Top Ten Tuesday: Fathers and Children in Racing

Spencer Neff

Twitter: @NeffOnSports11

Each Tuesday I will have a top ten countdown. In honor of Father’s Day on Sunday, here are my top father and children in racing:

10. Gilles and Jacques Villeneuve: After starting out on snowmobiles in his native Quebec, the Canadian quickly moved to open-wheel cars. From 1977-1982, Gilles racked up six wins. However, his life was tragically cut short after a practice crash for the 1982 Belgian Grand Prix at Zolder.

Son Jacques made his way to the big stages of auto racing in 1994, finishing second in the Indianapolis 500 and earning his first career IndyCar win at Road America in Wisconsin. The next year Jacques took the victory in the Indianapolis 500 and three more races en route to the 1995 IndyCar Championship. The next year, Villeneuve departed for Formula 1, where he won 11 races and the 1997 Championship. Since leaving the series in 2006, Jacques has dabbled in NASCAR, sports cars and even returned to race in the 2014 Indianapolis 500 for Schmidt Peterson Motorsports.

9. Graham and Damon Hill: One of the most well-rounded drivers in racing, Graham is the only driver to win the “Triple Crown of Racing” (24 Hours of Le Mans-1972, Indianapolis 500-1966 and the Grand Prix of Monaco-1963-65,1968-69), as well as the 1962 and 1968 Formula 1 titles. Graham perished in a plane crash in 1975, but son Damon would carry on the family legacy. Damon racked up 22 victories in Formula and earned the 1996 Formula 1 title, making the Hills the only father-son duo to win championships in Formula 1.

8. Sir Jack , Geoff, Gary and David Brabham: One of the stars of the Formula 1 circuit in the  late 1950s 1960s, Sir Jack  raced to 14 wins and three championships during his 14-year career.

Jack’s sons made their legacy in the world of sports car racing. Eldest son Geoff earned four IMSA GTP Championships, while Gary won the 12 Hours of Sebring in 1991 and David won the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 2009. Geoff’s son Matthew currently races for Andretti Autosport in the Indy Lights Series.

7. John, Ashley Force-Hood, Brittany and Courtney Force: Drag Racing’s most famous name boasts John with NHRA records for National event wins (141) and championships (16). Daughter Ashley claimed four career wins in Funny Car before going on hiatus. Courtney has claimed seven Funny Car wins in over three years of competition and Brittany is seeking her first National event win in Top Fuel.

6.  Ned and Dale Jarrett: Ned was one of the early stars of the sport, earning titles in what is now the Sprint Cup Series in 1961 and 1965 and 50 career victories before retiring abruptly after his 1965 title. His son Dale tallied 32 career wins, including three Daytona 500s (1993, 96 and 2000), and won the 1999 Cup Series title. Ned and Dale have also had successful careers in the broadcast booth. One of the Jarrett family’s most famous moments was Ned calling Dale’s first Daytona 500 win in 1993 for CBS.

5. Bobby and Davey Allison: Another father-son duo from NASCAR, Bobby and brother Donnie (10 career Cup Series wins) were founding members of the famed Alabama Gang. Bobby accumulated 84 career Cup Series wins, including three Daytona 500s (1978, ’82 and ’88) and the 1983 Championship.

Perhaps the biggest moment for the family was a thrilling 1-2 finish in the 1988 Daytona 500 between Bobby and Davey in what proved to be Bobby’s last career win. Davey, whose brother Clifford was killed in a practice crash at Michigan, won 19 times in the Cup series, including the 1992 Daytona 500, before a helicopter crash in 1993 took his life.

4. Dale Earnhardt Sr. and Jr.: Another name synonymous with NASCAR, the Earnhardt family has earned their place among the elite in the sport of Auto Racing.

Dale Sr. racked up 76 career victories and seven Cup Series Championships in a career that spanned from 1978 until his untimely death from a crash on the last lap of the 2001 Daytona 500. Dale Jr. has carried on the Earnhardt, including the 1998 and 1999 Xfinity Series titles (formerly Busch Series) and 24 wins in the Sprint Cup Series, including two Daytona 500 wins (2004 and 2014).

In August 2000, Dale Sr. became just the second father to race alongside two sons (Lee, Richard and Maurice Petty), when Dale’s oldest son Kerry raced with him and Dale Jr.

3. Al Unser Sr. and Jr.: Another family who made their name in open-wheel racing, the two combined for 73 wins, including six victories in the Indianapolis 500 and five championships in IndyCar. Al’s older brother Bobby also added three Indianapolis 500 victories and two IndyCar titles to the family legacy.

2. Mario and Michael Andretti: Mario’s legendary career boasts four IndyCar titles and 52 series victories, a Formula 1 championship (12 wins) and a win in the 1967 Daytona 500, as well as the 1969 Indianapolis 500. Mario’s son Michael has quite a racing record as well.

The younger Andretti earned 42 victories and the 1991 IndyCar Championship. In 1991 and 1992, Mario and Michael were joined by Mario’s younger son Jeff and his nephew John in the Indianapolis 500. Michael came out of retirement in 2006 and 2007 to race in the Indianapolis 500 alongside his son Marco, who continues to race for his father in the IndyCar Series.

1. Lee, Richard and Maurice Petty: Most people recognize Richard, a 7-time champion and winner of 200 races as “The King, as well as Lee for winning the inaugural Daytona 500 in 1959, but many casual racing fans may not recognize Richard’s younger brother, Maurice. Although never winning a race, Maurice built engines and served as crew chief, helping Petty Enterprises win over 250 races and 10 Cup Series Championships.

Enjoy  your week

Published by Spencer Neff

I am a lifelong auto racing fan. Through IndyCar1909, I look forward to sharing my passion for the series and its illustrious history with you.

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