If you're talking about sprints, especially on dirt, then you have to talk about Steve Kinser. Of course, there have been a lot of great drivers who drove sprints, A.J. Foyt, Al and Bobby Unser, Gordon Johncock, Mario Andretti, not to mention later ones such as Tony Stewart and Jeff Gordon. One of my favorites was Rich Vogler. He died in a race at Salem,In., A strange occurance, because he actually won the race. He wrecked on the last lap while leading.The race was red flagged, so he was declared the winner. I think Jeff Gordon finished second.
I remember that race, back when I used to watch Saturday Night Thunder on ESPN from Ascot Park. Gordon was up and coming when Ascot closed and his family moved to Indy so he could race there (not the speedway, the short track). I can still remember seeing Vogler's helmet rolling down the track at the end of the wreck and thinking that's not ending well. Sad day.