Being a NASCAR fan is all about cheering on your favorite driver and sticking with them through hard times, team changes and championships (or even lack-thereof). At the same time, being a NASCAR fan for most people also includes hating certain drivers along with cheering for their own. Whether it be because of being a dirty driver, having a bad attitude or even having a haircut that fans don’t like,these drivers belong on the list. Keep in mind, just because I put these drivers on this list does not mean I necessarily dislike them. All it means is that I’ve heard enough complaints about these drivers to make me feel that they belong on this list of most hated drivers.
5. Ricky Stenhouse Jr
To be fair, Stenhouse isn’t disliked or hated necessarily because of his personality. He’s more of a running (and also very stale and unfunny) joke among NASCAR fans. His tendencies to crash at the worst possible times and in the worst possible places have given him the nickname Wrecky Spinhouse. This name and stigma were solidified following last year’s Coke Zero Sugar 400 at Daytona International Speedway. When he got involved in several wrecks throughout the race that ended numerous drivers’ nights. His latest single-car wreck on the last lap of the Geico 500 at Talladega brought back the once-funny, now dry nickname. However, he put on quite a performance during the Digital Ally 400 at Kansas. Proving that he’s no slouch behind the wheel and is more often than not a wildcard that could surprise everyone.
4. Brad Keselowski
Brad Keselowski isn’t quite widely hated or disliked as much as other drivers listed higher in this list some may say. He has earned himself a spot on this list due to past run-ins with some of NASCAR’s biggest names, including Kyle Busch, and Jeff Gordon. Bad Brad is not someone I’d consider to be a dirty driver, per se. The run-ins with numerous drivers over the years have been because of his aggressive driving style. Usually courteous, Keselowski isn’t normally the kind to look for trouble. While trouble has no difficulty finding him when his hard driving for the win can cause problems between he and his fellow drivers.
Who can forget when Gordon vs Keselowski ft. Kevin Harvick went down following the Texas 500 in 2014 when Gordon confronted Brad after the race over a cut tire due to contact between the two late in the race? Gordon went on over to Keselowski for a um…friendly chat, if you will, to voice his displeasure? Things looked like they were about to settle when, out of nowhere, Kevin Harvick came over and “bump drafted” Brad towards Jeff. Which caused Jeff to go full Bobby Allison on Keselowski. Another example of Brad making himself unpopular with select fans (and VERY popular with others) came back at the Bristol spring race in 2010. You’ve probably seen the clip. If you haven’t, I won’t spoil it for you.
3. Joey Logano
Like his Team Penske teammate Brad Keselowski, Joey Logano would be considered a nice guy off the track, but is definitely no stranger to controversy on it. Joey Logano made it clear from his early days as a Joe Gibbs driver that he was worthy of your attention on the track. There’s no doubt that Logano is a clutch performer and always performs at the right time. The reigning NASCAR champ has also had his fair share of controversies, starting all the way back in 2010 when veteran Ryan Newman confronted him in the infield after numerous on-track incidents between the two in weeks prior?
How about the numerous encounters between fellow NASCAR champ Kyle Busch over recent years? For example when Busch got turned by Logano in Phoenix in 2017 and decked him on pit road after the event. Most recently, Joey Logano had that infamous run-in (which I count myself lucky to have witnessed in person) with Martin Truex on the last lap of the First Data 500 last fall where the two banged door-to-door, ultimately resulting in Logano winning, securing himself a spot in the championship four. Like the previous three drivers, Logano is a guy who is hated not so much because of his off-track antics, but because of his aggressive on-track driving style.
2. Austin Dillon
Go under any, and I mean ANY post that has to do with AD on social media and you’ll see a ton of the same comments, all along the same lines. “Dillon is a brat!”. “He’ll never be Earnhardt!”. “He’s only in cup because of his grandpa!”. While some of these may be true to some extent, the amount of hate he receives is just way over the top. Obviously he isn’t putting up superstar numbers, but is anyone at RCR? He’s won two races, which is the same number as good ol’ YRB, who is a fan-favorite. Can’t hate on the guy for having connections and driving for his grandpa, because that’s the way NASCAR is today.
What I should also point out are that the same people who find it distasteful that he drives for his grandpa are the same people who absolutely worship Dale Earnhardt Jr., who drove for his dad’s race team! I will agree, however, that it was somewhat lame when Dillon accused his team of choosing the wrong car for the race after a poor run earlier this season. I’ve heard from numerous people who have met him in person that he’s a very down-to-earth guy and is very friendly.
1. Kyle Busch
Was this really a surprise to anyone? Kyle Busch takes the number one spot on this list with NO problem whatsoever. The 205-time NASCAR race winner and former MENCS champ is notorious for being outspoken and having run-ins with fellow drivers. Widely hated because of both on AND off-track antics, Rowdy is no stranger to controversy. From early on in his decorated career, it was apparent that KB would do whatever it takes to get a win and that he’d drive dirty if he had to. Kyle Busch is the epitome of checkers or wreckers. Busch has solidified himself as one of NASCAR’s elite over the last decade, starting his tenure with JGR with eight wins in one season and collecting 54 cup wins over his 15 full seasons in cup, as well as a championship in 2015.
Along with those accolades, Busch has also collected a fair share of haters. Colorful and emotional interviews, on-track incidences with other drivers and off-track incidences with other drivers contributes to the wide dislike for Rowdy. A physical altercation with Joey Logano in Phoenix in 2017. A last-lap dump and run against Kyle Larson at Chicagoland in 2018. Open criticism of the CoT in 2007 as well as the 2019 rules package and Goodyear tires. All of these and more make up reasons why Kyle is easily the most hated driver in the sport today. Busch has a very loud and very large personality but also has the very large results to back it up.
Whether some want to admit it or not, the sport needs Kyle Busch because he keeps things real and interesting. If you can say one hundred percent that something that Kyle Busch has never entertained you with something he has done you would be lying. The sport needs a heel just like wrestling. Who better to wear the black hat than a man who not only wears it but embraces it? Kyle Busch may be the most hated driver in NASCAR but I’m not too sure that he hates playing that role.
Since the sport got its early beginnings drivers have had personality traits that relate to fans. Each fan picks something out about a driver and runs with it, for example Dale Senior being a driver on Sunday’s but working on the farm during the week. Maybe it was Alan Kulwicki working and driving his own car to a championship winning season. Some may even love the fact that a driver like Kyle Busch doesn’t care what others think. Whatever it may be when we find drivers we like we always find drivers we hate, or at least dislike. None the less all of these drivers are winners, and some future Hall of Famers, and you can hate them but you still got to respect them.