Brad Keselowski might be the current driver of the No. 2 car in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, having won 16 times in the car, but there have been many other winning drivers before him. So much so that the No. 2 has the fourth-most combined wins (83 – NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, 29 – NASCAR XFINITY Series, 35 – NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, Total – 147) between all three of NASCAR’s national series.
Although winning 16 times in the highest level of stock car racing is an impressive feat, Keselowski doesn’t have the most wins at the level in the No. 2 car. That record belongs to NASCAR Hall of Famer Rusty Wallace, who posted 37 wins in the No. 2.
Wallace moved into the driver’s seat in 1991, and stayed put for 15 seasons. Before he ever strapped in to the No. 2, he had already compiled 18 career wins in NASCAR’s premier series. His first win in the No. 2 came on April 14, 1991, at Bristol Motor Speedway, while driving for Roger Penske. He beat runner-up Ernie Irvan to the checkered flag by one foot.
The original driver of the Blue Deuce was a master when it came to short tracks. Twenty-three of his 35 wins came on tracks of one-mile or less, including seven at Bristol and six at Martinsville Speedway, which was the site of his final win on April 18, 2004.
During his 15-year span at the steering wheel of the No. 2, he had six seasons in which he scored two or more wins. His most successful season in the No. 2 came in 1993 when he posted 10 wins, and then eight more the following season.
Keselowski took over the Blue Deuce fulltime in 2011, and visited Victory Lane for the first time in the car (his second career win in the series) on June 5 of that season at Kansas Speedway. In the closing laps of the race he ran away from the rest of the field and won by 2.813 seconds.
He won two more times that season (Pocono Raceway and Bristol), but the following year captured the checkered flag five times on his way to win the 2012 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championship. His victories that season came at Bristol, Talladega Superspeedway, Kentucky Speedway, Chicagoland Speedway and Dover International Speedway.
In 2014, he set a career high with six wins and five poles, including back-to-back victories at Richmond International Raceway and Chicagoland. Through the first 24 races of 2015, Keselowski has notched only one win – at Auto Club Speedway where he only led one lap, but it was the most important.
In the five years between the end of Wallace’s career and Keselowski taking over the No. 2, Kurt Busch filled the gap. His first of eight wins in the Blue Deuce came in the spring 2006 Bristol race. It was his only win that season. He doubled his win total the following season by winning at Pocono and Michigan International Speedway. He would also win two races in both 2009 and 2010 before moving on from Penske Racing after the last season.
Before NASCAR Hall of Famer Dale Earnhardt’s name became synonymous with the No. 3, Goodwrench and Intimidation, he drove the No. 2 Chevrolet in his rookie and sophomore seasons. In 1979, his first full-time campaign in the premier series, Earnhardt won at Bristol and won the Rookie of the Year Award.
The following season, the soon-to-be legendary driver won five races (Atlanta Motor Speedway, Bristol, Nashville Speedway, Martinsville, Charlotte Motor Speedway) and became the only driver in NASCAR history to win the Rookie of the Year Award one season and the championship the following. The championship was his first of a record-tying seven titles. His other six titles would come at the seat of the No. 3.
Bobby Allison drove the No. 2 toward the beginning of his NASCAR Hall of Fame career. Six of his first seven career wins came in the race car. He won three times in 1966, winning at Oxford Plains Speedway, Islip Speedway and Beltsville Speedway. The following season, in 1967, he won six times; however, only three of them (Bowman Gray Stadium, Savannah Speedway and Oxford Plains) were in the No. 2. In 1968, his second of his two race wins (Asheville-Weaverville Speedway) that season came in the car.
Six other drivers have won in the No. 2 car during NASCAR Sprint Cup Series competition: Bill Blair (3 wins – Vernon Fairgrounds, Lakewood Speedway and the Daytona Beach & Road Course); Tim Richmond (2 – Riverside International Raceway [2x]); Herb Thomas (1 – Heidelberg Raceway); Danny Weinberg (1 – Marchbanks Speedway); Jim Paschal (1 – Southside Speedway); and David Pearson (1 – Darlington Raceway).
There are eight drivers who have collectively gathered 29 wins in the No. 2 in the NASCAR XFINITY Series. Kevin Harvick leads them all with eight wins, as well as a 2001 series championship. He won three races in 2000 and followed that up with five more the next year. He won twice at two different tracks: Gateway Motorsports Park and Bristol. By the time he notched his ninth win in the series, he had moved to the No. 21.
Clint Bowyer is next on the list with the second-most wins (six) in NASCAR’s second series. He too also won a championship in the No. 2., which came in 2008. That year he posted only one win, coming at Bristol. His first win in the series came in 2005 at Nashville.
Elliott Sadler won four races in the No. 2 during the 2012 season. His victories came at Phoenix International Raceway, Bristol, Chicagoland and Iowa Speedway. L.D. Ottinger and Ward Burton both have three wins in the No. 2. Ottinger captured his wins in three different seasons (1986 – Langley Field Speedway; 1989 – Martinsville; 1990 – Bristol), while Burton earned them all during the 1993 season (Orange County Speedway, Martinsville, Atlanta).
Johnny Sauter (Chicagoland) won once in the car, while Ricky Craven (Hickory Speedway, Nazareth Speedway) and Ron Hornaday Jr. (Nazareth, Milwaukee Mile) won two races apiece.
Harvick not only led all drivers of the No. 2 with the most wins in the NASCAR XFINITY Series, but also had the most wins in the No. 2 in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series. Between 2008 and 2012, 10 of his 12 wins came while piloting the No. 2. His best season was 2011, when he had four wins, including three in a row (Pocono, Michigan, Bristol). Of his 12 wins, three of them came at Martinsville.
Only three other drivers have more than two wins in the No. 2 truck: Mike Bliss (six), Scott Riggs (five) and Mike Wallace (four). Kasey Kahne, Bowyer and Hornaday each have two wins, while Jason Leffler, Jimmy Spencer, Jamie McMurray, Ryan Newman and Sadler all have one.
Check back next week to see which number is third on the list of car numbers with the most wins.