Hall of Famer David Pearson passed away at 83

Heather Diaz
November 16, 2018

Auto racing legend David Pearson has died.

One of David Pearson's 105-career wins in NASCAR's top series included a victory at Bristol Motor Speedway in 1968. When he came close to running the full schedule, he won a championship - or came darn close.

Pearson outdueled Petty, 33 to 30, on the occasions when they finished 1-2. And in 1969, he ran 51 of 54 en route to his third and final title. Always a great qualifier, Pearson's 113 poles rank second only to 123 poles for Petty. Both cars slid into the grass, Petty was unable to restart his engine and Pearson got the win when he limped his damaged auto across the finish line. It's a safe bet that Pearson would be more than a three-time champion had he competed full-time for more seasons. After Pearson won 11 straight poles at CMS, driving away fans who wanted to bet on the pole-sitter, Wheeler made a decision to try and figure out what Pearson's secret was. I had the chance to interview him (with Yarborough) several years ago and found that the years hadn't changed that.

"On behalf of everyone at the NASCAR Hall of Fame, we offer our most honest condolences to Ricky, Larry, Eddie and the entire Pearson family".

He pushed Petty to be better.

One story that has been told and retold is of the mutual respect Pearson and Petty had for one another and how they generally complimented one another as being the best in their sport.

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Pearson retired with 105 career victories, behind only Petty on the all-time list.

"I have always been asked who my toughest competitor in my career was", Petty said in a statement after Pearson's death was announced.

What people said about him:"David and I battled each other for wins, most of the time finishing first or second to each other". A member of the second class of the NASCAR Hall of Fame in 2011, David was indisputably one of the greatest drivers in NASCAR history - and one of the greatest in all forms of motorsports of all time. "We both became better for it", he added.

We moved a couple of hundred feet forward in the van and he said, "Here is where I want you to go back to the gas". We were lucky to be able to call him one of our champions.

That's not to be confused with the old Riverside road course in California, where Pearson won in the Trans-Am Series driving Mustangs prepared by NASCAR Hall of Fame auto owner Bud Moore, also a Spartanburg resident. Below, FOX NASCAR analyst and Hall of Famer Darrell Waltrip and play-by-play announcer Mike Joy offer their memories of the "Silver Fox".

For his career, he had 10 wins at Darlington, arguably, NASCAR's hardest tracks.

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