Peer into the future, a different world with a slightly different top 25
There's a Clinton in the White House and new faces on the Top 25 drivers of all time list. Welcome to 2025 and while some things have changed, others stayed the same, writes Terry Blount.
Updated: May 23, 2008, 4:36 PM ETBy Terry Blount | ESPN.com
Logan Mock-Bunting/Getty ImagesChelsea Clinton learned enough on the campaign trail in 2008 to succeed in her own bid in 2024.It's the year 2025. Chelsea Clinton took the oath of office in January as the 46th President of the United States.She replaced 78-year-old Arnold Schwarzenegger, who became the first foreign-born President after the Constitution was changed to allow him to run for the highest office in the land.The mini Hydro Hummer is all the rage and the best selling car in America.Race car drivers are more beloved than ever, symbols of the past when most cars ran on petroleum-based fuels these racers still use.Maybe that's one reason many of the Top 25 drivers in history remain on the list 17 years after it first appeared. The four names at the top stay the same, heroes that young and old racing fans haven't forgotten. But seven new names have made it on the list and pushed some racers from the 2008 list below the prestigious top 25. Here's how we see the 25 best stacking up in 2025. The new names are listed in all caps:
|1. A.J. Foyt|
Accomplishments: Still the best after all these years. As he requested, the yard of bricks were dug up and Foyt was buried underneath them at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway start-finish line..
|2. Mario Andretti|
Accomplishments: Will any American again win the Indy 500 and an F1 title, as Mario did? His grandson, Marco, won two Indy 500s, but fell short of a title in 10 F1 seasons.
|3. Dale Earnhardt|
Accomplishments: The longer he's gone, the more his legend grows, but seven Cup titles speaks for itself.
|4. Michael Schumacher|
Accomplishments: Still the only driver to win seven F1 titles. He is now the Chancellor of Germany.
|5. Lewis Hamilton|
Accomplishments: Now 36, the Brit has four F1 championships and he's still going. His 2019 victory in the Indy 500 made Hamilton the first full-time F1 driver to win at Indy since Mario Andretti in 1969.
|6. Ayrton Senna|
Accomplishments: Might have won five or more F1 titles if he hadn't been taken from us in his prime.
|7. Richard Petty|
Accomplishments: His 200 NASCAR victories never will be equaled. His famous feathered cowboy hat was placed on the moon in a return visit to the lunar surface by NASA.
|8. Jeff Gordon|
Accomplishments: Retired from NASCAR in 2014 as a five-time Cup champion, but raced in two Indy 500s afterward and earned one top-5 finish. Gordon lives in Monte Carlo with his wife, Ingrid. Their daughter, Ella, 18, is a supermodel and open-wheel racer in Europe who is hoping to earn a ride in Formula One.
|9. Kyle Busch|
Accomplishments: Still racing strong at 39, the once-hated NASCAR driver now is revered for his four championships. Busch teaches classes in the off-season on anger management.
|10. Jimmie Johnson|
Accomplishments: Retired after winning his fourth Cup championship, but fell off a golf cart last year and broke his hip. Johnson now is the governor of California.
Accomplishments: The Silver Fox won the Cup title in all three of his four full-time seasons.
|12. Jim Clark|
Accomplishments: The popular Brit was an incredible talent who lost his life when his greatness was just starting to show.
|13. Juan Manuel Fangio|
Accomplishments: Still second on the all-time list with five F1 championships and revered for wining titles with four different teams.
|14. John Force|
Accomplishments: Won his record 15th NHRA Funny Car title in 2009 at age 60, but kept racing until he was 70. Now 76, he races his wheelchair down the back ramp of daughter Ashley's hauler.
|15. Jackie Stewart|
Accomplishments: Won three F1 titles over a five-year span, including 27 victories in just 99 starts over nine seasons.
