Drivers you used to hate but now respect

Discussion in 'NASCAR chat' started by ToyYoda, Jun 12, 2019.

  1. ToyYoda

    ToyYoda Team Owner

    Ok, maybe hate is too strong a word, but are there any drivers that you had a strong dislike for at some point that you came to respect or even like?

    The main one that comes to mind for me is Jeff Gordon. I had several reasons for not liking Gordon. For one, NASCAR and the sports media relentlessly crammed him down our throats in the mid-late 90’s, and his success rate during that time only added to the overkill. Second, his fans were kind of obnoxious (I’m not talking about anybody here, just in general). It seemed like all of the newbie fans who were coming in at that time jumped on the Gordon train, since he was doing most of the winning at that time. Lastly, and the one that probably made the least amount of sense, I always felt Gordon was the poster boy for the transition of NASCAR from the mostly regional sport I’d known up til then into its national expansion and all the negatives that came with it. I now realize that would have happened with or without Gordon, but his talent and marketability certainly didn’t hurt the transition.

    Towards the last couple years of Gordon’s career however, it dawned on me that Gordon would be the first superstar driver whose career I got to see from start to finish. Not sure why, but I started to respect him after that, and actually found myself cheering when he won at Martinsville in Nov. 2015. I think he does a fine job on Fox now as well.
  2. StandOnIt

    StandOnIt Farm Truck

    Never was a Gordon fan. I mean I had no opinion either way. I really like his style of announcing, respect that he could have disappeared from the sport, he sure doesn't need the money, but is involved because he loves that sport and it is apparent in his announcing. Never was a big fan of Sr, but I respected what he did for the sport on the track and behind closed doors, his wisdom is missed. I bet if he had lived, with his team he was building they would be a powerhouse in the sport today and the direction of Nascar would be different.
  3. Joker

    Joker #1 Harvick Fan


    I was so sick of his success in the late 2000s, early 10s, and thought he had a bland personality. But now that he's facing A D V E R S I T Y, I realize what a scrapper he is and how much he loves this sport. Now I'm just hoping he wins a freaking race again before retiring!

    EDIT: Kurt Busch as well. He's grown up a lot in the past 5-10 years. Now he's the cool old dude.

    EDIT EDIT: I also feel like Logano is much less of a prick now. Still don't like Kes though...
    sdj, FLRacingFan, Hawaii808 and 3 others like this.
  4. acmerocket

    acmerocket Team Owner

    no, still dont like them
    FLRacingFan, LewTheShoe and ToyYoda like this.
  5. Tumbleweed

    Tumbleweed Team Owner

    How about the other way around? Drivers you used to like but now don't? OK, I know technically that's not what this thread is about but Hamlin is one of those for me.

    And yes, I give Kurt B. credit....he seems to have gotten his personal problems under control and grown up. I've never liked Joey though.
  6. Truex_rox

    Truex_rox 19 looks better than ever.

    Jimmie Johnson, within the first few months I was watching NASCAR over a decade ago. That sure has changed.

    Carl Edwards. I did not hate him, but I was not a huge fan. He grew on me during his Joe Gibbs Racing tenure.

    This last one is not a personal pick. Instead, it reflects more of how I think the fanbase as a whole has shifted. If there is one guy who has had his reputation complete a 180-degree rotation, it has got to be Kurt Busch. He went from being The Outlaw, to being more like The Dude abides.
    FLRacingFan and ToyYoda like this.
  7. kkfan91

    kkfan91 Taking a 10-200

    Hated Gordon as a kid but came to respect him towards the end. Same thing is happening with Jimmie.
  8. 2 Sweet

    2 Sweet Legend

    Kurt Busch. I couldn't ******* stand him in his Roush and Penske days. I was so glad to see him get fired from Penske. Eventually I warmed up to him once he turned things around and have started liking him more and more every year.

    In the late 90's, I had a very irrational dislike for Dale Jarrett simply because I felt he was the biggest threat to beat my driver (Gordon). It's funny because now I absolutely love Dale Jarrett and feel so bad that I ever rooted against the guy.

    Bill Elliott is another one, for an even worse reason. In 1991, I had a computer racing game called "Bill Elliott's NASCAR Challenge" and Bill would ALWAYS beat me. But once I got really hardcore into the sport in the mid 90's, I liked him by that point.

    I never cared at all for Matt Kenseth, but started liking him at the end of his run.
  9. ChexOrWrex

    ChexOrWrex Ya gotta wanna

    FLRacingFan, ToyYoda and 2 Sweet like this.
  10. jws926

    jws926 I need to think of something new for here

    Gordon and Johnson, never cared for them ,but now have come to fully respect them.

