David Pearson, NASCAR legend, passes away

David Pearson, NASCAR Hall of Famer with 105 wins, dies at 83

The Silver Fox, David Pearson, passed away at the age of 83.

Pearson's 105 Cup Series wins rank second to only Richard Petty among NASCAR drivers. This was partly due to the fact he only really raced full-time in three seasons, and his marketing machine never matched that of Petty's "The King" persona.

"Day in and day out, all different kind of tracks and all different kind of circumstances, he probably had more natural talent than anybody", Petty said.

David Pearson was a three-time champion and the victor of 105 premier series races. He won three championships during his illustrious careers in the sport and is considered among the greatest ever alongside long-time rival and friend Richard Petty.

In addition to his countless NASCAR records and longevity, Pearson was also well known for being racing's coolest driver. "The answer has always been David Pearson", Petty said Monday night in a statement.

"It wasn't a rivalry, but more mutual respect".

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.

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"Sometimes, he would make a mistake and I'd pass him".

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. "We will miss those trips". His family reported that Pearson suffered a stroke in December 2014.

"Pearson. Pearson could beat you on a short track, he could beat you on a superspeedway, he could beat you on a road course, he could beat you on a dirt track", Petty stated in 2009. He drove in 42 in the 49 races of the 1966 season and won 15 of them.

With the finish line in sight, Pearson then used a slingshot pass out of the high banked final turn to zip past Petty and snatch the victory. We were lucky to be able to call him one of our champions. His handsome ruggedness-a "plain old country boy", as Pearson described himself-also packed more than a few gray curls. He won 11 and finished in the top five 14 times.

NASCAR was made better because David Pearson was in it. Below, FOX NASCAR analyst and Hall of Famer Darrell Waltrip and play-by-play announcer Mike Joy offer their memories of the "Silver Fox". His Hall of Fame career will go down as one of the most prolific in the history of the sport. And despite their intense rivalry, Petty and the Spartanburg born, SC native remained good friends after their days behind the wheel ended.

"On behalf of the France Family and everyone at NASCAR, I want to offer honest condolences to the family and friends of David Pearson, a true giant of our sport".

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