Shawn Cowie’s Top Alcohol Dragster victory at the Denso Spark Plugs NHRA Four-Wide Nationals was the Canadian’s 21st victory in just 98 events, a 20.4% win average or a victory in one out of every five national events he has attended.
By way of comparison, the sport’s winningest driver, John Force, has competed at 791 races and won 151 of them for a 19% win average.
These stats come to our courtesy of NHRA Drag Racing master statistician, former NHRA national event announcer Bob Frey, whose deeply researched databases offer a treasure trove of trivia.
Cowie and Force are among the most successful active drivers, but they’re going to have to go a long way towards approaching the legendary Frank Manzo. Just counting his Top Alcohol Funny Car wins, the 17-time world champion won 104 races of the 253 he entered for an amazing 41.1% winning number. (Manzo’s lone Pro Comp win is not included because there’s not an easy way to determine which of the events contested that class).
Additionally, Manzo also had 25 runner-ups, which means he went to the final round at 129 of the 253 races he attended, or an amazing 51%.
Four-time Pro Stock world champ Lee Shepherd scored 26 Pro Stock wins in the 74 races he entered for a win percentage of 35.1%.
The great former Pro Stock Motorcycle champ John Myers won 33 of the 103 races he entered for a 32% victory ratio, and another past champ, Matt Hines, racked up a 31.2% total, winning 30 of the 96 races he entered.
The legendary “Big Daddy” Don Garlits competed in Top Fuel at 114 NHRA national events and won 35 of them for a 30.1% ratio.
(We were not able to calculate percentages for pure Sportsman racers like Edmond and Scotty Richardson, Dan Fletcher, David Rampy, and Peter Biondo simply because accurate records of their attendance are not easily available.)