NASCAR Hall of Famer David Pearson dies at 83

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

NASCAR legend David Pearson passed away at the age of 83, reports on Monday have confirmed.

The cause of Pearson's death has not been revealed. He wouldn't win until the next year, when he captured his first three career victories, but still established a foundation for three decades of excellence.

However, he still managed to record 105 victories, a total that ranks second on the all-time Cup Series wins list. "I can't say enough about how much he knew how to enter and exit a corner is just unbelievable".

NASCAR chairman and CEO Jim France said Pearson's contribution to the category's growth had been huge.

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. Through their intense and epic battles, they maintained vast respect for one another during their driver days and beyond. The pair was there to return the famous #21 Mercury to the track in a press event with current driver Carl Edwards.

For the second time I said something, but this time out loud: "Here?" David Pearson is probably the greatest race auto driver that I raced against and I admired what he did. "I'd run hard because he'd make me run hard". He's probably the one that made me win as many as I did. I then thought to myself, as the van began rolling again, this is not going to work because it's five vehicle lengths too soon. At the end of his speech he noted the France family, including the current CEO Jim France.

We rolled around the track slowly with the three-time champion at the wheel of a van owned by my PR director, Ron Miller.

Big tracks, short tracks - like Bristol Motor Speedway, where he had five wins - paved tracks, dirt tracks and road courses, David Pearson was one of the greatest ever to get behind the wheel of a stock vehicle. We were lucky to be able to call him one of our champions. Below, FOX NASCAR analyst and Hall of Famer Darrell Waltrip and play-by-play announcer Mike Joy offer their memories of the "Silver Fox". But he's not typically included in casual conversations surrounding the best NASCAR driver in history. He is survived by three sons, Larry, Ricky and Eddie. "RIP my dear old friend!" He drove in 42 in the 49 races of the 1966 season and won 15 of them. I looked at him respectfully and accepted his advice skeptically. "May He Rest In Peace!" Only Petty started more races from the pole position than Pearson. Anyone who raced him will tell you he was the best.

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There was no track on the circuit more challenging then the one that shared the same home state as the Silver Fox.

Chip Ganassi: "RIP David Pearson".

Jeff Burton: "David Pearson was truly an icon".

That's what Kyle Petty remembers about Pearson. During an era when the cars weren't as durable, Pearson would often run a steady pace and save his auto for the end of the race - when he would speed by the competition.

"The Man you had to beat, that handsome 21 Wood Bros Mercury. We wouldn't be here today without him and we're thinking of the entire David Pearson family tonight". He won there a track-record 10 times.

"His fierce competitiveness and passion for the sport endeared him to the NASCAR faithful". His Hall of Fame career will go down as one of the most prolific in the history of the sport.

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

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