It is with great sadness to report that one of NASCAR’s greatest drivers, David Pearson has died. With the passing of the three-time champion, the sport has also lost one of its most phenomenal talents. He was 83 years old.
Road and Track reports that Pearson drove like a lion throughout a stock car career that spanned three decades. With more than 100 victories earned from 1960 to 1980, Pearson retired trailing only his close friend Richard Petty in all-time wins.
Pearson’s time behind the steering wheel—and those three titles earned in 1966, 1968, and 1969—affirmed his ability to take whatever he was driving to the front with ease. Driving a Dodge for Owens Racing, and later for the factory Holman-Moody Ford team, Pearson closed the 1960s as NASCAR’s dominant figure.
In 1969 alone, he scored 38 podiums from 53 races for Holman-Moody. Moving to the crack Wood Brothers outfit for six partial seasons from 1973 to 1978, Pearson captured 37 wins and 35 seconds or thirds from 107 races entered. The 72 combined top-threes speak to an almost inconceivable degree of consistency produced by Pearson.
Fox News reports that Pearson was a three-time Cup champion and his 105 career victories trail only Petty’s 200 on NASCAR’s all-time list.
Born just outside of Spartanburg, Pearson made his NASCAR debut in 1960 and along with Petty, Bobby Allison and Cale Yarborough, they raced all over the country as the cornerstone during NASCAR’s period of slow growth beyond a regional racing series. Pearson was inducted into the second class of the NASCAR Hall of Fame.
Initially nicknamed “The Fox” for his calculated attack on the race track, the moniker evolved into “The Silver Fox” as Pearson aged. His career paralleled Petty’s and the two combined for 63 finishes in which the two finished first and second to each other.
Pearson is survived by three sons, Larry, Ricky and Eddie, all of whom have been involved in NASCAR racing. His wife, Helen Ray, died in 1991. Funeral arrangements were not immediately announced.
We send our condolences to his family and friends.
Rest in peace brother and thanks for the great memories.