    Kurt Busch, yep, another one that couldnt stand him up till he lost his ride with Penske

    Kyle Busch, still cant stand him on the personality side, but have started respecting him more as driver and what he is doing in the Cup series.
    FLRacingFan, Turtle84, Hotrod and 2 others like this.
  11. TexasRaceLady

    TexasRaceLady Plank Owner Contributor

    I'm not a Kyle Busch fan, but I can, and do, admire and respect his talent.
    Never was a Jeff Gordon fan, but in retrospect I have to respect what he did for the sport -- both as a driver and now, as a broadcaster.
    FLRacingFan, Johali, Hotrod and 4 others like this.
  12. ReturnTrip

    ReturnTrip Team Owner

    Logano, I guess. Never really hated him, but I didn't mind when he stomped the Big 3 last year.
  13. Michfan

    Michfan Team Owner

    Brad Keselowski and Kurt Busch
    FLRacingFan and LewTheShoe like this.
  14. kyle18fan

    kyle18fan Proud member of Rowdy Nation Contributor

    Joey is fine, even after he married his sister :( Joey is a hard charger, I like that
    OldTimer likes this.
  15. kyle18fan

    kyle18fan Proud member of Rowdy Nation Contributor

    Its an old joke, no harm meant at all, I hear it all the time from people.
  16. Ventisca

    Ventisca Team Owner

    kyle18fan likes this.
  17. Greg

    Greg 2014 RF YAHOO CHAMP Your leader

    Back in the day l didn't like Pearson or Bobby Allison. I was a kid and they were a threat to my childhood hero Richard Petty.

    But l never really hated Pearson I just hated it when he beat Petty. I went to the World 600 in 1878 or 1977. Pearson as usual won the pole for the 600. Watching his smoothness through the dog leg really impressed me. He put the left tire on the threshold of the grass and asphalt of the initial apex every lap like clock work. Sometimes the left front would catch and throw a dirt pod about 30 foot up into the air, sounds corny but it was majestic to watch. Incredible stuff another inch or two would have wrecked him.
    I got to see him win a lot at Greenville Pickens Speedway too.

    I feel the dumbest for not respecting Bobby Allison more when he was racing. I remember when he was injured at Pocono in 1988, then loosing both sons within a years time. That was truly a sad thing, Bobby is one of the greatest ever and he deserved better.
  18. Larsonfan1995

    Larsonfan1995 Team Owner

    I remember jumping off my couch when Sam Hornish wrecked Jimmie Johnson at the Texas chase race in 08 or 09. I was so sick of watching him win. It was that way till I went to Richmond in 2015 and had cold passes and met Jimmie. He is the nicest driver I've met other than Jeff Burton. A crowd of 100 or so had formed to watch him do a TV interview during a rain delay, and he stayed and signed and took pictures for every single one of them. Since then he's been in my top 5 favorite drivers.
  19. DIDIT

    DIDIT Old School Fan

    I wasn't a fan of Marcis until I found out he wore wingtips.
    Seriously, I didn't care for Earnhardt, but over the later years I became a huge fan
  20. Snappy D

    Snappy D 2017 Pick Em Champion 2018 Bold Predictor

    Wasn’t a big fan of Dale Earnhardt Sr growing up, in fact growing up a Jeff Gordon fan I cheered against him. I didn’t realize what a cool dude he was until after 2001 and the magic of YouTube while watching old races. I started think he was awesome while watching the 1999 Food City 500....,I wish I knew that while he was alive racing. Cool dude, an amazing icon.
  21. JohnHill

    JohnHill Rusty Wallace & Terry Labonte Rule!

    I’ll reverse this with my answer... guys I liked but then it changed...

    Use to like harvick around the 2002-2003 time frame... always been a fantastic hard charging driver. But his comments and attitude just fatigued me. I haven’t tolerated him since. I feel like if I was around someone with his persona’ I’d freak after 5 minutes.

    Use to like McMurray for awhile when he was in his first few full cup seasons. Saw him at the roush open house in 06...Dude must have been having a bad day... it was kind of a downer to watch him with his fans. I never could buy into that persona he interviews on tv with after that. Seemed fake.
  22. 2 Sweet

    2 Sweet Legend

    I liked Kyle Busch until his immaturity got him kicked out at Hendrick. I liked Martin Truex Jr. until he developed a smug sense of entitlement and started crying about everything. I liked Joe Gibbs Racing until a multitude of events over a short time: Bobby Labonte left, then they hired Denny, then switched from GM to Toyota, then hired Kyle.
    FLRacingFan, LewTheShoe and JohnHill like this.
  23. LewTheShoe

    LewTheShoe Team Owner

    Darrell Waltrip. I hated the "Jaws" shtick so much that I didn't really feel the respect I should have felt. Because the like/dislike scale is not the same as the respect/disrespect scale.

