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(Photo: Brett Moist/NKP)

NASCAR 101: Related Drivers in NASCAR

This column was all set. Perfect, even — the idea, that is. It was timely, fitting, whatever.

Then Carson Ware dropped off the Gander Outdoors Truck Series entry list for this weekend at Martinsville Speedway. But you know what? Screw it. Doing it anyway.

In the event that Ware returns to the entry list (until Thursday, he was listed as driving Reaume Brothers Racing’s No. 33), he’s the latest in a lengthy line of drivers who followed their siblings into NASCAR. Hell, even if he doesn’t, his debut ARCA Menards Series race in the 2019 season finale at Kansas Speedway sort of counts him; after all, NASCAR owns ARCA now, right?

Among NASCAR’s national series (Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series, Xfinity Series and the aforementioned Truck Series), multiple pairs of drivers with some sort of familial relation have taken a green flag in 2019. Most of them are brothers (such as Ware and his older brother, Cody), while others are father-son duos or even cousins.

If you’re new to NASCAR, you probably still already guessed who those are given, you know, the same last name and all (there aren’t a lot of Nemecheks walking around in the world). But if not, here’s a handy cheat sheet of those who’ve raced in NASCAR in 2019.

Kyle & Kurt Busch

The most famous brother combo right now in NASCAR (and certainly among the legendary sibling pairs in the sport’s history), both Kyle Busch and Kurt Busch have wins to their name in the Cup Series in 2019. Between them, they have two Cup championships (perhaps three by the end of this year, given the former’s strong pace) and 86 wins in the premier series.

Austin & Ty Dillon

The other brother duo in the Cup Series is made up of Austin and Ty Dillon, sons of former Xfinity driver Mike Dillon and grandsons of car owner Richard Childress. The former drives for Richard Childress Racing proper, while the latter pilots the No. 13 for Germain Racing, a satellite operation of RCR. Both have wins in the Xfinity and Truck series, but only Austin’s emerged victorious (twice) in Cup.

David & Todd Gilliland

David and Todd Gilliland are the first non-siblings on the list; Todd is David’s son. Fitting, since at one point David was racing alongside his father, Butch, in the NASCAR ranks (Butch ran 10 Cup races and 12 Truck races over the years, most recently in 1999, but was mostly active in the K&N Pro Series West). Only Todd runs full time in the sport these days, driving the No. 4 truck for Kyle Busch Motorsports, while David operates his own team, DGR-Crosley, and has a few Truck starts in 2019.

Ryan Truex & Martin Truex Jr.

Cup champion Martin Truex Jr.‘s brother Ryan is a part-time competitor on the Xfinity level, driving the No. 8 for JR Motorsports. Their father, Martin Truex, was also an occasional national series competitor, driving 15 Xfinity races up to 1998.

Dale Earnhardt Jr., Jeffrey Earnhardt & Bobby Earnhardt

Despite Dale Earnhardt Jr.‘s semi-retirement, the Earnhardt name remains alive and well in NASCAR. Dale competes in one (perhaps two next season) Xfinity races a year for his own team while also fulfilling his duties in the NBC broadcast booth. Jeffrey started the season running part time in the Cup and Xfinity series for XCI Racing and Joe Gibbs Racing, a partnership that’s since gone sour. And Bobby is competing in the final four Xfinity races of the season for MBM Motorsports. Both Jeffrey and Bobby are Dale’s nephews; their father, Kerry, was also a longtime national series driver. And then there’s their grandfather and great-grandfather, of course.

Jeb & Harrison Burton

We’ve got some cousins! Longtime NASCAR fans very much recognize the Burton name thanks to brothers Jeff and Ward in the 1990s and 2000s. Both of their sons race now, too, with Ward’s son Jeb a part-time driver in the Xfinity and Truck series, while Harrison has been full time for KBM in the Truck Series and part time in Xfinity for JGR; he’ll move to JGR in that series full time in 2020.

