The 10 Best NASCAR Teams Of All Time (Full List)

Share this article

NASCAR has seen many successful teams over the sport’s long history. Some of the best drivers in the sport can attribute many of their wins and championships to the team they drove for. Knowing this, you may wonder who the best NASCAR teams of all time are. 

The 10 best NASCAR teams of all time are:

  1. Hendrick Motorsports
  2. Petty Enterprises
  3. Richard Childress Racing
  4. Junior Johnson & Associates
  5. Joe Gibbs Racing
  6. Team Penske
  7. RFK Racing
  8. Stewart-Haas Racing
  9. Yates Racing
  10. AK Racing

Below, we will discuss what it means when we refer to NASCAR teams. We will then dive into more detail about the 10 best NASCAR teams of all time, before we further break down the five most successful teams by wins and championships, and which team is the best on the current grid.

The purple, white and yellow number 9 car of Hendrick Motorsport NASCAR driver Chase Elliot crossing the start/finish line at Dover Motor Speedway, The Best NASCAR Drivers Of All Time

Drivers, Teams & Organizations In NASCAR

In NASCAR, you will hear the terms driver, team and organization thrown around. NASCAR, while it appears to be an individual endeavor, is actually a team sport. There are between 36 and 40 drivers racing around a NASCAR track, but there are only between 16 and 20 teams at a given race. 

This can cause confusion among new fans when they hear the words teammates when the broadcast refers to a pair of drivers. In the 1990s, Jeff Gordon and Terry Labonte were separate drivers, but they drove for the same race team, Hendrick Motorsports. They had different pit crews, crew chiefs, sponsors, and car numbers, but they raced under team owner Rick Hendrick

It wasn’t uncommon for the broadcast to say Jeff Gordon was leading the race, followed by his teammate, Terry Labonte, or vice versa. You can tell when drivers are teammates, because they are often seen helping one another reach the front of the pack, and tend to only race each other toward the last stage of the race. 

Teammates also race under the same manufacturer (Chevrolet, Ford, or Toyota). The same was the case back when Pontiac and Dodge ran in the Cup Series. You may also hear the term ‘organization’ thrown around, and it is one that can be used interchangeably with the word ‘team.’ 

The Most Successful NASCAR Team Of All Time

Hendrick Motorsports is the most successful NASCAR team of all time. The team formed in 1984, and they have since won the most Cup Series championships ever, with 14 title wins (plus 1 Xfinity and 3 Truck Series titles). They have won more than 290 races, and their cars have been on pole 239 times. 

In their first season, they were known as All-Star Racing, before switching to the Hendrick name in 1985. They became a two-car team in 1986, before expanding to three cars in 1989, and finally fielding a fourth car, originally piloted by the great Jimmie Johnson, in 2002. 

The 10 Best NASCAR Teams Of All Time

1. Hendrick Motorsports

Active: 1984-present | Wins: 291 | Championships: 14 | Notable Drivers: Jeff Gordon, Jimmie Johnson, Kasey Kahne, Dale Earnhardt Jr, Terry Labonte, Kyle Busch, Chase Elliott, Kyle Larson

Hendrick Motorsports won their first championship in 1995 with Jeff Gordon as the star driver. Terry Labonte won the team’s second title, before Gordon won in 1997 and 1998, creating the team’s first dynasty. Gordon won another championship in 2001, before Jimmie Johnson took over and won seven championships. 

2. Petty Enterprises

Active: 1949-2008 | Wins: 268 | Championships: 10 | Notable Drivers: Lee Petty, Richard Petty, Kyle Petty, Bobby Hamilton, John Andretti 

Petty Enterprises was NASCAR’s first dominant team, winning the Cup Series Championship 10 times between 1954 and 1979. Richard Petty, arguably the greatest NASCAR driver of all time, drove for the team his father, Lee Petty, founded in 1949. From 1980 until 2008, the team’s dominance dwindled, and they ultimately merged with Evernham Motorsports. 

