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Itís All In The Name (and Number!)  by Rob Faiella

A lot of attention has been given to the #3. Do we retire it? Do we put it back on the track with Harvick? With Junior? With someone else? Do we want to see it again? Or will it be too tough to take without Dale driving it? Dale Earnhardt made that #3 famous, but Dick Rathmann was the first to win in that number back in 1954. Junior Johnson won with it too with car owner Ray Fox.

Did you know that there are 20 numbers that have never won a Winston Cup race? They are 35,36,39,50,57,61,63,65,67,68,69,70,74,76,79,82,84,93,94,95.

Drivers and numbers are superstitious. Everyone wants the low numbers, single digit numbers like 1,3,8 and 9 seem to look cooler. As do the double numbers like 22,33 and 99. I guess 79 just isnít cool and Nascar probably has a problem with 69.

Did you know that Jeff Gordon is the only driver to win in a car numbered 24? And Robby Gordon, 31, and Ricky Craven, 32, are the only ones to win in those numbers respectively. Maybe the car number is important. Or maybe it is the driverís name. Dick Trickle, Lake Speed, Speedy Thompson, and Fireball Roberts. Those are cool names. Bill Elliott named his son Chase.

I decided to do some research and see what kind of effect the name may or may not have. Here are the results:

The name that gave the most car numbers their first ever win: Buck (Baker, 7 different numbers)

The name with the most wins: Richard (obviously)

The name with the most Championships: Dale (Earnhardt 7, Jarrett 1)

The name with the most "Most Popular Driver" awards: Bill (obviously)

The name with the most Rookie of the year titles: Jeff/Geoff (Bodine 1982, Gordon 1993, and Burton 1994)

The name with the most "The Winston" wins: Jeff/Geoff again (Gordon 3, Bodine 1)

Did you know the last names beginning with "Q", "U", "V" and "X" are the only ones to never win?

The last names by letter with the most wins: Allison, Bobby 84; Baker, Buck 46; Cope, Derrick 2; Dieringer, Darel 7; Earnhardt, Dale 76; Flock, Tim 40; Gordon, Jeff 58; Hutcherson, Dick 14; Isaac, Bobby 37; Jarrett, Ned AND Johnson, Junior 50; Kulwicki, Alan 5; Lorenzen, Fred 26; Martin, Mark 32; Nemechek, Joe 2; Owens, Cotton 9; Petty, Richard 200; Roberts, Fireball 33; Smith, Jack 21; Thomas, Herb 48; Waltrip, Darrell 84; Yarborough, Cale 83; Zervakis, Emanuel 2.

The first names by letter with the most wins: A.J. Foyt 7; Bobby Allison 84; Cale Yarborough 83; David Pearson 105; Ernie Irvan 15; Fireball Roberts 33; Geoffrey Bodine 18; Herb Thomas 48; Jeff Gordon 58; Kyle Petty 8; Lee Petty 54; Mark Martin 32; Ned Jarrett 50; Paul Goldsmith 9; Richard Petty 200; Speedy Thompson 20; Tim Flock 40; Ward Burton 3.

That leaves "I", "O", "Q", "V", "X", "Y" and "Z" as the letters without a first name that has won.

Who shows up in both categories? Bobby Allison, Cale Yarborough, Fireball Roberts, Herb Thomas, Jeff Gordon, Mark Martin, Ned Jarrett, Richard Petty, and Tim Flock.

Now this doesnít mean you should go off and name your kid Fireball or Cale. However, you may want to avoid Quincy, Oliver, Xavier, Zachary, Yancy, Ian, and Vincent. Actually, even if you werenít looking to get your kid into Nascar, I would avoid most of those anyway.

Do the names really matter? Of those names showing up in both "letter" categories, which ones gave a car number itís first win as described above? Cale Yarborough, 06; Fireball Roberts, 71; Herb Thomas, 9, 92, 300B; Jeff Gordon, 24; and Tim Flock, 15, 91, 300, 300A, 301.

Who gave a car number its last win? Bobby Allison 14, 16, 49; Cale Yarborough, 06; Jeff Gordon, 24; Mark Martin, 6; Ned Jarrett, 38; and Tim Flock, 300A.

So, who has made all the lists, so far? Jeff Gordon. First and last win for car #24. Most wins for the first name beginning with "J". Most wins for last name beginning with "G". Add this to "Jeff" being the best name for Rookie of the year titles and "The Winston" victories. Throw in the most championships by an active driver, most wins by an active driver and the most poles by an active driver and I think in a few years, every driver out there will be named Jeff. I think the point was proven when Geoffrey Bodine changed his name to Geoffrey. We havenít heard from him since.

Guys named Jeff/Geoff (Geoffrey nowÖ) have a total of 93 wins. The letter "J" itself has 225 wins, which is 3rd all time to "R" with 286 and "D" with 383. Are you one of those who keeps your kidís initials the same as yours? You know, "Hi, Iím Dave. These are my kids Denise, Donna and Derrick." You may have to reconsider doing that now that you know ďthe statsĒ. I had to reconsider doing that. You see, my initials are "RCF". My last name is pronounced Fie-ell-a. My grandmother is named Rafaela. So, I thought "Rafaela Carmella Faiella" had a nice ring to it.. No??? No wonder I am single.

Obviously, I have too much time on my hands. Thanks to Jayski.com and Speedfx.com for the stats.

Thanks and keep reading! Rob Faiella

(I only need 201 wins to overtake the "R" Ďs and 41 for the "F" Ďs. Thanks a lot "R"ichard Petty and Tim "F"lock)


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