92 Days until the Daytona 500

Car number 92 has started 492 races and has 43 wins, 37 poles, 121 top 5s, 195 top 10s, and 174 DNFs in the NASCAR Cup Series.

 

  • NASCAR Hall of Fame Driver Herb Thomas drove his #92 Fabulous Hudson Hornet in 200 of his 228 career starts earning 42 of his 48 career wins and his 2 Grand National Championships.

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In 1949, Thomas took part in NASCAR’s first Strictly Stock (the forerunner to the Grand National and ultimately the modern MENCS) race, and made four starts in the series’ first year. The following year, he made thirteen appearances in the series, now renamed the Grand National division. He scored his first career win at Martinsville Speedway in a privateer Plymouth.

He started the 1951 season with moderate success in his Plymouth (plus one win in an Oldsmobile) before switching to a Hudson Hornet, at the suggestion of fellow driver Marshall Teague. Thomas won the Southern 500 rather handily in what was famously dubbed “The Fabulous Hudson Hornet”, which would be the first of six wins in a two-month span. His late charge helped him narrowly defeat Fonty Flock to win the Grand National championship. With help from crew chief Smokey Yunick, Thomas subsequently became the first owner/driver to take the championship in the process.

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Thomas and Teague on the beach at Daytona

In 1952, Thomas and his Hornet were involved in a close championship race with another Flock, Fonty’s younger brother Tim. The two drivers won 8 races in their respective Hudsons, but Flock came out on top at the end, in spite of another late season charge from Thomas.

He returned with a vengeance in 1953 and dominated the entire season, winning a series best twelve races en route to becoming the first two-time series champion. Thomas won twelve races again in 1954, including a second Southern 500 win (making him the first driver to win twice at Darlington), but he was beaten by a more consistent Lee Petty in the championship standings.

After four successful years in a Hudson, Thomas began driving Chevrolets and Buicks in races in 1955. He crashed heavily behind the wheel of a Buick at a race in Charlotte, forcing him to miss three months of the season. He returned to score his third Southern 500 win in his Motoramic Chevy, one of three wins during the season. He finished 5th in the championship on the strength of his win at Darlington.

In 1956, Thomas briefly abandoned being an owner/driver and, after winning a race for himself early in the season, he drove for two other owners. He won once for Yunick, after which the two broke ties, and three consecutive races while driving Chryslers for Carl Kiekhaefer, then dominating NASCAR with the first professional team. Thomas eventually returned to being an owner/driver at season’s end, and had clinched second behind Petty in the championship when he was severely injured at a race in Shelby, North Carolina. The wreck effectively ended his NASCAR career, though he had two starts in 1957 and one in 1962 without success. The three consecutive wins would end up being his final three wins.

 

Thomas ended his career with 48 victories, which currently ranks 12th all-time. He won 21.05% of his starts(48 wins/228 starts) during his career, which ranks as the highest win percentage all-time among drivers with 100 career starts.

 

  • Louisiana’s Skip Manning started the #92 in 72 of his 79 career races from 1972-1978.
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Skip Manning

 

 

 

  • Larry Smith started all 38 races of his Cup career in #92 before he was tragically killed in 1971 after contact with the turn 1 wall at Talladega. Smith had removed all of the padding and lining from his helmet after claiming it was bothering him, and many speculate that this factor into his death.
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Larry Smith

 

  • In 2001, the Melling racing team and driver Stacy Compton switched their famous #9 car to #92 after a deal with Ray Evernham and his newly founded Dodge team. In exchange for the number switch, Melling recieved technical support from Evernham’s team. The team, led by a young crew chief named Chad Knaus, earned 1 pole at Talladega, but financial trouble caused Compton to leave the team after just 1 start in 2002. Compton started a total of 35 races in the number.
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Stacy Compton, 2001

 

  • Marvin Panch only started #92 in 3 races, but found victory lane in one of them at Memphis-Arkansas in 1957.

 

  • Other notable name in #92
    • Bobby Wawak, 14 starts
    • Terry Labonte, 5 starts
    • Cale Yarborough, 5 starts
    • Stanton Barrett Jr, 4 starts
    • Hermie Sadler, 3 starts
    • Bobby Hamilton Jr, 2 starts
    • Elliott Sadler, 2 starts
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