David Pearson 1976

Career Chronology: David Pearson David Pearson

  • 1960: Started racing for NASCAR, and named Rookie of the Year.
  • 1961: Won his first race at Concord Speedway.
  • 1964: Took in 8 wins during the year’s season.
  • 1966: Won his first of three NASCAR Championships.
  • 1968: Won eight times during one of his better racing seasons.
  • 1976: Won the Daytona 500, and had a season best with ten wins.
  • 1989: Retired from stock car racing.
  • 1993: Inducted into the International Motorsports Hall of Fame
  • 2011: Inducted into the NASCAR Hall of Fame.

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Career Highlights: David Pearson

  • Started his NASCAR career in 1960, where he went on to win the Rookie of the Year award.
  • In his first full-time season, he won the first of three NASCAR Championships in 1966.
  • He had eight wins in 1968, including Richmond, Boyd Speedway, Lincoln Speedway, and Columbia Speedway, and season best of ten wins in 1976, the same year he won the Daytona 500.
  • In 1999, with 40 NASCAR insiders, Sports Illustrated showcased Pearson as the Top Stock Car Driver of the Twentieth Century.


David Gene Pearson started his impressive NASCAR career in 1960, and he went on to win the Rookie of the Year award during his very fist season. He ran the full NASCAR Grand National Series every year of his schedule, and he won the Championships in 1966, 1968, and 1969. His career ran a similar path to Richard Petty, as the driver that won the most races in NASCAR history.

He was born in 1934 in South Carolina. When he was young, he decided very quickly that stock car racing was what he wanted to do with his life. He worked in a car body repair shop with his brother and saved up his money to convert cars into street rods, to begin his racing stunts. Soon he caught the right people’s attention and made it into NASCAR’s Grand National 1960 season. He won his first race at Concord Speedway in 1961, and then went on to win the Firecracker 250 at Daytona and the Dixie 400 in Atlanta. In 1962, he raced for Team Petty, Cotton Owens, and Bud Moore.

He won the Daytona 500 in 1976, and it became known as the race with the battle over the final lap. Petty was leading but turned the final lap and spun out along with Pearson, but Pearson was able to restart and get over the finish for the win. His series-best was in 1976, by winning ten races. He won his first IROC (and his only) in 1975-76 and finished fifth in points. He was inducted into the International Motorsports Hall of Fame in 1993 and the NASCAR Hall of Fame in 2011.

David Pearson Daytona 500 winner 1976

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Daytona 500 Winners – Racing-ReferenceNASCAR