Published: Fri, November 16, 2018
Sports | By Johanna Francis

NASCAR America at 5 p.m. ET: Championship 4, David Pearson passes

NASCAR America at 5 p.m. ET: Championship 4, David Pearson passes

Petty and Dale Earnhardt each won a record seven Nascar championships, but polling of prominent stock-car figures conducted by Sports Illustrated in 1999 and The Sporting News in 2011 proclaimed Pearson as Nascar's greatest driver. 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. The greatest example included Pearson's domination of a track that most would suggest couldn't be dominated.

That's wins in 18 percent of races entered, top 10s in 52 percent of his races and top 10s in 64 percent.Compare that to Petty, who won at a 17 percent clip, top fives in 47 percent of his races and top 10s 60 percent of the time. Pearson said, "If you do everything I just told you, you should be full throttle before you believe you can be".

Former NASCAR drivers Richard Petty, left, and David Pearson share a laugh in 2009 before a NASCAR race at Atlanta Motor Speedway in Hampton, Ga.

Pearson, known as the Silver Fox, won 27 races and had 30-runner-up finishes in the 1968-69 seasons.

Although Pearson's final Cup win came at Darlington Raceway in 1980, he remained competitive throughout his part-time run in the 1980s, scoring various top tens. Both cars hit the wall and spun into the infield just shy of the finish line. His career victories is second only to Richard Petty's 200.

Pearson was is a three time NASCAR Grand National champion. He believes the Wood Brothers Racing driver was the "gold standard" for the sport.

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As we learn of NASCAR's David Pearson's passing, we are reminded that our sister station, WKIT-FM once sponsored another NASCAR driver, James Hylton.

"I am so sad to hear about the passing of my hero and the guy I consider the greatest stock auto driver of all time". "I run hard because he'd make me run hard". I had the chance to interview him (with Yarborough) several years ago and found that the years hadn't changed that. "It didn't hurt as bad to lose to Pearson as it did to some of the others, because I knew how good he was".

They finished first and second in the same race 63 times.

Pearson's most successful track was in his home state.

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.

NASCAR was made better because David Pearson was in it. "His Hall of Fame career will go down as one of the most prolific in the history of the sport. He will be missed and will always be remembered".

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