From Mantz to Allmendinger: 14 Drivers Who Won Both in NASCAR Cup and Indy Car
On Oct. 30, 2021, Jacques Villenevue at age 50 won a NASCAR Euro Series race in Italy. It was quite an accomplishment for a driver who has won championships in Formula 1, CART (the precursor to modern day IndyCar Series), and even won the Indiapolis 500.
Impressive, yes, but it still doesn’t quite qualify Villeneuve for the list of drivers to win at both the IndyCar and NASCAR Cup level.
Here, we salute a select group of drivers, ones who have not only crossed over between the two series but who have also won in each series. It’s a list filled with the all-time greats and a few surprises:
Johnny Mantz won the first Southern 500 NASCAR Cup race at Darlington in 1950 (pictured). Two years earlier, Mantz won at Milwaukee in an Indy car. Mantz made a total of 12 NASCAR Cup starts between 1950 and 1956. He made 17 starts in Indy-style cars from 1948-52.
Chuck Stevenson, shown here at the Milwaukee Mile in 1952, was the master of Milwaukee. He won just four races in a 53-race Indy car career between 1949 and 1966. Three of those wins, however, came at Milwaukee (1952, 1953 and 1954). On the NASCAR Cup side, he started just two races, finishing 30th at Memphis-Arkansas Speedway in 1955 before topping a 37-car field for the win at Willow Springs Raceway in Rosamond, California, in 1956. Willow Springs, incidentally, is the oldest permanent road course in the U.S., hosting races since 1953.
Was there anything that Dan Gurney couldn’t do when it came to racing? Not only did he post four wins in Formula 1, Gurney won five of his 16 starts in NASCAR Cup between 1962 and 1980, and he won a remarkable seven of 28 starts in Indy cars from 1962-70. Oh yeah, he also won four of five starts at Riverside in what is now the NASCAR K&N Pro Series between 1964 and 1968. He sat on the pole in the other K&N start, only to exit early with engine issues.
Another of racing’s great Jacks-of-all-trades, Parnelli Jones was always in the mix no matter the series. He won his first NASCAR Cup Series race in 1957 at Kitsap County Airport in Bremerton, Washington, in his 10th career start. He was also a quick study in Indy cars, winning at Phoenix in his second year on that circuit in 1961. Jones started 59 races in Indy cars and 34 on the Cup side before retiring from the two top series in 1970.
Mark Donohue made just 29 starts in Indy cars and six starts in the NASCAR Cup Series in a career that was cut short by a fatal crash when he was 38. His win in NASCAR Cup came at Riverside in an AMC Matador for car owner Roger Penske in 1973. That win came less than a year after Donohue won Penske’s first Indy 500 in 1972.
Jim Hurtubise was a journeyman racer in Indy cars, starting 96 races between 1959 and 1981. He won four races in the discipline, including one in each of his first four years on the circuit. His best Indy-car season was 1962 when he won at the Illinois State Fairgrounds, posted five top-five finishes and 11 top-10s in 13 starts. On the NASCAR side, Hurtubise was a regular at Daytona, where he made 18 of his 36 career Cup starts between 1957 and 1977. His lone win in the NASCAR Cup Series came in a Plymouth at Atlanta in 1966.
Here’s the asterisk on the list. Indy-car veteran Johnny Rutherford started 35 races in the NASCAR Cup Series between 1963 and 1988. His lone win in Cup came in his very first race in the series—a qualifying race for the 1963 Daytona 500. Driving for car owner Smokey Yunick, Rutherford won that qualifier to earn a second-row starting spot for the 1963 Daytona 500. And, yes, prior to 1972, those Daytona 500 qualifiers were points-paying races and considered part of the Cup season. Rutherford was one of the best ever in Indy cars and won the Indianapolis 500 three times (1974, 1976 and 1980).
The all-time leader in Indy-car victories had quite a career in NASCAR, as well. A.J. Foyt started 128 races in the Cup Series between 1963 and 1994. While he never ran a full Cup season, he managed seven wins, including the Daytona 500 in 1972. His final start in the NASCAR Cup Series came in 1994 at Indianapolis at the age of 59. Oh yeah, he also won four Indianapolis 500s.
A winner in not only Indy cars and the NASCAR Cup Series, Mario Andretti also won 12 times in Formula 1. Andretti won the Indianapolis 500 in 1969 and the Daytona 500 in 1967. He won the CART championship in 1984 and the Formula 1 championship in 1980. He also won the USAC National Dirt Championship in 1974 and was the overall winner at Pikes Peak in 1969. He started 14 NASCAR Cup races and 407 times in Indy cars.
John Andretti, who died earlier this year after a long bout with cancer, never finished better than eighth in the season championship in Indy cars and never finished in the top 10 in season points in NASCAR Cup. Still, he joined this group of legends with an Indy car win at the season-opening race in Australia in 1991 and NASCAR Cup wins in the July race at Daytona in 1997 and at Martinsville in 1999. Andretti started 393 races in Cup and 90 races in Indy cars. In 1994, Andretti became the first driver to race in both the Indianapolis 500 and the Charlotte 600 on the same day.
Robby Gordon is another racer who found a way to be competitive in just about any racing discipline. He made 115 starts in Indy cars, including several one-off attempts at the Indianapolis 500, between 1992 and 2004. Both of his Indy-car wins came in 1995, when he won at Phoenix and Belle Isle. Gordon made 396 starts in NASCAR Cup between 1991 and 2012, winning at New Hampshire in 2001 and on the road courses of Sonoma and Watkins Glen in 2003 for Richard Childress Racing.
The lone NASCAR Hall of Fame selection on the list, Stewart won 49 Cup Series races in 618 starts between 1999 and 2016. He also has three championships. Before that, Smoke was a pretty fair Indy-car driver, winning three times in just 26 starts from 1996-2001. His wins in 1997 and 1998 came under the Indy Racing League banner at Disney, Pikes Peak and New Hampshire.
A true quadruple-threat, Montoya has won in Formula 1, IndyCar, NASCAR Cup and the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship. The 1999 CART champion won 15 times, including the 215 Indianapolis 500, in 93 career Indy-car starts. He started 255 NASCAR Cup Series races between 2006 and 2014 and won twice—2007 at Sonoma and 2010 at Watkins Glen. Montoya is still piling up wins in IMSA with Acura Team Penske.
A.J. Allmendinger put it all together in the 2006 Champ Car Series, winning five times, including back-to-back-to-back at Portland, Cleveland and Toronto, on his way to a third-place finish in the championship. He made 40 starts in Indy cars between 2004 and 2006, including a six-race stint in IndyCar in 2013. On the NASCAR Cup side, Allmendinger made 371 starts between 2006 and 2018 and brought home a win in 2014 at Watkins Glen and in 2021 on the road course at Indianapolis. He currently races in the NASCAR Xfinity Series and part-time in the Cup Series.
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