Jeff Burton, Robby Gordon, Ryan Newman highlight the history of the No. 31 car
To understand the basic history of the No. 31 car in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, one need look no further than Richard Childress Racing.
While the number has been used by 101 different drivers beginning when Sterling Long and Ben Cannaziaro drove it in NASCAR’s Strickly Stock division in 1949, the No. 31’s most notable history began when it became a property of Richard Childress Racing in 1996.
After making five appearances in a No. 31 RCR car that year, Mike Skinner came out of the gate swinging in 1997 by capturing the pole for the Daytona 500 in the No. 31 Lowe’s sponsored Chevrolet.
Skinner, who was a rookie in 1997, went on to race the No. 31 in 156 points-paying races — second only to Jeff Burton’s 324 starts as driver of a No. 31 RCR machine.
Burton raced with the number from 2005-2013, picking up four wins along the way.
Burton’s predecessor in the No. 31 RCR car, Robby Gordon, netted the number’s only other top series NASCAR wins by going to Victory Lane three times in 118 outings for the Welcome, North Carolina-based organization.
With Burton’s departure from the company at the end of 2013, Ryan Newman took over the No. 31, but the Indiana native has failed to deliver a victory in two full seasons. Newman did, however, make the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup in both 2014 and 2015, finishing a career-best second in the standings in the former season.
The No. 31 car by the numbers
Top fives: 87
Top 10s: 267
Average finish: 19.29
Average start: 19.9
All statistics provided by driveraverages.com