Today I wanted to take another trip to the world of NASCAR and look at the Top 10 NASCAR number designs of all-time. These are the numbers that you see and immediately know the driver, the history, and the success of the car bearing that number. These are numbers that are great designs that stand the test of time.
I know many of you are probably wondering why I grab on to NASCAR subjects so much, but if you think about it, no sport is as graphic design-dependent as NASCAR. With all of the sponsor logos, car designs and multitudes of other graphics, NASCAR is a sport loaded with graphic design, everywhere you look.
Here's the list:
#10 The #5:
The #5 of the Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet comes in at #10 on the list. The #5 car has a rich history and a championship on its resume'. This number style is almost immediately associated with Terry Labonte and the many great seasons he spent behind the wheel of this car, winning a Winston Cup championship piloting the Kellogg's Chevrolet. This #5 has also had Casey Mears and Kyle Busch as its driver. Kyle Busch's success (and controvery) has allowed the #5 to remain fresh in our minds. NASCAR legend Mark Martin is the current driver of the #5, returnig to full-time competition in 2009 and adding to the history of this top 10 number style.
#9 The #7
When you think of this number 7, you immediately think of the late Winston Cup Champion Alan Kulwicki. With sposorship from Hooter's and the championship success of 1992, the #7 is still a classic number style that immediately brings back great memories of the former champion. Kulwicki was a driver who did things his way and made this #7 famous with his unique style and hard work. After Kulwicki's utragic death in 1993, the team was purchased and driven by Geoff Bodine. The #7 still runs today with Robby Gordon, but will always be remembered as the number of Alan Kulwicki.
#8 The #48
In the last three seasons, there is definitely no number style more recognizable than the #48 of Jimmie Johnson. With three straight Sprint Cup championships, the #48 has dominated the field the last three seasons. The teaming of Hendrick Motorsports, Jimmie Johnson and Chad Knaus have made the #48 Lowe's Chevrolet the car to beat each weekend. Jimmie has become today's most dominant driver and with his continued success, the #48 will continue to climb the charts. Easily one of the most recognizable for today's fans, the #48 comes in at #8.
#7 The #18
Making the list at #7 is the #18 of the Joe Gibbs racing car. The #18, currently driven by Kyle Busch is a number style with a history of great drivers behind the wheel. The number style was originally made famous by Dale Jarrett. Jarrett was the first driver to take the wheel of the famous Interstate Batteries #18. Jarrett made the car famous by winning the Daytona 500 with his famous father calling him to the finish line from the TV booth. After Jarrett left to drive the #28, Bobby Labonte took over driving duties for the #18, winning a championship in the #18. Current driver Kyle Busch is one of the most successful drivers on the circuit today and keeps the #18 in our minds with his skilled driving and ability to keep the fans entertained and annoyed.
#6 The #2
The number style coming in at #6 is the Penske #2. This number 2 design was made famous by one of the all-time fan favorites, Rusty Wallace. Rusty's black and gold #2 Miller Genuine Draft cars were some of the easiest to recognize. With a popular sponsorship and an outspoken personality, Rusty was a favorite of many. The car switched to its more familiar blue of today with Rusty behind the wheel, still using the same #2 design. Today the car is driven by former series champion Kurt Busch. Busch has had great success behind the wheel of the #2, but it will likely always be remembered as Rusty's #2.
#5 The #8
This #8, driven at the time by Dale Earnhardt jr. is definitely worthy of top 10 status. Even though Dale Jr. no longer pilots the #8 for Dale Earnhardt Inc., this number is still associated with him. The #8 was one of the most popular cars on the track with Dale Jr. behind the wheel and a ton of merchandise was sold featuring this famous number style. Even today you will see this famous number 8 on the back window of cars going down the road everywhere. This number would be higher on the list if Dale were still behind the wheel, but is definitely one of the most recognizable number styles ever.
#4 The #28
Coming in at number 4 on the list is the Robert Yates Racing/Texaco Havoline #28. Though this number recently left the track, it is one of the all-time classics. This number was made famous by the late Davey Allison. His success in the #28 car made it one of the legendary rides in the history of NASCAR. The car had an All-Star roster of drivers starting with Allison and also including Ernie Irvan, Dale Jarrett, Kenny Irwin Jr. and Ricky Rudd. The #28 Texaco Havoline car was one of the cars to beat each week at the track. This number definitely belongs among the greatest ever.
#3 The #24
Number three on our list is the #24 of 4-time NASCAR champion Jeff Gordon. The number was made famous on Jeff's original rainbow colored DuPont Chevrolets. The Hendrick Motorsports driver has won 4 NASCAR championships and has scored 82 career wins behind the wheel of the #24. Jeff Gordon has a legion of loyal fans and has had his share of detractors as well, making him one of the most visible drivers ever. One of the most successful drivers in the history of the sport, Jeff continues to make this #24 famous and has become one of the elder statesman on the circuit. The legend of this number style will continue to grow as Jeff continues to experience more of his trademark on-track success, like winning on Sunday at Texas.
#2 The #43
The number in the second spot in our countdown needs no introduction. It is the #43 of Richard Petty. This number is completely intertwined with the history of the sport. No driver has won more races than Richard Petty, and his famous #43 is an American icon. The combination of the 43 and Petty blue is familiar to fans and non-fans alike. The #43 has been a part of many of the greatest moments in the history of the sport. Though the original Petty Enterprises has fundamentally changed, you can still see the #43 on the track today. The number has not seen as much recent success as it had with The King behind the wheel, but it is one of the greatest sports icons of all-time.
#1 The #3
You could definitely make a case for the #43 to occupy this position, but the number one spot in our Top-10 goes to the unmistakable #3 of Dale Earnhardt. The #3 has not been seen on the track since Dale Earnhardt's death in 2001, but is still the most recognizable image in all of NASCAR. You can't get anywhere near a NASCAR event and not see this famous #3 and the black GM Goodwrench Chevrolet of the Intimidator. Dale Earnhardt had (and still has) one of the most loyal fan bases in all of sports. The #3 can still be seen everywhere you look and will be a number style that will be recognized for generations to come. Dale Earnhardt's story is one of a true American hero and his #3 will always be associated with that legend.