Saturday will mark the debut of a new lineup of cars for the NASCAR Hall of Fame’s “Glory Road” exhibit.
It will be the fourth set of cars to grace the Hall of Fame’s main atrium since the museum opened in 2010.
The difference with the new batch of 18 cars is they were specifically chosen by former Cup driver and NBC Sports analyst Dale Earnhardt Jr.
Earnhardt, the first guest curator of “Glory Road,” chose 18 cars that were driven by Cup champions. The exhibit, called “Dale Jr: Glory Road Champions,” will be on display for about three years.
The car lineup was slowly revealed over the last week on social media, culminating in tomorrow’s exhibit opening.
Here are the 18 cars that Earnhardt chose.
Richard Petty’s 1979 Oldsmobile Cutlass 442
The car Petty drove to a win in the historic 1979 Daytona 500, which marked the first live flag-to-flag TV coverage of the “Great American Race.”
Petty claimed the win after last-lap crash between Cale Yarborough and Donnie Allison as Petty ran in third. Petty would race an Oldsmobile and a Chevrolet in 1979, winning five times on his way to his seventh and final Cup title.
Dale Earnhardt’s 1994 Chevrolet Lumina
Fifteen years after Petty’s seventh title, Dale Earnhardt became the second driver to reach that mark, winning four times in 1994 along with 20 top fives and 25 top 10s in 31 races. It marked the end of Earnhardt’s run of six championships in nine years.
Jimmie Johnson‘s 2016 Chevrolet SS
It took a little longer for Jimmie Johnson to join Petty and Earnhardt as a seven-time champion, doing so 22 years after Earnhardt. Johnson won five times and earned 11 top fives and 16 top 10s through 36 races. Three of those wins came in the last seven races of the season.
Jeff Gordon’s 1997 Chevy Monte Carlo
The actual car Gordon won the 1997 Daytona 500 with – his first of three wins in the “Great American Race” – will be on display. The win kicked off Gordon’s second championship campaign. Gordon, who was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2019, would go on to win 10 races for the second year in a row.
Bill Elliott’s 1988 Ford Thunderbird
“Awesome Bill from Dawsonville’s” lone Cup title came in 1988. That year he won six times, including the Southern 500 for the second of three times.
He also won the July race at Daytona, at Bristol, Pocono and swept the Dover races.
Tony Stewart’s 2002 Pontiac Grand Prix
The car Stewart drove to his first of three Cup titles and the second Cup title for Joe Gibbs Racing following Bobby Labonte’s in 2000.
Stewart only won three times (Atlanta, Richmond I and Watkins Glen), but had a 13-race streak that included two wins, five top fives and eight top 10s. He took the points lead for the first time after the 30th race of the 36-race season.
Benny Parsons’ 1973 Chevrolet Chevelle
A former Detroit taxi driver, Parson’s lone Cup title came in the 1973 season despite him only claiming one win (Bristol II). But in the 28-race season, he finished outside the top 10 just seven times.
The championship was part of a nine-year stretch where Parsons did not finish outside the top five in the standings.
Alan Kulwicki’s 1992 Ford Thunderbird
One of the most celebrated championship stories in NASCAR history, the independent driver-owner Kulwicki won the 1992 Cup title in the season finale at Atlanta Motor Speedway, besting four other drivers who entered the race with a shot at the championship, including race winner Bill Elliott.
Kulwicki, who was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2019, died in a plane crash on April 1, 1993 on his way to Bristol Motor Speedway.
The car that will sit on “Glory Road” is the car Kulwicki drove to his fifth and final Cup win on June 14, 1992 at Pocono Raceway.
Bobby Allison’s 1983 Buick Regal
Allison claimed his lone Cup title in 1983 off of six wins, 18 top fives and 25 tops 10s in 30 races.
Allison’s wins included three in a row late in the season, with the first in the Southern 500. His title came after he had placed runner-up in the standings five times.
Cale Yarborough’s 1978 Oldsmobile Cutlass 442
In 1978, Cale Yarborough became the first driver to claim three consecutive Cup titles, an achievement that’s been repeated only once since with Jimmie Johnson as part of his five straight titles.
Driving for Junior Johnson, Yarborough won 10 races (for the second time in his career) and earned 24 top 10s in 30 races.
Buck Baker’s 1957 Chevrolet 150
Baker won his second consecutive Cup title in a car nicknamed “The Black Widow.”
Baker competed in 40 of the season’s 53 races, winning 10 times and earning 30 top fives plus eight more top 10s.
Rusty Wallace’s 1989 Pontiac Grand Prix
Wallace’s lone Cup title came in 1989 when he drove the No. 27 car for owner Raymond Beadle. Wallace claimed six wins and 13 top fives during the 29-race season, his last before he teamed with Miller Genuine Draft as a sponsor.
Wallace won the championship by just 12 points over Dale Earnhardt.
Darrell Waltrip’s 1981 Buick Regal
Waltrip claimed his first of three Cup titles in five years in 1981 while driving the No. 11 car for Junior Johnson. That year he won 12 races (which he would also do in 1982) and earned 21 top fives in 31 races.
His wins included four in a row late in the season at Martinsville, North Wilkesboro, Charlotte and Rockingham.
David Pearson’s 1968 Ford Torino
Pearson claimed his second of three Cup titles in 1968 driving the No. 17 car for Holman-Moody Racing. He claimed 16 of his 105 career Cup wins that season, his most in any year.
Pearson also earned 36 top fives over the course of the 49-race season. He started in 48 races.
Jimmie Johnson’s 2006 Chevrolet Monte Carlo
Johnson started his historic five-year championship streak in 2006. That year he claimed five wins, including his first victories in the Daytona 500 and Brickyard 400.
This is the first car on the new version of “Glory Road” representative of NASCAR’s playoff era.
Dale Earnhardt’s 1980 Chevrolet Monte Carlo
The car Earnhardt drove to his first of seven Cup titles in 1980 while he raced for owner Rod Osterlund.
Earnhardt won five times and led the point standings for all but one of the season’s 31 races, leaving the season opener at Daytona second in points.
This car was gifted to Dale Earnhardt Jr. by Talladega Superspeedway in 2017 as part of his farewell tour before he retired from Cup racing.
Dale Jr. helped complete a restoration of the car so it would be historically accurate.
Richard Petty’s 1964 Plymouth Belvedere
The car “The King” raced to his first of seven Cup titles, totaling nine wins and 37 top fives over 61 starts, including his first of seven victories in the Daytona 500.
In the 500, Petty lapped the entire field of 46 cars while leading 184 of 200 laps.
Herb Thomas’ 1951 Hudson Hornet
Thomas won 48 races in his Hall of Fame career, including seven times in his first of two championship campaigns in 1951. Thomas raced a Plymouth for much of the first half of the season before switching to the Hornet. His seven wins included a victory in the Southern 500.
67 years ago today, Herb Thomas won the 1951 Southern 500 @ Darlington.@HudsonMotorCarC pic.twitter.com/XH9cBmVzMx
— Andrew (@Basso488) September 3, 2018