Monday, 27 May, 2019

FOX NASCAR's Darrell Waltrip & Mike Joy on the Passing of David Pearson

A NASCAR Legend Has Just Passed Away A NASCAR Legend Has Just Passed Away
Cary Erickson | 16 November, 2018, 14:40

In addition to his countless NASCAR records and longevity, Pearson was also well known for being racing's coolest driver.

Legendary NASCAR driver David Pearson, 83, died Monday.

His racing career started in 1953 on a dirt track at his hometown of Spartanburg, South Carolina, and decades after his NASCAR career was over, Pearson returned to the dirt to race at nearby Riverside Speedway.

"Our thoughts and prayers are with the entire Pearson family and friends". "David and I raced together throughout our careers and battled each other for wins- most of the time finishing first or second to each other". He entered the Nascar Hall of Fame in Charlotte, N.C., in 2011 as a member of its second class of inductees.

Between 1972 and 1979, Pearson and the Virginia-based Woods - led by NASCAR Hall of Famers Glen and Leonard - won 43 times including the 1976 Daytona 500, a race that saw Pearson limp to the finish after colliding with Petty coming down to take the checkered flag. While Petty was a flamboyant fan favorite, Pearson was quiet and plain-spoken. So casual was Pearson's driving skills he often smoked, driving one-handed while competing, thanks to a cigarette lighter he kept on the dashboard of his racecar. But while Pearson might have been second on the leaderboard, it wasn't uncommon for him to be ranked No. 1 when racing experts were surveyed on the greatest NASCAR driver ever. "He's probably the one that made me win as many as I did".

In the three full seasons Pearson qualified for the then-Grand National Series championship - 1966, 1968 and 1969 - he won it.

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Some 900 feet from the finish line, Pearson, having achieved his goal of getting the final "slingshot" of the race, came out of a high bank, whipped past Petty and won by 25 feet. Pearson prevailed for his only Daytona 500 triumph. The wheels came off, leaving him stranded. During an era when the cars weren't as durable, Pearson would often run a steady pace and save his vehicle for the end of the race - when he would speed by the competition. He is survived by three sons, Larry, Ricky and Eddie. Details were not immediately available.

NASCAR legend David Pearson died Monday at the age of 83 after a lengthy illness.

Pearson was introduced to the team's newest driver, 20-year-old Trevor Bayne, who sought his advice on strategy in the race.

"Sometimes, he would make a mistake and I'd pass him. If you wait that long, about half of them would knock themselves out". "The man they called the 'Silver Fox" was the gold standard for NASCAR excellence".