David Pearson was the best to ever do it. NASCAR said goodbye to their GOAT on Monday when Pearson passed away at the age of 83.
“The Silver Fox” was the epitome of what a NASCAR driver was back in the day. A certified American badass who had a natural feel for a stock car. He went head to head with Richard Petty and won. He drove for the famed Wood Brothers, his paint schemes were iconic, the stories are legendary and he only raced when he wanted to.
In only 574 starts Pearson recorded 105 wins and 3 championships. On top of that, he never ran a full season, pre-modern era and modern era he never started every race on the schedule. A ridiculous thought when you think about the fact he won three championships.
David Pearson is NASCAR’s Greatest of All Time, at least until Jimmie Johnson retires. The haters of which there are many will hate to hear that but we’ll talk about that when the time comes. For now, Pearson is the GOAT, not Petty, not Earnhardt, not Gordon. David Pearson.
Richard Petty started 1,184 races and won 200 times. That is more than double the number of starts that Pearson recorded. If you continue the trajectory of Pearson’s career he would have matched Petty’s inflated career totals. He took three championships away from Petty and likely would have taken more if he participated in a majority of the races.
Pearson’s last win came at the spring Darlington race in 1980. Pearson had 10 wins at Darlington including five in a row from 1975 to 1977. He was a man among boys at the egg-shaped oval. Pearson would continue racing part-time until 1986 where at the age of 51 he would record his last Top-10 in what would be his last start.
Ultimately Pearson knew when to bow out. He was a man that was always appreciative of the admiration that was cast upon him. Dale Jr. honored him with the “silver fox” throwback paint scheme at Darlington last season. Pearson knew he was beloved among NASCAR fans.
His battles with Richard Petty will be remembered forever. His accomplishments in the sport live on in the NASCAR Hall of Fame. David Pearson was and will always be a complete and utter badass behind the wheel of a stock car.
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