    I disliked DW so intensely that I also disrespected him... that's my bad. Later, I hated his clown show while hanging on as a driver for way too long. Once he (finally) stopped driving and started doing TV, then I began to like him and also respect him as a good broadcaster *and* as a great racer.

    Dale Junior. I didn't actually dislike Junior. I hated his father for his dirty driving and boorish behavior. I just wanted to kinda sorta ignore Junior. But after February 2001, I hated the media hype machine heaped upon Junior... so shameless and so relentless. Also I was (and am) perplexed by the notion of an inherited fanbase by birthright.

    It took me a good long while to warm up to Dale Junior as his own man. But finally, the force of his personality broke through my wall, and I began to realize he was entirely genuine, entirely appealing. He had a really hard job - being Dale's son - and he performed that job magnificently. He also laid down a fine driving career... 26 wins, two of them in the Daytona 500. That ranks 30th on the all time list of wins. That's not shabby.
    FLRacingFan, Turtle84, Clutch and 8 others like this.
  24. AndyMarquisLive

    AndyMarquisLive Short Track Fanatic

    For me, Jeff Gordon, Darth Johnson and Kurt Busch come to mind.
    FLRacingFan and ToyYoda like this.
  25. gnomesayin

    gnomesayin Team Owner

    Similar to @LewTheShoe, it took me a long while to let go of lingering resentment toward Dale Jr. for being foisted upon the sport as the Golden Child. But I eventually came to see him as a genuinely good man, and I also think he matured remarkably well given all the adulation, and he remains humble.

    I agree with others on Kurt Busch. I couldn't abide much of his behavior, but he's finally mostly got his anger and petulance under control, and it turns out there was a heck of a personality lingering underneath that. He's also still a great pure wheelman.

    I never disliked Carl Edwards, but I found him odd and borderline phony with some of his aw shucks demeanor. I respected his talent and felt bad for him missing out on a championship by the slimmest of margins. I miss his presence.

    I've come around to enjoy Brad Keselowski considerably more than I did during his Xfinity and early Cup days.

    I always thought Joey Logano got a bad rap when everyone was hating on him early in his career and defended him often. Now I'm kinda meh on him, but again, heck of a driver.

    From day one I always thought Jeff Gordon was an incredible talent and consummate driver. I never particularly liked him but always respected him immensely. That never changed. I suppose I've come to view Jimmie Johnson more favorably on a personal level, and I'm probably even hoping he has a few more wins in him somehow.

    I never liked Dale Sr. and nothing ever changed my mind. I'm sorry the sport and his family and friends lost him. Of course I respect his accomplishments.
  26. Biggreen695

    Biggreen695 Team Owner

    Jimmie Johnson
    Jeff Gordon
    Kurt Busch

    Started out as a Keselowski fan after he came into the sport driving for Jr. Was excited for his cup in 12' and then I believe his success got to his head. We all remember how everybody wanted to kill him at the end of 14'. Seems hes settled in, loves to race, and at this point I can really appreciate how he came up from literally nothing.

    Sent from my SM-G960U using Tapatalk
    FLRacingFan, LewTheShoe and ToyYoda like this.
  27. Team Penske

    Team Penske Team Owner

    And then he screwed that up big time. I used to enjoy his poor qualifying and then run to the front.
  28. SlicedBread22

    SlicedBread22 #TeamJL

    JJ.. Harvick and (augh) Kyle Busch
    FLRacingFan likes this.
  29. Turtle84

    Turtle84 gained a step

    Hate is a strong word but I was less than favorable toward Kyle Busch before the 2015 accident. That and fatherhood, he got much more tolerable.

    I was neutral on Almirola until the Kansas incident too. But, now like him. Guess I like a good injury comeback story.

    The opposite, I soured on Hamlin and Kenseth. Have come around on Hamlin this year a little with the JD 500 win. Went south on Kenseth ever since he decided Logano needed to ride in his golden wake at Kansas. He can suck it.
  30. be9ak7ts16

    be9ak7ts16 Hick

    I still dislike all the drivers I always disliked. That's maybe 5 drivers who shall remain nameless.
    FLRacingFan, LewTheShoe and AuzGrams like this.
  31. Revman

    Revman I didn't do sh!t Bob!

