9 of the Oldest NASCAR Drivers

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Due to the nature of NASCAR, the average age of retirement from the sport is typically higher than it is in other sports. Several drivers are still able to win races in their 50s and some drivers – including ones on this list – start their NASCAR careers in their 40s.

Although late retirements have been the norm for NASCAR drivers, newer car technologies may soon force these older drivers out of the sport sooner than they wish. However, nearly all of the drivers on this list – who are at least in their 50s – are currently still competing and show no signs of slowing down.

9. Michael Waltrip (April 30, 1963 – Present)

Current Age (as of January 2018): 54 years old
Years Competing in NASCAR (as of 2018):  33 years total
Current NASCAR Series:  Retired in 2017 – last raced in the Monster Energy Cup Series
Car Number and Team:  No. 15 for Premium Motorsports

Michael Waltripphoto source: Wikimedia Commons

Michael Waltrip is the only driver on this list who is currently retired. He competed in his last race at the 2017 Daytona 500 and drove the No. 15 Toyota Camry for Premium Motorsports. Waltrip is the younger brother of three-time NASCAR winner Darrell Waltrip.

While participating in the Xfinity Cup Series, Waltrip earned 11 wins, 105 top tens, and 14 poles. He also won the Daytona 500 twice, first in 2001 and again in 2003. Waltrip is a pre-race analyst for the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series and a color commentator for the Xfinity Series and Camping World Truck Series broadcasts on Fox Sports.


8. Jeff Green (September 6, 1962 – Present)

Current Age (as of January 2018): 55 years old
Years Competing in NASCAR (as of 2018):  29 years total
Current NASCAR Series:  Xfinity Series
Car Number and Team:  Nos. 8 and 78 for B.J. McLeod Motorsports and Nos. 38 and 93 for RSS Racing

Jeff Greenphoto source: Wikimedia Commons

Prior to becoming racing professionally in NASCAR, Jeff Green dominated the races in 1990 at Nashville Speedway USA. That year he competed in 22 races and won 15 times and only had one finish below third place. After his performance at those races, Green was asked to compete in the Autolite Platinum 200, a NASCAR Busch Series event.

Green has spent most of his career competing in the NASCAR Xfinity Series and has 16 wins, 129 top tens, and 23 poles. In addition to his impressive number of wins, Green won the 2000 Championships in three seasons by 616 points, a record he held until 2006. He currently drives part-time for B.J. McLeod Motorports as well as RSS Racing.


7. Bryan Dauzat (November 30, 1959 – Present)

Current Age (as of January 2018): 58 years old
Years Competing in NASCAR (as of 2018):  9 years
Current NASCAR Series:  Whelen Modified Tour; Whelen Southern Modified; and the Camping World Truck Series
Car Number and Team:  No. 97 for O.B. Builderes

Bryan Dauzatphoto source: ARCA Racing

Bryan Dauzat made his NASCAR debut in 2008 at the age of 48 and has been competing every year since then. He has also been competing in the ARCA Series since 2014. Since his career started in 2008, Dauzat has earned one top-five finish and twelve top-tens. Dauzat has raced in the Camping World Truck Series, the Whelen Modified Tour, and the Whelen Southern Modified Tour.

His crew chief is the well-known engine builder Bob Rahilly, who co-owned a NASCAR Cup team in the late 1970s until the early 1990s. Dauzat is currently signed up to compete in the Lucas Oil 200 Driven by General Tire at Daytona in early February.


6. Derrike Cope (November 3, 1958 – Present)

Current Age (as of January 2018): 59 years old
Years Competing in NASCAR (as of 2018):  37 years total
Current NASCAR Series:  Monster Energy Cup Series
Car Number and Team:  No. 00 for StarCom Racing

Derrike Copephoto source: Wikimedia Commons

Derrike Cope is a well-known NASCAR driver who has a few cup series wins under his belt. He is best known for his 1990 win over Dale Earnhardt at that year’s Daytona 500 race – it was Cope’s first major win. This win made Cope an overnight sensation and he even appeared on Late Night with David Letterman.

Cope has two other NASCAR cup wins and placed in the top ten several times. In 2017, Cope closed his Xfinity Series team after 16 years and announced that he would be returning to the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series on a part-time basis. He now drives the No. 00 Chevrolet SS for StarCom Racing.


