The history of the No. 41 in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series spans from the first Strictly Stock race on June 19, 1949 all the way to present times, but the list of drivers may surprise you.
The first driver to carry the number in NASCAR’s Premier Series was 2016 NASCAR Hall of Fame inductee Curtis Turner. The hard-nosed driver carried the number during that inaugural Strictly Stock season, earning one win at Langhorne Speedway.
Turner made a total of 72 starts with the No. 41, earning 12 wins, 20 top fives, 27 top 10s, nine poles and leading 2,642 laps.
While Turner holds the record for the most wins in the No. 41, the driver with the second-most victories may surprise you.
Think you know all there is to know about Richard Petty? Well, did you know not all of his 200 career Sprint Cup Series wins came in the iconic No. 43? The seven-time champion earned six of those victories while piloting the No. 41 from 1962 until 1964.
Petty made a total of 22 starts in the No. 41, earning six wins, 14 top fives and 16 top 10s. Richard wasn’t the only Petty to pilot the No. 41, either. His brother and fellow NASCAR Hall of Fame member, Maurice, made four starts with the number in 1962.
NASCAR Hall of Fame members Lee Petty, Joe Weatherly, Buck Baker and Rex White also each had at least one start in a No. 41 car.
Currently, Stewart-Haas Racing’s Kurt Busch pilots the No. 41 in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. Busch, the 2004 Sprint Cup champion, has carried the number for the past two seasons, earning three wins, 16 top fives and 32 top 10s in just 69 starts.
Jim Paschal also scored three victories in the No. 41, taking the checkered flag at Fairgrounds Raceway in Birmingham, Alabama and Tar Heel Speedway in Randleman, North Carolina in 1963 and Charlotte Motor Speedway in 1964.
The only other driver to earn a NASCAR Premier Series victory in the No. 41 is motorsports legend A.J. Foyt. The racing icon made a total of four starts in the No. 41. Driving for the famed Wood Brothers Racing, Foyt earned the victory in the July 1965 race at Daytona International Speedway. The victory was Foyt’s second NASCAR win.
The two drivers with the most starts in the No. 41 are Casey Mears (108) and Reed Sorenson (107). Neither driver made a huge impact with the number, earning a combined nine top fives and 31 top 10s in 116 total starts.
In 1996 and 1997, the No. 41 car was involved in two violent and frightening incidents.
During the 1996 Winston Select 500 at Talladega Superspeedway, a multi-car incident occurred going into Turn 1. As the field began to wreck entering the corner, Ricky Craven’s No. 41 Kodiak Chevrolet was hit in the right rear tire and sent tumbling up the banking and into the air, flying over multiple cars and into the fencing before being thrown back across the track, down the banking and onto the apron, where it was hit again. Craven sustained two fractured vertebrae, but recovered to race again.
The following season, it was Steve Grissom that took the No. 41 on a wild ride. During the 1997 Primestar 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway, Grissom tried to avoid the spinning car of Jimmy Spencer on the backstretch. As the car turned backward, it hit an inside wall at a bad angle. The violent contact lifted Grisssom’s No. 41 into the air and threw the gas tank across the track. As the No. 41 spun around on its roof, the gas tank was ignited and a fire caught on the track. Grissom was not seriously injured in the incident.
The No. 41 by the numbers:
Wins by driver: Curtis Turner, 12; Richard Petty, 6; Kurt Busch, 3; Jim Paschal, 3; A.J. Foyt, 1