David Pearson, NASCAR’s Silver Fox, has died at 83

Tanya Simon
November 16, 2018

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.

Pearson, a native of Spartanburg S.C. who drove for the legends Cotton Owens, the Wood Brothers and Holman-Moody Racing during his storied career, passed away at the age of 83 on Monday.

Pearson won three championships in NASCAR's premier series and was inducted into the NASCAR Hall of Fame in 2011.

David Pearson, the NASCAR pioneer known as "The Silver Fox" for his cunning craft and a longtime rivalry with Richard Petty, has died. That mark stands as the second-most of any driver in history, behind only Richard Petty's 200 career Cup wins. He pushed me just as much as I pushed him on the track.

David Pearson will forever be remembered as the guy puffing a cigarette at 190 miles per hour with the King in his crosshairs, during the pinnacle years of American stock-car racing.

Ricky Stenhouse Jr: "RIP David Pearson when i drove for the Wood Brothers the stories they talked about with David and what they accomplished together were wonderful to listen to".

Over the course of his Cup Series career, Pearson also recorded 113 pole positions, a total that ranks second on the all-time Cup Series pole positions list.

They became close friends following their driving days.

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Darlington Raceway also issued a statement Monday night.

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.

"When he retired, he had three championships - and millions of fans", France said.

In 2016, Petty was asked Petty who was the best he ever raced against and Pearson was his response.

Between 1963 and 1977, Pearson and Petty finished 1-2 63 times; 33 of those times, Pearson came out on top.

What I have understood better than anything at any point in my career is to listen to the great drivers, the same way Tony Gwynn listened to Ted Williams or Tom Brady would listen to Joe Montana. We were lucky to be able to call him one of our champions. "Great memories of great NASCAR racing that had its roots in the "hills of Western North Carolina" and North Wilkesboro, in particular.and served as a "delivery system" for lots of 'mountain made moonshine".

Pearson replied: "Do it really, really easily, just barely open the butterflies on the carburetor - don't you make those rear tires angry". He became the youngest victor of the Daytona 500 and gave the Wood ownership its first Daytona victory since the Silver Fox, Bayne's newly found mentor, outlasted Richard Petty, Nascar's "King", 35 winters before.

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