NASCAR Earnhardt Auto Racing
Happy Father’s Day! Wherever you go in life, it’s likely your dad helped steer you there. Whether you followed him into the family business, or took his advice when it came time to choose a college major, it’s unlikely any of us would be where we are today were it not for our dads.
This is especially true in the racing world, where sons (and the occasional daughter) follow in their dad’s footsteps and build a career in motorsports. To commemorate this year’s father’s day celebrations, we put together a list of 20 of the best known fathers and their offspring in the racing world.
Dale Earnhardt Sr., and his son, Dale Earnhardt Jr.
Mario Andretti and his son, Michael Andretti, and grandson Marco AndrettiPerhaps the only American racing family that could match the Earnhardts in terms of outright fame, the Andretti family has essentially done it all in the racing world. Patriarch Mario (center) remains one of America’s few Formula 1 World Champions. Before he did that, though, he took wins at the Daytona 500 and Indianapolis 500, making him the only man on the planet to capture all three crowns. His son, Michael (left), hasn’t had the same success – he never won Indy and his Formula 1 career was short lived – although he did found the highly successful Andretti Autosport team, for which his son Marco (right) competes.
Richard Petty and his son, Kyle PettyFew families highlight the unpredictability of motorsports like the Pettys. Lee Petty (not pictured) was the first man to win the Daytona 500 and captured three NASCAR championships. His son, Richard (left, background), is one of the greatest drivers in all of motorsports, matching his seven NASCAR championships with seven Daytona 500 wins. Then there’s Kyle (right, foreground). Richard’s only son, Kyle’s best Sprint Cup finish was fifth and his best Daytona finish was seventh.
AJ Foyt, his son Larry Foyt, and grandson, AJ Foyt IVYet another big name in American racing, the Foyt family patriarch, AJ (center), is by far the most successful member. He captured Indy’s Borg-Warner Trophy four times, won the Daytona 500, the 24 Hours of Daytona, and the 24 Hours of Le Mans, a feat that still hasn’t been repeated. By comparison, his adopted son, Larry (right), and his biological grandson, AJ Foyt IV (left), have failed to record a single high-level win.
Al Unser Sr., and his son, Al Unser Jr.
Another family that made its name in open-wheel racing, Al Unser (right) is a four-time Indy winner and a two-time title holder in the now-defunct Champ Car series. His son, Al Jr. (left), meanwhile, has an impressive record, too. He finished at the top of the table in the Indy Car series twice, and won the 500 twice, too. Outside of the father-son pair, Al Sr.’s older brothers, Jerry and Bobby, both raced on the professional level. Like Al Jr., Bobby has two Indy Car championship trophies to his name, not to mention his three wins at Indy.
Gilles Villeneuve and his son, Jacques Villeneuve
We’ll move away from America and head north, to two of Canada’s most popular drivers – the late Gilles Villeneuve (left), and his son, Jacques (right). Unlike our previous entries, Jacques has been the most successful, winning the Formula 1 World Championship in 1994 and the Champ Car title in 1995. That might not have been the case, though, were it not for the tragic accident that cut down his father, Gilles, in his prime.
Sir Jack Brabham with his sons David, Geoff, and Gary Brabham
Sir Jack Brabham (right) remains one of Australia’s greatest motorsports icon, winning the Formula 1 World Championship three times. His sons, Geoff (middle left), Gary (middle right), and David (left), though, have made something of a reputation as endurance racers. David, the youngest, has four class wins at the 12 Hours of Sebring and four wins at the 24 Hours of Le Mans (one overall win and three class wins). Geoff, the oldest, also has an overall victory at Circuit de la Sarthe and two wins in Sebring, while the middle child, Gary, has an overall victory at the 12-hour Floridian race.