Joe & John Hunter Nemechek

In the 1990s, Joe and John Nemechek were a brother duo racing in NASCAR prior to the latter’s 1997 death in a Truck Series race. Now, Joe’s son John Hunter drives full time in the Xfinity Series and part time for the family’s Truck Series team, while Joe himself runs part time in both series for multiple suitors.

Elliott & Hermie Sadler

The Sadler brothers remain presences in NASCAR, albeit in a diminished sense; Elliott drove two Xfinity races this year and is reportedly done after this season, while Hermie competed in what’s come to be his one race (maybe two) a year by driving an Xfinity event this year as well. The latter’s a bit more familiar of a face due to his FOX broadcast duties.

Timmy & Tyler Hill

A year after Tyler Hill made his Xfinity debut, joining brother Timmy as a NASCAR national series competitor, the pair started its own Truck Series team, fielding the No. 56 in 2019 in select races.

Carson & Cody Ware

Even if this one doesn’t end up coming to fruition this weekend as originally planned, chances are it’ll still happen someday. Carson is the younger brother of Cody, who has 49 starts across the three national series since 2014, and both are the sons of team owner Rick Ware.

Bobby & Roger Reuse

The Reuse brothers, Bobby and Roger, began showing up on the Xfinity level in 2014 and have six starts apiece between the Xfinity and Truck series, oftentimes at road courses.

Ronnie Bassett Jr. & Dillon Bassett

Newcomers to this list in 2019, Ronnie Bassett Jr. and brother Dillon have been competing together in K&N the past few years, oftentimes for their family team. For 2019, the pair moved up to the Xfinity Series, competing for DGM Racing and Brandonbilt Motorsports.

Honorable mentions (aka a recent selection of related drivers who don’t necessarily both race in the national series anymore, not including relations where one or more parts haven’t driven in the 2010s):

Brad & Brian Keselowski; Brad‘s brother Brian mostly crew chiefs nowadays, last driving in a Truck race in 2015.
Chase & Bill Elliott; While Chase is still going strong in the Cup Series, father Bill competed in what looks to have been a one-off in the Xfinity Series in 2018.
Angela Ruch, Amber Cope & Derrike Cope; Angela Ruch’s the only Cope still racing in NASCAR, driving part time in the Truck Series this year, while uncle Derrike has taken a back seat as a team manager at StarCom Racing and Amber hasn’t driven since 2012.
Ryan & Dave Blaney; Ryan‘s dad still races these days, mostly on dirt, but hasn’t appeared on the national NASCAR stage since seven Cup starts in 2014.
Johnny & Travis Sauter; While Johnny Sauter‘s brothers Jay and Tim (and dad Jim) haven’t been around the sport for a while now, Tim’s son Travis made an extremely brief foray into NASCAR in 2013, driving one Xfinity race.
Ryan & Shane Sieg; Both Sieg brothers were Xfinity and Truck series drivers until Shane stopped driving after 2011; Ryan still drives full time in the Xfinity Series, while Shane died in 2017 aged 34.
Chris & James Buescher; Cup driver Chris‘ cousin James was a Truck champion in 2012, but he hasn’t raced in a national series event since 2015.
Jeff, David & Mark Green; Only one active driver — Jeff — remains from a brother trio that was both popular and successful in the Xfinity Series in the 1990s and 2000s; David, however, currently works as a NASCAR official.
Jimmie & Jarit Johnson; Yes, six-time champion Jimmie has a racer brother, Jarit, who competed in four Xfinity races and two Truck events up to 2010.
Natalie, Claire & Paige Decker; Natalie remains in national series competition, but there was a time when all three Deckers (Claire and Paige are Natalie’s cousins) were in the sport on the Xfinity and Truck levels.

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About Kevin Rutherford

Kevin Rutherford
Rutherford is the managing editor of Frontstretch, a position he gained in 2015 after serving on the editing staff for two years. At his day job, he's a journalist covering music and rock charts at Billboard. He lives in New York City, but his heart is in Ohio -- you know, like that Hawthorne Heights song.

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One comment

  1. Avatar
    Sara Alejandra Gutierrez

    I’m so much more of Elliott Sadler fan