Kyle Petty Claims NASCAR No Longer Has ‘Superstar’ Drivers

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Ever since the mid-2010s, NASCAR has lacked dominant drivers like Jeff Gordon, Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Tony Stewart.

Former NASCAR driver Kyle Petty said NASCAR doesn’t have any “superstars” because the sport has become generally closer in performance, not allowing any driver to separate himself from the group.

“How do you establish yourself as a superstar when you can only win two or three races a year?” Petty asked during Wednesday’s episode of “Out of the Groove” with Eric Estepp. “How can you establish yourself, separate yourself from the pack when you can only win four or five races? You’ve got to figure that out as a driver and I think NASCAR or the teams have to figure that out, how to create superstars.”

Kyle Busch and Joey Logano have both won two championships in the last 10 years, but outside of the NASCAR fans, neither driver transcends the sport. Where in the earlier years, people outside of NASCAR knew who Richard Petty and Dale Earnhardt where.

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“We have a lot of phenomenal race car drivers in our sport,” Kyle Petty said on the show. “(…) But we don’t have superstar race car drivers, we just don’t. And we’ve not had a superstar race car driver in a long time in this sport, the way I look at it. Somebody who just transcends the sport and can go do other things, away from the sport, that brings eyes to the sport. I just don’t see that.”

Denny Hamlin is the closest to becoming a superstar because he has 53 race wins, including three at Daytona, over his 20-year career. However, unless he begins to dominate on the track like Gordon, Earnhardt Jr., or Stewart did, no one outside of NASCAR will take notice.

It may not even matter to NASCAR or the drivers themselves, but if they wanted to create the next “superstar,” they have to get the drivers out there into the world, not just on the track each weekend.

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