29 Days until the Daytona 500

In Sprint Cup Series competition the #29 car has started 918 races and has 40 wins, 27 poles, 187 top 5s, 343 top 10s, and 204 DNFs.

  • Kevin Harvick has the most starts by far in #29 with 466 from 2001-2013 including 23 wins, 6 poles, 209 top 10s, and 4,440 laps lead. In 2001 Harvick was scheduled to run the full Busch Series (XFINITY Series) schedule for RCR in the #2 ACDelco  car while starting 7 Winston Cup (Sprint Cup) races in the #30 AOL car before moving to the #30 Cup car full time in 2002. That plan went out the window when Dale Earnhardt was killed in a last lap crash  in the 2001 Daytona 500. In a very emotional time, Richard Childress promoted Harvick to Earnhardt’s car, but reversed the paint scheme and changed Earnhardt’s iconic #3 to #29 .
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Harvick’s first start, Rockingham 2001
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Harvick’s red & white scheme, run for most of 2001

In only his 3rd start in the Cup series Harvick edged out Jeff Gordon by .006 seconds to earn his first career win at Atlanta . The remainder of 2001 would be most successful for Harvick as he dominated the Busch Series and won another Cup race in that inaugural race at Chicagoland Speeday . However, he was involved in some controversy late in the year at Martinsville after an incident with Bobby Hamilton  resulted in a 1 lap penalty for Harvick. Kevin Harvick has one of the most storied rookie seasons in NASCAR history as he started a total of 69 races: the entire Busch Series tour, the entire Winston Cup tour except for the Daytona 500, The Winston (Sprint All-Star race), and 1 Craftsman Truck Series (Camping World Truck Series) race. He would win the 2001 Busch Series Championship  and be named the 2001 Winston Cup Series Rookie of the Year.

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Harvick, 2001 Busch Series Champion

2002  would not be as successful as Harvick’s first year. Harvick was put on probation by NASCAR after the Busch Series race at Bristol when Harvick confronted Greg Biffle  about why his #29 car was smashed. 3 weeks later during a Truck race at Martinsville  Harvick intentionally spun Coy Gibbs as retaliation for an earlier incident. NASCAR reacted by parking Harvick for the remainder of the Truck race and suspending him from the Winston Cup race that weekend, and Kenny Wallace drove the #29 that weekend. The only highlight in 2002 was Harvicks 2002 Spin & Win at Chicago . The win was somewhat controversial as critics claim that he spun on purpose in order to pit under caution.

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Harvick, 2002

In 2003  Harvick won the Brickyard 400  and finished 5th in the championship standings, up from 21st in 2002. 2003 would be the first year that Harvick competed in every Cup series race in the season.

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Harvick, Indianapolis 2003

2004 would be a winless season for Harvick in the Cup series, though he earned 3 wins in the Busch Series. He drove 19 Busch races for RCR in #21 while Johnny Sauter drove 15 races. The duo won the Owner’s Championship for RCR while Brian Vickers won the Driver’s Championship, the first time in NASCAR where the two had been split. In 2005  Harvick won one race at Bristol.

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Harvick, 2004

For 2006  Harvick ran the full season in both Cup  with 3 wins and Busch, winning his second Busch Championship. Goodwrench only sponsored the car for 24 races, as financial trouble began to plague GM. In 2007 Goodwrench became an associate sponor, and ended their 22 year partnership with RCR in 2008. In 2011 GM discontinued the Goodwrench brand and it is now known as GM Certified Service.

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Harvick, 2006

2007 started off huge for Harvick as he won the Daytona 500  it would be his only points paying win in the next 3 years as 2008 & 2009 would be winless except for victories in exhibition events like the 2007 All Star and the 2009 Sprint Unlimited.

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Harvick, 2008

In the 2009 season it was reported that Harvick, feeling uncompetitive in RCR equipment, asked for a release from his contract to go drive for the newly formed Steward Haas Racing, taking his sponsor Shell with him. This change failed to materialize at this time. In 2010 Harvick broke his long winless streak at Talladega, the first of 3 wins that year. Harvick finished 3rd in points in 2010.

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Harvick, 2013

From 2011-2013  Harvick was constantly a threat to win, finishing 3rd in the points standings 2 more times. Harvick was particularly dominant at Pheonix , a track he raced at many times in his days in the Winston West series (K&N West). In 2014 Harvick left RCR to drive the #4 for Steart Hass . Childress told Harvick when he left that he believed Harvick would win the Sprint Cup at SHR, and sure enough Harvick won the title  in his first year not in #29. Childress and Harvick are still friends despite no longer being business partners, and Harvick acknowledged Childress’s influence on him during his 2014 acceptance speech . Following Harvick’s departure from RCR the car was renumbered back to #3 as Austin Dillon took the wheel.

 

  • Dick Hutcherson  drove #29 in 97 of his 103 career starts from 1964-1967. In those 4 years he earned 14 career wins, 13 in #29. Dick was the hands-down favorite to win rookie of the year, but was ruled ineligible for the award because he was a past champion in IMCA. “Hutch” retired from full-schedule racing to concentrate on his chassis-building business in Charlotte. After four years of top-level racing he became crew chief for his friend and fellow driver David Pearson in 1968. The combination won the championship in 1968 and 1969. In 1968 he also appeared in the Elvis Presley stock car racing movie Speedway. Another step in his career became a reality after his tenure with Pearson when he was named general manager of Holman-Moody, a position he held until December 1971 when he and West Coast driver Eddie Pagan formed Hutcherson-Pagan, a business to build and repair race cars. The two were very successful as they built cars for A.J. Foyt, Darrell Waltrip, Rick Wilson, and others. Hutcherson passed away in 2005 at age 73.
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Dick “Hutch” Hutcherson

 

  • Steve Grissom made 71 starts in #29 from 1994-1996. Jeff Green, Robert Pressley, and several others would make starts in the car from 1996-1998.
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Grissom
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Jeff Green

 

  • Nelson Stacy  drove his Ford Starliner for 40 races from 1961-1963 including 4 wins .
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Stacy

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  • In the twilight of his career Cale Yarborough was an owner/driver for 26 races in #29 starting in 1987. In 1988 Yarborough split the season with Dale Jarrett who drove the car for half of the races. Yarborough officially retired at the end of the year and Jarrett ran the entire 1989 season, a total of 48 starts in #29.
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Yarborough (29) races Kyle Pettry (21), 1988
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Dale Jarrett, 1989
  • Dink Widenhouse drove #29, or B-29  as it was often numbered, for 27 races from 1954-1956. Widenhouse may be best remembered for his final career race. After getting caught up in an early crash at Darlington Speedway, where he finished 54th, Widenhouse began crawling out of the car. But when he sighted his own blood from a cut arm, Widenhouse suddenly fainted. Because he was in the process of climbing out of his car and taking off his harnesses, Widenhouse fell onto the ground head-first. The rest of his body, however, still hung  in the cockpit as they were held by seatbelts. Luckily, Widenhouse was ok, but he never raced again.

Dink Widenhouse

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  • In 2014 & 2015 Joe Nemechek and Matt Crafton have attempted to qualify the #29 RAB Toyota for 3 races. The car has never started a race.
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Crafton, 2014

 

Other notable names in #29

  • Bud Moore, 7 starts
  • Greg Sacks, 6 starts
  • Grant Adcox, 3 starts
  • Chad Little, 4 starts
  • Hershel McGriff, 3 starts
  • Phil Parsons, 3 starts
  • AJ Foyt, 1 start
  • Bobby Isaac, 1 start
  • Tim Richmond, 1 start
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