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Old 22 Nov 2001, 10:14 (Ref:177651)   #1
Ax Slinger
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"Burning Questions" on NASCAR.COM

In the latest installment of "Burning Questions", NASCAR.COM shows it's writers have a noticable lack of knowledge of the sport once again.

Burning Questions: New Hampshire

1. Is Jeff Gordon the best ever?

He'll never win the 200 races Richard Petty did and he may not even equal Petty and Dale Earnhardt's seven Winston Cup titles.


I have just a wee little problem with that first question and his answer. First off, that question just reeks of a teenage star-struck race car driver fan. I can just see "the hand" waving as the question is asked... But the answer is even more rediculous. Never say never when you talk about someone like Jeff Gordon. It just makes them push all the harder to prove you're wrong.

He was kind enough to provide Jeff Gordon and Dale Earnhardt's stats, but let's look at all three of them in a little more detail.

Richard Petty
35 Year Career with 7 Championships in 1964, 1967, 1971, 1972, 1974, 1975, 1979, an average of 1 Championship for every 5.00 years.
Won his first championship in his fifth season.
200 Wins in 1184 Starts, an average of 1 win for every 5.92 races.
555 Top 5 Finishes, an average of 1 Top 5 for every 2.13 races.
712 Top 10 Finishes, an average of 1 Top 10 for every 1.66 races.
136 Pole positions, an average of 1 Pole for every 9.40 races.


Dale Earnhardt
21 Year Career with 7 Championships in 1980, 1986, 1987, 1990, 1991, 1993, 1994, an average of 1 Championship for every 3.00 years.
Won his first championship in his second season.
76 wins in 676 career starts, an average of 1 win for every 8.89 races.
281 Top 5 Finishes, an average of 1 Top 5 for every 2.40 races.
428 Top 10 Finishes, an average of 1 Top 10 for every 1.57 races.
22 Pole Positions, an average of 1 Pole for every 30.72 races.


Jeff Gordon
9 Year Career with 4 Championships in 1995, 1997, 1998, 2001, an average of 1 Championship for every 2.25 years.
Won his first championship in his third season.
58 Wins in 292 Starts, an average of 1 win for every 5.03 races.
148 Top 5 Finishes, an average of 1 Top 5 for every 1.97 races.
190 Top 10 Finishes, an average of 1 Top 10 for every 1.53 races.
40 Pole Positions, an average of 1 Pole for every 7.30 races.


From where I sit, it looks like Jeff Gordon has a good lead in overall career stats, specially when consider how long he's been driving. And one other consideration is that he's still driving. If he continues to do as well as he has so far, and manages to drive for 35 years as Petty did, I would say that he has a very good chance of surpassing both of their records.

If he maintains his average of 1 Championship for every 2.25 years of racing for the next 26 years, to match Petty's 35 years as a driver, that would give him somewhere around 16 Championships. Even if you consider that there are not as many races run in a season as there were when Petty was driving which contributes to the challenge of beating Petty's 200 Wins record, if Gordon were to win an average of 6 races a year for that 26 years, he could have a total of 214 Wins. And again I say "if", but it could be done. Never indeed. We'll see about that.

Of course, I still find it highly amusing that it took 2\3 of this season, and countless letters to NASCAR.COM (I wrote 3 myself), before Joe Macenka finally fixed his article about Dale Earnhardt in which he said Petty had 8 championships. Not to mention that his idea of a tribute to Dale Earnhardt is to compare him to Richard Petty, which is tacky at best. I wasn't even all that much of an Earnhardt fan, and it irritated me.
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Old 22 Nov 2001, 14:18 (Ref:177727)   #2
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Interesting STATS.

I do not like the idea of comparing drivers for the different era's.

Richard was THE driver of his time-
Then came Darrell
Followed up by Dale
Now Gordon.....

Who will be next? Only time will tell. (I'm hoping one of my dudes!)

Yeah- I've had a problem with NASCAR.coms reporting myself.
I do not take the time to write letters & call them on their mistakes.
Thanks for doing it!
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Old 22 Nov 2001, 19:20 (Ref:177856)   #3
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Didn't NASCAR let TNT or CNNSI do their web housing for them?

