Has Anybody From NASCAR Ever Received the Prestigious Presidential Medal of Freedom?

Published 11/29/2021, 11:51 AM EST


The Presidential Medal of Freedom is the ‘highest civilian honor’ in the United States of America. It was started by President John F. Kennedy in 1965. And since then, 656 Medals have been given to athletes, musicians, public figures and pioneers. But has anyone from NASCAR ever received one?

ADVERTISEMENT

Article continues below this ad

Yes, two NASCAR legends have.

According to the White House, the Medal of Freedom is awarded to the ‘individuals who have made exceptional contributions to the security or national interests of America, to world peace, or to cultural or other significant public or private endeavors.’ 

ADVERTISEMENT

Article continues below this ad

The first recipient from stock car racing is inarguably the greatest driver America has ever seen, The King, Richard Petty.

Petty was awarded the honor by President George H. W. Bush in 1992. He is the most accomplished driver in the history of NASCAR statistically, with seven championship titles and a record 200 wins. Petty is also the owner of a NASCAR team, Richard Petty Racing.

The other NASCAR driver to have won the Medal of Freedom is Roger Penske.

Penske was given the honor by President Donald Trump in 2020. The Captain had a moderately successful career as a racing driver in which he raced in NASCAR and Formula 1. But it is his career as a team owner which has earned him this status. Penske has teams in NASCAR Cup Series, Xfinity Series and Indycar.

Other athletes other than NASCAR to have won the Presidential Medal of Freedom

In 2016, Michael Jordan was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Barack Obama. Jordan is considered by many as not just the greatest NBA player of all time, but the greatest athlete.

Interestingly, Jordan could qualify as a Medal of Honor recipient from NASCAR. Because he is the co-owner of the 23XI Racing Team along with driver Denny Hamlin.

But since he received it in 2016, he may not qualify as a NASCAR personality to have the prestigious award.

The other all-time great who has received this honor is Tiger Woods. The greatest golf player was awarded the Medal of Honor in 2019 by President Donald Trump.

ADVERTISEMENT

Article continues below this ad

Some other athletes who have won the Presidential Medal of Honour are Kareem Abdul Jabbar, Babe Ruth, Billie Jean King, Bob Hope, among others.

Which NASCAR legend do you think should win the honor next?

ADVERTISEMENT

Article continues below this ad

Let us know in the comments below.

Enjoyed reading this article? Download our exclusive app to get 24x7 coverage, latest memes and social media banter. Click here to download.

SHARE THIS ARTICLE :

ADVERTISEMENT

Shaharyar

483 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.

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT