the 2000 Indianapolis 500 winner. He signed on with IndyCar and NASCAR owner Chip Ganassi.

In 255 Cup Series starts, Montoya only captured two wins. His average finish was 19.8, and his best season-standings finish was eighth in 2009.

The biggest noise Montoya made in the Cup Series was the night he hit the jet dryer at Daytona. His tenure was below average for a world-class racer.

3. Kasey Kahne

Kahne was a NASCAR driver who made a career off of one really good year. Kahne won six races in 2006 but somehow finished only eighth in points. After that season it was crickets.

Over his 529 starts, Kahne won 18 races, even though he spent most of career in great racing equipment. His average finish was 17.7. Kahne was given many chances to be great in NASCAR but never made a championship push.

After his early success, many thought his NASCAR career would be special, but that big firework turned into a dud.

2. Kyle Petty

It’s tough being the son of NASCAR royalty. Kyle Petty’s father, Richard Petty, was "the King.” Richard was able to win 200 races during his career, but Kyle only won eight.

In 829 starts Kyle's average finish was 21.3. He spent many seasons winless and never came close to winning a championship. His best season was in 1992, when he won two races and finish fifth in points. He drove for good teams, like Felix Sabates and the Wood Brothers, but never made a big enough splash.

1. Danica Patrick

Patrick is easily the most overrated driver in NASCAR history. She came over to NASCAR after a decent IndyCar career, where she won a race. When she joined NASCAR, Patrick was given some great racing equipment, including a Stewart-Haas car in the Cup Series.

However, in her 191 starts, Patrick's average finish was 24.1. She never finished a race in the top five. In 53,561 laps, she only led 64. She was given tons of exposure but never came close to a win. Her best points finish was 24th in 2015 and 2016.

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