Every sport has its villains and bad boys. Its not just the NFL and NBA that are subject to athletes who like to party, get arrested, and make inflammatory comments to the media. Even in the world of NASCAR, there have been (and still are) many controversial drivers who have made a reputation for themselves with their antics and shenanigans. From harmless trash talking to drug arrests, fist fights, and even an AIDS scare, NASCAR has seen as much controversy over the years as most other sports – maybe more. And fans can’t seem to get enough of it. Here’s a list of the 10 most controversial NASCAR drivers of all time.
10. Lee Petty
Lee Petty is the patriarch of what has become a NASCAR family dynasty. His son Richard Petty is NASCAR’s all-time race winner, and his grandsons and great grandsons have also gone on to race in NASCAR. However, in the 1950s, Petty was a controversial figure in the world of NASCAR owing to his aggressive and rough driving style. Petty was one of the first drivers in NASCAR history to live on his race winnings. He had no other source of income at the time. The need to literally bring home the bacon led Lee Petty to adopt an aggressive, take no prisoners style of driving, and that did not sit well with other racers on the track. In 1957, NASCAR officials sent Petty a letter, slapping him on the wrist. The letter reads, in part, as follows: “We have received a great many complaints this season about rough driving on your part… it is going to be necessary for someone to put the “eye” on you for the next several race meets.” A copy of the full letter can be read in the NASCAR Hall of Fame.