Who Are the Few Non-American Drivers in NASCAR’s Illustrious History?

Published 12/31/2021, 3:45 AM EST
Oct 17, 2021; Fort Worth, Texas, USA; NASCAR Cup Series driver Kyle Larson (5) drives into turn one during the Autotrader EchoPark Automotive 500 in the NASCAR round of 8 opening race at Texas Motor Speedway. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports


For motorsports in the United States of America, it doesn’t get bigger than NASCAR. The premier form of stock car racing has long been one of the most popular and one of the most exciting racing leagues in the world.

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So much so, that it could be considered the poster boy of the American racing landscape. Over the years, NASCAR has given the world some of the finest, supremely talented, and incredibly successful names in the racing scene.

Be it Richard Petty, Mario Andretti, Dale Earnhardt, Jeff Gordon, Jimmie Johnson, or Kyle Larson, NASCAR has had’em all.

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Yet if there’s one thing that the sport is relatively falling behind on, it’s the inclusivity of non-American drivers. But that is not to say that we haven’t had foreign drivers in NASCAR’s long history.

Let’s take a look at some of them.

Some of the few foreign drivers in NASCAR

1. Juan Pablo Montoya 

The Colombian is one of the very few drivers who have experienced success in the biggest forms of motorsport racing. He has seven wins in Formula 1, five in IndyCar, and yes, three wins (two in Cup Series and one in Xfinity Series) in NASCAR as well.

A seven-year full-time career in the Cup Series, Montoya has seven poles and 69 finishes inside the Top 10.

A truly global legend of motorsports.

AVONDALE, AZ – NOVEMBER 09: Juan Pablo Montoya, driver of the #42 Texaco/Havoline Dodge, stands on the grid during qualifying for the NASCAR Nextel Cup Series Checker Auto Parts 500 at Phoenix International Raceway on November 9, 2007 in Avondale, Arizona. (Photo by Lisa Blumenfeld/Getty Images for NASCAR)

2. Earl Ross

With only less than 30 races in four seasons to his name, the Canadian was the only other non-American driver to have won a Sprint Cup race. Ross won at the Martinsville Speedway in 1974.

He was named the Rookie of the Year the same year as well.

3. Marcos Ambrose

The Australian had a handful of appearances in the 2007 and 2008 Sprint Cup Series. But he went full-time from 2009 onwards, racing for JTG Daugherty Racing and Richard Petty Motorsports.

Two wins and 46 appearances inside the Top 10 meant he had a pretty decent career inside a stock car.

4. Ron Fellows

With five finishes in the top ten, Fellows also had four wins in the Nationwide Series. The Canadian is the co-winner of the 24 hours of Daytona in 2001, a three-time co-winner of 24 hours of Le Mans in the GTS class, and a two-time winner at 12 hours of Sebring.

5. Patrick Carpentier

Another Canadian, he made his debut in 2007 at Watkins, where he led seven laps. A disappointing career that didn’t last very long only had him a career-best 14th place finish at Coke Zero 400 in 2008 and a pole position at New Hampshire.

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Think about it, in IndyCar, in Le Mans, in Formula 1, most of the big names which are considered the competition have loads of drivers with different nationalities.

Now, some may argue that Formula 1 or IndyCar are ‘global’ sports by all means. Yes they are, but then look at NBA, how much it has profited from non-American players.

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It doesn’t take a lot of thinking or complex analytical equations to conclude that more foreign drivers would open up NASCAR to more foreign markets, more audience, more sponsors, and hence, a win for all.

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Shaharyar

513 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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