    Brad Keselowski. I respect his ability to run his mouth, but at the same time navigate "Penske Perfect."
    FLRacingFan likes this.
  32. Truex_rox

    Truex_rox 19 looks better than ever.

    I'll name the drivers that I started off respecting, then ended up not caring for too much.

    Denny Hamlin, when I first got around to watching, was actually a driver I would root for sometimes. However, his personality and erratic nature soon turned me off of him, and the Chase Elliott wreck sealed the deal for me.

    Brad Keselowski. Remember how I said I didn't care for JJ, much less had him picked as a favorite many moons ago? Well, of course, I found myself sort of rooting for Brad to clinch the title in 2012. When it actually happened, I was a little surprised. Nowadays, though, it's definitely a different story. I studied up on Jimmie and realized that his talent and his demeanor was the kind that appealed to me, so it changed my mind on him being the guy that stole all of the races. Brad, on the other hand, lost my respect with a series of wrecks and incidents that he was involved in during the 2013 and 2014 seasons with numerous drivers. I think he has chilled out now, but I'm not his biggest fan.
    FLRacingFan and Turtle84 like this.
  33. AdoubleU24

    AdoubleU24 Team Owner

    JJ, JR, and Dale Sr.

    All the others I still mostly can't stand, which is how it should be in sports lol.
    FLRacingFan and LewTheShoe like this.
  34. 2019PensekeFan

    2019PensekeFan Crew Chief

    I was indifferent to Kyle Busch when he first came on the scene but his antics and immaturity quickly turned me against him with 2011 being the peak. Breaking his leg at Daytona in 2015 and becoming a dad and winning the championship seem to have mellowed out him though he still has his moments. I don't root for him but I do respect his talent.
    FLRacingFan likes this.
  35. 2 Sweet

    2 Sweet Legend


  36. AuzGrams

    AuzGrams Team Owner

    I agree. The only reason I could tolerate Jimmie now is because he doesn't run up front that often.

    Jimmie & the 48 has really fallen off a cliff since early 2017.
    FLRacingFan likes this.
  37. Ford 222

    Ford 222 Team Owner

    Kevin Harvick....came into the upper level replacing a legend and thought he was already. Great racer and driver but a “wannabe” bully. Lots of empty threats. Seems to have grown up some....but still thinks he’s a badass. Still hate him.....
  38. be9ak7ts16

    be9ak7ts16 Hick

    Aw screw it. Here goes.
    1. The on track Dale Earnhardt. Yeah I know I’m disrespecting God and Elvis here. He was always ready to put a fender on someone and bull his way to the front. Heaven forbid someone did it to him. I have always and always will consider him a dirty driver. Now, the off track Earnhardt is a different story. To me he was a humble family man. The picture of him and a young Chase Elliott to me is priceless.
    2. Kurt Bush. A whiny self centered jack-asss.
    3. Kyle Bush. Like his brother only worse. The thing that solidified it for me was him smashing that beautiful Gibson guitar. John Hyatt said it best. Smash a guitar and you go to jail.
    4. Daryll Waltrip. When he came on the scene he was a brash, outspoken egotistical (insert your own derogatory term here.) towards the end he mellowed and turned into a likable guy.
    5. Guess there was only 4.
    FLRacingFan likes this.
  39. Pat

    Pat Team Owner

    Jimmie Johnson
    Kurt Busch
    FLRacingFan likes this.
  40. Zerkfitting

    Zerkfitting Team Owner

    I never liked Dale Earnhardt for his rough driving - I'd yell at my TV when he did something I didn't like. I thought his Daytona 500 win was the coolest thing with the teams showing respect (even I was cheering for him). And I cried when he died.

    I've gone back and forth on Kurt Busch multiple times.

    Kyle Busch said some idiotic things when he started. I thought he was too young and immature for the off track part of NASCAR. His driving and defiant bow to a booing crowd won me over and I'm a fan now. He behavior changed when he became a team owner, got married, and got parked by his sponsor for a race.

    I didn't like DW because of his Jaws persona. When he became a race announcer I started to like him - in spite of the baby talk to start a race.

    I didn't like Harvick for no particular reason but he earned my respect when he was able to continue doing well after changing rides (like Kurt Busch).

    Carl Edwards came across as a Eddy Haskell to me but his driving earned my respect.
    FLRacingFan, LewTheShoe and 2 Sweet like this.

Share This Page