History of the No. 5: Think you know all the facts about the five?

2016 NASCAR Hall of Fame inductee Terry Labonte earned the most wins of any driver in the No. 5 car.


Nowadays, Kasey Kahne wheels the No. 5 Chevrolet SS for Hendrick Motorsports, but that particular number has a long and colorful history in the NASCAR Premier Series.

In point of fact, the No. 5 has pretty much always been a staple of NASCAR. At the very first NASCAR Strictly Stock race at Charlotte Speedway on June 19, 1949, little-known Felix Wilkes drove a No. 5 Lincoln to a 27th-place finish in the race.

But the No. 5 wouldn’t make it to Victory Lane until Aug. 6, 1960, when then local hero and now NASCAR Hall of Fame member Cotton Owens drove the No. 5 Pontiac to victory at Piedmont Interstate Fairgrounds in Spartanburg, S.C., Owens’ hometown track.

Later that year, Bobby Johns would drive the No. 5 Owens-owned Pontiac to victory in the Atlanta 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway.

The history of NASCAR car numbers

Some other notable No. 5 history lessons:

IndyCar star Tom Sneva drove the No. 5 in the 1981 Daytona 500.

Driving a Pontiac Grand Prix for Cliff Stewart Racing, Morgan Shepherd won at Martinsville Speedway in 1981.

The first of 240 NASCAR Premier Series race victories for the team now known as Hendrick Motorsports came at Martinsville in 1984, with Geoff Bodine winning in the No. 5 Chevrolet. The team was close to shutting down before Bodine’s victory saved it.

Terry Labonte drover the No. 5 to his second NASCAR Premier Series championship in 1996.

When he won at Phoenix in the fall of 2005, Kyle Busch temporarily became the youngest NASCAR Premier Series race winner in history at 20 years, 125 days. Joey Logano would later set the mark at 19 years, 35 days. Interestingly, Busch would not win another race in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup until the season-ending race of 2015 that gave him his first series title.

Here’s a look at the No. 5:

Starts: 1,491

Wins: 44

Wins by driver: Terry Labonte, 12; Geoff Bodine, 7; Kasey Kahne, 5; Mark Martin, 5; Ricky Rudd, 4; Kyle Busch, 4; Cotton Owens, 3; Neil Bonnett, 2; Morgan Shepherd, 1; Bobby Johns, 1.

Top fives: 290

Top 10s: 556

Poles: 60

Average start: 16.3

Average finish: 16.87

Drivers: 123

Note: All statistics from driveraverages.com.