CNN – Three-time NASCAR Cup champion Cale Yarborough, a Hall of Fame racer known for his toughness, has died at age 84, the auto racing body announced Sunday.
No cause of death was given.
“Cale Yarborough was one of the toughest competitors NASCAR has ever seen,” NASCAR Chairman and CEO Jim France said on X, formerly known as Twitter. “His combination of talent, grit and determination separated Cale from his peers, both on the track and in the record book.”
Yarborough dominated NASCAR in the mid-1970s, becoming the first driver to win three consecutive titles in its top division. Three other times in his career he was runner-up in the points chase.
He logged 28 of his 83 career wins in his championship years of 1976-1978 and is tied for sixth in all-time victories with seven-time NASCAR Cup champ Jimmie Johnson.
“Junior [Johnson] was looking for a driver, and I was looking for a ride. And boy, we hooked up and we had a good ride for sure.” – Cale Yarborough
“(Yarborough’s) rivalry and competitive spirit with The King will always be a renowned part of NASCAR History, showcasing their mutual respect and the intensity of their competition on the track,” Petty wrote.
Yarborough’s legacy also includes an incident in the 1979 Daytona 500, the first 500-mile NASCAR race covered in its entirety on national TV.
The CBS audience watched Yarborough take on Donnie Allison in a last-lap battle for the lead that saw the cars crash then the drivers swing at each other on the infield grass, while Petty went on to win the race.
The fight escalated when Allison’s brother, Bobbie, pulled over his race car and joined in.
Yarborough won NASCAR’s premier race four times and the Southern 500 at Darlington, South Carolina, five times.
Yarborough was inducted into the NASCAR Hall of Fame in 2012, a member of its third class … READ MORE.