In Sprint Cup Series competition the #41 car has started 1038 races with 95 drivers and has 26wins, 24 poles, 118 top 5s, 235 top 10s, and 295 DNFs.
- Curtis Turner made 72 starts in #41 from NASCAR’s first Strictly Stock (Sprint Cup) event in 1949 through 1966. 12 of Turner’s 17 career wins would come in the number. Hisfirst win came in at Langhorne Speedway in Pennsylvania, the 4th Strictly Stock race ever held. Turner was one of the first superstar personalities of the sport. He was tragically killed in a plane crash in 1970 at the age of 46.
- Richard’s brother Maurice Petty is best known as a pioneer as an engine builder and crew chief. He also drove 26 races in his career, some in each of the Petty numbers 41-44. He started #41 9 times in his career in 1962 & 1964. Maurice was inducted into the NASCAR Hall of Fame in 2014.
- We’ve talked about Petty Enterprises driver Jim Paschal many times in the past few days. He started #41 a total of 37 times between 1962-1965 including 3 wins.
- A.J. Foyt started 6 races in #41 including a win at the 1965 Firecracker 400 at Daytona.
- Ronnie Thomas has 61 starts in #41 from 1983-1987.
- Grant Adcox was a successful ARCA driver who began racing #41 part time in Winston Cup (Sprint Cup) in 1974. 51 of his career total 60 Cup starts came driving #41. In 1989 Adcox was killed in a crash at the Cup Series season finale at Atlanta Motor Speedway. He was 39. ARCA’s Annual H.G. Adcox Sportsmanship Award is given in his honor.
- From 1989-1992 Larry Person, Greg Sacks, Hut Stricklin, and Dave Marcis would all make starts in #41.
- In 1993 Phil Parsons would drive #41 for Hedrick Motorsports in 25 starts. Not Rick Hendrick, it was Larry Hedrick Motorsports. Joe Nemechek drove the car for 29 starts in 1994.
- Ricky Craven has 62 starts in #41 from the 1995-1996 seasons. Ricky’s biggest moment in the car came at the 1996 Winston 500 where he was involved in one of the most violent “big ones” to date.
- Following Craven, Steve Grissom drove the #41 for 55 starts between the 1997-1998 seasons. David Green would take over before the end of 1998 and drive the car for most of 1999 totaling 27 starts.
- In 2002 Jimmy Spencer started driving for Chip Ganassi Racing in the #41 Target Dodge. Jimmy started 34 races in the #41, and almost won at Bristol before Kurt Busch moved him out of the way late in the race. This race coined the phrase “Jimmy Spencer doesn’t forget,” and Jimmy got his payback during the Brickyard 400 . The feud would boil over the next year at Michigan where Spencer (#7) punched Busch, leading to his suspension the following week. In his only year driving the #41 Spencer failed to qualify for the Daytona 500 and the race at Watkins Glen.
- Casey Mears would replace Spencer in Ganassi’s #41 starting in 2003. Mears has the most starts of any driver in #41 with 108 from 2003-2005. Mears struggled during his time at Ganassi earning 18 top 10s and 2 poles in 3 years.
- In 2005 while Mears was driving #41 in Cup, Reed Sorenson was tearing up the Busch Series (now XFINITY). In 2006 Reed would take over driving the #41 in Cup when Mears left to drive the #25 for Hendrick Motorsports. Sorenson would drive the #41 in 107 starts from 2006-2008 before moving to the RPM #43 car for 2009.
- In 2009 Jeremy Mayfield attempted to run the full season as an owner/driver. After qualifying for only 5 out of the first 10 races he became involved in a substance abuse dispute with NASCAR. By June 2009 Mayfield had sold all the assets of his team and has not raced in NASCAR since.
- In 2013 Aric Almirola drove the #41 for one race at Martinsville. His famous Petty #43 was renumbered for one race to celebrate the induction of Maurice Petty into the NASCAR Hall of Fame.
- Starting in 2014 Kurt Busch drives the #41 for Stewart Haas Racing. Busch was controversially hired by Gene Hass to be the 4th full time driver for SHR after Stewart had already announced that driver Ryan Newman would not be returning because the team didn’t have the funds to field 4 cars. Busch’s first year with the team was full of highs and lows as a string of bad luck caused them to finish the year with 6 DNFs. Aside from that, Kurt also won at Martinsville in his 6th start in the car, and was competitive at many tracks earning him 11 top 10 finishes in 36 races and a spot in the 2014 Chase for the Sprint Cup.
Busch started out his 2015 season on a rough note in the 2015 Sprint Unlimited, when he got collected in 2 multi-car accidents. At the second Budweiser Duel, he was running second behind Jimmie Johnson with nine laps to go. He went below the yellow line by accident and improved his spot. He was given a stop-and-go-penalty by officials which sent him to the back of the field for the final results.
On February 20, Busch was indefinitely suspended by NASCAR after a Delaware family court cited “more likely than not” that Busch had abused his ex-girlfriend. Regan Smith replaced him for the Daytona 500 along with the races held at Atlanta and Las Vegas.
On March 11, NASCAR lifted Busch’s indefinite suspension, making him eligible to compete again, starting with the CampingWorld.com 500 at Phoenix. Additionally, Busch was granted a waiver by NASCAR, making him still eligible for the Chase if he won a race between then and the autumn Richmond event. Upon his return to the series, Busch’s team removed the “Outlaw” moniker from his car and replaced it with his signature.
Busch later took the checkers after a dominating performance at Richmond. Battling Justin Allgaier and Jamie McMurray for the win during the final 100 laps, Busch pulled away to win the race, his first win of the season. Busch’s second win came in a rain-shortened Michigan race.
Busch would finish 8th in 2015 championship points despite missing the first three races of the season, scoring 21 top 10s and 3 poles. Busch has 69 starts in the #41 to date and will return in 2016.
Busch started off the 2016 season bringing home a 10th-place finish in the Daytona 500 and winning two consecutive poles for the Atlanta and Las Vegas. He got his first and only victory of the season at Pocono, ironically the only race of the season when his crew chief Tony Gibson was suspended. Busch had a very consistent season, breaking a record for most consecutive lead-lap finishes to start the year. His streak ended, however, when he got his first DNF of the season during the 23rd race at Bristol after suffering contact from Joey Logano. He remained in top ten in points throughout the year and finished 7th in the championship standings. Busch will return to the #41 in 2017 with a new manufacturer: Ford.
To date, Kurt Busch has 105 starts in the #41 with 4 wins
- Other notable names in #41
- Richard Petty, 22 starts, 6 wins.
- Joe Weatherly, 12 starts
- Lee Petty, 6 starts
- Dick Trickle, 6 starts
- Buck Baker, 5 starts
- Speedy Thompson, 2 starts
- Bob Welborn, 2 starts
- Scott Pruett , 2 starts.
- Derrike Cope, 2 starts
- Sterling Marlin, 1 start
- Richard Childress, 1 start