Does the Height & Weight of a Driver Matter in NASCAR?

Published 01/02/2022, 9:05 PM EST
Nov 7, 2021; Avondale, Arizona, USA; NASCAR Cup Series driver Kyle Larson (5) celebrates winning the NASCAR Cup Series Championship at Phoenix Raceway. Mandatory Credit: Mike Dinovo-USA TODAY Sports


We all know just how small margins in NASCAR are. Whether it’s about a millimeter of something like a rear wing or a tenth of a second in a pit stop, everything adds up more than we pay importance to. But what about drivers? Does their height or their weight make a difference?

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The answer is yes, and no, both.

This is because the weight of a driver directly adds up to the total weight of the car, which in turn directly affects its performance. But this is a statement that is relatively less applicable in NASCAR.

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Avondale, AZ, USA; NASCAR Xfinity Series driver Austin Cindric celebrates after winning the 2020 Championship and the Desert Diamond Casino West Valley 200 at Phoenix Raceway. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

This is to say that it matters how tall or how much you weigh, but considering the heavy-sedans that are in NASCAR, it’s not that microscopically affecting. Compare this to say, IndyCar or Formula 1 where the cars are single-seaters, made as light as possible, unlike the stock cars.

Yet, there is an upper limit on the weight of a driver. NASCAR requires the total weight of a Cup Series car to be no more than 3400 pounds with a driver and 3200 pounds without one. So this means a driver’s weight mustn’t exceed 200 pounds.

And as for the height of the drivers, over the course of history, drivers have been as tall as 6’6 and as short as 5’2. So technically, there’s no rule on the height of a driver.

Are smaller drivers better?

According to a simple study done by Building Speed in 2015, in which the season ranking was compared with the height of the driver, the results suggested the top three drivers were in order of decreasing height.

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The report concluded, “there’s a trend that says taller is better, but there is definitely NOT a trend that says shorter is better!”

NASCAR- Dale Earnhardt Sr.
COURTESY: GETTY

So there goes that myth.

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And as for does height matter in NASCAR? Look at Austin Cindric, 6’4 and the winner of the 2020 Xfinity Series; or better yet, Dale Earnhardt, 6 feet tall, seven championships, and arguably the greatest driver in NASCAR history.

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Shaharyar

490 articles

Shaharyar is a Formula 1 & NASCAR writer at EssentiallySports. A graduate in Journalism from Amity University, he has been a passionate follower of motorsports for better part of the decade. A Max Verstappen and Ferrari supporter, he dreams of a pairing of the two in future.

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