Countdown to the Daytona 500: 18 Days and the History of Number 18

We are 18 days, 432 hours, 25,920 minutes away from the 58th running of the Daytona 500.  Let’s take a look at what the number 18 has done throughout the history books in NASCAR.

Main Drivers

Bobby Labonte, Dale Jarrett, and Kyle Busch have four things in common. They have all won a NASCAR Championship. The three have had Interstate Batteries as a sponsor on the car they were driving at one point. Joe Gibbs Racing was able to have these drivers on its race team. The main thing these great drivers have in common is that they have all piloted the number 18 car.

JGR Receives Number 18

Numbers in NASCAR are not owned by race teams, there for meaning NASCAR owns them. In 1992, Joe Gibbs Racing obtained number 18. While driver/owner, Greg Sacks, was driving the 18 machine in ’91, Gibbs’ chances increased because Sacks wasn’t full time. In this case, Joe Gibbs was able to put in a request that offseason with NASCAR to have number 18 and was successful. The rest was history with JGR and the iconic number.

Wins and Notable Victories

Overall, the number 18 has been in Victory Lane 57 times over a span of 68 years. As a result, those victories put the car number 15th all-time on the wins list. In addition, the three aforementioned drivers combined for all 57 wins (Busch 34, Labonte 21, Jarrett 2).

Meanwhile, those 57 victories contained many big and prestigious races. Jarrett was able to cross the finish line first at the Daytona 500 in ’93. Bobby “Ice Man” Labonte won the Coke 600 at Charlotte in ’95,  coupled with a Southern 500 and Indianapolis 400 victory in 2000. “Rowdy” Busch contributed to the number 18’s success, particularly by winning the Southern 500 in ’08 and Indianapolis 400 in back to back years; 2015 & 2016.

Notable Drivers

Other notable drivers include George Seeger (4 races), Donnie Allison (4 races), Benny Parsons (2 races), Fireball Roberts (1 race), Rick Hendrick (1 race), and Harry Gant (1 race).

Victory Lane for Number 18 in 18 Days?

Kyle Busch is looking to win his first Daytona 500 of his career in 18 days, on top of getting the 18 car back in victory lane at the “Super Bowl” of NASCAR for the first time in 24 years. Can Rowdy accomplish this feat? Tune in on February 26th to see.

Cody Stewart