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How Do NASCAR Drivers Get Car Numbers? Cup Champion Ryan Blaney Reveals

Srijan Mandal
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Defending NASCAR Champion Ryan Blaney: Fords Have “Work to Do”

Every motorsports event sees drivers with a pre-assigned number with which they run for the duration of the season. The main purpose of having numbers on the cars is for better identification by the officials as well as the fans. But how does one get these numbers in NASCAR?

This very question was recently answered by the 2023 NASCAR Cup Series champion, Ryan Blaney. He explained, “So the teams own the numbers. So like Roger Penske my owner he owns the #12, #22… It’s something that has been established for a long time. They trademark the numbers.”

He added, “Growing up my number was always #10. My granddad was #10, my dad was #10 for a long time. But it’s something we don’t really get to choose, which is fine.”

Who all drove with the #12 number across NASCAR’s history?

Before the #12 car belonged to Blaney several notable names competed in the Cup Series with the number. In total throughout the number’s history in the sport, there were a total of 106 drivers. As per records, Woodie Wilson and Ralph Zrimsek were the first to use the number during the 1949 NASCAR Strictly Stock Series.

Interestingly, it was Ralph Moody who was the first to win a race using that number back in the 1956 NASCAR Grand National Series. He went on to grab four wins that very season. The person with the highest degree of success with the #12 number was NASCAR legend Bobby Allison, who scored more than 20 wins across a few seasons.

Thereafter, drivers like Buddy Baker, Donnie Allison, Ryan Newman, Brad Keselowski, and Juan Pablo Montoya were some of the notable names to have driven with this number. In a nutshell, the #12 has seen quite some history within the sport with several wins under its wins through multiple drivers over several decades and now the number rests on Blaney’s shoulders.

About the author

Srijan Mandal

Srijan Mandal

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Srijan Mandal is a Senior NASCAR Analyst and Editor at The Sportsrush with a wealth of experience and expertise in the world of motorsports. With several thousand articles under his belt over the years, he has established himself as a leading authority on all things racing. His passion for motorsports started at a young age, and he has dedicated his career to covering the sport in all its forms. He is an expert in various disciplines, including stock car racing, American motorsports, Formula 1, IndyCar, NHRA, MotoGP, WRC, WEC, and several more. But Srijan's love for racing goes beyond his writing. He actively competes in professional open-wheel simulation racing, using the number 88 as his racing number. While he mostly participates in GT Endurance classes, he also ventures into Stock Car racing from time to time. In case, you wish to contact Srijan, kindly send an email to him at srijan.mandal@sportsrush.com or just DM him on Twitter.

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