33 Days until the Daytona 500

In Sprint Cup Series competition the #33 car has started 1113 races and has 23 wins, 24 pole, 147 top 5s, 305 top 10s, and 297 DNFs.

  • Harry Gant  has the most starts in #33 with 397 starts from 1981-1994, and 18 wins including 4 straight in September 1991 (in addition to 2 XFINITY wins that month) earning him the nickname Mr. September . Gant believed in walking away a winner rather than watching his glory days fade. Gant retired from Winston Cup and Busch Series racing at the end of the 1994 season, the prime of his career. He would later drive his #33 Truck  in the Camping World Truck Series and subbed for the injured Bill Elliott in the 1996 All Star Race. Gant appeared as himself in the racing movies “Stroker Ace” and “Days of Thunder.”
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Harry Gant, early 1990s

 

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Gant driving in the Truck Series, 1996
  • After Gant retired, car owner Richard Jackson hired Robert Pressley  to take over the #33 car for the 1995 season. Towards the end of 1996 Jackson was looking to follow Gant into retirement, so he sold the team to longtime crewchief of the #33 Andy Petree. After 1 race as owner, Petree fired Pressley who made 58 starts in the number. Todd Bodine and Greg Sacks drove the car for the final 4 races of the year.
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Robert Pressley

 

  • For 1997 Petree hired Ken Schrader  to pilot the #33 car. Schrader drove the #33 for 99 starts from 1997-1999, but struggled earning only 5 top 5s in 3 years. In 2008 Schrader drove #33 one more time as a RCR R&D car at the Coke 600 .
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Ken Schrader driving for Andy Petree
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Schrader driving for RCR, 2008
  • In 2000 Petree hired Joe Nemechek  to drive the car. Front Row Joe started the car 65 times in 2 years. 2000 was a steady season for Nemechek, finishing in the top 5 a total 3 times. 2001 saw it’s highs and lows. Nemechek missed 4 races after a crash in Dover left him with a broken shoulder, but he would recover nicely and win  the 2001 Fall Rockingham race. Unfortunately, due to lack of sponsorship, Nemecheck would be forced to seek other opportunities in 2002.
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Joe Nemechek, 2000

 

 

  • In 2003 the unsponsored Petree  team fielded #33 in just 5 races with brother’s Kenny & Mike Wallace driving. In 2004 the team ran 2 races with Paul Menard and Christian Fittipaldi before closing up shop.
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Mike Wallace, 2003

 

  • In 2009 Clint Bowyer  and RCR started fielding #33 and started racing Casey Mears in Bowyer’s previous #07 car. This move was necessitated by a sponsor’s request. General Mills did not want Mears, who had been driving in the 2008 season for rival cereal maker Kellogg’s, representing them, so Childress sponsors General Mills and Jack Daniels agreed to the swap for Bowyer.  In his 3 years in the car Bowyer earned 3 win  in the number, but only made the Chase for the Spint Cup once- 2010 with a 10th place overall points finish. Following the 2011 season Bowyer left RCR for Michael Waltrip Racing. He has 109 starts in the #33 car, 2nd most overall.
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Bowyer, 2011

 

 

 

  • From 2004-2008 the #33 acted as the R&D car for Richard Childress Racing with drivers including Kerry Earnhardt , Mike Skinner , Scott Wimmer , Ken Schrader, Mike Wallace, Brian Simo, and Clint Bowyer back when he was driving for RCR in the XFINITY Series
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    Kerry Earnhardt, 2004
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    Mike Skinner, 2004

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    Scott Wimmer, 2006

 

 

 

Starting in 2012, following Bowyer’s full-time tenure in #33, RCR continued to run the car as an R&D project, but technically sold the team to Circle Sport Racing, though RCR continued to supply cars and engine. Part of this partnership between teams allows RCR to place it’s development drivers in #33 for select races giving Ty Dillon, Austin Dillon, Brendan Gaughan, and Elliot Sadler opportunities to make limited Cup starts.

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Ty Dillon, 2015
Daytona 500 - Practice
Austin Dillon, 2013
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Brendan Gaughan, 2012
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Elliott Sadler, 2012

When not fielding Childress drivers (which means without sponsorship support brought in by RCR), Hillman-Circle Sport has fielded the #33 with its own drivers like Alex Kennedy, Stephen Leicht , Landon Cassill , David Stremme, Brian Scott, Timmy Hill, Travis Kvapil, Bobby Labonte,  Mike Bliss, Morgan Shepherd, Tony Raines, and Cole Whitt to make starts in the car. In 2015, Michael Annett made 1 start in #33 after failing to qualify his #46 cat Atlanta.

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Alex Kennedy, 2015
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Landon Cassill, 2013
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Michael Annett, 2015
  • Roy Mayne  drove #33 in 20 starts from 1963-1964.

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  • Wayne Smith  drove #33 in 33 starts from 1969-1972.

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  • From 1957-1960 U.S. Army Sergeant George Green  drove #33 a total of 20 times for owner Jess Potter. Green was fired when he was caught stealing $600 in “owner’s winnings” from Potter, so he reenlisted in the Army and was shipped to Germany for further training.

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  • Inglewood, CA driver Lou Figaro  drove #33 in the NASCAR West Coast Late Model Series (K&N West), but also made 9 of his 16 career Cup starts in #33 including 1 win. He started from the pole and won the first race at Carrell Speedway in 1951. It was his only win. Figaro died in the Wilkes 160 at North Wilkesboro, North Carolina, on October 24, 1954 in a one-car crash; his #187 Hudson Hornet  flipped over onto its roof.

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  • Other notable names in #33
    • Bobby Hamilton Jr., 3 starts
    • David Pearson, 3 starts
    • Scott Pruett, 1 start
    • J.D. McDuffie, 1 start
    • Phil Parsons, 1 start
    • Wally Dallenbach Jr., 1 start
    • Hermie Sadler, 1 start

In the NASCAR XFINITY Series the #33 has a total of 679 starts and 20 wins. The number has been in use by RCR and it’s affiliate Kevin Harvick Inc since 2004. Many drivers have piloted the car, as it is a primarily part time venture. Drivers include: Kevin Harvick, Austin Dillon, Ryan Newman, Tony Stewart, Ron Hornaday, Paul Menard, Clint Bowyer, Ron Fellows, Cale Gale, Max Papis, Aaron Fike, Elliott Sadler, Brendan Gaughan, Matt Crafton, Daktota Armstrong, and Brandon Jones. 

 

Prior to RCR fielding the number, BACE Motorsports fielded the #33 car with beginning with Tim Fedewa in 1997.  Fedewa scored 2 wins in 1998 before leaving the team for 1999. Fedewa is currently the spotter for Kevin Harvick’s #4 car in the Sprint Cup Series.

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In 1999 the #33 had a variety of drivers, but in 2000 Tony Raines moved over from the BACE #74 car to pilot the #33 until the 2003 season when the team sold it’s assetts to RCR/KHI. Raines continued to drive the #33 for RCR/KHI occasionally until 2007.

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Tony Raines, 2001
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Tony Raines, 2005
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