98 Days until the Daytona 500

Car number 98 has started 993 races and has 25 wins, 20 poles, 123 top 5s, 213 top 10s, and 369 DNFs in NASCAR Cup Series competition.

  • Marvin Panch has the most starts in the #98 car with 85 from 1954-1960.
Marvin Panch (98) leading the pack, 1957.

Panch was orinally a short track racer in California, but Big Bill France convinced Panch to come run with the boys out east in the 1954 Southern 500. Panch turned some heads in his first start, finishing 3rd. Panch would go on to win 6 times in his #98 before eventually teaming up with Tom Vernon, Smokey Yunich, and eventually the Wood Brothers. He earned 17 wins total in his career of 216 starts.

  • Marvin’s son Richie Panch chose to race his dad’s number #98 in his own stock car racing career. Richie started the #98 a total of 43 times from 1973-1975 without a win. Tragically, Richie was killed at the age of 31 in a small aircraft crash.

    Richie Panch.
  • After struggling to qualify consistently in the #15 car for Dale Earnhardt Inc, Paul Menard brought his loyal sponsors to the failing Robert Yates Racing team where he started the #98 car 72 times from 2009-2010.
    Menard in 2009.

    Menard found little success with the team which merged with Richard Petty Motorsports in 2010. During his time with the #98 team, Paul became a target of criticism from Tony Stewart:

“You can have your father buy your ride and write DEI a big check, but you can’t buy talent. And that’s what John Menard’s been good at his whole life, is just buying success. He’s bought his son a Nextel Cup ride and he’s just got enough talent to just be in the way most of the time.”

Stewart, who drove for Menard’s father John in the Indy Racing League, became frustrated with Menard after an incident on pit road.  Menard would take his sponsors to Richard Childress Racing #27 car for the 2011 season where he would earn his first career win at Indianapolis.

  • LeeRoy Yarbrough started his #98 car 62 times from 1968-1971, earning 10  of his 14 career wins in the number.

    LeeRoy Yarbrough.

After winning 7 races in 1969, LeeRoy was posied to be the next big star in NASCAR, but unfortunately Mercury withdrew their support from stock car racing and his success tailed off. After a series of hard crashes, Yarbrough began experiencing memory loss and erratic behavior. The nature of Yarbrough’s demise is not fully known. Some say he had Rocky Mountain Fever, others say he developed a severe drinking problem, and others say that he just had too many hard crashes. Yarbrough was arrested for attempted murder in 1980 after apparently strangling his mother for no reason and assaulting a police officer. In 1984 Yarbrough died as a result of internal bleeding from seizures.

  • Jeremy Mayfield started the #98 machine 62 times from 1994-1996.

    Jeremy Mayfield, 1995
  • Michael McDowell started the #98 car 61 times from 2012-2013.
    Michael McDowell

    McDowell was the first driver of Phil Parsons racing, given the #98 in honor of Phil’s older brother and 1973 Cup Champion Benny Parsons. To date, Benny Parsons is the only driver to have won both the NASCAR Cup Series and ARCA Series championship titles. Benny drove the #98 car during his ARCA career.

  • Josh Wise started the #98 car 52 times in Cup competition from 2014-2015.
    Josh Wise driving "the dogecar" at Talladega, 2014.
    Josh Wise driving “the dogecar” at Talladega, 2014.

    Wise found little success at PPR, but gained wild popularity with the “Dogecar” campaign. After running unsponsored for the first few races of 2014, the /r/NASCAR subreddit lead by /u/unicorn_butt_sex ran a fundraising campaign to raise $55,000 in the form of cryptocurrency to donate to the team. The team responded by wrapping the car in a special scheme, including many internet memes and a large “doge” on the hood. The scheme was wildly popular and brought many new fans to the sport, and particularly to Wise. The team repeated the scheme for the All Star Race for free, and encouraged it’s new fans to take advantage of the “Fan Vote” entry into the race by voting for Wise. The team made the event over fan favorite Danica Patrick through it’s crowd sourcing connections.

Following the 2015 Coca Cola 600, Phil Parsons and Mike Curb sold their interest in the team and Josh Wise was released from his contract. The team continues to opperate during the 2015 season under the name “Premium Motorsports” fielding cars for many drivers like TJ Bell, Michael Waltrip, Ryan Preece, and Timmy Hill.

In 2016 Premium Motorsports fielded the #98 in 29 events. Cole Whitt piloted the machine in 23 races, Reed Sorenson drove 4 races, and Timmy Hill and Ryan Preece each made one start.

021816_nascar_cole_whitt_canam_duel-vresize-1200-675-high-67
Cole Whitt, 2016

 

  • Joe Ruttman started the #98 car 56 times in 1963 & 1983-1984.

    Joe Ruttman
  • Derrike Cope has started #98 50 times from 1993-1994 & 2004

    Derrike Cope, 1994
  • John Andretti drove the #98 car in 40 races after Jeremy Mayfield left the Cale Yarborough owned team in 1996. Andretti found victory lane for the first time in his career in the 1997 Pepsi 400 at Daytona.  
  • Dale Earnhardt made 1 career start in the #98 in 1978.

    Dale Earnhardt Sr., 1978
  • Other Notable Names in #98
    • Rick Mast, 39 starts
    • Jimmy Spencer, 36 starts
    • Morgan Shepherd, 33 starts
    • Rich Bickle, 21 starts
    • Ron Bouchard, 17 starts
    • Sam McQuagg, 16 starts, 1 win
    • Eddie Gray, 11 starts, 3 wins
    • Todd Bodine, 8 starts
    • John Keiper, 7 starts 1 win
    • Johnny Mantz, 6 starts 1 win
    • Hutt Stricklin, 6 starts
    • Geoff Bodine, 6 starts
    • Reed Sorenson, 6 starts
    • Kenny Wallace, 5 starts
    • Leon Sales, 4 starts, 1 win
    • Marvin Porter, 2 starts, 1 win
    • Dale Jarrett, 1 start
    • Richard Childress, 1 start
    • Boris Said, 1 start
    • Fred Lorenzen, 1 start
    • Bobby Isaac, 1 start
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