Published: Fri, November 16, 2018
Sport | By Kayla Schwartz

David Pearson, racing legend, dies

David Pearson, racing legend, dies

But he's not typically included in casual conversations surrounding the best NASCAR driver in history.

Pearson was inducted into the NASCAR Hall of Fame in 2011. It's a safe bet that Pearson would be more than a three-time champion had he competed full-time for more seasons.

NASCAR legend and three-time champion David Pearson passed away Monday at the age of 83. They got together and crashed, sending both down the track into the grass infield.

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.

At stated above, Pearson's NASCAR career began in the 1960 season.

"I have always been asked who my toughest competitor in my career was. The answer has always been David Pearson", Petty said Monday night in a statement.

Pearson and Petty combined for 63 finishes in which the two finished first and second to each other. Huge rivals who had mutual respect.

The second-winningest NASCAR Cup Series driver behind the iconic Richard Petty with 105 wins, Pearson was a fan favorite throughout his career, which spanned almost 30 years. I had the chance to interview him (with Yarborough) several years ago and found that the years hadn't changed that.

We will update this article with more information as it becomes available.

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The Petty and Pearson families remained close long after the drivers' racing careers ended, with Petty adding he "enjoyed visits to see David when going through SC".

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. He was first to exceed 190 miles per hour at Daytona, won a record 10 times at Darlington, and scored another record 14 pole positions at Charlotte, 11 of which he secured consecutively from 1973 to 1978 (the track hosted two premier events a year in that era).

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.

His speed during qualifying belied Pearson's racing style.

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

Pearson didn't always get the credit he deserved amongst the newer generations of fans.

Pearson was most identified with the legendary Wood Brothers No. 21 despite never winning a championship in their Ford and Mercury cars. He scored 43 wins in the iconic No. 21 auto.

But the best was yet to come for the Spartanburg, South Carolina native.

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