- Was named his high school's Athlete of the Year as a senior after competing in football, basketball, baseball and golf. Also won Golfer of the Year in his North Carolina district in 1974 and '75.
- Turned down a golf scholarship to the University of South Carolina in favor of working at Hickory (N.C.) Motor Speedway, which was owned and operated by his father, Ned.
- Drove to victory in the prestigious Daytona 500 three times (1993, 1996, 2000), with his father broadcasting all three races for CBS.
- Honored as Driver of the Year in all forms of motor-sports racing in 1999, when he won the NASCAR Winston Cup Series championship.
- Won 32 races on 16 different tracks in NASCAR's top series (Winston Cup and Nextel Cup).