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When you think of your childhood, what first comes to mind? Your favorite toy? Favorite TV show? Favorite food? Sure, Tom and Jerry have a way of bringing back that childhood nostalgia, but there’s nothing quite like the racing legends of yesteryear.
We asked Team Valvoline about their favorite Valvoline racing heroes. They say not all heroes wear capes, and we know a few that wear fire suits. Check out the ones who take the Team Valvoline community back to the good ole days.
Deb H. — “He has always been my favorite since he raced at Owosso. He’s a clean racer, fan friendly, and a family man. He is strong in his integrity, his faith, and his support of the racing community.”
Justin S. — “I first started watching NASCAR when Alab Kulwicki won the championship, so I was a fan of the Wisconsin driver. It’s when he passed away that I got hooked on the sport. I jumped straight on the #6 car with Mark Martin and never looked back! Even when he retired and came back two times, I stayed with him. The cleanest racer ever! I was 23 wearing Viagra apparel! I have a huge Mark Martin Valvoline collection. I also wear a Mark Martin hat on every stunt!”
Chris Topher N. — “I would say Mark Martin is my favorite because he started his racing on the dirt tracks and up to ASA in the Midwest, which is where my family and I are from. I followed him for many years starting in 1995 as a kid. I just always felt like he treated everyone with respect on and off the track. All he wanted to do was just race and enjoy it. He always gave credit to his racing team and everyone that helped him along the way. Then, he has his Fan Days in Arkansas where it all started to give back to the fans. Every time we go down to it, everyone treats you like family. He also engages with fans about stories or asks where we got our hoods and he’s just excited to see the fans as we are to have the hoods.”
Needless to say, Mark Martin has been a longtime favorite of Team Valvoline. But, he’s not the only one.
Elliott T. — “Joe was an innovator. He took the rear wing of the top fuel dragster up higher and back and was the first man to 260 mph. He drove both dragster and funny cars. He surrounded himself with great people. He didn’t have a wind tunnel so he strapped the aerodynamic front nose piece for his streamlined dragster to a station wagon and took video to see if it would work. Joe was always a great person to talk to, and he was a 4-time NHRA Top Fuel Champion.”
The opportunity to talk with your favorite racer is a hard memory to beat, especially when it’s happened more than once.
Steve D. — “Steve Kinser always took the few seconds to shake my hand, sign an autograph, or even a few times have a conversation with me. He won 20 national touring series championships.”
Steve got the chance to shake hands with his favorite Steve multiple times at places like Eagle raceway and Knoxville raceway every summer, sometimes even a couple of times a season.
While some fans get to meet their favorite drivers face-to-face, you don’t have to personally know the drivers to call them a favorite.
David L. — “My dad and I like them both because they drove flat out all the time. Cale learned to save a little car, Buddy never did. Just some tough men. I hope Buddy gets in the Hall of Fame.”
Whether they’ve made it to the Hall of Fame or not, we all have our favorites. They take us back to our childhood and bring up some of the best memories. These racing heroes have a special place in our heart, and we hope the tradition only continues in the years to come.