General Motors decision to shut down its Pontiac brand was not only sad news for car enthusiasts, as the car maker had been around since 1926, but also for NASCAR fans, as the brand had two successful stints in the sport. Take a look back at the drivers who helped bring glory to the American car maker when it appeared in NASCAR.
Richard Petty -- Six wins
Although his glory days were spent driving other makes, The King spent the final 10 years of his career inside a Pontiac Grand Prix. During that span, he captured five wins — the most notable being his 200th and final victory, which came with President Ronald Reagan in attendance at Daytona International Speedway.
Kyle Petty -- Six wins
Unlike his father, Kyle's most successful years came with Pontiac. He spent several seasons inside a Grand Prix, but his best were from 1990-95, when he captured six of his eight career wins (all with Pontiac) and finished a career-best fifth in the championship in '92 and '93.
Fireball Roberts -- Seven wins
Best known for his results in a Ford, Roberts spent four years driving a Pontiac. His most notable win for the brand was the 1962 Daytona 500 — marking the second consecutive year the manufacturer rolled into Victory Lane (Marvin Panch won in 1961). In 1983, Cale Yarborough would become the last driver to win the Great American Race for the make.
Cotton Owens -- Seven wins
Owens might not be the best known driver to today's NASCAR fans, but he had several significant accomplishments — most notably being named one of the 50 greatest NASCAR drivers in 1998. One achievement that put him on the list was earning the first win for Pontiac by driving to victory on the Daytona Beach Road Course in 1957.
Junior Johnson -- Eight wins
Before he became a legendary team owner, Johnson wasn't too shabby behind the wheel. "The Last American Hero" won 50 Cup races in his 14-year career, driving multiple makes — Oldsmobile (five), Ford (26), Chevrolet (10), Pontiac (eight) and Dodge (one).
Jack Smith -- Nine wins
A participant in NASCAR's first race in 1949 at Charlotte, Smith raced several makes during his early years until settling with Chevrolet in 1957. He drove a Pontiac a few times before switching over full time in 1960. Although he won more with a Chevrolet, his defining win during the summer Daytona race came with Pontiac in 1960. He would leave Pontiac after the first race of 1963 and end his career in a Plymouth the following year.
Tony Stewart -- 15 wins
Stewart has become synonymous with sister brand Chevrolet, but he made a name for himself in a Pontiac by claiming his first 15 career wins and his first Cup championship in a Grand Prix. Smoke will go down as the last driver to win a title for the make, but he wasn't the last to drive one to Victory Lane (Ricky Craven earned that honor on March 16, 2003, at Darlington).
Bobby Labonte -- 16 wins
Aside from Toyota and Buick, Bobby Labonte has driven in every car make that has participated in NASCAR since 1991 — Oldsmobile (1991), Ford (1993, 2009-2010), Pontiac (1994, 1997-2002), Chevrolet (1995-1996, 2003-2005), Dodge (2006-2008) and now Toyota. But he achieved most of his fame with the red arrowhead on his hood — capturing the bulk of his victories, including the 2000 Brickyard 400, and the 2000 Cup series championship — in a Pontiac.
Joe Weatherly -- 20 wins
Long before Dale Earnhardt Jr. made the No. 8 cool, it was Weatherly who brought it success. Driving for Bud Moore from 1961-1963, Weatherly would go on to capture his 20 wins and two Cup championships during the heyday for Pontiac (which would win 57 races in that span and their first two manufacturer's titles). That success ended in 1964 as Pontiac pulled out of the sport and Weatherly, a former motorcycle and modified racer, died in an on-track accident at Riverside International Raceway.
Rusty Wallace -- 31 wins
No driver in history had more success in a Pontiac-brand race car than Wallace. Not only did he score 31 of his 55 career wins for the manufacturer, but he also captured the 1989 Cup title for the brand. Not to be forgotten, Wallace also contributed 10 wins and 19 top-five finishes toward Pontiac's third (and final) NASCAR manufacturer's championship in 1993.