Throwback Thursday: History of the No. 9 car in NASCAR

Bill Elliott, driver of the No. 9 Evernham Motorsports Dodge Intrepid R/T, talks with son Chase during the 2002 Pennsylavania 500 at Pocono Raceway.

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Young Chase Elliott has been burning up the NASCAR Nationwide Series ranks in the No. 9 JR Motorsports Chevrolet, which he’s put into Victory Lane in each of the last two races.

But in the long history of what we now call the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, it’s Chase’s dad, Bill Elliott, who has had the most success driving the No. 9.

Believe it or not, just five drivers have won races at NASCAR’s highest level in the No. 9.

Herb Thomas was the first, as he wheeled a Hudson Hornet to victory at the venerable North Wilkesboro (N.C.) Speedway on Oct. 26, 1952.

Just three weeks later, on Nov. 16, 1952, Herb’s younger brother, Donald Thomas, put a Hudson in Victory Lane at Lakewood (Ga.) Speedway.

And then … nothing.

More than three decades would pass before the No. 9 would win another race in NASCAR’s top division.

Finally, Bill Elliott won the last race of the 1983 season, taking the checkered flag on the old Riverside road course in Southern California, not far from where Auto Club Speedway stands today. Elliott would go on to score 38 of his 44 career Cup victories in the No. 9, with the other six came in Junior Johnson’s No. 11.

Bill Elliott celebrates in victory lane after winning the 2002 Pennsylvania 500 at Pocono Raceway.

The only other drivers to win in the No. 9 were Kasey Kahne, who posted 11 victories with that number and two-time winner Marcos Ambrose, who drives the No. 9 now for Richard Petty Motorsports. It was Kahne who replaced Elliott at Evernham Motorsports, and after team owner Ray Evernham sold the team to what is now RPM, it was Ambrose who eventually replaced Kahne, although Aric Almirola had five races in the No. 9 as well.

Today’s bar bet question: After Elliott’s 446 starts and Kahne’s 247, who had the third-highest number of starts in the No. 9 in the Sprint Cup Series?

The correct answer is little-know Roy Tyner, who made 224 starts in the No. 9. Tyner raced from 1957-70 amassing 10 top-five and 55 top-10 finishes in the No. 9.

Roy Tyner of Red Springs, NC, ran this 1964 Chevrolet on the NASCAR Cup circuit during the season, entering 46 of the 62 races, finishing 17 of them in the top 10.

Last but not least, the most fun names to drive the No. 9 are: Jug (Pierce), Pee Wee (Jones), Lake (Speed), Bunkie (Blackburn), Ramo (Stott), Worth (McMillion) and Iggy (Katona).

By The Numbers, for No. 9 in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series:

Starts: 1,480

Wins: 53

Top fives: 228

Top 10s: 461

Poles: 71

Average start: 17.00

Average finish: 18.39

Laps run: 352,173

Laps led: 12,920

Drivers: 102

Stats by driveraverages.com.