There seems to be alot of articles on that site that are written on CNN/SI.com . I wonder if anyone within the NASCAR organization realises what's on the content of their 'official' website.

Also Richard Petty ran in the old days where they had a lot more races.

I noticed they've (nascar.com) now updated their results section as far back as 1996.

I feel that nascar.com is more concerned about selling official merchandise
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Old 22 Nov 2001, 19:27 (Ref:177859)   #4
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Interesting stuff Tim, you did a good job pulling all that together. There is little doubt that nascar.com is pretty worthless these days.

It is a dangerous excercise comparing drivers from different era's, as it usually just seems to fuel arguments. The thing that I find interesting with this, however, is that it is generally accepted that WC is much more competitive now than it was 20 and 30 years ago, yet Gordon is turning better numbers! Records are made to broken, and Gordon may be the one to break them - or not. It doesn't matter that much to me who the record breaker ends up being; the one thing that I DO NOT want to see is outright domination - that would not be a good thing.

BB, Turner sports took over the production of the web site this year as part of the new broadcast deal with Fox and NBC/Turner. They should have stuck with ESPN!
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Old 22 Nov 2001, 21:05 (Ref:177886)   #5
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Yep Emfa-
You are right----
Total domination of one driver isn't any fun.
Unless of course it's one of MY dudes!
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Old 22 Nov 2001, 21:52 (Ref:177908)   #6
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Originally posted by Emfa
Interesting stuff Tim, you did a good job pulling all that together. There is little doubt that nascar.com is pretty worthless these days.
Thanks... And that was my point. All it takes is a little research to look all this stuff up. And it is all right there on NASCAR.COM in the "Know You NASCAR" section, IF they bothered to look. Normally I would question that as well, given that it is on NASCAR.COM, but that particular section is copied from the old site from last year, when it was considerably better.

It wasn't my intention to compare them as drivers from different times. I only wanted to demonstrate that if you look at the numbers, total races ran vs. wins, etc., that Jeff Gordon has a very good chance to match or surpass them statistically. Not that he could take the title of "The King" away from Petty, because he will always be "The King", and nobody can ever take that from him any more than they could take it from Elvis, the other "King". And it goes without saying that nobody intimidates like "The Intimidator". But while the seasons may be different, a race is a race, and a win is a win, so my ststistical run down makes sense. (To me at least. I can't speak for anybody else... )

Ever since this year's TV deal, Turner Sports Interactive, CNNSI, and a few others have been writing all the stories of NASCAR.COM, so it's obvious to me it's all tied together in some way. I mean look at the TV coverage this year. Fox and FX are basically one in the same, and as much could be said for TNT and NBC in the second half of the season. And we all know CNN is a Turner station, or at least it used to be before he sold everything to Time Warner, who are now partners with AOL. That bit about 8 championships for Petty was rediculous, considering all the stats are readily available in the "Know You NASCAR" section, which Richard Petty is the spokesman for on TNT. And since it was about him, you would think they would strive to be just a tad more accurate in their reporting. Or at the very least, do enough research to not make themselves look like a bunch of idiots.
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Old 23 Nov 2001, 14:26 (Ref:178113)   #7
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In order to get a true overall perspective here, we will have to wait for another ten years and see how Jeff does during that time. Jeff could become Terry Labonte-like all of a sudden and could be relegated to just another great driver.
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Old 23 Nov 2001, 16:30 (Ref:178170)   #8
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Don't wory everyone i will be your savior i don't know if Jeff Gordon will get seven or eight championships,but i do know that i will get a couple more than he will.
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Old 24 Nov 2001, 01:24 (Ref:178347)   #9
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Originally posted by Budmakesmewiser
Don't wory everyone i will be your savior i don't know if Jeff Gordon will get seven or eight championships,but i do know that i will get a couple more than he will.
Hey kid, go out there and earn our respect, instead of demanding it !
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Old 24 Nov 2001, 02:36 (Ref:178355)   #10
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Originally posted by The Beer Baron
Hey kid, go out there and earn our respect, instead of demanding it!
Yeah, kid. Here is everything you need to be a champion. Now get out there and show us what ya got.
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Old 24 Nov 2001, 02:56 (Ref:178360)   #11
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LOL at that Tim!
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