However, the team has two spiritual successors. Richard Petty Motorsports took over in 2009 following the merger with Evernham. This incarnation lasted until 2021, when they rebranded as Petty GMS Motorsports in an agreement between Richard Petty and Maury and Spencer Gallagher. Jimmie Johnson joined as part-owner in 2022. 

3. Richard Childress Racing

Active: 1969-present | Wins: 113 | Championships: 6 | Notable Drivers: Dale Earnhardt, Kyle Busch, Kevin Harvick

Richard Childress Racing (RCR) got off to a rough start, but when Dale Earnhardt gained prominence throughout the 1980s, so did the team. Between 1986 and 1994, RCR won six championships. Following the death of Dale Earnhardt in 2001, the team fell on tougher times and they have been unable to reclaim their dominant ways. 

4. Junior Johnson & Associates

Active: 1965-1996 | Wins: 132 | Championships: 6 | Notable Drivers: Bobby Allison, Bobby Isaac, Cale Yarborough, Darrell Waltrip, Neil Bonnett, Bill Elliott

When Junior Johnson retired, he lamented that his team could have won more championships had they kept Bobby Allison aboard. Instead, it was Cale Yarborough and Darrell Waltrip that took three championships apiece. Yarborough scored a three-peat between 1976 and 1978 before Waltrip collected the final three in 1981, 1982, and 1985. 

Like Petty Enterprises, the team had a spiritual successor in Brett Bodine Racing, which opened in 1996 after driver Brett Bodine bought the team. Johnson stepped down in 1994 and handed the reins to Bodine in 1995, but the owner-driver bought the team outright in 1996. Bodine raced as an owner-driver until 2003, and the team shut down for good. 

5. Joe Gibbs Racing

Active: 1992-present | Wins: 200 | Championships: 5 | Notable Drivers: Kyle Busch, Denny Hamlin, Bobby Labonte, Tony Stewart, Joey Logano

Joe Gibbs made a name for himself as a Super Bowl-winning NFL coach. Following the 1991 season, he took his talents to the NASCAR Cup Series, where his team has won five championships since its founding in 1992. The first one came in 2000, with Bobby Labonte at the helm, and Tony Stewart followed up two seasons later to win his first of three championships (his first of two with JGR). 

6. Team Penske

Active: 1972-present | Wins: 138 | Championships: 3 | Notable Drivers: Rusty Wallace, Joey Logano, Brad Keselowski, Kurt Busch 

Formerly called Penske Racing, Team Penske won three championships between 2012 and 2022, making them one of the most dominant teams over the 2010s and early 2020s. They gained prominence starting in 1991, when NASCAR great Rusty Wallace joined the team and became a permanent fixture until his retirement following the 2005 season. 

7. RFK Racing

Active: 1988-present | Wins: 138 | Championships: 2 | Notable Drivers: Mark Martin, Matt Kenseth, Brad Keselowski, Jeff Burton, Carl Edwards, Greg Biffle, Kurt Busch, Jamie McMurray

You may know RFK Racing as Roush Racing or Roush-Fenway Racing. Founded in 1988, this team is better than the two championships they have won in their existence. They employed Hall of Fame worthy drivers like Mark Martin, Carl Edwards, and Jeff Burton, three of the best names in NASCAR that never hoisted the Cup. 

While RFK Racing has shrunk in recent seasons, they were the largest team in NASCAR during the mid-2000s. During that period, RFK fielded five cars, and almost all of them either found themselves in the Chase for the Cup or just outside of it. 

8. Stewart-Haas Racing

Active: 2002-present | Wins: 69 | Championships: 2 | Notable Drivers: Tony Stewart, Clint Bowyer, Kevin Harvick, Kurt Busch, Ryan Newman, Danica Patrick

Stewart-Haas Racing traces its history to 2002, when Gene Haas founded the team as Haas CNC Racing. However, the team struggled during its formative years and gained prominence when Tony Stewart took over as 50% owner in 2009. Since then, Stewart-Haas Racing has been among the most consistent teams in the Cup Series, with two championships to show for it. 

