NASCAR legend Cale Yarborough dies at 84

NASCAR legend Cale Yarborough dies at 84

Yarborough was one of the best to ever get behind the wheel of a stock car. In 560 starts, he won 83 races and sits sixth on the all-time wins list.

His many victories including four in the Daytona 500 and five in the Southern 500. Yarborough is also a three-time Cup Series champion, winning three consecutive titles from 1976 to 1978.

“Cale Yarborough was one of the toughest competitors NASCAR has ever seen,” said Jim France, CEO of NASCAR. “His combination of talent, grit and determination separated Cale from his peers, both on the track and in the record book. He was respected and admired by competitors and fans alike and was as comfortable behind the wheel of a tractor as he was behind the wheel of a stock car. On behalf of the France family and NASCAR, I offer my deepest condolences to the family and friends of Cale Yarborough.”

Yarborough, a native of Timmonsville, South Carolina, drove for legendary car owners such as the Wood Brothers and Junior Johnson.

He was also a central figure in one of the biggest moment’s in NASCAR history. In the 1979 Daytona 500, it was he and Donnie Allison slamming doors as they battled for the win on the final lap. The two drivers crashed, and a fight ensued, all captured by television cameras in the first time there was ever first-to-flag coverage of NASCAR’s crown jewel event.

His career included an IROC championship in 1984, and even four starts in the Indianapolis 500. He best finish was tenth in 1972. He also ran the 1981 Le Mans 24, driving a Chevrolet Camaro alongside Billy Hagan and Bill Cooper.

Yarborough was inducted into the International Motorsports Hall of Fame in 1993 and the NASCAR Hall of Fame in 2012. 

Seven-time NASCAR Cup Series champion Jimmie Johnson, who is currently tied with Yarborough on the all-time wins list, said the following in reaction to his passing: “Cale Yarborough was my childhood hero. What an honor to be tied with the legend for 83 Cup series wins. He was “the man” and the legacy of Cale Yarborough will forever live on. My deepest condolences to Cale’s family.”

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