With the 2016 Daytona 500 just 48 days away, it’s time to take a look at the history of the No. 48 in NASCAR. By necessity, it will be a short lesson.
That’s because when it comes to the No. 48, one driver has been dominant, just as he has been throughout his career. Yes, we’re talking about six-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion Jimmie Johnson.
All told, the No. 48 has won a total of 78 NASCAR Premier Series races, which ranks eighth overall among car numbers. Johnson has scored 75 of those 78 victories, with James Hylton picking up two and Bill Norton winning once, on Nov. 11, 1951 at the long-defunct Carrell Speedway near Los Angeles.
Johnson, who has spent his entire career in the Hendrick Motorsports No. 48 Chevrolet, has also scored 207 top fives, 314 top 10s and 33 poles in the No. 48. Hylton, by comparison has made more starts in the No. 48 than Johnson â 583 vs. 507 â with 139 top fives, 299 top 10s and just four poles.
They are the only two drivers with more than 100 starts in the No. 48. Behind them are G.C. Spencer (96) and Trevor Boys (53). No other driver has made more than a dozen NASCAR Premier Series starts in the No. 48.
Today’s bar bet question: Who was the first driver to race the No. 48 in a NASCAR Premier Series event?
The answer is Lee Schmidt, who drove his Buick to an 18th-place finish in the NASCAR Strictly Stock Series race at Langhorne (Pa.) Speedway on Sept. 11, 1949, the first season of the series.