Accomplishments: Still the only man to win three consecutive Cup titles and still talked about for "The Fight."
|17. Tony Stewart|
Accomplishments: A three-time Cup champion and the 2011 winner of the Indy 500. Stewart also won three Cup championships as a team owner.
|18. Tony Schumacher|
Accomplishments: The NHRA record holder with seven Top Fuel championhips. The Sarge is now The General.
|19. Al Unser|
Accomplishments: His four Indy 500 victories kept him on the list. His 644 laps led are still the most in Indy 500 history.
|20. Emerson Fittipaldi|
Accomplishments: Won two F1 titles, two Indy 500s and the 1989 CART championship.
|21. Alain Prost|
Accomplishments: Universally respected as a four-time F1 champion and probably the most studious driver ever.
|22. Helio Castroneves|
Accomplishments: A four-time Indy 500 winner and two-time IndyCar Series champion. Helio retired in 2014 and joined his wife, Julianne, as a professional dancer. They have two children.
|23. Joey Logano|
Accomplishments: At age 35, he's the best driver in NASCAR and is trying to win his fourth Cup championship for team owner Tony Stewart.
|24. Shirley Muldowney|
Accomplishments: Still recognized as a pioneer for women in motor sports as the first female to win a major racing championship. Muldowney won three NHRA Top Fuel titles.
|25. Ashley Force|
Accomplishments: The first woman to win a Funny Car championship now has three titles and she's still racing at 42. Her 14-year-old son, Eric, is racing a junior dragster with his famous old grandpa as the tuner.
Terry Blount covers motorsports for ESPN.com. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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TOP 25 DRIVERS OF ALL TIME
Top 25 Video
The Top 25• Monday
25. Steve Kinser
24. Nigel Mansell
23. Don Garlits
22. Niki Lauda
21. Shirley Muldowney
20. Darrell Waltrip
19. Emerson Fittipaldi
18. Alain Prost
17. Bobby Unser
16. Tony Stewart
15. Al Unser
14. Cale Yarborough
13. Jackie Stewart
12. John Force
11. Rick Mears
10. Jeff Gordon
9. Juan Manuel Fangio
8. Jim Clark
7. David Pearson
6. Richard Petty
5. Ayrton Senna
4. Michael Schumacher
3. Dale Earnhardt
2. Mario Andretti
1. A.J. Foyt
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Page 2: Hollywood's big wheels
McGee: The King is sixth? We need a recount!
Blount: Foyt did it all
Blount: The Top 25 in 2025
Newton: Smoke has his say, and he says A.J.
Newton: Allison seems like a big omission
Knutson: The F1 drivers; who made it, who didn't
Oreovicz: The Indy contingent
Stephens: The NHRA represents
SportsNation Ranker: Give us your list
The Voters• Kenny Bernstein -- Six-time NHRA champion with four Funny Car titles and two Top Fuel titles.
• Terry Blount -- ESPN.com motorsports writer.
• Tim Brewer -- ESPN NASCAR commentator and two-time Cup championship crew chief.
• K. Lee Davis -- ESPN.com motorsports editor.
• Mike Dunn -- ESPN analyst for NHRA events and one of only four drivers with 10 or more career victories in Top Fuel and Funny Car.
• Ray Evernham -- ESPN NASCAR analyst and crew chief for three of Jeff Gordon's four Cup championships.
• A.J. Foyt -- Four-time Indy 500 winner.
• Scott Goodyear -- ESPN IndyCar analyst, former IndyCar racer and member of the Canadian Motorsports Hall of Fame.
• Jeff Gordon -- Four-time Cup champion in NASCAR.
• Mike Harris -- Long-time auto racing writer for the Associated Press.
• Dale Jarrett -- ESPN NASCAR analyst and 1999 Cup champion.
• Dan Knutson -- Formula One writer for ESPN.com.
• Ryan McGee -- Motorsports writer for ESPN The Magazine and ESPN.com.
• Juan Pablo Montoya -- Current Cup driver, 1999 CART champion, 2000 Indy 500 winner and former Formula One driver.
• John Oreovicz -- American open-wheel racing writer for ESPN.com.
• Richard Petty -- Seven-time Cup champion in NASCAR.
• Marty Reid -- ESPN motorsports broadcaster.
• Tony Stewart -- Two-time Cup champion in NASCAR and 1997 IRL champion.
• Rusty Wallace -- ESPN NASCAR analyst and 1989 Cup champion.