Thursday, August 20, 2009

My favorite racer names

Today's NASCAR has a roster of safe, sponsor-friendly driver names - few, if any, of whom cause snickers from their uniqueness or double-entendres. Driver names such as Jeff Gordon, Jimmie Johnson, Matt Kenseth, Tony Stewart, Ryan Newman, or even Juan Pablo Montoya don't raise any giggles. Probably the only name that even remotely raises an eyebrow is Kurt Busch.

But the drivers of the past? Ahhh, now we're talking. Here is what I believe are my top ten favorite unique and/or funny names as well as a link to their NASCAR history. Some stays were short-lived - other drivers were around for a while. Enjoy the snickers, the research, and the "I had no idea" revelations.

10. Dick Trickle - Let's go ahead and get him out of the way. A funny name, a logical choice, but also a driver most everyone already knows.

9. Nero Steptoe - From Albany, GA - apparently of native American descent. Only raced in 5 Grand National (now Sprint Cup) races.

8. PeeWee Jones - Pee Wee gets ranked slightly above Nero because he raced in 7 GN races.

7. Spook Crawford - Spook only ran 6 GN races, but his name is still better than Nero or Pee Wee.

6. Crawfish Crider - Actually Crider's first name is Curtis - a pretty good in its own right. But his nickname of 'Crawfish' allows him to split the bottom 5 from the top 5.

5. Jocko Maggiacomo - Not only did Jocko have a great name, he was also from a CITY with a great name - Poughkeepsie, NY. Jocko's final year in Cup racing was 1988. One of his final races was in June at Pocono. He and Bobby Allison wrecked hard on the first lap of the race. Allison was t-boned and suffered traumatic head injuries. Jocko returned to race another time or two in 1988 before leaving the sport.

4. Friday Hassler - from Chatta-dadgum-nooga, Tennessee. My sister-in-law almost married one of his relatives (great nephew, grandson, 3rd cousin, or something like that). Friday was tragically killed at Daytona in 1972. What a great name - to be named after the start of the weekend. Too bad his name wasn't Friday Five O'Clock.

3. Frog Fagan - I know very little about Frog, but I think of the Little Rascals character every time I hear his name.

2. Dick Passwater - Maybe he took more Flomax than Mr. Trickle.

1. Possum Jones - How can you not like a driver named for an ugly rodent often found dead in the road? And yes, this Possum is different than the legendary country music singer George Jones who often goes by the nickname Possum.

Yes, I recognize many of the names on this list are nicknames vs. the God-given named laid on them by their mamas. Yet even at the nickname level, these names still trump Smoke, Shrub, or Cousin Carl.

Honorable mention goes to drivers such as Buckshot Jones, Glenn 'Fireball' Roberts, and Jimmy 'Smut' Means.

How 'bout it? Who did I forget who was deserving of being on the list?



  1. I think Reb Wickersham and Coo Coo Marlin deserved to be on here as well

  2. Jesse James Taylor

  3. Tootle Estes is another good one.

  4. Wimpy Sipple
    Van Van Wey
    Dorus Winescraver
    Ken Klutz