This may come as a bit of a surprise to some, but NASCAR Sprint Cup vehicles are not legal street-driven vehicles. In fact, NASCAR race cars are a lot different than the one you drive. So despite what you see in commercials, they are not the daily drivers of your favorite oval track hero. NASCAR success and fame comes with a nice payday, and the drivers can afford pretty much any vehicle made, which explains the wide variety found on this list of their rides of choice.
Dale Earnhardt Jr.
The Earnhardt family has been in Chevy dealerships for generations, and Jr has a particular affinity for the Camaro. A fourth generation Camaro could be bought with dealer modifications to become an “Intimidator SS”, and this process was repeated in 2011 with a fifth generation Camaro SS making 704 hp. Intimidator indeed. While Jr sells these at his dealership, he’d rather drive the older ones. He owns a silver 1967 Camaro rebuilt by Detroit Speed Inc., featuring a traditional small block Chevy v8 with aluminum heads and a carburetor running power to a five-speed stick. A different flavor is available with his orange 1972 Camaro. This one has a modern six-speed and LS2 v8, but the EFI has been ripped out in favor of a carb. Oddities of his collection include a 1977 Oldsmobile Cutlass, and a Pontiac G8 converted to look like a Holden Commodore.
If you’ve seen even one race on TV, you have seen Danica Patrick enjoying burnouts in that late-model Camaro SS in the commercial for Peak Antifreeze. While the base Mercedes M-class is a nice luxury SUV, it just isn’t enough for a race driver. Danica selected the ML63 AMG version, for a 5.5L V8 with 518 horsepower. Yes, this SUV has more power than a restrictor plate equipped Sprint Car. The six-figure Benz hauls almost as much stuff as it does haul ass, but when she wants to go faster, she’s got a car for that. Her Lamborghini Gallardo has a 5.0L v10 with 513 hp. Danica understandably has a hard time with the speed limit in either vehicle, and has been ticketed in both. Hilariously, one time her penalty was to attend driving school.
Smoke drives whatever he wants. That’s evident in his most popular ride, a 1984 Cadillac Brougham hearse. Unique Autosports in Long Island, New York took on the task of changing the sleepy blue hearse into a wild monster of a limo. In addition to custom bodywork, paint, and wheels, the interior was entirely replaced with an entertainment system better than what is in most people’s houses. A 32” tv, liquor cabinet, and enough bass to cause an earthquake round out the features. His other rides include a 2003 Hummer H2 that DUB worked over, 2007 Chevrolet Corvette pace car, a host of ‘50s and ‘60s American Iron, and a 1979 Pontiac Trans Am in Smokey & the Bandit black and gold.
It’s been a long time since Earnhardt Sr called him “Wonder Boy”, so it’s understandable that Jeff Gordon’s daily driver is the modern version of the family station wagon. His Chevrolet Tahoe Hybrid appears to be stock, but even so sports 332 horsepower and can comfortably haul his wife and two kids. If that isn’t good enough reason, the 6.0L v8 can tow, or if you are easy on the gas pedal this 6,000 lb brick can get 23 MPG. Not bad, but on date nights he probably drives either his Jaguar XK8 or sweet 1933 Ford coupe.
One of NASCAR’s younger drivers, Joey has an affinity for vehicles three times his age. His well-documented favorite is a rat rod 1937 GMC truck. It’s a custom creation he took a liking to and offered to buy from the builder/previous owner. It sports a 327 carbureted small block, and the cab has been chopped and extended. The grille is from a similar era Packard, and overall it looks great slammed and fenderless, sitting on some wide whitewalls. Its a million different colors, as rat rods should be, and Joey has no intention of painting it.
Mustangs are everywhere, but watch out for the one driven by Greg Biffle. This particular 2008 Ford Mustang GT500 has been turned up to 11, while being sneaky about it. While a factory stock GT500 is no slouch, after a 5.4L v8 from Roush Yates Racing, custom cams, and tuning by Prodyno, this street car is probably faster than a Sprint car. The Custom Mustang looks like the day it came from the factory with zero body modifications, but puts down 983 horsepower at the wheels. Better not let Danica get ahold of it, or the trunk will be filled with speeding tickets.
Written by Andy Jensen