30 Days until the Daytona 500


In NASCAR Cup Series competition the #30 car has started 1061 races with 80 drivers and has 1 win, 8 poles, 44 top 5s, 188 top 10s, and 344 DNFs.

  • Michael Waltrip  has the most starts in #30 with 265 from 1987-1995. His most memorable moment in #30 came during a Busch Series (XFINITY) race at Bristol  in 1990 when an improperly closed track gate caused him to collide head on with the concrete wall. Mikey walked away just fine and even gave a cheeky interview after the incident. Years later, Mike Harmon  would be involved in a similar Busch Series crash at Bristol, also walking away uninjured. After Harmon’s crash Bristol installed a tunnel, eliminating the need for track gates. Waltrip never won a points paying race in the number, but he did win the 1991 Winston Open  and earn 2 poles.
Waltrip, 1992



  • 1971 Rookie of the Year Walter Ballard  made 161 of his 176 career starts in #30 from 1966-1977.




  • Tighe Scott  was a successful dirt modified racer before moving to NASCAR to drive for Walter Ballard, now a car owner. Scott started 87 of his 89 career races in #30 from 1976-1982. He earned 18 top 10s during that time.




  • Though he is best known for his 589 starts in #71, Dave Marcis  drove the #30 Dodge Daytona for his first 3 years on the Grand National (Cup) circuit from 1969-1971, a total of 83 starts.


Dave Marcis, 1969


  • David Stremme  has 71 starts in #30 for Swan Racing since 2011. Other part time drivers in the Swan Racing #30 include Parker Kligerman, Cole Whitt, and Kevin Swindell. In 2014 J.J. Yeley made 1 start in #30 after Xxxtreme Motorsports bought #30 from Swan, but the deal quickly fell apart.
David Stremme
Parker Kligerman


Cole Whitt
Kevin Swindell


  • Following the departure of Michael Waltrip, Johnny Benson  took over the Pennzoil #30 for 62 starts from 1996-1997. He won the 1996 Rookie of the Year in the car.
Benson, 1997
Benson, 1996



  • Kevin Harvick was supposed to drive the #30 AOL Chevy for RCR  for 7 races in 2001, and full time beginning in 2002. The death of Dale Earnhardt changed everything, and Harvick got called up to Winston Cup sooner than expected as he took over Dale’s car, now #29.

Instead, one of Harvick’s Busch Series rivals Jeff Green was hired by Childress starting with those 7 races in 2001. Green struggled from 2001-2003, earning only 7 top 10s in his 55 starts. In 2003 he started strong by winning the pole at Daytona, but at Richmond  Harvick ran into the rear of Green’s car while Green was attempting to avoid a conflict between Ryan Newman and Ward Burton. Harvick began apologizing for the spin-out, and cameras showed that Green’s car had hesitated before the collision. Green was outraged by the incident and confronted Harvick’s crew chief, Todd Berrier, later saying, “Tough to be teammates when it seems like there’s only one car at RCR.” He was fired by Childress the next day, who said that change was needed after the relationship had gone awry.

Jeff Green leads the pack, 2003
Green (right) talks with Dale Jr., holding  his 2003 Daytona Pole award


Following the Richmond race Steve Park was hired to replace Green. Park had recently been let go from DEI’s #1 car after poor performances, so Jeff Green was hired by DEI to drive #1. The two drivers essentially swapped rides, but in reality they were both fired, then hired by the other team. Park would finish 2003 in the car with 24 total starts.

Steve Park, 2003

In 2004 Johnny Sauter  was promoted from RCR’s Busch program to drive the #30, but the struggles continued for the team. After 13 starts Dave Blaney replaced Sauter. Childress announced that Dave Blaney would drive #30 for the rest of the year and the 2005 season, but after 8 races Blaney was replaced.

Daytona 500 Preview
Johnny Sauter, 2003
Dave Blaney, 2004

Jeff Burton had recently been released from Roush Racing after his #99 team failed to find sponsorship. Knowing that Robby Gordon would be leaving the #31 car at the end of 2004, Childress hired Burton to be his replacement. Burton drove #30 for the rest of 2004 before moving to #31 in 2005. At the beginning of 2005 RCR rehired Blaney, but the #30 was changed to #07 in accordance with the team’s new sponsor Jack Daniel’s.

Jeff Burton, 2004


  • From 1998-1999 Derrike Cope made 39 starts in #30.
Cope, 1998


  • Speedy Thompson  only drove #30 twice in his career, both in 1955. At Martinsville on October 16, 1995 Thompson won the only Grand National win that the #30 has ever gotten.


  • In 2015 Curtis Key’s The Motorsports Group fielded the #30 car in 2 races. One with Ron Hornaday and one with Jeff Green. In 2016 the team returned with Josh Wise for 28 races and Gray Gaulding for 2 races.
Hornaday, 2015
Josh Wise, 2016
  • Other notable names in #30
    • Tiny Lund, 7 starts
    • Todd Bodine, 7 starts (but is best known for his 2 Championships driving the #30 Truck.)
    • Cale Yarborough, 3 starts
    • Friday Hassler, 3 starts
    • Ned Jarrett, 2 starts
    • Jim Paschal, 1 start
    • Elmo Langley, 1 start
    • Buddy Baker, 1 start
    • Buckshot Jones, 1 start
    • Jim Inglebright, 1 start
    • Bob Welborn, 1 start
    • Dale Earnhardt, 1 start
    • Juan Pablo Montoya, 1 start. It did not go well.


In 2012 James Buescher drove the #30 car in the XFINITY series and won the Daytona 300 when the entire lead pack crashed in the final corner.

James Buescher, 2012

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