Legends are rare. Many get an honorary title, no doubt stars in their own right at one time long ago or a pioneer of some description. However, to be a true legend, an icon, it takes a lot to make the grade. In NASCAR, David Pearson was an undisputed legendary driver, one of the best all-time, a true giant of the sport.
The Silver Fox passed away this week at the age of 83. His 105 career Cup victories have him placed only behind the 200 accumulated by the King, Richard Petty. Sixty-three times the pair finished one-two on the track, an amazing statistic showcasing what is unarguably the greatest rivalry in the sport. It stretched from the 1963 Sandlapper 200 in Columbia, South Carolina through to the 1977 World 600.
Pearson’s career covered the years of 1960 through to his final start in 1986, yet he managed to race in more than half the schedule just a dozen times. Running 90 percent of the schedule? Just thrice. That does not even include his 1966 championship year, one of his three titles, when he won 15, competed in 42, skipped out on seven others. In 1973, he won 11 of the 18 he competed in. While Petty drove in everything, Pearson drove when he wanted. It appears that when he wanted, he wanted to win. Pearson’s first victory was the 1961 World 600. His last was Darlington’s Rebel 500 in 1980, one of the nine he competed in that season. In total, 574 starts, 105 wins.
David Pearson is truly among NASCAR’s racing gods residing atop its Mount Olympus. Truth be told, he has had a reservation up there for a very long time.
At Homestead, one of four hope to add to their own legacy, to maybe establish themselves as one of the sport’s future legends.
1. KYLE BUSCH – 5000 POINTS (8 Wins – 1388 Season Points)
Will the best on the season be the championship winner?
2. KEVIN HARVICK – 5000 POINTS (8 Wins – 1333 Season Points)
Back in the old days, this championship would have already been decided.
3. MARTIN TRUEX JR. – 5000 POINTS (4 Wins – 1212 Season Points)
One final race for the boys and girls from Colorado.
4. JOEY LOGANO – 5000 POINTS (2 Wins – 1192 Season Points)
Believes he is the favorite going in. All he has to do now is prove it.
5. CHASE ELLIOTT – 2320 POINTS (3 Wins)
With one shot, Denny managed to burst the bubble of not one, but two rivals.
6. KURT BUSCH – 2318 POINTS (1 Win)
Too much gas cost him the lead, too much Hamlin kept him from taking it back.
7. ARIC ALMIROLA – 2316 POINTS (1 Win)
For a moment he must have believed, but the hamster under the hood was not big enough.
8. BRAD KESELOWSKI – 2309 POINTS (3 Wins)
Penske teams are out…but they won’t let themselves be forgotten.
9. RYAN BLANEY – 2278 POINTS (1 Win)
In fact, no one would be terribly surprised if either Brad or Ryan wins this weekend.
10. KYLE LARSON – 2256 POINTS
Too late for this year, but he keeps reminding us that there is more than one Kyle out there.
11. DENNY HAMLIN – 2252 POINTS
His final shot to keep his yearly win streak alive, and he can not be counted out.
12. CLINT BOWYER – 2242 POINTS (2 Wins)
Went from rating among the top eight to hanging on as a member of the dirty dozen.
13. AUSTIN DILLON – 2219 POINTS (1 Win)
Might not win this one, but he has done well in the next one.
14. JIMMIE JOHNSON – 2217 POINTS
The beginning of the end or just a blip on the radar?
15. ERIK JONES – 2207 POINTS (1 Win)
NASCAR has two guys with the same name, kind of. Is there room for an Eric one day?
16. ALEX BOWMAN – 2196 POINTS
Though he has done well, he still hasn’t made us forgot the name of the guy he replaced.
17. RYAN NEWMAN – 747 POINTS
No playoff run this year, but he still is the Hot Dog Eating Champion in four states.
18. RICKY STENHOUSE JR. – 680 POINTS
If you thought he was fired up at Phoenix, you should have seen his car.
19. PAUL MENARD – 680 POINTS
Last week at Phoenix he reminded me of the Arizona Cardinals. 29th place.
20. DANIEL SUAREZ – 667 POINTS
McMurray is just three points back. Neither has a ride for next season.