9. Yates Racing

Active: 1989-2009 | Wins: 58 | Championships: 1 | Notable Drivers: Dale Jarrett, Davey Allison, Ernie Irvan, Ricky Rudd

Yates Racing may be the unluckiest team on this list. They won their first and only championship in 1999 with Dale Jarrett at the helm, but we are talking about a team that has employed a plethora of remarkable drivers over the years. Davey Allison is one name that stands out, and he was one of NASCAR’s fastest-rising drivers until his tragic death in 1993. 

His replacement, Ernie Irvan, was battling Dale Earnhardt for the 1994 title. Unfortunately, Irvan suffered a basilar skull fracture during a practice session in Michigan. This caused Irvan to miss the rest of the 1994 season and half of the 1995 season, and while still a successful driver, he was never the same after his crash. 

10. AK Racing

Active: 1982-1993 | Wins: 5 | Championships: 1 | Notable Drivers: Alan Kulwicki

AK Racing had just five wins during their 10-year history, all by owner-driver Alan Kulwicki. This team often lacked sponsorship and the superior equipment of NASCAR’s bigger teams. They had few employees and high turnover in the garage area because of Kulwicki’s high standards. But this didn’t stop them from pulling off one of the greatest upsets in NASCAR history. 

In 1992, Kulwicki won the championship with this small team and was set to defend it in 1993. AK Racing dissolved, however, following Kulwicki’s death in a plane crash in April 1993. Geoff Bodine purchased the assets and various spiritual successors continued until 2012, when Robby Gordon shut down the team for good because he lacked adequate sponsorship. 

The 5 Most Successful NASCAR Teams By Race Wins

1. Hendrick Motorsports

Active: 1984-present | Wins: 291

Jeff Gordon and Jimmie Johnson were Hendrick Motorsports’ two biggest stars between 1992 and 2020. Together, they won 176 races, and they are regarded as two of the greatest drivers in NASCAR history. Longevity continues to serve Hendrick Motorsports well, as drivers like Chase Elliott and Kyle Larson are already two of the most successful drivers in the 2020s. 

2. Petty Enterprises

Active: 1949-2008 | Wins: 268 

Like Hendrick Motorsports, Petty Enterprises had two drivers that dominated their wins column in Lee and Richard Petty. Lee took 54 wins between 1949 and 1964 while Richard won 200 races between 1960 and 1984. Richard’s most notable wins came during the 1959 Daytona 500, the 1979 Daytona 500, and the 1984 Firecracker 500, which marked his 200th victory. 

3. Joe Gibbs Racing

Active: 1992-present | Wins: 200

Joe Gibbs is one of those car owners who only knows how to win in professional sports. He did it during his NFL days when he won three Super Bowls between 1982 and 1991 and scored 154 total game wins. In NASCAR, his success was not immediate. However, the team’s fortunes changed when Dale Jarrett won the 1993 Daytona 500. 199 wins later, JGR has the third most victories in NASCAR history. 

4. Team Penske 

Active: 1972-present | Wins: 138 

Roger Penske is one of the most successful team owners in motorsports history, and he is currently tied for fourth in NASCAR history with 138 trips to Victory Lane. Having been around NASCAR since 1972, the team didn’t start winning consistently until the early 1990s when they signed Rusty Wallace. Their first win occurred in 1973 at Riverside, courtesy of Mark Donahue. 

5. RFK Racing

Active: 1988-present | Wins: 138 

Mark Martin captured RFK Racing’s first win at the Rockingham Speedway in 1989, and the team has since captured 137 more wins. One of their most prominent wins did not occur until 2009, when Matt Kenseth captured the team’s first Daytona 500. Kenseth won RFK’s second Daytona 500 three years later in 2012, which was his final year driving for the team. 

The 5 Most Successful NASCAR Teams By Championships

1. Hendrick Motorsports

Active: 1984-present | Championships: 14

Between 2006 and 2010, Jimmie Johnson became the first driver in NASCAR history to capture five straight championships, while driving for Hendrick Motorsports. He won two more, in 2013 and 2016, before calling it quits with the team in 2020. Chase Elliott and Kyle Larson won in 2020 and 2021, solidifying Hendrick Motorsports’ place as the team with the most championships in NASCAR history. 

