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Racing's most notable Texans

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The 10 most recognized and accomplished racers from the Lone Star State

10. David Starr

Aptly named, this Lone Star State native hails from Houston and was a prime time player in the Camping World (then Craftsman) Truck Series in the mid-2000s. With four career wins under his belt and nearly $5 million in career earnings in the Truck Series alone, Starr competed sparingly last season with 13 starts and has the distinction of having first been sponsored by AdvoCare, which has been a sponsor at Texas Motor Speedway and on Austin Dillon’s 2013 championship-winning Nationwide Series effort.

9. Patricia Driscoll

OK, this is a peculiar selection, but honestly, who’s the real hustle behind Kurt’s muscle? This little lady from El Paso, Patricia Driscoll. Her NASCAR involvement goes beyond being the support system (and PR masterminding) for the 2004 Cup champion, who she's semmingly transformed into .... well, something different than he was a few years ago; she also rallies the community behind her Armed Forces Foundation. She actually has a couple of starts under her giant Texas-sized belt buckle in the Better Half Dash held at Charlotte Motor Speedway. She finished fourth in 2011 and eighth in 2012.

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8. Chris Buescher

Cousin to 2012 Camping World Truck Series Champion James Buescher is Chris, a 21-year-old who already has 10 wins in ARCA and three top 10s in his first 11 starts in the Nationwide Series. This year he’s driving for Roush Fenway Racing on the junior circuit and is 11th in points despite failing to qualify for the season opening event at Daytona.

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7. Bobby Hillin Jr.

One of the most unlikely breakthrough wins of the unrestricted superspeedway era, Bobby Hillin Jr. won at Talladega in 1986 after more than half the field was decimated by a wreck. Holding off Tim Richmond and Ricky Rudd to the stripe, Hillin, at just 22 years of age, was at the time the youngest winner in the history of the Cup Series. After finishing the year ninth in points, it looked like he was on the fast track to super stardom – but such was not the case. Admitting he wasn’t quite mature enough to handle the rigors of competing at racing’s highest level, Hillin’s next greatest accomplishment was having his visor shut for him by Kyle Petty after a wreck in the 1993 Daytona 500. He currently owns an excavating company and works within the oil industry. Hey, he’s from Texas, what would you expect?

6. James Buescher

Who is the most promising driver out of Plano? James Buescher, the 2012 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series champion. 2012 was JB’s coming out year, as he started the season off slicing through the last-lap chaos at Daytona to capture his first Nationwide Series win in unbelievable fashion. He went down to the wire with Matt Crafton and Austin Dillon for the title the next season and is now one of the new faces of the Nationwide Series. A brave move indeed, leaving the cozy confines of his father-in-law’s operation. Buescher is committed to making moves that will land him in the Sprint Cup Series. Given his steady progression, it’s hard to see that not becoming a reality in the next few years.

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5. Bobby Labonte

Bobby is the other half of NASCAR’s title-winning Labonte Bros., the most successful brother tandem in NASCAR history. (Yes, even more so than the Busch brothers. For now.) Bobby has a Nationwide (Busch Grand National) Series championship under his belt (1991) and the 2000 Sprint (Winston) Cup title. In 2000, he captured a Brickyard 400 win and, upon a visit to Atlanta, once drove Mike Skinner to lament on television about, “Bobby Labonte showing up in his damned Pontiac.” The curse was muttered for good reason, as Labonte won six races at the track from 1996-2003. The Corpus Christi native is running a very limited schedule for Harry Scott this season; his future participation will be a DNS at TMS, with the rest of the season TBD. You can also catch him on NBC Sports Networks’ NASCAR America.

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4. Carroll Shelby

The original purveyor of high speed chicken feed, the former Texas farmer turned racing deity competed in Formula One, dominated LeMans, and was the answer to Henry Ford II’s plan to put Ferrari on ice, after Enzo reneged at the 11th hour on selling his operation to The Deuce. Never seen ‘ol Shel in a NASCAR race? Sure you have! The GT500 Mustangs that carry his name have served as pace cars for the past seven years have true 200 mph potential … and, of course, he’s also served as the pace car driver. Shelby passed in May 2012, but remains one of the most important and well-known names on the automotive landscape.

3. Johnny Rutherford

While Johnny Rutherford is best known for his three wins in the Indianapolis 500 (1973, 1976, 1980), he also dabbled in stock cars. His one win was in the second Daytona 500 qualifying race in 1963, driving for another NASCAR legend, Smokey Yunick. He raced at Daytona 15 times through the years, posting a 10th-place finish in the 1981 Daytona 500 and a fifth in the July race with Buddy Parrott as crew chief. Rutherford’s hometown, Fort Worth, is the site of Texas Motor Speedway.

2. Terry Labonte

One half of NASCAR’s power bro tandem, Texas Terry Labonte was also glossed the coolest nickname of all time: “The Ice Man.” Many since have tried to cut in on his action: Kimi Raikkonen, Chuck Liddell, and Val Kilmer to name a few. He won the 1984 Winston Cup in the Piedmont Airlines Monte Carlo SS, and then the 1996 Kellogg’s Monte Carlo, both two of the most iconic examples of their respective eras. Bristol has Labonte, in part, to thank for its popularity, as he and Dale Earnhardt engaged in two of the most memorable finishes of NASCAR’s Modern Era at the bullring.

Labonte’s final trip to Victory Lane was the 2003 Southern 500 at Darlington, which fittingly was the last true Southern 500. He made his final start in the Daytona 500 this year, and was pretty much in contention until a late-race wreck ruined his chances in his last run in the Great American race.

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1. A.J. Foyt

The Man. The Myth. The Legend. A.J. Foyt. Name one other driver who can claim the following on his resume: Four Indianapolis 500 wins, a Daytona 500 victory, a 24 Hours of LeMans win and throwing Arie Luyendyk into the shrubbery in Victory Lane.

“Super Tex” set the mark for American open wheel drivers in the 1960s and, along with Mario Andretti, was one of the most successful crossover drivers of the era. Anything Foyt sat in, he won. He was an instrumental piece in Ford’s all-out assault on Ferrari at LeMans in 1967 as part of the GT40 project, and also claims NASCAR Cup wins at Riverside, Atlanta and Ontario — as well as the aforementioned Daytona — to say nothing of his seven USAC titles and two IROC championships. When you think of American motorsports excellence and the model for the non-guff, no-nonsense competitor, look no further than Anthony Joseph Foyt of Houston, Texas.

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