5. Bobby Gerhart (July 21, 1958 – Present)

Current Age (as of January 2018): 59 years old
Years Competing in NASCAR (as of 2018):  25 years total
Current NASCAR Series:  Camping World Truck Series
Car Number and Team:  No. 63 for Bobby Gerhart Racing in a joint effort with MB Motorsports

Bobby Gerhart photo source: NASCAR

Bobby Gerhart has been competing in NASCAR since the early 1980s in the Monster Energy Cup Series, the Xfinity Series, and currently in the Camping World Truck Series. In addition to his long NASCAR career, Gerhart has been racing in the ARCA Series since 1988 and was named Rookie of the Year for that season.

Gerhart has never won a NASCAR race, but has won nine times on the ARCA circuit. Today, Gerhart drives part-time in the ARCA Series, driving the No. 5 Lucas Oil Chevrolet owned by his brother, Bill Gerhart, who also serves as his crew chief. He also drives the No. 63 Chevrolet Silverado for Bobby Gerhart Racing in a joint effort with MB Motorsports in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series.


4. Mike Harmon (January 24, 1958 – Present)

Current Age (as of January 2018): 60 years old
Years Competing in NASCAR (as of 2018):  18 years total
Current NASCAR Series:  Xfinity Series and part-time in the Camping World Truck Series
Car Number and Team:  No. 74 for Mark Harmon Racing (Xfinity) and No. 1 for TJL Motorsports (Camping World Truck)

Mike Harmon photo source: NASCAR

Unlike most of the other professional drivers on this list, Mike Harmon made his NASCAR debut later in his life. He competed in his first race in 1996, when he was nearly 40 years old. Since then, Harmon has been participating in NASCAR races for nearly two decades.

Harmon currently drives the No. 74 Challenger for his own team, Mark Harmon Racing. He also competes part time in the Camping World Truck Series, driving the No. 1 Chevrolet Silverado for TJL Motorsports. Although Harmon has achieved over 300 feature wins in short-track competition, he has never won a major NASCAR race.


3. Norm Benning (January 16, 1952 – Present)

Current Age (as of January 2018): 66 years old
Years Competing in NASCAR (as of 2018):  27 years total
Current NASCAR Series:  Camping World Truck Series
Car Number and Team:  No. 6 for Norm Benning Racing

Norm Benningphoto source: NASCAR

Norm Benning has been competing in NASCAR since 1989 and is currently still active in the sport. He previously raced in the NASCAR Busch Series and Winston Cup Series and is now competing in the Camping World Truck Series. Benning drives the No. 6 Chevrolet Silverado for his own team, Norm Benning Racing.

Benning entered his first competition when he was only 15 years old, which was three years younger than the race’s required age. He faked his age and went on to win a championship in the Figure Eight Division at Heidelberg Raceway. After losing his sponsorship from SOBE Drinks, Benning began racing for himself as serves as his own mechanic.


2. Mark Thompson (July 9, 1951 – Present)

Current Age (as of January 2018): 66 years old
Years Competing in NASCAR (as of 2018):  7 years total
Current NASCAR Series:  Xfinity Series and Monster Energy Cup Series
Car Number and Team:  No. 13 for MBM Motorsports (Xfinity) and No. 15 for Premium Motorsports (Monster Energy)

Mark Thompsonphoto source: NASCAR

Although Mark Thompson has been a stock car racing driver since the early 1990s, he has only driven in a few NASCAR races. He has spent most of his professional racing career competing in the ARCA Racing Series, which is often used as a feeder series into NASCAR’s three national touring series.

In October 2017, Thompson participated in his first NASCAR Cup race in more than 25 years. During the race, Thompson drove the No. 15 Chevrolet for Premium Motorsports. As a driver in ARCA, Thompson has earned many records, including being the oldest polesitter as well as the oldest pole winner at age 63 in 2015.


1. Morgan Shepherd (October 12, 1941 – Present)

Current Age (as of January 2018): 76 years old
Years Competing in NASCAR (as of 2018):  51 years
Current NASCAR Series:  part-time in Xfinity Series
Car Number and Team:  No. 89 for Shepherd Racing Ventures

Morgan Shepherdphoto source: Wikimedia Commons

Morgan Shepherd is currently the oldest NASCAR driver in the United States. He is still competing at the age of 76 and 2018 marks Shepherd’s 51st year in racing. In 2012, when Shepherd was 70, he became the oldest driver to lead a Nationwide Series race. He set this record two more times, once in 2016 at 74 years old and again the following year when he was 75.

Shepherd also holds the record for being the second oldest race winner, when he won the spring race in Atlanta in 1993 when he was 51 years old. He currently competes part-time in the NASCAR Xfinity series and drives the No. 89 Chevrolet Camaro for Shepherd Racing Ventures, which Shepherd personally owns.

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