2. Petty Enterprises

Active: 1949-2008 | Championships: 10

Lee Petty became the first driver in NASCAR history to win three championships between 1954 and 1959. Between 1964 and 1979, his son Richard Petty became NASCAR’s first driver to win seven titles. Since 1979, only Dale Earnhardt (Richard Childress Racing) and Jimmie Johnson (Hendrick Motorsports) have repeated that feat. 

3. Junior Johnson & Associates

Active: 1965-1996 | Championships: 6

One of NASCAR’s true dynasties, Junior Johnson & Associates became the first team in the sport’s history to win six championships, in a ten-year span between 1976 and 1985. Darrell Waltrip and Cale Yarborough won those championships and dominated the NASCAR scene during the era, but neither of them found the same success following their departure from Junior Johnson’s team. 

4. Richard Childress Racing 

Active: 1969-present | Championships: 6

During the team’s early years, Richard Childress Racing (RCR) struggled so much that team owner Richard Childress let Dale Earnhardt out of his contract following the 1981 season. Earnhardt drove for Bud Moore before returning to RCR in 1984, where they won six championships together between 1986 and 1994. 

5. Joe Gibbs Racing

Active: 1992-present | Championships: 5

In just their ninth season of operation, Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR) won their first championship with Bobby Labonte. They have since won four more, two with Tony Stewart and two more with Kyle Busch. One of the largest teams in NASCAR today, JGR could find themselves moving up this list before the end of the 2020s. 

The 5 Best NASCAR Teams On The Current Grid

1. Hendrick Motorsports

Founded: 1984 | Wins: 291 | Championships: 14 | Current Drivers: Chase Elliott, Kyle Larson, William Byron, Alex Bowman

Few teams have stood the test of time like Hendrick Motorsports. Long after NASCAR greats Jeff Gordon and Jimmie Johnson stopped driving for the team, the likes of Chase Elliott and Kyle Larson have carried Hendrick Motorsports into a new era. William Byron and Alex Bowman have also found themselves earning annual trips to the NASCAR Playoffs

2. Joe Gibbs Racing

Founded: 1992 | Wins: 200 | Championships: 5 | Current Drivers: Ty Gibbs, Denny Hamlin, Christopher Bell, Martin Truex Jr

Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR) continues to attract top talent. When Tony Stewart left the team in 2009, they hired Joey Logano, who has since become a NASCAR great. JGR has also capitalized on homegrown talent, like Christopher Bell, who finished third in the points standings in 2022 in just his third season in the Cup Series. 

3. Team Penske

Founded: 1972 | Wins: 138 | Championships: 2 | Current Drivers: Austin Cindric, Ryan Blaney, Joey Logano

Team Penske won their third championship in 2022 (which was their second with Joey Logano). Austin Cindric started to cement his legacy in the Cup Series with a win at the 2022 Daytona 500, and Ryan Blaney has yet to finish outside the top 10 in points as a member of the team.  

4. Stewart-Haas Racing

Founded: 2002 | Wins: 69 | Championships: 2 | Current Drivers: Kevin Harvick, Aric Almirola, Chase Briscoe, Ryan Preece

When Tony Stewart agreed to a partnership with Gene Haas in 2009, it put the long-struggling team on the map. Stewart-Haas Racing has since evolved into one of NASCAR’s more consistent teams, often fielding annual playoff contenders. 

5. Richard Childress Racing

Founded: 1969 | Wins: 113 | Championships: 6 | Current Drivers: Austin Dillon, Kyle Busch

Richard Childress Racing’s (RCR) best days are behind them, but they are still among NASCAR’s finest teams. Austin Dillon has won two Crown Jewel Races, the Daytona 500 and Coca-Cola 600. Kyle Busch signed with the team for 2023, and he’s arguably RCR’s most accomplished driver since Dale Earnhardt. 

Final Thoughts

Hendrick Motorsports is the best NASCAR team of all time, but Petty Enterprises dominated the landscape for many years in the past. Newer teams like Joe Gibbs Racing and Stewart-Haas Racing have also made their presence known, while older teams like Team Penske and Richard Childress Racing struggled early on but found success later.