Australians in NASCAR (Cup races in the USA)

Started on December 23 2019, Updated on June 23 2021

This list is currently being worked on.

Marcos Ambrose has been in more Cup races than any other Australian with James Davison moving into second on September 7 2020 with Dick Johnson now third followed by Terry Byers and Allan Grice. 

Frank Gardner – 1 race

Frank Gardner finished 44th in his #11 Ford Torino after blowing an engine on Lap 2 of the 1968 America 500 at Rockingham.

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Tony Spanos – 1 race

Tony Spanos finished 18th in the Sovran Bank 500 at Martinsville in 1987, the only race he qualified for.

An hour video of the race is on YouTube with Tony being mentioned 15 minutes in as his smoking car is seen going past the off track car of Jimmy Means and again from the 46th minute mark as he is being lapped.

Tony did not qualify for thirteen races between 1987 and 1989 and withdrawn from another making it one race from fifteen attempts in the #48 and #49 for James Hylton. 

His 18th place finish at Martinsville was the best by an Australian until Marcos Ambrose came along nearly two decades later.

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Allan Grice – 2 races (1986 and 1987)

Allan’s best result was 34th in the 1987 Coca Cola 600, both of his starts were at Charlotte.

Allan and Marcos Ambrose have both driven a car numbered 47 in NASCAR sanctioned competition.

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Terry Byers – 5 races (1989-90)

Terry’s best result was 19th in the Miller High Life 500 at Pocono in 1989.

Terry qualified for races at Charlotte, Pocono and Daytona, he finished three of them and had a blown engine and a crash as his last two results with his last race barely lasted one lap after being involved in the big one that happened in the tri-oval.

Terry tried qualifying for a couple of Daytona 500’s in the mid 1990’s but was unsuccessful though he did outlast several experienced competitors in the qualifying races.

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Dick Johnson – 7 races between 1989 and 1990

Dick’s best finish was 22nd at the AC Spark Plug 500 at Pococo in 1987, the same race that Terry Byers finished 21st in.

Dick’s crew chief was Ray Everham, the man who would later guide Jeff Gordon to several of his championships and brought Dodge back into the sport.

He is well known for calling Richard Petty a prick after the King spun him at Sonoma followed up minutes later by swearing live on air when his Thunderbird was about to hit and get stuck on a tyre wall.

Dick’s #38 Ford Thunderbird briefly appears in the movie Days of Thunder.

The average start for Dick was 26.7 and his average finish was 30th as he finished three out of four races in 1989 but none of the three races in 1990.

Geoff Brabham – 1 race

Geoff Brabham raced in the inaugural Brickyard 400 and crashed on Lap 130 resulting in a 38th place finish.

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Marcos Ambrose – 227 races

Marcos Ambrose scored 2 Cup wins from 227 races with 18 Top 5 finishes and 46 Top 10’s.

He drove for Wood Brothers, JTG Daugherty Racing and Richard Petty Motorsports and while he was a threat of winning on the road courses, he was also good on the short tracks as well.

Marcos is the only Australian to win a Cup race with both wins coming at Watkins Glen in thrilling finishes that are remembered today. 

His average start was 18.9 and his average finish was 20.2.

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Owen Kelly – 1 race

Owen Kelly finished 24th in the Cheez-It 355 at Watkins Glen in 2013 driving the #51, Marcos Ambrose was also competing in this race.

Charlie O’Brien –  1 qualifying attempt

Charlie O’Brien attempted to qualify for the 1994 Save Mart Supermarkets 300 but was unsuccessful, he was listed as driving a Pontiac and was sponsored by Qantas.

ESPN spelt his last name incorrectly after listing it as O’Brian and not O’Brien.

Charlie

Robin Best

Two time Australian NASCAR champion Robin Best attempted to make the Coca Cola 600 in 1990 but was unsuccessful in the #48 Chevrolet owned by James Hylton.

The 1990 Coca-Cola 600 also had Dick Johnson unsuccessfully qualify for the race while Terry Byers qualified in 31st position but was out of the race after 40 laps with a blown engine.

James Davison – 26 races (2020-21)

James Davison made his Cup debut at Pocono for Spire Motorsports, he was originally going to drive the #77 at Talladega but was disallowed as he had no prior Cup experience on an oval track.

James joined Rick Ware Racing at New Hampshire and has raced in fourteen races for the team who have fielded both Chevy and Ford cars, James has driven the #15, #51 and the #53 for the team 

He finished 34th in his debut race and has a top finish of 22nd at Martinsville which was recorded in April 2021.

While he isn’t in a fast car in Cup racing, his luck has been are different on iRacing as he is a multiple time winner against his fellow Cup racers.

 

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