If you were watching the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race this past weekend at Kentucky Speedway, you were treated to an
incredible finish as Kurt and Kyle Busch battled for the win in overtime. The Busch brothers stole the show as they bumped and banged their way across the finish line, side by side with Kurt taking home the checkered flag for the first time this year and securing a spot in the 16-driver playoff field.
After the race, it was refreshing to hear both drivers’ remarks on the intense clash and poke fun at the sibling rivalry. Kyle laughed and made note of the fact that it’s rare for his brother to get the best of him, while Kurt mentioned that he would make sure to pay his younger brother a visit at home and sit the trophy on the kitchen table to rub it in.
All jokes aside, the Busch brothers had me thinking about some of the best sibling pairings in auto racing. To understand the importance of these brotherly bonds, I must first point out the family ties that have long existed in motorsports.
As children, we tend to take after our parents interest, and this is no different in motorsports due to the amount of travel required in the sport. So when you think of the greatest drivers in racing history, guys like Mario Andretti and Dale Earnhardt Sr., you also think of their sons as well, Michael and Dale Jr., respectively. If you continue to look a little deeper, however, you’ll also find plenty of brothers who share the same passion for racing like the aforementioned duos.
In Formula One, Michael and Ralf Schumacher are the most prolific sibling pairing. In fact, they are the only set of brothers to each win a race in Formula One. The two brothers combined for nearly 100 wins, and although Michael received more praise during his career due to his record-setting seven championships, Ralf proved to be one of his toughest competitors throughout his career.
Also in open-wheel racing, the Unsers have one of the largest family trees with brothers Al and Bobby leading the charge. From 1968-87, Al and Bobby combined to win seven Indianapolis 500s and were a force to be reckoned with. Year after year, it became a coin toss as to which Unser would take home one of racing’s crown jewels, and it almost became more surprising if one of them didn’t take home the Borg-Warner Trophy.
And in NASCAR, there are a myriad of sibling pairings to choose from. There’s Darrell and Michael Waltrip, who spent many years competing on the track before taking up residence together in FOX’s broadcast booth. There’s Glen and Leonard Wood, who formed Wood Brothers, the oldest active race team in NASCAR.
Arguably, the most successful brother tandem in NASCAR and possibly all of motorsports are the Labontes – which include Terry and younger brother, Bobby. In their careers, they combined for 43 Cup wins (Terry, 22; Bobby, 21) and three championships (Terry, 2; Bobby 1). While they are eight years apart, they mirror each other in many ways, including the fact that come January 2020, both will be members of the NASCAR Hall of Fame.
I could keep going on and on with the endless groupings, but I wanted to draw attention to the winningest brothers in NASCAR history – Bobby and Donnie Allison. The Allison brothers are from Miami and grew up racing at local tracks like Hialeah and Hollywood Speedways. South Florida is where the Allisons grew their racing roots before moving to Alabama to form the “Alabama Gang” with Red Farmer and Neil Bonnett.
But before they left, the brothers had made their mark on South Florida’s racing scene. Between winning virtually every race in which they competed and going at each other on the track more like rivals instead of brothers, the Allisons left Miami prime for success,